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Microsoft Exam Question Types

By Jason Zandri

Microsoft is in the process of rolling out new exam question types for some of the Microsoft Certified Professional exams, which are slated to portray a more realistic, "on the job", representation of the products being tested on for a given exam.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - This information is reflective of the data being provided by Microsoft via their public website and is subject to change.

On the site they are also providing everyone the opportunity to download demos and samples of new question types.

Some of the new testing aspects that may be included are Hot Area Questions, which asks you to indicate the correct answer by selecting one or more elements within the graphic. Test takers will be able to quickly identify selectable elements as they are marked with a border and are shaded when you move the mouse pointer over them. Clicking an element will select it and will be identified as such when the area around the element turns gray. If the test taker wishes to make changes to their selection or selections they can either click a single choice a second time to deselect it or click the Reset button to reset that entire question.

Another new question design is the Active Screen Questions which allows the test taker to configure a particular dialog box by changing one or more elements provided within it. This will vary depending on what may be provided for a given question.

For instance, if the test taker were provided a dialog text box that needed to be filled in with text they would drag the appropriate text element from a "chooser" pane to the required text box. If they made a selection and then decided they wanted to replace the text in the text box they would simply drag another text selection from the provided menu to the text box or in the case of removing one selected phrase only (and keeping the others there) they would simply grab the "extra" text and drag it back out of the "answer" box.

In the situation where a few radio buttons or check boxes are provided, the test taker can select them as if they were configuring the options on an actual workstation or server. They would undo their choices if they desired in much the same fashion.

Drag-and-Drop Questions, which have been in some of the exams for over a year or so will be showing up in more of them and more often. These questions allow the test taker to drag source objects from a selection box or a small list or table to targets options within the "question" area. Sometimes all of the options are used, sometimes some are left behind, there are also situations where single options can be used more than once and there are some questions that use a combination of these elections.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - In almost all cases, somewhere in the question it will read, "use all of the selections only once - all selections will be used" or "choose the appropriate actions from the list provided - choices may be used more than once and some may not be used at all" or something along those lines.

[NOTES FROM THE FIELD] - For these five exams, the ENTIRE exam is made up different scenarios and relevant questions. There are no stray, generic-knowledge multiple choice type questions that are not relevant to the scenarios.

These types of questions are scenario based which rely on a short overview (several paragraphs long) of a fictitious company and a design and / or implementation scenario for which the test taker is tasked with assuming the role (to a degree) of a network architect or a project manager to design and implement and / or troubleshoot the solution which is brought about in 10 to 12 questions following the scenario.

For some questions, you can receive partial credit for partially correct responses and in certain situations there are questions that have more than one correct choice. In this event, you would receive full credit for choosing any of the supplied options that are correct and have your score marked as such.

Also, with regards to these types of questions, there is no way to get less than a zero on any given question. For example, if there are eight options to choose from and only two are correct and you choose three incorrect options you will not receive a score less than zero for that question.

The last question type is the Simulators. This type of question outlines a scenario or problem which requires one or more tasks to be completed and how the test taker goes about completing the necessary tasks for a given scenario using the simulator factors in their grading for that particular question.

The simulator is sensitive to its particular "protocol" as far as procedure goes and a few tips regarding the scenario situation include

  • Test takers should not change any simulation settings that don't pertain to the solution directly.

  • Default settings should be assumed anytime alternative information is not provided.

  • All text entries MUST be spelled correctly. (Misspellings are interpreted as incorrect options and marked wrong.)

  • All simulation application windows must be after completing the set of tasks in the simulation or the simulation is not considered "completed".

Best of luck in your studies and please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments on my columns and remember,

“Being prepared is half the battle, knowing the material is the rest.”

Jason Zandri