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Microsoft test takers get second shot

Like last year, Microsoft is giving those seeking to pass the certification exam two chances for the price of one to pass.

Microsoft is giving individuals who sign up for its certification exams two chances to pass the test.

The company said recently that for the second year in a row, it is offering a second chance to anyone who has scheduled a certification exam between February 15 and June 30. If someone fails the exam on the first try and needs to take it again, they must complete the second test before July 31, said Noury Bernard-Hasan, the director of certification marketing at Microsoft.

Candidates for certification can schedule the exams through one of Microsoft's exam delivery partners. Bernard-Hasan said the number of registrants for the program is in the tens of thousands.

The offer applies to anyone who has scheduled a Microsoft IT Professional, Developer or Microsoft Dynamics Certification.

Last year, Microsoft gave its certification program a makeover. There are some revamped credentials for database administrators and developers, which take into account last year's launch of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. The company also introduced an architecture certification last May.

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There will be new certifications that accompany the release of a new Windows desktop and server. Vista is due out later this year and Longhorn Server will come in 2007.

"This might encourage people to take a look at some of the new exams, especially on a more experimental basis," said Ed Tittel, an Austin, Texas-based author and expert on certification. "Exams are not terribly cost prohibitive, but the second shot gives people an option. A lot of people will be exercising that option so they can see what the exams are like."

The company didn't offer specifics on the actual number of individuals who passed or failed the tests last year. Exams cost $125. Bernard-Hasan said Microsoft launched the program to engage certification candidates and also to get some visibility for its new generation of certifications.

"It's fair to say that some people have taken the test and failed," he said. "But by giving people a safety net, they might give [the program] a go. They know they have a second chance."

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