Certification Exams – Online or Test Center?

By Bob Weiss

I am active on the Reddit.com/r/CompTIA board, and I recently have been reading horror stories (again) about online testers whose online session was terminated by their proctor for very trivial reasons.  Reasons like leaning your head on your hand!  One recent post is from u/RepresentativeGuru474, which I have reposted below.

Don’t take any CompTIA certification online with PearsonVUE. You will regret it!
by u/RepresentativeGur474 in CompTIA

Online testing became a possibility during the times of COVID.  Testing centers were closed for 3 months, creating a HUGE backlog of certification testers not just in IT, but other fields such as nursing, real estate, and a host of other professions.  When testing resumed, in order to maintain “social distancing” about half of the testing seats were unavailable and left empty.  Some certifications had test center dates three months or more in the future.  In some cases NO dates were available.  A few seats would be opened up unexpectedly and quickly booked.

In order to sop up the backlog, several certification organizations, such as (ISC)2 (CISSP), and CompTIA started offering test-at-home, online, proctored exams.  I know there are many people who tested online and had a positive experience, but the horror stories of canceled tests, with no refund, started appearing on the boards.

I have never taken a certification online, and based on the experience of testers like u/WrangleRdod, I never will.

Because of my work as an Instructor, I take as many as 2 to 5 certification exams in a year.  I will take an exam any time one of my certifications releases a new version.  As an instructor, students expect me to be familiar with the test, and able to help them prepare for it.

Just going to the testing center puts me in a better frame of mind for taking and passing the exam.  The centers are well-run, quiet, and completely provisioned to make the testing experience as good as possible.  For my money this beats have to clear out a room in my home to prepare for the online exam, and “prove” I am not cheating.  Just the fact that the proctor’s expectation and basic assumption is that you are a cheater.  So insulting and disrespectful.

My advice is find a testing center near you and establish a relationship with them.  This may be your first rodeo, but it won’t be your last.  Avoid online testing to avoid the experiences I have included in this article.

Comptia+ Online automatic webcam kick
by u/WrangleRdod in CompTIA


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com


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