Microsoft Moves to Pass/Fail Scoring System

Test policy applied to all exams as of December 2001.

Microsoft no longer gives test-takers an overall score on exams, opting instead for a simple pass/fail system. Anne Marie McSweeney, Microsoft’s director of certification skills and assessment, said in an interview with MCP Magazine editors, that the new grading method started in December 2001 and will include all future exams.

Even though the pass/fail system was introduced last year, most members of the certification community weren’t aware of the change. Microsoft didn’t make a general announcement about the revamped scoring, originally releasing the information in a FAQ section on its Web site.

“People will notice it most with 70-218,” McSweeney said. 70-218 (Managing a Windows 2000 Network Environment), is a core test for the new MCSA credential, which Microsoft expects to be very popular.

Microsoft decided to drop scoring, according to McSweeney, because, “scores are misleading. People put too much credence into what the scores mean.”

McSweeney added that giving an overall score, “introduces a mysterious element and gives odd perceptions ... At the end of the day,” McSweeney continued, beta testers said that, “pass/fail was what they cared about.”

Aware that Microsoft could appear to be imposing its will on the MCP community, McSweeney said, “We don’t want to look arrogant. The onus is on us to present our case” to the public and explain Redmond’s rationale for the change.

This is the second recent change Microsoft has made to how it notifies test-takers of their scores. For years, the company gave not only a total score, but section-by-section scores so testers could identify areas of weakness. More recently, Microsoft dropped section scoring in favor of an overall score and pass/fail bar.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Josh MT

Failing to give the test taker a score is detrimental to the quality of MS certifications. As many have said previously, if degrees from universities were pass-fail our whole society would be in a world of hurt. If MS wants to avoid braindumping they simply need to make a larger question base that changes frequently. That is the only way to provide test taker quality feed back and avoid braindumps. Microsoft...If you can develop all of those products with so many features....If you can build the most used and wanted desktop OS in the world....Why cannt you make your test question databases large enough to be untrackable. Prove to the world that you are as good as you say!



Tue, Feb 18, 2003 Harry Hahn Washington DC

MS is trying to make the test a little harder to be coped and posted on Internet or published. How hard do you think for MS to add points to the grade report? They do not want you know the ansers for sure as a protection. For instance if some got a 1000 points, then he knows all his ansers match MS's, he could then easily get the results published (not publicly), and help other people cheat. Do not know how effective the strategy is though. My opinion is MS should have a much much bigger question pool to prevent people cheat.

Tue, Jan 21, 2003 shahbaz Pakistan

I don't think its a good idea i have just cleared my MCSE\MCDBA exams. I have worked out a lot for my certification but the result is same as some guys does form dumps within a week. its not fair

Sun, Jul 21, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Could it be that that in the current economic situation MS may have an interest in seeing fewer (and better) MCSE/A's - iow the ones that would pass regardless?

Mon, May 6, 2002 Luigi Rome

It's very terrible idea. Aaaaaaarghh

Sun, Apr 28, 2002 rob van kraay netherlands

i hope the exact score will come back
so that i can see how much points i have.
passed-failed gives the person to little
information. !

Sat, Apr 13, 2002 anonymous Mars

I like the pass/fail scoring system that Microsoft implemented. However, they should also include topics from the exam objectives that the candidate missed so that they can brush up on it, especially when they have to retake the test.

Sat, Mar 30, 2002 Ehtesham Dhaka (Bangladesh)

I don't think that would be good, because then we won't get any idea of the marking scheme. Secondly if the new system is introduced, then i would suggest the usage of terms like bellow:
"eccellent"; "good"; "average"; "poor"; "very poor" and "unclassified"(for extremely bad result)

Wed, Mar 20, 2002 Anonymous New England

If Microsoft does not give a do we actually know their scoring is legitimate? For example, if 70% is passing, in the past if you get a 90, you know you passed. How are we to know that Microsoft is not pulling a fast one and "raising the bar" without telling more people might fail and therefore have to pay more money to Microsoft for retakes. One has to wonder the REAL reason Microsoft wants to HIDE the actual scores of candidates.

Wed, Mar 13, 2002 silkneffect south africa

i am an mcse and am not suprised for ms behavior. on top of the overall high cost of these exams i think the test takers deserve to know where they are weak. as a mcp we should be notified as well of any changes

Wed, Feb 13, 2002 Alex Pasternak Cincinnati, OH

I was initially against this as well, but have seen since the light. MS is right, tests are tests and not a survey of how well you are doing in a particular area. If you wish to be evaluated by certain areas, take a practice exam. But these exams are not for your assessment, especially when it's based on a score, which cannot be compared between different exams with different questions. If I passed with a 850, and you with a 800, you are not a worse candidate - we should be equal. This system makes it so. I think everyone will soon understand this as I did.

Fri, Feb 8, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

You know, I really don't remember what it used to say about the feedback on the tests, something like it's used to indicate areas...well maybe it should say, scores are misleading, therefore they have been couldn't interpret them correctly anyway...he he he. Well, more money too. Anyway a good disclaimer is all you need, so there.

Fri, Feb 1, 2002 Jipped Anonymous

Dirty sleazebags had people PAYING to take SCORED exams for a MONTH AND A HALF without telling them what they were buying!

Tue, Jan 29, 2002 Ahkmed Turkesmanistan

I agree with Bill. Size does not really matter in my country as well. In my province, all the programmers must share the same computer. It is very difficult to set up a network environment as well. Allah is great for providing the loopback address! Praise Allah and Bill Gates! I confuse them sometimes...

Tue, Jan 29, 2002 Bill Redmond

I think this is a great idea! The less infomation availble means less passed tests. That means more testing fees! Microsoft really deserves the money. P.S. size does not really matter!

Tue, Jan 29, 2002 kashif Babu Pakistan

Bill Gate is a bad man, a very bad man...

Tue, Jan 29, 2002 MCSE PHOENIX

One has to wonder what orrifice Microsoft pulls these schemes out of. If they have time to screw around with this system, they should consider a few personell cuts in the certification deparment. The score is an accepted and time tested way of providing feedback to the test taker. Microsoft should stick to ensuring that the questions adequately test a person's knowledge of the product, and avoid tinkering with the details. Lest they forget the NT 4.0 retirment fiasco...

Tue, Jan 29, 2002 kashif pakistan

this is the best result system and a step forward to the success of microsoft and
no exception in this case. Hoo-ahh.

Mon, Jan 28, 2002 Adolfo California

I spend a lot of money studying and working with MS products, but now I thing MS is manipulating us in order to make more money with the exams , if MS do not change this policy and become more clear with the certification process, it will be the last one that I will take.

Sun, Jan 27, 2002 chris ga

seems everyone is against the new way microsoft is grading there not a big fan either of the change...maybe Microsoft should take a hint??? (yeah that would ever happen)

Sat, Jan 26, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I think if Microsoft is going to raise the test prices they should provide more information at the end of the test instead of taking more away. Go figure.

Sat, Jan 26, 2002 deanshultz Anonymous

To James Tong’s Response regarding missed questions:"...In reality you should already know this, because you know when you answer a question and you don't know what the correct answer is. "

I disagree with this response. In a 70 question test situation, the majority of people will not make mental notes as to which question(s) they missed.

Additionally, "you know when you answer a question and you don't know what the correct answer is"; by definition if you don't know the answer, how do you *know* you've missed the question? This approach compounds a wrong answer with a guess as to what should be studied next.

I would like to see the sectional analysis report maintained.

A test score shouldn't be a shell game or a mystery. It should be feedback.

Fri, Jan 25, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

The Microsoft Certification process makes no sense at all technically for several reasons that's why everyone is upset here. As far as the M$$$$ train there is no question. Its the $$$ that counts. I am certified in both Novell and Microsoft for several years. To start with the moc cirriculum is no way reflective of what will be on a test. It is so apparent that the people that create the courses and the tests are two different groups. So everyone studies other books and Transcender to pass the TEST not to know and use the software. Go take a moc and a test the next day Microsoft. By the way YOU FAIL. I do not care what you scored-1000. YOU FAIL. All educational school lets you know were your weaknesses are. How else can you improve? Relearn it all by the way will not let you advance. You must relearn it all? I am going to my OCP (oracle) so I can advance. BYE bye Microsoft!!!!!

Fri, Jan 25, 2002 Dana Ohio

Novell and Cisco do give scores and also point out your weak areas. I agree with most of you on that Microsoft is just getting ridiculous!! Why not do a survey of all of the people that have Microsoft certifications and get their input on the tests and scoring???? You have to remember we're the ones paying that ridiculous $125 a pop to take your tests, we should at least have a say so in the major changes you make!!!! If I take one of your tests, I want to know where I'm weakest and strongest. That is so obvious, why make things so complicated?????!!!!!!!

Fri, Jan 25, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

What is the big deal. MS is trying to prevent people from stealing the tests. The reason that they stopped giving out section scores is that it made it extremely simple for a brainless dumpers to steal the test and the answers for that test. If a section result showed that they got 100 percent then they knew for sure what the answers to the questions for that section were. MS is doing us a favor here. You people seem to want it both ways. You complain about MS protecting the test and then you complain about all of the paper MCSE out there. You cant have it both ways. Personally I want MS to protect the tests so that my cert means something. M.O. MCSE (NT4 W2k) MCP +I (Yes I passed the 240)

Fri, Jan 25, 2002 JTMONEY NY

why are all you geniuses having a hard time to understand. It's simple- when you take your exam, you either pass or fail. what don't you understand. If you fail, you clearly did not prepare well for the exam and that would require you to study further. If you pass, you understood the stuff. Logic here is Ms discovered users simply check the areas they performed poorly and go to braindump, cram, then come back and say they've reviewed. thats why the certs are easy. But with pass or fail- no shortcuts- either you know the stuff or not

Fri, Jan 25, 2002 Kevin Wood Florida

Charge more for the test and give less feedback. GREAT IDEA. Maybe next years cars will cost 25% more and leave off the tires. Not giving feedback is a cheap way to make those failing a test re-take it more times. The low Win2K 're-certification' rate last year should be an indicator to Microsoft thay are doing something wrong. Rather than learn, they keep doing more 'wrong' things. Obviously incapable of learning - they get a 'fail' (and I won't tell them why)

Fri, Jan 25, 2002 RobH Canada

All the information you could ever want is available on your training websites. It probably costs more to get a driver's license over 3 years than it does for one certification. Those who are MCSE or have certifications of equivalent level or higher, as well as those who have acquired college and university diplomas and degrees undoubtedly have invested much more. They also have experienced and learned more as well, so it makes sense. The lucky ones are possibly those whose educational costs have been paid for by someone other than themselves, although those who have struggled on their own have also learned something valuable. I think when you take these tests, it is the testing organization that you are paying? It might be like being on the highway, and avoiding an accident. What does it matter how well you did it, as long as you survived? Perhaps this will open up an opportunity for 'assessment testing services' to grow a little more. To help candidates at all levels self-assess areas for further development? No pass/fail, just 'progress bars'. Of course, who would write all the questions or scenarios? Maybe you. No matter where you want to go tomorrow, try to have a good one.

Thu, Jan 24, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

This is just another example of the arrogance Microsoft has been showing recently. Many companies cannot afford right now to upgrade all computers in the company, yet Redmond insists that everyone buy new computers to run the new software. Issues like this make Red Hat Linus look more and more attactive.

Thu, Jan 24, 2002 Allan Hong Kong

I am disghusted by MS's continual blunderings with their certifications.

At least they can give straight and proper answers for why thy do these things.

Or can MNCs have ADD too?

Thu, Jan 24, 2002 Simon New Zealand

Dropping scores makes life slightly harder for the exam prep / boot camp industry and braindumpers, which has to be a good thing. But giving eg only A-E grades would accomplish nearly the same thing. I see nothing else good ore even defensible about the decision.

Thu, Jan 24, 2002 Only Failing Scores USA

Very Simple Solution....If you pass, score report says PASS. If you fail, score report says FAIL with your failing score. Now everybody call Microsoft and give them this easy and obvious solution. Now we can tell them how to do their jobs. Call 800-636-7544 (Microsoft MCP Line).

Thu, Jan 24, 2002 From here just there


Thu, Jan 24, 2002 Mike Oklahoma

The move to this system stinks. It seems that it is another way for microsoft to get more money out of the IT prof. Most people want to know how they did and where the weakness is. The old way if you just missed passing you could retake the test quickly and probobly pass and if you failed badly you knew that the way you were trying to prepare was not working. The IT people you talked to before changing this must have worked for microsoft. We are the ones that support Microsoft in the real life and if you pay any attention to what we say you will know that this change is a bunch of bull dung.

Thu, Jan 24, 2002 Gian Paolo Italy

That's fine! I am certified under Cisco Programs and all exams run so. This policy certify only people with a wide foundation. Cisco use this policy and to pass a Cisco certification means to have no doubt! You are the best! I hope that in the next future minimum score level will be more higher than now. Less certification around the world can valorize better the title

Thu, Jan 24, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I don't mind P/F but I think MS should at least give us an option (maybe a phone call to them) to let us know what is our weakness. Does Bill knows about this, or was this a management decision. You cannot expect us to pay $125 and not know what were we went wrong, someone is making $125.00 for nothing.
Please utilize our money properly and give us our info, we have some rights too.

Thu, Jan 24, 2002 strangerq la

re: This is what M$ wants. More people re-taking the exam so they would earn more. >>>>>>

Likely some truth here.

If M$ was really interested in preventing
a sledgehammer approach to passing the
tests, they could do much more to limit

For example, you might have to wait at least 2 weeks before the 1st retest (instead of the 2nd), a month before the 2nd, and perhaps be disallowed to take a test more than 3 times in a calender year.

This would prevent people from passing tests just by taking them over and over.

However, it would also limit the number of tests people take and pay for, and
that's why (I think) M$ chose not to go this route.

Wed, Jan 23, 2002 cyke Anonymous

damn move! if you fail and doesn't know what topics you need to brush up on then chances are you will fail again in your next exam. This is what M$ wants. More people re-taking the exam so they would earn more.

Wed, Jan 23, 2002 Trainer Anonymous

So far the test hasn't changed format here. I just had a student take a test and it's the same that it's been for a long time. Still shows the scores.
PS. We use Prometric

Wed, Jan 23, 2002 Bryan Ontario

I don't think this is an over all bad thing. If your not ready to take the exam the trancenders should tell you that! All I really care about is seeing that pass. Its also a good way to intimidate some of the competition. Its also a good way to make you brush up on everything not just certain areas. Thus creating a more highly train professional and not someone who passed by touching up one area that manages to nudge them over the finish line......Pass. Do your homework people and there is no reason why you should ever see that dreaded (Fail). Good luck!

Wed, Jan 23, 2002 anynomous Anonymous


Wed, Jan 23, 2002 DB Rhode Island

I have taken both MS and Cisco tests, I am an MCSE NT/2000 CCN/CCDA 1/2 way to CCNP. I have never failed and have scored from passing by a point to missing only 1 question. It doesn't matter the bottom line is I have the cert and all that proves is a base line knowlege level. If you fail you have to hit the practice tests again. Use the practice tests to gauge your week areas and work these areas. A score or pass/fail makes no diference. The 240 exam was pass fail and it made no diference to me.

Wed, Jan 23, 2002 Anonymous uk

yet another example of microsoft not listening to its customers !!!!!!! after 2000 exams I will not do anymore certs its getting to be a waste of money as wage rates have dropped and the costs of certs increases especially exam prices - distgusted and expolited!!

Wed, Jan 23, 2002 Anon South US

This talk about closing down the dump sites is silly. What are the transcenders and other testing concerns but dumps for money? Its well known that several of the test creators that advertise "actual test questions" hire people to take the exams and then dump the questions, I've known people who did just that.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Yes its nice to know where you are weak so you can prepare next time. However, I like the pass or fail since it requires me to look at everything again if I happen to fail the test the first time. There is also a burden now on Microsoft to make available more indepth course material and well as outline in "detail" what is required to pass a certain exam. You can't study for it if you don't know it's going to be there. Microsoft has tests out thee right now that have off the wall questions you wouldn't expect after reading the requirements for it.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

MS is now changing directions on everything, I guess they now have a Changes Certified Engineers.

I am stopping Dealing with MS certs the sononer my NT4.0 MCSE runs out.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 strangerq la

re: The harder it is to get certified the better because it makes the qualification hold its value. >>>>>

That's possibly true.

But removing the score does not
equal making the test harder.
(actually without a score it is almost impossible to independently access the
difficulty level of the test)

Or to put it another way, making the test
harder is, well...."harder" than just removing the score.

And again, unless M$ is willing to require
recertification the MSCE is will neither regain nor retain its value.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

To Ron< James Tong is right it's not Microsofts Place to babysit us, you should already know the content inside and out before you take a test. Why should they tell you were YOU need help? And as far as YOU arn't going to participate in them anymore well kudo's to the rest of the professional IT who try to learn and not complain about such trivial things. So Go back flipping burger! this field will be better off without you!!!

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Tim H UK

Gaining certification is about proving what you can do, and not helping your education which you should have completed sufficiently before taking the exams. The harder it is to get certified the better because it makes the qualification hold its value.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Roger Idaho Falls, Idaho

Fine, pass or fail no problem, but tell me my week points whether I pass or fail. The IT industry is moving to fast for me to guess my weakness and strengths. Was updating my MCSE last year in January but decided to wait to see if the miss guided testing would be corrected. With budget cuts my company don’t mind me waiting, they are judging on performance and knowledge instead of paper certifications. Look at the MCP Salary Surveys for yourself. Self-study is a way of life in the IT industry.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Microsoft should give the test taker the option to see expanded results or the pas/fail system. This would help those who are week in areas and be simpler for those who don't care about percentages.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I think Microsoft should concetrate more on getting the test questions away from the Dump sites then and only then will the certification worth something in the Industry. The dumpsites should be closed down - Way to go COMPTIA.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I think Microsoft should concetrate more on getting the test questions from the Dump sites then and only then will the certification worth something in the Industry.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Be Smart USA

If you read the MCP website, they were concerned about people with high passing scores "bragging" about their scores. They want a low pass to equal a high pass. Fair enough Microsoft. However, you rigging the MCP test group and not giving them the numerical score option insults our intelligence. WHAT ABOUT THE OPTION OF A PASS WITHOUT THE PASSING SCORE GIVEN AND A FAIL WITH THE FAILING SCORE GIVEN? This would satisfy everybody and accomplish your score misuse concerns. I guess that would be too easy for Anne Marie McSweeney, Microsoft’s director of certification skills and assessment, who is the dumb twit who made this latest change (and others) without our interests at heart. FYI: to answer a previous posting on why the 210 exam still gives a score is that all newly released exams will now NOT have scores and old exams will gradually have scores removed thoughout 2002. Just another issue to complain directly to Microsoft (they don't read these postings) and also ask for a new head of certifications (we can dream, can't we).

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I think Microsoft is trying to find away to break from the Cert pack by doing such things as these. They seem to be so uncertain as to how to go about it. I think it is very important to know what area I am weak on, if I fail. I also think that MS should reconsider the MCSA thing. I am in total agreement with the NT/2K MCSE identifiers. Maybe we all are carrying this Cert thing a bit too far! I know many who can pass but are hard pressed to apply it to real world fast pace environment.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 strangerq la

re: If each exam was created to produce truly skilled Network people Microsoft would not have a problem with this.>>>>>

Thank you. The entire system is fundamentally flawed. This is a cheap, easy to impliment, non solution.

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Even when I passed the old exams, I wanted to know where I made mistakes. This is not just for the exam, but for real world appilcation as well. Pass/Fail gives you no indication of your knowledge. I understood this for the 70-240. If you failed you could not retake it. Who wants to know if you miss that exam by 20 points. For all of the other exams, we should know what we were missing as well as pass/fail.

MCP,MCT,MCSE on NT and 2000

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 akbar india

i just passed 2 exam'a of mcse(220-215) if the pass/fail method of grading is introdused it will not let me know or any other mcp what status the are they are just passed or got a good marks ... so according to me the mark system is good ....

Tue, Jan 22, 2002 badbod UK

I agree with most of the comments already made. The scoring system gave me more of a sence of achivement, and helped me identify problem areas in my knowledge. I can understand microsoft's desicion on this matter, as a pass is still a pass, and a fail, stangely enough is a fail, and you should really know yourself where you are weak. But with the scoring system already in place, why make the exams worse by removing it!

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

The strange thing in my opinion is that I just took test 70-210 a few days ago and didn't receive any "feedback" but did receive a score. I'm not sure if all of the tests that came out prior to this decision being made are supposed to also just show "pass/fail" or not, but I am curious. Does anyone know??

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Mike Maryland

I think Microsoft should provide a breakdown of the various areas within each exam to allow the test taker to concentrate on areas of weakness. I don't think this would compromise any questions or the validity of the test. I think that is a load of you know what. It is just a way of extorting more fees from test takers. At $125 a pop I think the test taker should get more than a one word answer on how they performed on the exam. If each exam was created to produce truly skilled Network people Microsoft would not have a problem with this. Makes me wonder if returning to college wouldn't make more sense? A computer science degree will get you in more doors than these certificates will...

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Mike Bowling Green, KY

I think it's a bad idea. I'm not going to say why. Sorry my only choices are good/bad, and it's a bad idea.

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

A pass/fail scoring system is fine with me. If I pass, I don't care what my score is. If I fail, I should go back and review all material that I am not strong on. I should know this by taking the test, regardless if they tell me what sections I need improvement on.

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous



Mon, Jan 21, 2002 James Allentown,PA

I can remeber when I first achieved MCSE status, I was proud. Today, I don't feel as proud. I know it has lot to do with people wanting to become MCSE's for the money as oppose to gaining knowledge. I applaud MS for try to put the integrity back into the MCSE title. I'm happy to hear that people are not going to upgrade their MCSE title. Now we can see the people who solely got into the MCSE game for the money. I think the process of elimination has begun. So, what if you don't know the areas where you failed and succeeded at, go back and re-study. If you studied like you should you will already know your weak areas. (3 weeks of craming doesn't qualify) If you really the bent over knowing what area you did well in, get Transcenders or a 3rd party test preparation program. As far tMS raising the fee to a $125.00, when was the last time they raised it. (try 7 years ago). The bottom line is, people is always bitch & moan over Microsoft. I think MS cares about their MCSE title (whether they care about the people itself that's a different story.) If they didn't, I don't they would go through the process of revamping their Certification strategy. If you can't roll with punches, don't get into the sport of boxing. I'v been in the IT game going on 10 years. I'm an MCSE 4.0, MCSE 2k and CCNA. I will do what it takes to keep current. I don't agree with some of the things MS does, but I understand. I hope no one get's offended. Thanks.

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 strangerq la

re: Maybe people who dont like these will flood to other certifications and devalue other certs like the mcse>>>>>>

Dream on.

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Anonymous ottawa


Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Maybe people who dont like these will flood to other certifications and devalue other certs like the mcse, then the mcse might have some of the old shine it once had

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I see people on here complaining that ms doesnt give any feedback now, all the used to do was provide a score, how was that feedback anyways, i dont understand some peoples logic

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous


Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Anonymous MA

MS has the existing system (good stuff) which calculates the scores. Can't understand why they take the good stuff off. The old system is better: score is not a must to show others (from transcript) while we know our score after taking exam. The score tells me which area I need to improve/excel, no matter if I fail, just pass, or pass with good marks.

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 vincent Anonymous

I dont think it should happen because a persion should know how much score he or she got not pass or fail.

Mon, Jan 21, 2002 Hardial Bristol

I think this is a bad idea. If I fail an exam or if one of my colleages failed an exam we would definitely like to know where we are going wrong !!!!!

Sun, Jan 20, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

speaking of arrogant...get a load of the guy above me. What planet did he come from. It always amazes me that people complain about brain dumpers. I don't use them and don't really see the need to. If someone uses a brain dump then they are the ones at a loss, not the person who knows the material. The guy above me obviously thinks that anyone who is whining about microsoft's screw-ups is a brain dumper. I am sorry, you are grossly mistaken in your logic. McSweeny is also grossly mistaken in her logic about what microsoft test takers need.

Sun, Jan 20, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous


Sun, Jan 20, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I don't see failure as failure but the feedback I need to improve. Now Microsoft is muting that feedback reducing the value of their tests while at the same time increasing the cost! That's a double whammy. ...and, according to McSweeny, they don't want to look arrogant?!? What kind of logic are they using?

Sun, Jan 20, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

There are many pro / cons on the argument for a pass/fail only score. My main concern is will M$ alter the pass score to reflect the average examinees theory knowledge ie high marks = very high pass mark. May be the next move folks.

Sun, Jan 20, 2002 WW Herts, UK

A very very stupid idea ! Surely people must know what they score. Why is it that Microsoft continually changes the way they score & report exams ? We hear much about paper MCSEs. There will always be criticism of MCSEs(usually it comes from the people with no MCSE). In the old days, long before IT qualifications there was the same criticism of people with degrees (usually from people without them).
Microsoft should learn to live with it. If a person makes the grade they should pass & be told their score. If they aren't any good at the job, let the employer find out.

Sun, Jan 20, 2002 Effahid Anonymous

What The ? I say $125 per paper is too much ..... I mean , there should be something like refund if you fail ...... then no score feedback? I think Gates thinks us of a money machine or what ? I am going to wait until microsoft does something better!

Sun, Jan 20, 2002 strangerq la

re: This change, which means no more knowing how many points it took to pass, would seem to confirm the rumor. >>>>

This is the aspect of the no-score system
that people who favor this seem to overlook.

The rumor may or may not be true, but the point is, there is no longer any accountability to the test takers.

It's amazing how passive and sheep like people are willing to be in the face of
unaccountable corporate systems...
like all those poor saps at Enron.

I will not allow a system to "judge" me
without knowing how it works.

Sun, Jan 20, 2002 Paul Davis Memphis

Rumor going around for some time, that MS has started 'targeting' how many people it wants to pass the exams by percentages of test takers. So the exam will require 800 points one week, and 780 the next, depending on how many passed last week. This change, which means no more knowing how many points it took to pass, would seem to confirm the rumor.

Sat, Jan 19, 2002 Ed Los Angeles

I think that Microsoft had made this decision with only its own benefit in mind. Not only are pass/fail scores easier to keep track of, a scoring system made the certifications more competitive (at least in some employers' eyes). Pass/Fail will further devalue MS certifications while making them seem more lucrative to more people, which is not necessarily bad but definatelly a plus for the Microsoft.

Sat, Jan 19, 2002 Art Abington Tulsa, OK

Just took 70-216 and was very surprised to only get pass/fail information. Even though I passed, I would appreciate knowing whether I was strong or weak in my knowledge and which areas need further study. I take the exams not only for the certification benefits but to motivate myself to learn the materials. It seems contradictory to education to provide no feedback to those taking an exam whether they pass or fail. Microsoft is a great company and I hope that after they review the comments from test takers they will reconsider this recent change.

Sat, Jan 19, 2002 This Rock!! Anonymous

This is outstanding, finally MS may be looking to discourage braindumps, no more wil fools be able to say hey I scored a 900 so I am going to tell everyone what I choose for the cert, Good going!!!

Sat, Jan 19, 2002 strangerq la

re: If your weak on TCP/IP, then you know it. >>>>>>>>>>>

That's not true.

It is obviously possible for a test taker to have weaknesess that s(he) does not know about.

It is also possible for the test (giver) to have weaknesses as well...wrong answers, topics poorly covered, easy answers or easy questions that simply
fail to discover weaknesses in the test taker or measure a skill-set effectively.

Sat, Jan 19, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Special attention and recognition should be implemented to those test takers who passed certain exam or achieving and finishing the course and became an MCSE, MCDBA, MCSA etc... It seems that after a hard times of studying and sacrifices, putting lots of money into these certifications, I on my own part it felt that passing those exams is not a big deal. I am MCSE on NT and passed the accelerated EXAM for Win2k, after receiving my score report and went home just like that. Maybe there must be a RECOGNITION like a student who graduated from University or College and gained a Degree.

Sat, Jan 19, 2002 Rich Virginia Beach

Who Cares ! You pass or fail. YOU know what you are weak in....You don't need a test to tell you what you already don't know ! If your weak on TCP/IP, then you know it.

Sat, Jan 19, 2002 mousse-man Switzerland

Buh! Now I don't know how well I did. And yes, I passed two exams quite at the edge, and not providing test scores sucks. I at least want to know if an exam was way TOO easy (like the 220 and the 221 - I both made past 800 points on them), and maybe have a breakdown where I need studying, or at least show the individual testlet scores in design exams. With design exams, they could at least show which testlets we failed. We should maybe start a petition to change this ASAP. Any takers? My email is available.

Sat, Jan 19, 2002 Shine Muscat

Very bad Idea. When anybody takes a test, he has the right to know where he/she stands. It doesn't matter if he/she passes or fails. I think MS should revoke its decision.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Gyorgy Budapest

I've just passed a W2K exam and surprised not to get scrore list section by section. The 1st pass/fail from MS is not 70-218 but the 70-240 which was canceled last december. I hated this exam, and failed as well. As I read most of you prefered the scoring system, so I don't understand why is this so difficult to keep the exam program intelligent in the XXI. century.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Zlatin Zlatev Varna, Bulgaria

I cannot see the advantage of having single pass/fail system. Having an approximate score is better than knowing - you passed it or you did not pass - the difference between dead-line minus one point and dead-line + one point will not be noticed with this system.

What If you have passed the exam at the edge? Are you better than the one that failed at the edge?

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 anon anon

Good point about the tests being about compentency. Testing feedback is an important tool for helping dedicated people increase their compentency. In the long run, if you know how to use the products and can demonstrate it, WHO NEEDS CERTIFICATION. Certification is only for people who haven't demonstrated they can do what it takes or learn what needs to be learned. It doesn't really matter if you can pass the w2k certification tests if you know your company will not be moving to it anytime in the near future. By the time your company decides to migrate Microsoft could be a dead issue and you might have to learn something totally different.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Bill Norfolk, VA

After taking exam 70-240 (a 4 hour exam), the Pass/Fail system left a very bad taste in my mouth. There was no feedback of any kind to indicate where my weaknesses were so I have no clear focus on what area(s) I do not clearly understand. Taking away the grade may appear to boost those individuals who would otherwise have just barely passed to the same level as the average passing grade. But, it dimminishes those persons who attained the higher goal/grade.

Should we do away with the Bronze and Gold medals and just give Silver to the Winter Olympians???

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Dennis Denver

Actually, we test not to learn, but rather to prove our knowledge! Who among us has not held his/her breath as we clicked the last button on an exam and waited for the $100 (now $125) bar to appear, praying that it is GREEN. My point is that the most important thing when we write an exam is proving our competency on a given product. Pass/Fail as opposed to an actual score will provide us with the needed feedback. Pass - You have proven your competency. Fail - Hit the books again. The test score should in no way influence your preparation for an exam. I prepare for all of my exams the same way, and I don't even think about scheduling an exam until I am positive I have the required knowledge. Taken 23, never failed!!! =;-)

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Anonymous Redmond

Usually a Microsoft proponent, but on this issue, I wane. Is the group responsible forgetting the purpose of the tests? We test because we want to learn and this is the standard of accomplishment. If we don't know the score, big deal. But, bring back the individual section breakout. That was the most valuable part of the test if I didn't pass the first time. This also told me what I needed to get a better understanding of if I did. That move was an injustice to all MCXXs.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 duped mcse florida

ultimately you will find out what good it will do you even after you have passed all of your tests. :) the tests, the whole track just another way MS has put together a way of getting your money. we all know that anyway, right?

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 JB NL

Good feedback is essential when taking an exam. I would like to see the section scores apearing again, when I fail or pass an exam.
Wrong sneaky move again Microsoft!

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Ron Notre Dame

I guess Pass/Fail is the PC thing to do but I for one want to know how I did on a test. Even if I pass a test I like to know how I did so I can gage if I got lucky or I really need to concentrate more on that area. Hey MS maybe you should use a term like "future pass candidate" instead of "fail" so you don't upset anyone?

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 strangerm CA

Microsoft is alway looking to rip people off and try to make money. Microsoft is so F*** greedy. So f*** them. I am an MCSE and I am going to move away from Microsoft until they can get a better grip on what the H*** they doing. Trying to cheat us out of our money by doing this dumb sh**

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 strangerq la

re: I don't study just to pass an exam, I want to understand the stuff. >>>>>>>

Of course, and for the relatively few who think eliminating scores is a great idea, a question:

Would you recommend this no-score system for colleges, schools, SAT exams, etc.?
If not, why not? What do you see as
the difference.
In fact, for some of these test/systems
failure to provide a score would be illegal, resulting in law suites

For me, trust and credibility makes it even more important that M$ provide
some information. At minimum -

* What is the passing score?
* What did I score?

Otherwise pass/fail might well represent
an entirely abitrary judgement on M$'s part. Maybe your score was higher than
mine, but I took my test when M$ wanted
to promote the cert, and you took your
test when there were already too many
people with the cert, so, you failed, high
score notwithstanding.

Absurd? How would you know (?) without
a score you are disempowered, which
I am sure, is part of the underlying purpose.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 strangerq la

re: Not knowing where your weeknesses are is a good study tool for one reason-you can't be lazy>>>>>

Your logic is badly flawed. I won't tell you how though....don't want to make you lazy.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

It would be nice if they would at least give us total and section scoring if we fail, so we know what we need to study. They wouldn't have to give us a score if we pass. I would be happy with that.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 strangerq la

re: thought the whole purpose of changing the tests in the first place was to make them harder>>>>>

3 points:

* Making the test harder is useful but only if you require recertification.
Otherwise by definition, you cannot get
rid of the paper-tigers. (there are almost
1 million mcps out there) M$ has already
reneged on this which makes all the rest
of their moves a joke.

* To make tests harder you need a broader pool of ever changing, non-trivial questions, in a simulation or lab more multiple-choice of trivial facts. Microsoft has done little
to nothing to improve this.

* Hiding the scores is just a lazy/weenie
move by M$. If anything it's designed to make it more difficult to "criticize" the low quality of tests.
For example, I scored over 90% on the security exam on the 1st take, but regard the exam as a joke.
Microsoft regards security as a set of features, instead of as a set of sound practices and procedures, which is why
Windows security continues to be so bad!
Example: buffer overflows that actually
bedevil M$ products are completely left
out of the curriculam.

My score proves that I aced the test and
so therefore M$ cannot dismiss my criticism.
M$ tests are also notorious for misleading questions and flat out wrong answers which of course cannot be challenged if all scoring feedback is eliminated.

Instead of addressing their failures
they are trying to stop criticism-
like any corrupt regime.

....won't work.


Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Scott Phoenix, AZ

For $125, Microsoft could at least provide those areas where the test taker is having problems.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Exasperated Anonymous

The new motto for the Microsoft Testing and Certification group must be "Knowledge is BAD." Yes, as Miss McSqueely says "The anus certainly is on them."

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Tommy Duong Dallas

It is only work if they give us a percentage of the area we test for, just like we always see at the bottom of the report. It will be a challenge for all the tester.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 I am here from there

Good job MS. Just tell them whether they have passed or failed. the more they scrutinize the exam structure. the more they come up with these accusations. Go take your exam if you pass, what you got to worry about?

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 JR Charlotte

I think its a terrible idea. Its bad enough that they only gave you a test score. I thought it would be helpful to giving you an overall assesment. At least you could work on your weak areas. But MS is going in the other direction of NO DIRECTION!!

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Bob NY

I think making the MS tests as pass/fail is a big mistake. Taking the exams and knowing how well I did on the exam is crucial to me personally. I like to know if I really mastered the material or if I'm just slipping by. If I were to get a low score I would take a harder look at where I felt I was weak and how I was studying. I think I'll start looking at CISCO. Microsoft doesn't really seem to care about their professionals. They see their program as only a way to make more money!!

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Alan T UK

Denying candidates access to their exam scores is not legal in England - It's in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998. I e-mailed the Data Protection Commissioner - here is an extract from his reply -

"... about the legalities of Microsoft withholding examination results from candidates. Under the Data Protection Act 1998, there are no exemptions concerning exam results.
Section 7 of the Data protection Act 1998 confers on individuals the right to know if any organisation is holding information on them, either on computer or in manual records. This provision also gives individuals the right to apply for a copy of the information which is held as personal data about them. These rights are known as subject access rights. Section 7 also allows an individual to have communicated to him in intelligible form any information available to the data controller as to the source of those data.
The organisation which receives a written request, should comply within 40 days of receiving it or, alternatively, of receiving other information which he may have reasonably required in order to locate the information or to be satisfied about the identity of the person who made the request. "

Microsoft will have to think again in the UK

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Anony-mouse Cleveland

With the trouble I go through to prepare for an exam, I usually Overprepare. When I complete the exam and grab the score sheet showing 965, I get a feeling of satsfaction that I truly knew the material I was being tested on and didn't just blunder my way to a 723 scraping over the top of the bar. the sectional feedback is important to, if I were to fail an exam I would want to know why, what section was i weak in? a simple pass / fail indication would not provide me the comfort level of a score. The score is for the test taker not the employer, the employer is only concerened that you have your certification, and not what you scored on the tests. As soon as MS annouced they were retiring the NT4 MCSE a couple years back I decided wasn't going to waste my time on any more of their certs, and was going to concentrate on other avenues of certification and education. Cisco, & Linux are the path I'm taking now. MS will never learn, the only way to make them understand is to support other technoloies and Operating systems, and recommend them to your employers. save your employer millions of dollars in licensing fees, by implementing Open Source solutions instead of subscribing to enterprise license agreements. Continue to blindly follow MS and they will never understand. I prefer to be a technology leader, not a technology lemming.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Colomba MD

Some companies liked to review employees test scores to see if they barley passed or where they're weak. They can better asses an employee, even who passed. Now there will be no differentiation between anyone scoring from grade A to C. I guess the people who got a C are happy about this. All their employer knows is that they passed. Sometimes I think I did better in a section than I actually did. More money, less service. Microsoft money grubbing pricks! MCSE, CNE, CCNA.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Kevin Weinrich Athens, GA

This certainly slows my enthusiasm for taking Microsoft tests. How does taking information *away* help anybody? If you don't want to know how well you did on a section, just look to see if you passed, and ignore the rest! "Where do you want to go today?" - towards ignorance?

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

If the test is like the other MS products, we'll have to wait until SP2 before it truely works as touted. Until then we will see bugs that create a random false pass/fail. Maybe just taking the test should be the test ?

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 MSPartner1 Pa

In most ways, it's easier for us all to down Microsoft for moving to the "No Scores" type of feedback. That's probably because most of us don't know how those scores can affect job placement. Have any of you ever applied for a job that you didn't get? Perhaps there were other certified individuals that applied and their test scores were higher? Have you ever boasted about your scores? Used them to obtain higher wages or better benefits? I think Microsoft is just trying to put us all on level ground. I for one, think it is a good idea. On the other hand, in High School when you took the SATs, the type of colleges that you could apply to depended on your scores. Should recruiters be looking for this also?

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

The bottom line is always the bottom line and that's what counts. A score is mostly just good for bragging about (or not as the case may be).

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Nader Eg

And the little "Minimum Score Required to Pass" at the beginning of the test would go too ...... I guess ...
Just got my MCSE and don't care much now ... Happy Scoring ..!

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Nathaniel COVENTRY (U . K)

Microsoft is realy exagerating ,for a big Company like that with a lot of money what is it going to cost them to at list alow people who are taking their examm to know the reason of their failur ? I will tell to Bill Gat and his friends that ,they may build the best Operating System of the world but if they dont have enougth ADMINISTRATORS to take care of it,it will be useless.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Anonymous London

What can I say, nothing surprises me - You pay near enough £100 for an exam now, the least M$ can do is to tell you your score at the end, and even better break it down into sections.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Francesco Papini Italy

That's not a good idea, I'd like to know my score to be able to understand MY level of knowledge and, to tell the truth, I liked more the old report (the detailed one). I'd like Microsoft to re-think about that approach but...I think it's easier to see a flying donkey.
Francesco Papini, W2k MCSE (8 certs so far).

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 anonymous UK

Yes, It does goes against all education principles to minimize feedback to students. I think in the long run MS will do itself no favors.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Simon Royle London, England

I have passed several ms exams at the cut score which I was always suspicious of. That said I have failed a Novell exam by one point. Having got various qualifications over the years I am no longer convinced they contribute to your salary i.e. they are expensive and I'm not convined of the benefits.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 mark London

I think it's ridiculous. There is very little to be gained by Micorosft for introduicng this change. It is simply to frustrate the test takers and lend more credibility to it's certification, especially MCSE.
I'm an MCSD and I won't be renewing my qualification, MS can go blow.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 Raj India

I dont think it is any good idea to have a pass/fail examination. The scoring is a must for any exam which lets us know of the capabilities of the individual.

Fri, Jan 18, 2002 René The Netherlands

A very bad idea. I want to know what my passingscore is. Where I scored well and where I scored less.
I want to have some feedback on the exam. I don't study just to pass an exam, I want to understand the stuff.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Anonymous So. Cal

I am an MCT - Not knowing your score leaves you with little "feel" about by how much you missed passing. If "scores don't mean anything," then why not let the test taker get a feeling about how much he/she does know. I keep getting the sickly feeling that Microsoft exams are little more than a profit center.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Kahindo Anonymous

Cisco exams are not pass/fail like James Tong says. They give an exact score out of 1000. The per section score helps one know which areas one needs to review, whether they failed or not. I believe this is important.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Nigel America's Heartland

Let’s face it, the lazy ones will spend their time building interpersonal relationships (while we’re studying and doing their work) that will allow them to survive and get promoted ahead of us. I’ve been around enough years to know that some things never change. Personally, I find the scores help me to know how well I did and how well I really know the material. I do a lot of training and working with the products. Certification questions are often so bizarre that I have no idea if I gave them the answer that they wanted. I don’t “plan to fail”, I want to know how successful I was in preparing. I don’t have enough spare time to “discover my weaknesses”. It would help me to be able to target them and improve my overall strength. Imagine sitting in a college class and getting pass/fail scores back on assignments and tests. Testing scores do matter, ask any grad school. This is an anti-piracy measure, just like the removal of sections scores was … pure and simple. That’s why MS doesn’t care at all about our opinions and tried to roll out such a major change so quietly.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I would have to say that from the sounds of things on this board there will be very little microsoft could do to please you...not that I am defendning them. But people should keep it in mind compentecy is the ultimate goal something that people tend to shrug off in the process of taking the tests. Its not Microsoft's responsibility to provide feedback you should already know the material. If you don't tuff S*** figure it like the rest of us and quit bitchen about it. As professionals does you job include problem solving? Solutions provider? you think there is a problem define a solution and how to implement it. Otherwise shut up.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Jimmyshade New York

I feel that a pass/fail grading system is good for several reasons but I don't think Microsoft is getting lazy. I have already worked with in a major corporation with lazy personnel who supposedly knew what they were talking about, some sadly are certified. Not knowing where your weeknesses are is a good study tool for one reason-you can't be lazy, you need to focus on where you are week by finding out. Focusing on the material is your best success and an insurance you actually know the material. Its also insurance you will keep your job because the lazy ones won't perform and you will fix their mistakes, you will also know emphatically how to use Windows inside and out. Something that many people can't honestly say even some who are certified.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 The Rocket Man Seattle

I think the pass/fail system is bull. Now I've passed each and every test I've ever taken (except for 70-240) so there's no sour grapes there.
I generally score much higher than the minimum required score. Knowing this gives me a feeling of superiority.
If I owed Microsoft some money, you can bet they'd specify the EXACT amount I owed them.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Laura Wilson Albuquerque, New Mexico

I feel that Microsoft would create a much better quality of Certified Professional if they publish scores. This would allow the testee to improve on those areas they are lacking.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Todd Milwaukee, WI

Good idea. The testing has always been about competency, not test scores.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Erik Chapel Hill

My thoughts are that if you fail, there still should be break down on what your weakest to strongest points are. If you pass, just say "PASS" and give no score. How are we to learn what we are weak in if no measurement is given. Studying and taking these tests are to improve our knowledge and make it so being certified is more credible.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Mark Anonymous

all the microsft tests as of late have been pass fail. The onlytests that still provide a section by section breakdown were the 4.0 tests that were not retired. All the 2k track are pass/fail and a score report. My company payed for me to go take both proxy tests not to long ago and 2.0 gave me a section breakdown and AIS gave me the pass faill with a test score. Though i passed both, i at least knew where i was weak on 2.0.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Microsoft know ZERO about how humans communicate, behave and think. They make a sub-par product that is rushed through because of commitees pushing profit and marketing deadlines. This whole Certification deal just gets worse and worse. The courses are not complete enough, the exams use very poor grammar (you'd fire someone if that was the way they communicated with you) and now, MicroDumb is removing feedback from exams. Well, they are consitent. Another decision from an executive who couldn't explain how the mind works, even if he or she had one. What a bunch of bozos. Folks, this isn't just a Microsoft thing either. It's across the board in every organization and company. Linux thinks they will take over but the linux software is still too chaotic and not intuitive enough. Two thumbs down for Microdumb and this cert exam move. Just like their new marketing strategy (none)--just release lots and lots of the same stuff. Why make something perfect when the built-in incompentence gets people to buy the new one! ---wake up Bill!!!

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Anonymous Sri Lanka

Microsoft's new certification moves are quite disapionting. First is that although I have completed MCSE with windows 2000 stream, I have the same recognition as those who did the previous exams and got the credential with fewer easier exams. Secondly the Pass/Fail system is also not a good move. We pay for the exams, and we have the right to know where we are. To James Tong's comments, CCNA and CCNP give the scores, and you are wrong!

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Mark NJ

Just another bad move by MS that shows lack of fundamental support for the Techs and Engineers that helped put MS where it is today. If we were not there to support, fill cracks and patch the holes in their products, they wouldn't be selling them. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 This is getting ridiculou New York

I thought the whole purpose of changing the tests in the first place was to make them harder, so that the people who took them actually had to have some idea of what was going on. No more paper tigers!, to make Microsoft certifications more competitive in the work place. Sounds like the people who don't want to put the work in complain the loudest and get what they want. Where is my Linix book!!!!!!!!

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

This does not make sense. Past of fail, we need to know which area we are not doing well in. This is another move by MS that shows what monopoly is all about ... their interests only.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 john ohio

This seems that we are having to give up more money for a less quality in service, knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps in the study process

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Peter Jordan Auckland, New Zealand

Giving Candidates such minimal feedback is an extremely bad move. My suspicion is that the purpose is to enable Microsoft to implement a pass/fail quota on Exams, particularly if it also stops informing Candidates of the Pass Mark before starting an Exam. It would be interesting to compare pass/fail rates before and after this change - if Microsoft deems to supply this information. Personally, I think that it was very arrogant of Microsoft to implement this change without first consulting its Certified Professionals.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Rick Anonymous

Finally were getting with the times.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Aaron South Carolina

I don't usually participate in the Microsoft bashing. They have done more for the computer industry then any other can ever hope to achieve, but Bill this is ridiculous. If Microsoft expects us to spend $100 to take one of there exams (not to mention the $$$ spent on books and classes), I xpect some decent feedback in return. Booooo!!! Microsoft.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Definitely not a good idea. Test takers have the right to know how they fared. There's no reason why this should be hidden.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Whaupwit G-boro, NC

Lou and others here make a good point. At least give us some topics to go back and study. Nils is probably right. The scoring sucked so they hid it.
I think I can live with a Pass/Fail, if I get credit for Dressing-Out and playing volleyball (like in HS gym class).

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Joe California

VERY BAD IDEA! We are they ones who have to spend all the time studying; we are the ones who have pay (more than before) to take the tests; the least they can do is give us some decent feedback on how we did. Just because computers "think" in binary doesn't mean that we should.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Anonymous KY

Why does Microsoft keep trying to make it harder and harder to like them. We are the folks who tout their products and take their tests and they keep jacking us around. LEAVE THE SCORES!!!

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Isn't the whole point of taking an exam to test your knowledge? If you don't know what you did poorly on how do you improve? Plus now everyone can say. .man I missed it by one question!!!! and you really don't know :)

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 j tucson, AZ

I think this is just another example of how Microsoft is becoming too conceited in its certification process. Not only does this really discourage me from taking any more tests from this company, it really begs the question: “What are they really testing you on?”

Having taken the 70-240 and failed, along with the other 90% of the MCSE 4.0s in the world (my guess not a real percentage) I was very upset to see that after 4 hours, all I got was a PASS/FAIL and a very snide comment from the print out “…no score would adequately determine your overall performance” WHAT ARE THEY THINKING???? Some sort of score would of at least shown me what I was really struggling with and what concepts I really understood. Therefore I could study more effectively for the next 4 exams that I would have to pay for!

I really think this is a very bad move for Microsoft. I don’t know who McSweeney has talked to on this subject other than a handful of people who “beta test” but I would venture to say that if she actually asked her test takers and actual people in the industry, I think she would get a very different answer. This all stems from the greed in this company. Not only are they saying you take our OS and like it, you will certify how we want you to become certified.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Ebino Australia

I first noticed the new kind of scoring when i took my exam 70-240. Though i passed i was shocked to see just "pass" on my result sheet.
I think microsoft has to have a re think on the new scoring method. I don't think that's a good educational standard.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Nate West Chester PA

Pass/Fail for the test makes sense. Not displaying a numerical score makes sense. Areas of strength and weakness could easily be displayed without stating '4/6 answered correct'.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Dennis Boise,Idahop

How easilythey forget how they got where they are, taking away the feedback of scoring, is like driving not seeing where you are going,,Thanks Bill.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Larry Los Angeles

I took the 70-240 exam near the end of last year after a quick cram session for a few weeks. I did fail, unfortunately, but that was the one exam where you'd figure they would show you where you did well, and where you could improve.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 John Tampa

I disagree with the latest Microsoft move to go to a strict pass/fail result on tests. As with others, if I fail to pass an exam the first time through it is not always due to lack of overall knowledge of the subject matter but rather a weakness in 1 or 2 area's. (Sometimes combined with knowing the 'Microsoft' answer). Removing this important fact from test takers is going to drive more folks away from persuing/maintaining their certifications.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 strangerq la

re: Who is this Anne Marie McSweeney person and why does she still have a job!>>>>>

Frankly, this is exactly the question I've been asking myself.
She has made one bad decision after another.
She has guided the Microsoft program straight for the iceburg, now she is
rearranging deck chairs on the titanic,
and wants to know our opinion!
(though I bet she doesn't really want to know)

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Nigel Anonymous

I say..for $125 per exam you should atleast know how well you did. How would one know if they got 701 or 1000. This whole certification process is all hype anyway. I'm now MCSD certified and doubt very much companies care, it is experience that counts over anything. Also in the Boston area one can't even make use of the MCSD since all the jobs are gone. What an absolute waste of money and time....

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Maverick Texas

MS once again shows how lazy they can be. Without a way to see how you scored in a section you have no way to fix what is broke, but MS has made many OS's not fixing what is broke. Some MCSEs are in charge of millions of dollars worth of computers and data. Don’t worry because they scored a PASS on the exam they must know everything that that test covers. I’m glad that Dr.’s don’t just get a pass/fail score in med school. MS needs to do more to educate and less to line their pockets…

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Tony UK

I'm disapointed at the change. Although I agree that pass / fail is the most important thing, it is useful to have some feedback on performance.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Fantastic. I hate feedback. I'd like it if they didn't tell me that I passed. This way I could pass 7 tests and just look in my mailbox to see if the MCSE cert shows up! If not, I can study everything again and wait at the mailbox. That would be swell! A lack of score will definitly improve the perception of the MCSE in the market place. You certainly are an innovative bunch.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Tom Albany, NY

I would like to see the scores for each section of an exam. After looking for the pass/fail notification, I look at each section to let me know which areas I may need to review and brush up on.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Scott Spiess Roseville, Ca

Who is this Anne Marie McSweeney person and why does she still have a job! Microsoft loves to tout how smart they are and how they only hire the best possible people. My Ass if that is true. If memory serves me correct, this is the same person who was part of the NT 4.0 retirement. It appears stupidity is breading stupidity at Microsoft. Who has this person's email? I notice that contact information is never published for these people. If we had these peoples contact information (snail mail or email), we would be able to personally inform them of our displeasure with their conduct and policies. It amazes me that Microsoft representatives can come to a live chat and say that they have heard no negative reposes to their actions (check out the transcripts for the MCSA live chat). I suggest that Microsoft start listening and stop suffering from Anal Cranial insertion (aka head up ass). Letter to the editors, do not post quotes for people who are not willing to publicly stand behind what they say i.e. post contact information.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 anonymous anonymous

It amazes me how test takers are PLANNING on failing the exam. Otherwise they would not be so concerned about the score for FUTURE studying.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Ben U.S.

This is the most ridiculous way to conduct any EXAM. Microsoft made a big error with teasing NT 4.0 MCSE with the Win 2K Accelerated EXAM and this another stupid idea. The thing that is more stupid about Microsoft is that, they allow two NT 4.0 electives to count toward Win 2K Certification! Terrible idea, we don't want paper MCSEs, so why is Microsoft doing this?

As plain as Win 2K terminology, is used, bad bad GROUP POLICY ==> VERY STUPID POLICY.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Rafael Brazil

I´ve never failed in a Cert Test (have taken 2), but is reassuring to see if the number of troubling questions I count during the Test bear relation with the overall score... Please keep the score

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 land mcp land

Bad move, even if microsoft intended to
reduce the braindumpers, it is against all
the rules in academics, I have two diplomas and 4 mcp's you must give a feedback to a student!!! not just fail/pass
to give the employers a tool to diffrentiate beetween the attendies to IT jobs. not all people that pass are the same. because off a little group of braindumpers they changed the test for everybody. not wise!!! for company like that.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 nobody nowhere

The feedback is critical in polishing weak areas, in fact knowing "why" is probably more important than knowing "what". Higher price, less service (we as the test _takers_ are the 'customer'), and they can and do make these changes 'cause they're the only game in town. Wait till they go adaptive across the board...
Mr Tong is pretty arrogant in his assertions, but he's consistently that way. Opinions are like a******s - everybody's got one.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Not a good idea. Even if you pass the test, you want to know how well you did it. Did you just passed, or you can be confident that you are a proficient in that area. Although the test result are not exactly right, but they show a general view of the proficiency.

Why compare to Novell/Cisco/Army? Why not to comapre to the large number of academic institutions and universities?

Fortunately Microsoft is listening to the feedback from current and prospective MCPs and I hope that it does the same in this case.

Thu, Jan 17, 2002 Alan UK

I think its great,as guys are going out and braindumping exams. Having Braindumped they can see which sections they were weak on and then post that info and insodoing be able to determine which of they answers they have found on the dump site were incorrect and therefore refine the answers on the dump sites even more. I think not on should section for section marks be done away with(a true MCSE knows all the sections required) the grade should not even include an overall mark. this means that dumpers could pass by7 scoring 2 points more than required and still post their answers on the websites and perhaps insodoing work as a negative effect against other dumpers, rather than a positive effect.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Mike CA

Took Infrastructure yesterday just got pass wish I new my real score so I could gauge my knowledge on the subject

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Scott Spiess Roseville, Ca

God where do I start with this! Well, I do not like this at all. How is anybody going to know how well they did if you don't know their score!!! This is another example of dumbing things down to the point of absurdity. How are you supposed to focus on what you missed if you failed a test or if you do not know the areas you failed in? How can you study if you do not know where you went wrong? This is CRAP! What is the right answer....publish the scores in greater detail and make the tests harder...not easier. Shame on you Microsoft! Also, as reported on the first page, Cisco does report your scores and breaks it down into categories for you.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Lee California

I've passed all of my Microsoft exams and I *still* like to know the score so I know if it's a strong pass or a weak one and what areas I were weak. The pass/fail on the 240 exam left me feeling "OK, I passed. That's good but are there some areas I need to look at more."

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 marymark Davidian Town USA

I have recently passed my MCSE for 2000 this past November. I had to retake one of the exams. Eventhough I received a score, it had little impact. I know after the exam which area of questions I guessed at and dedicated my additional studies to those areas. Yes, it would have been easier if I was given some type of feed back but it truely is not necessary. When you put enough time and preparation into your studies, you will pass. It's time people stop placing the blame on someone else and step up and accept the responsibility of thie own lack of preparing. We all know that a lot of the Microsoft answers are not real world, so you do your research and find out what the Microsoft answer is. To me my MCSE is something that I am proud of. It is proof of my dedication to pass a set of exams that rather the questions are real world are not, is very difficult to say the least. To me the bottom line comes down to this. Either you know the information or you don't. The true paper MCSE's are the ones who quessed their way through the exams and I willing to wager that no one could do that. Case closed - End of Story!!!!

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 strangerq la

re: A pass/fail score, should also eliminate the usefulness of braindumps. >>>>>

......will have no effect whatsoever on brain dumps.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Wayne Phillips Minnesota

What's the big deal. Before, Microsoft gave you a score out of 1000. However, they never told you which ones you got wrong or right. Anyone takes a test and knows their stuff, will generally know if they passed or failed before they end the exam. A pass/fail score, should also eliminate the usefulness of braindumps.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Robo NY

CIsco folks are right- but friend- 80% of the companies are small to medium size businesses. Not all businesses require Cisco knowledge. As long as MS will continue to meet the market needs, they'll dominate no matter what other OS or premium cert is out there. Further more, who configures CISCo routers everyday? just a few and there ain't so many openings in these arenas.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Bill McCullough St. Louis

This will end my attempts to continue with MS certs. I hold an MCSE/NT, CCNA, N+, A+, and IBM/Dell/HP server certs. Time to move on to more Cisco and Sun certs. Bill G. can go to hell!

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I am MCSE NT4.0 and I just finished the MCSE 2000 with exam 70-219 being pass/fail. I was not only not impressed with the new format but also the 5 1/2 hour 5 senerio style.
I think MS is alienating businesses and end users, they are slowly starting to do the same to the people who are not only responsible to support their products but are/ or will be in the position to recommend/ not recommend their products. I think the exams were a joke and they need to make the certification more difficult to acheive so there aren't so many "paper" mcses but at what expense.....

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Tim Toronto

This is one of the reasons Novell sucks! Apparently Microsoft wants to go that path.
BAD MOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

bad idea, bad move period.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Gabriel Mehedinti Anonymous

I have taken a lots of Microsoft tests over the years. My perception is that Microsoft does not want to test my knowledge of their product, but how well I guess in a given situation. Or how well I can predict. The Network profession is a precise one, and guessing to much, will show your professionalism. If the tests will be hard, but straight forward, if the tests quiestions will not try to trick you, i will say that pass/fail will be fine. But how today Microsoft tests are, we need the feedback. Last year. I failed the Accelerated exam, altough I felt that I pass. The questions were not hard, but were very tricky. I worked with MS products for over 7 years, so I know them pretty well. Microsoft needs to come up with hard but honest questions on their tests.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 strangerq la

re:Look at them backing down on the NT 4.0 retirement, could you imagine if MS announced all MCSE's had to renew every 3 years? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Ditto. When they weaseled out on decertifing the fossil msce's I knew then that they really didn't give a rats rear end
whether their certs were respected or not.

I also hold msce + internet 4.0 msce2000
netware cna, and ccna.

I've abandoned the quest for mcdba and
am pursuing ccnp instead.

I would rather work harder to acheive something of value and recertify whenever necessary than have M$ p*ss
away my hard work on their degraded certs.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

They need to provide scoring to show your weak areas. Since they cost $100 each, you have a right to know.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Cisco Man KS

There is a reason Cisco people make more money the M$ people. Renewal is one of them, Cisco realizes that technology changes and the demands in the field change. MS just cares about how much money you put in Bill pocket and that you are touting the latest greatest Windows incarnation. Look at them backing down on the NT 4.0 retirement, could you imagine if MS announced all MCSE's had to renew every 3 years? You would see whining never seen since 70-240 was released. By the way its a much better system to renew every X years, becuase the technology may not change in that time and your set. I way change, in that case you have to study. IMHO it much more fair then being at Bills whim or when the next buggy version of Windows is out. By the way I hold MCSE NT 4 & 2000 (passed 240) and CCNA & CCNP.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

CCIE- Very good cert, but i have doubts with their exam renewal system and suspension crap! why would you suspend somebody for 2 yrs or 18 months if they fail to renew- Is that really necessary?

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Microsoft. You guys are the masters of manupulation. What else can a fed up cert say!

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Antonio New York, NY

This is a bad idea. We should know the areas we score bad in order to improve them. MS is doing its way without consulting people first.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 nils norway

I once was 22 points below the limit on 70-228. And it was really good to know that it was only 22 points. And I think we should have the right to get som kind of feedback after paying $$$ to M$ for taking the test. When they say "scores are misleading", I guess they mean that it is difficult making a fair scoring system and that they prefer not showing us how poor it is.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Anonymous Harrisburg, PA

This makes no sense to me. If you fail the exam it would be nice to have feedback on what areas to improve on, also if you pass the exam and are truly interested in knowing the material, I'm sure you would want to know if you failed a section and could improve on the failed area.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 Daniel Leuschen Houston

It is important to know your score and where you need to improve. If you pass but need to review some parts that where covered you can. And if you fail you know what needs the most work.

Wed, Jan 16, 2002 e.g israel

it is about time to band all exames and stop taking the microsoft exams.

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Go to H***, Microsoft !!! --- first dropped section-scoring and then introduce this f*** simple pass/fail system, what is Microsoft's goal to introduce such exam system without any feedback , -- to educate people or simply to make more money ??? (microsoft has tones of money already!!!)

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 strangerq la

re:Coming from the Military, I've been used to this system for years >>>>>

Explains so much ->
Hence the military term - fubar.

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

James Tong: It's been a couple of years since I last wrote a Novell exam, but all of the exams that I wrote were scored and showed areas of weakness. This may have changed since then?!?

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Coming from the Military, I've been used to this system for years - "Go / No Go" is what they use. So to see this is nothing new. Microsoft usually has to use someone else's ideas - no exception in this case. Hoo-ahh.

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 Ron Orange County, CA

To James Tong: Cisco does too provide scoring information on their tests. CCNA and CCNP level test are score like Microsoft's (were) with a 1000 point maximum. CCIE tests also let you know how you did as well. Get your facts strait - I've taken two of these!
The bottom line is Microsoft is getting lazy and I for one will no longer participate in them. Especially since there is no recognition for those who upgraded to 2000.

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 James Tong Florida

I don't know if any of you are aware of this, but Cisco and Novell are pass/fail as well. They do not provide scores. It is not the job of microsoft to help you plan your training by giving you a detailed printout of what areas you are weak in. In reality you should already know this, because you know when you answer a question and you don't know what the correct answer is. If you are truly prepared to take an exam, this would not even be an issue.

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 strangerq la

Recent bad cert ideas from Microsoft:

* Backing down on requireing mcse's to

* Adding new dumbed-down certs - mcsa? b....thru eventually mcsz.

* Hiding the scores from the test takers.
(what a weenie move!)

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 Lou heathrow

If you can't give the exam taker an Idea of how well they did, at least give them an idea of what they should work on such as what to review for next Qarticles, Sectional references, etc...

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 Adrian Argentina

I Think is a bad Idea be couse we have the right to know the causes of a "misteriusly" failed.

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 JBR Florida

I just passed my second core test today and like the scoring as feedback to my success of mastering MS way of asking some questions. Transcenders testing software does a great job of scoreing and pointing out your weak areas. I want to know this even if I pass, to strengthen my job skills. Not just my test skills.
I think Microsoft may lose a few test takers this way. If someone tests for the first or second time and fail without any type of scoring, that may intimidate some into thinking twice before throwing down another $125

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 leeman928 Anonymous

I'm an MCT and in the past if students would fail a test, we could at least look at what topics they needed help with. If you do fail then at least notify us where we are weak, so we study those topics further.

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 Anonymous florida

It goes against all education principles to minimize feedback to students. Go figure MS to go against the grain.

Tue, Jan 15, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Not a good idea. If I was to fail an exam, I would like to know what areas I was weak in.

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