Microsoft's Testing Formats
Currently, Microsoft uses four testing formats:
As mentioned earlier, the case study approach is used with many of the
Other Microsoft exams
For some exams, Microsoft has turned to a well-known technique, called adaptive testing, to establish a test-taker's level of knowledge and product competence. Adaptive exams look similar to fixed-length exams, but they determine the level of difficulty at which an individual test-taker can correctly answer questions. Test-takers with differing levels of knowledge or ability see different sets of questions: Individuals with high levels of knowledge or ability are presented with a smaller set of more difficult questions, whereas individuals with lower levels of knowledge are presented with a larger set of easier questions. Two individuals might answer the same percentage of questions correctly, but the test-taker with a higher knowledge or ability level scores higher because her questions are weighted more heavily.
Also, lower-level test-takers might answer more questions than more-knowledgeable colleagues. This explains why adaptive tests use ranges of values to define the number of questions and the amount of time needed to complete the tests.
Adaptive tests work by evaluating the test-taker's most recent answer. A correct answer leads to a more difficult question (also raising the test software's estimate of the test-taker's knowledge and ability level). An incorrect answer leads to a less difficult question (also lowering the test software's estimate of the test-taker's knowledge and ability level). This process continues until the test targets the test-taker's true ability level. The exam ends when the test-taker's level of accuracy meets a statistically acceptable value (in other words, when her performance
Microsoft also has introduced a short-form test for its most popular tests. This test consists of 25 “30 questions, with a time limit of exactly 60 minutes. This type of exam is similar to a fixed-length test because it allows readers to jump ahead or return to earlier questions and to cycle through the questions until the test is done. Microsoft does not use adaptive logic in this test; it claims that statistical analysis of the question pool is such that the 25 “30 questions delivered during a short-form exam conclusively measure a test-taker's knowledge of the subject matter in much the same way as an adaptive test. The short-form test is like a "greatest hits exam" version of an adaptive exam on the same topic (that is, the most important questions are covered).
Because you won't know in which form the Microsoft exam will be, you should be prepared for an adaptive exam instead of a fixed-length or short-form exam: The penalties for answering incorrectly are built in to the test itself on an adaptive exam, whereas the layout remains the same for a fixed-length or short-form test, no matter how many questions you answer incorrectly.