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What's the Rush?

Testing centers prepared for year-end onslaught of 70-240 Win2K Accelerated exam takers.

If you're one of hundreds of folks using those last few months to prepare for the 70-240, Win2K Accelerated Exam, the testing centers will be ready.

A survey of MCPmag.com Newsletter recipients shows that out of 2,060 MCSEs who plan to upgrade their certification and had ordered the free voucher for 70-240, a hefty 1,446 had yet to register for the exam itself.

Do these numbers predict a registration onslaught at year's end? Jeannette Bair, exec. director of the Microsoft business unit at Prometric, is confident that testers will wait to register en masse based on a review of the company's own capacity planning reports. Bair attributes it to three common factors: "People will generally procrastinate, they'll take as much time to get prepared, and then there's the training and experience component."

Katy Victor, VUE's marketing communications manager, who expects this one to be "milder in comparison," but what if she's wrong? Victor says that VUE's "call centers flexed real well," when demand mushroomed in the months preceding the NT 4.0 exams' retirement. (Microsoft extended the testing period to Feb. 28, 2001.) She notes that these incidents aren't isolated to Microsoft exams—CompTIA's recent upgrade of its exams contributed to a registration spike.

To prepare, both companies have employed similar measures to accommodate registrants: extended testing hours, addition of seats, and conversion of training rooms at some partner centers in high-demand regions into testing rooms.

Microsoft has done its part to nip the onslaught before it grows, with a 70-240 Exam FAQ on its own MCP Web site and reminders in its monthly MCP Newsflashes.

"We are trying to encourage people to take advantage of the exam sooner to prevent a backlog at the testing centers," says Anne Marie McSweeney, acting director, Microsoft certification skills and assessment group.

Victor thinks this exam won't be any different: "[Exam candidates] will always procrastinate."

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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