What we learned from taking an online AWS cert exam
If you’re thinking about taking an AWS certification exam from the comfort of home, you may have a few questions. I recently sat the AWS Advanced Networking Specialty certification exam in my home. Here’s what happened, what I learned, and some tips to help you with your own remote test-tasking process.
What to expect when you’re online testing
Since AWS announced the power to require all of its certifications online, many are wondering how it works and compares to the normal on-site proctored exams. Whether you’re getting to take a web cert exam yourself or simply interested in how it plays out, here’s a seven-step walkthrough to offer you the gist of the remote-cert experience.
But first a quick detour for a really important question. Why might you would like to urge certified online? First and foremost, it’d be your only option. Check here to ascertain Pearson VUE testing center closings near you. But there are a couple of other advantages. One of the most important perks is how quickly you’ll go from studying to taking the exam. If there’s a slot available, you’ll even schedule your exam for an equivalent day. Cram within the morning, exam within the afternoon! Another bonus? Studying where you’ll test (doing both from your desk, for example) may make it easier to recall info later. Science!
Schedule your exam
To schedule your exam, you’ll use the AWS Certification Portal. This will be familiar if you’ve sat an AWS exam before. For remote testing, you’ll want to pick “Pearson VUE” because the vendor and choose the “At my home or office” option. Pick a date and time that matches your schedule, buy it, and boom — you’re scheduled for the exam.
Ensure your system is up to snuff
For AWS online cert exams, you’ll install OnVUE software. This is the interface and environment where the exam are going to be administered. To ensure your machine can run the software, you’ll need to run a system test. You’ll want to run this using an equivalent device and internet connection you propose to use come test time.
This checkup looks at your connection, camera, microphone, and keyboard input functionality to make sure your computer can successfully run the OnVUE software which your proctor can a digital eye on you during your test.
Pro tip: Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to put in the OnVUE software and run the test. Do it several hours or days before your exam starts time. The system test, the system requirements, a boatload of FAQs, and a link to schedule your exam are often found on the Pearson OnVUE site.
Clear your desk (and your room)
Be sure your workstation environment is clean and clutter-free. This means you would possibly got to rethink where you propose on taking your exam.
Ensure things like notepads, sticky notes, papers, pens, and pencils, are out of arms’ reach. Better yet, just remove them from the workspace altogether. Books, action figures, samurai swords, jetpacks — whatever you’ve got on your desk that isn’t essential for test-taking should probably be put away. Ditto that for snacks and drinks. (Sorry, there’s no snacking or drinking during the exam.)
Additional external monitors and computers must be unplugged and turned off, and every one smart accessories and devices must be removed and turned off.
Pro tip: Use a laptop for your test. But instead of stashing your phone in another room, consider keeping it silent and out of sight but within the room with you. If you’ve got technical issues, the proctor can call you.
Items on the wall with writing on them, like whiteboards, are going to be inspected. If your workspace doesn’t pass an area scan, you won’t be permitted to require the exam.
The instructions ask you to arrive and log in half-hour before your exam to offer the inspector enough time to guage your work area. You’ll follow a link on your smartphone that permits you to upload five different photos, including pics facing your workstation, and to the proper , the left, and behind it.
You’ll also got to verify your identity by providing a snap of a legitimate driver’s license or government-issued ID card. Once the photos are uploaded and verified, you’ll be redirected to start out taking the exam.
Pro tip: If you’re unsure about anything regarding your work environment, make certain and review the policies and FAQs at rock bottom of the Pearson VUE website.
Keep distractions away
Make sure your family, friends, pets, robot vacuum, and Alexa devices know you’ll be busy for a few of hours. Under no circumstances should they enter your work area or cause distractions. You don’t want to offer the proctor any reasons to void your exam!
Pencils down, mouth shut
Once the exam starts, the method is just about sort of a traditional on-site proctored exam. The main difference is, you’ll have a proctor watching and taking note of your every move. And they really listen. Even the slightest mumbling under your breath goes to urge noticed. After mumbling one among the exam inquiries to myself under my breath, i used to be called via the OnVUE software and told by the proctor to not talk and warned about mumbling.
As far as note-taking, you can’t have any handwritten notes, but the OnVUE software does offer a whiteboard functionality that’s built right into the environment. It’s kind of like MS Paint, and (unfortunately) mostly worthless compared to a true pencil and paper.
Pro tip: As soon because the exam starts, open up the whiteboard and sort out any notes you think that are important to recollect for the exam. You can refer back to the whiteboard anytime during the exam. For me, I jotted down various CIDR ranges and address spaces.
When nature calls
What happens if you would like a toilet break during your online exam? Your mileage may vary. AWS and Pearson policy state, “Leaving your desk will terminate your exam session and invalidate your score.” But my actual experience made this seem more ambiguous. At the beginning of my session, I asked my proctor if i’d be allowed a toilet break if needed. They said yes, but I didn’t test this.
The takeaway? It might depend upon your proctor — or it’d just be that they are doing allow bathroom breaks but don’t announce it to make sure people don’t decide to take advantage of the off-camera time to cheat. So maybe don’t drink a gallon of coffee before your test, just to be safe.
If you think that taking the test without an opportunity just isn’t within the cards for you, you’ll try reaching bent Pearson VUE to request accommodations or discuss your options. Or you can await on-site test-taking to wind copy .
Testing centers do allow bathroom breaks, but they check your pockets and under pant legs for notes. They also cause you to remove jackets, hats, then on — basically ensuring that if you attend the restroom the sole way you’ve got notes with you is if you hide them really, really well. (Don’t do that. Maybe consider brushing abreast of some studying tips instead.)
The results are in
After the exam is finished, your results are displayed immediately. Well, almost… With anticipation sky-high, before you’ll enjoys your test-taking brilliance, you’ll need to finish a survey — a bit like a standard on-site AWS certification. Come on AWS, just show me the results!
Virtually just like the real thing
Overall, the experience on behalf of me was a smooth and successful journey. I had virtually no issues with the OnVUE software, uploading images of my workspace, the test-taking environment, and getting my results. By the way, I did PASS the exam, which is usually an honest thing!
Now’s the time to require advantage of getting AWS certifications from the comfort of your house . Just follow the ideas and hints above and you ought to be good to travel and prepared to possess a successful testing experience.
AWS a constantly evolving cloud computing platform that gives a good selection of services which will drive innovation, enable scalability, and help your organization maximize its IT spend.
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Got more questions? AWS and Pearson OnVUE have some more details and links to other resources.