When exam registration goes wrong
Last weekend I took an online proctored exam through Pearson Vue to obtain certification as a Microsoft Certified Data Analyst Associate. The scheduled exam allows you to arrive up to 30 minutes early to go through registration. Bored of waiting I turned up just after registration was open and I was quite fortunate I did as I had a few issues! Some of this is probably avoidable in future, some of it may well be because I persist with using a Mac. Unfortunately, not everything works as smoothly with Mac and / or Safari. There's a few mac specific bits in here! If you've not seen it already, I've written a detailed account of preparing for an online exam here.
I have to say up front, I love this service! Being able to pick times that suit me, being able to test from my home at convenient times giving me the ability to structure my training is fantastic. The proctors are friendly and helpful. Things have run really smoothly in the main and I'm appreciative of the ability to be able to do these exams in spite of the crazy world we're living in right now. Big thanks to the folks who have the unlucky job of staring at my ugly mug for a couple of hours too :)
Not a good start Safari!
Things didn't start off well, things just didn't want to work with Safari. I had to bin it off early and revert to Firefox. Good start!
When you have entered registration, you need to download an app called OnVue so be prepared to have to download software before your exam. If you also persist with a Mac, you will need to have rights to install, you will also need to grant the app permissions to use your mic and camera.
Up next was supplying pictures of my face, ID and room. You have to enter your mobile number into the app and a link is sent to your phone. Photos uploaded....back to Mac.
Proceed to exam
Ok so at this point, OnVue takes control of your computer, it will ask for all apps to be closed and will proceed to close anything that is open. Once complete, OnVue will open a full screen session and you will enter your exam.....only at this stage OnVue crashed! Up popped an error and my Mac was stuck in this full screen app. I couldn't remember the CTRL-ALT-DEL equivalent for Mac. There's a help button, OnVue said that someone was on their way, but nobody came. I sat there for 5-10 minutes not sure what to do. I waved at my camera (ha ha), called out for help (ha ha) at this point I figured that the app probably was hung and not communicating back to anyone and time was running, so the only thing I could do was turn off my machine and hope everything will be ok.
So on restart and logging in, OnVue immediately took control of my Mac again. Only it didn't send me back to the exam, I was directed to Vue Pearson's home page! I couldn't work out how to navigate to the exam from there and still stuck in full screen, so I shut down my Mac again and logged in as another user....and now that user didn't have the app so I had to download the app again. Ok, back to registration OMG I ALSO HAVE TO DO MY PHOTOS AGAIN. So at this point, I had burnt about 20 minutes and now I'm getting slightly concerned about not entering my exam on time. Photos done, uploads done (took ages), proctor drops a message to say hi and can I hold on whilst my pics are checked...oh hey proctor...I had some real issues...had to restart...that's all cool, we'll be starting soon (yay!).
Had a good chat with proctor to take the edge off, they wished me best of luck, let's go!
Well...luckily it didn't really affect my exam and I passed! So how would I do things differently next time? Well I am going to turn up to registration at earliest opportunity - once you've completed it, it looks like you can go straight through to your exam so I'm now I plan the 30 minute registration time as the start of my exam timeslot and gives me a buffer in case I run intto tech issues. Latest update, since I started writing this post (and used a chromium browser from the start), I have taken another exam and things ran really smoothly.
Good luck with your exams!