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MCT Rewards Saves Students 25 Percent on Exam Fees

Microsoft and Pearson Vue is lending some financial support to certification candidates in indirect ways, through the Second-Shot and MCT Rewards programs.

A common complaint among certification candidates: high exam fees. "It can get expensive if you fail an exam just once," says Joseph P., an IT professional in Los Angeles working toward his MCSA.

One way to save on the fee is to take the exam when it's being beta tested. But those opportunities are rare and Microsoft offers them only to qualified invitees for just a short time.

Microsoft and Pearson Vue is lending some financial support to certification candidates in indirect ways. One is a "second-shot" program, which gives exam candidates a second, free opportunity to try to pass an exam (CertCities.com has more about the free retake promotion at http://certcities.com/editorial/news/story.asp?EditorialsID=674). The companies are also providing discounts of up to 25 percent on exam fees through its MCT Rewards program. This, according to Randy Trask, vice president of market development for Pearson VUE.

From September 1 to December 31, exam candidates who take instructor-led training from an MCT can obtain a discount code from the trainer. The candidate then enters that code while registering for an exam at a Pearson Vue testing center to obtain the 25 percent discount immediately.

The MCT Rewards program is nothing new, says Trask, and, in fact, he says that Pearson VUE offered twice this year. Officially launched in March, MCT Rewards provided students taking a Microsoft exam a discount of 25 percent who provided a code from an MCT. From June through August, "we dropped the discount to 15 percent," he said.

Trask says that Microsoft and Pearson VUE made an important observation early on, that "many people who take training classes who don't sit for an exam." He adds that "the program is one way to get instructors to pitch the benefits of achieving a certification."

On the other end, instructors get prize incentives — a Hawaii trip in the last phase of the program, a trip to TechED or PDC in the current program — for referring students to take exams, referrals that can be traced back to an instructor's unique ID. The current prize is a free trip to TechEd or PDC. The incentive for instructors means that some have resorted to "cheating" by offering up their codes on Web sites and discussion forums.

"It is an undesirable reality that we live with," says Trask, "but we hope that instructors use this in a way that's consistent with what we designed."

MCTs must sign up for MCT Rewards to participate in the incentives. The deadline for the September-December program is this Friday, August 27; MCTs who want to participate in the next phase can get more information at http://www.pearsonvue.com/instructor/ms/register.html. For students who want to obtain an exam discount code, contact your local MCT.

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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