Why I hate Prometric for Microsoft Certification Exams

Why doesn’t Prometric recruit another location in New Jersey (specifically Mount Laurel) for IT professionals to take Microsoft and other certification exams?

Why doesn’t Prometric fix it’s web site?  It’s 2010, and a company that has a monopoly on Microsoft Certification Exams should have a web site that is more reliable than my personal web site.

Why do I rant about Prometric?  Let me count the ways.  Better yet, I’ll just recount the exam I took yesterday.

First, registering for the exam.  For several days (yes, days…), I tried to connect to the Prometric web site.  It timed out when I tried to find the nearest location to take an exam.  Not once, not twice, but I could not connect for several days.  I tried different browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox), and different locations (client site with huge bandwidth, my home with Comcast BLAST! broadband).  No joy.

Next, I confirmed that there is only one test location near me.  One.  There used to be three in Mount Laurel, and one in Medford that were within fifteen minutes.  Now there is one.  They have two seats, and Microsoft Exams require you book for three hours, so they can only accommodate four tests per day.  In Mount Laurel we have a HUGE group of engineering, networking, software development, and infrastructure people and companies who employ them.  Northrup Grumman, Lockheed, Computer Associates, Cisco, NetApp, Continental Resources (where I work!), CSC, and others.

One testing location with two seats.  That’s what we have.  Next closest is Philadelphia.  Minimum time to travel is 45 minutes to Philly.  You can take the PATCO high speed line, or drive.  It’s close, but it takes a minimum of 45 minutes each way, and that’s assuming you can find a parking spot or take PATCO and walk.  Garage parking in center city Philadelphia can be $20.  The cheapest lot parking is $9, and it’s at 23rd and Arch Streets, which is 20 blocks from one of the two test centers in Philadelphia.

In my case, the closest available seats were at Delaware County Community College.  It’s a great testing center, but it’s 50 minutes from my house, and the only way to get there is I95 and the Blue Route (or the Delaware County Parking Lot as I like to call it). 

After driving for an hour, and finding the Testing Center, I waited for almost two hours.  Why?  Because the staff had problems logging into the testing computer.  Apparently the account(s) they used were locked out. 

TWO HOURS.  I left the house at 9:05 and arrived at the testing center around 10:10.  I sat down to take the exam just before noon.  The exam took 45 minutes, and I spent 15 minutes doing the Survey to bitch about deficiencies with Prometric.  I then went to my client site to perform billable work.  So, instead of taking an exam locally, with a total elapsed time of 60 minutes, no, let’s assume I stop for coffee, make that 90 minutes, It took me from 9AM until 1PM to take an exam.  FOUR HOURS.  Due to the location, I was still an hour away from my client’s site (Blue Route had a lane closure and Friday afternoon traffic).  My total elapsed time was five hours from my house to my client site. 

OK, Prometric, the ball is in your court.  I left my e-mail and cell phone contact information on your web site, Microsoft eval, and e-mail to your company.  I haven’t heard back yet, and I bet you don’t call.  I’ll call you on Monday to touch base and post a follow-up here.

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5 Responses to Why I hate Prometric for Microsoft Certification Exams

  1. jonathan says:

    Go to this thread & post your opinion. Hopefully if enough people can comment on it MS will take a look:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/CertGeneral/thread/e2b2288e-d26b-439b-9fff-6ef9bab23783

  2. John Dearing says:

    During the month of December 2010, Prometric and Vue were both SWARMED by folks looking to complete either the CompTIA A+, Net+ or Security+ exams. As of Dec 31st, 2010 those three exams were no longer “lifetime” certifications, but now have Continuing education requirements and expire after 3 years. That’s what probably led to the very small number of available test seats at the Prometric sites in the area. I took and passed the Security+ exam on Dec 14th and the test center was nearly full.

    This wasn’t totally Prometric’s fault. There was unprecedented demand for available seats.

  3. Reddy says:

    The reason I am writing this review is to let everyone know how horrible it is to connect to customer service. I have multi pack exam and has given two tests. However my second exam status still shows in “pending” status even though I have passed it 5 days ago. I can not register for my 3rd exam. When I try to call the customer service, it make me wait for more than 2 hours but still can not get to them. All I hear is ” your call is important to us. Please wait on the line” for more than 2 hours and I just gave up trying multiple times wasting so many hours of my time.

    Prometric sucks. Don’t understand why Microsoft don’t allow any other providers like “Pearson”, etc.

  4. JW says:

    ** Posted this at technet link about also **

    I am an MCT (Microsoft Trainer) and I hate prometric so much that I have often considered decertifying so I would no longer have to deal with Prometric. Seriously.

    First, they only have 1 testing center in [My City] and that testing center has so many issues with Prometric that they only offer testing 1 or 2 days a week for a few hours. I have personally visited this site to enquire about the lack of openings and I was told in few words that they themselves find working with Prometric to be infuriating. Need I say more? So I have to drive to [Another City] to take tests which is 1.5 hours away. Also, my city is by no means a “town.” Pearson VUE has about 10 or so centers here!!!

    Since I am an MCT I have to actually call into Prometric to schedule tests and get my discount on exams and let me be 100% honest with you… if you hate their website you have in no way experienced the hell that is their phone support. Rude, challenging, inept and rarely helpful is how I would classify it. Funny thing is you can talk to most MCT’s and you will find a near universal distain towards Prometric. They do really universally suck.

    Today I was about to schedule my next batch of tests (I take 2-4 a day since I have to drive to another city to take them) and I noticed that they are implementing a rescheduling fee. It is as if they are attempting to be the world’s most hated company. Obviously some won’t find this to be an issue but often I have to reschedule tests because of work or training and this infuriates me.

    Years ago when I found out Pearson VUE was being discontinued as a provider I bought as many vouchers as I could through them to avoid Prometric for as long as possible. Not long enough.

  5. Bee Kay says:

    Prometric SUCKS!!! I would never EVER get any certificate that uses these assholes. Horrible experience. Pearson Vue has been nothing but smooth sailing compared to these Prometric assholes.

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