I have recently taken my first CRM certification using the new (beta) option of an on-line exam.
Obviously you’ll need a laptop with a webcam and a reasonable internet connection.
You schedule your exam as normal. But you’ll need to first run two tests. One checks your internet speed. The other tests your webcam and downloads the software needed to run the exam. You’ll probably need local admin rights on your laptop. So anyone with a corporate laptop with a group policy that restricts installing applications may struggle!
When ready, connect and the “greeter” will open a chat session with you. He will then telephone you. So have your phone ready. I didn’t and had to run round the house to find mine. Also, I initially struggled as I have a poor mobile connection in my house. Using a landline might be a good idea. Don’t think about using Skype from your laptop. As in a second they’ll get you to terminate all processes other than the exam software.
Whilst talking about phones, you aren’t allowed to speak to anyone during the exam. I know one person who answered a telephone during their exam and was disqualified. If the examiner wants to speak to you they will use their chat window first.
At this point he will check your photo ID. So have originals ready.
Also they will get you to use your webcam to show them the room you’re in. It makes sense to be in a room on your own with no distractions anyway. You won’t be allowed to have anyone close to you who might see the questions. Putting a notice on your office door to do not disturb might be a good idea. I guess if anyone walked up to you during the exam they could fail you.
Moving the webcam around will include looking under your desk. I struggled with this as my power cord was very short.
As you prepare your workstation it is worth ensuring you connect your laptop charger. If your battery went dead mid question you’d fail! And they probably won’t allow you to leave the room to find a charger part way in. FYI: Toilet breaks aren’t allowed!
Plus your desk will need to be clear / tidy. No pens, paper etc. I have a coffee machine on my desk and they made me remove it!
He will also ask you to stand back and turn out pockets. Plus show him your arms and hands.
Next you’ll be asked to load task manager and kill all apps except the testing software. This includes the skype client. (Hence not phoning from your laptop.)
You can also only use one screen. I have three large monitors on my desk! He made me show they were off and even show the cables to prove they weren’t plugged in. Meaning I had to use my laptops small built in screen. Not ideal with my aging eyesight.
When the exam finally starts it will run the same as they do in the test centre. Which is nice!
But before you jump to take your certifications on-line, I’d seriously question your reasons. I’m not sure I would recommend it.
When I go to a normal test centre I always take the train, on the way I do a final scan of my training material. I also always allow plenty of time and enjoy a relaxing pre-exam Costa. (Other coffee brands are available!!) For me travelling to the centre and being in a “special” environment really helps force me into the right frame of mind.
I think I’ll only do on-line exams when I’m really pushed for time, which hopefully won’t be often.