Microsoft and open book certs

Microsoft announced that they will be making some exams open book. You can only use Microsoft Learn (not a search engine) and the Technical Q&A is disabled. There’s a few more restrictions:

  • You will have access to everything in the domain except Q&A and your profile.
  • Extra time will not be added.
  • The exam timer will continue as you search Learn for whatever information you need.
  • This resource is only available on role-based exams, not fundamentals.
  • This resource will be available in the same languages in which the exam is available.

My take

I really like this. I took one certification exam that was open book – the TOGAF part 2. In that exam, you are given a PDF of the TOGAF documentation. It was super helpful as you didn’t have to memorize. You did have to be good (and fast) at looking things up. That makes it important to practice looking things up in the docs.

I think Microsoft Learn is the same. Learning how to look things up fast is a useful skill. I also like that they aren’t allowing it on the fundamental exams. That was like TOGAF part 1. You proved you learned the concepts in part 1 and then got to use the docs in part 2.

Good job Microsoft! This allows testing concepts rather than facts and trivia.

What if Oracle did this

I think it would be nice if Oracle allowed use of the JavaDoc during the exam. You’d still have to learn all the concepts, be good at identifying compiler errors, the output of code etc. But you could look something up if you forgot an API.

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