August 11, 2008

What's a Beta Exam?


The buzz about the beta exams from the Oracle Certification Program has also generated a very interesting question - "What is a beta exam?" and several other related questions around it.

In a typical software development and deployment life cycle, a beta phase arrives when a select group or individuals are chosen to test the software which is assumed to bug free by the developers. The intent here is to identify any glitches that are in the product before it is released commercially. A beta period can last for weeks or months or even years (like Google's GMail which is still is beta!)
For certification exams, a beta exam is the final tune-up for the exam before the exams are available to the public. In some cases it contains all the questions in the question pool for the test. Beta exams thus feature double or triple the number of questions asked in a production release. The reason is that if a question turns out to be too hard and everyone misses it or if its too easy and everyone gets it right, then the question may be dropped from the production release of the exam. In a way, a beta exam is the final test of the exam questions.

For Oracle certification exams, beta Exam numbers begin with "1Z1" while the production exam number start with "1Z0". Since, both versions have the same suffix, the beta exam for R12 Sys Admin Fundamentals:1Z1-206 would be released as 1Z0-206 in the production version. So, a quick way to identify if it's an Oracle beta exam is to look for "1Z1" prefix. For a complete list of beta exams available now, click here

Beta exam are usually available worldwide and one can register on the Prometric website. Exams are delivered at Authorized Prometric Testing Centers and are proctored exams. Beta exams are a test of skill and endurance. There may be 180-220 questions to be answered within 3 to 3.5 hours. For the production exam, there may be 60-90 questions to be answered within 1.5 to 2 hours. It's a race against time and one may not have as much time to spend on each question of a beta exam as one would have during the production version. Needless to say, there would not be much time (if any) at the end of the exam to review the answers.

Feedback for beta exam questions are highly encouraged. One can include comments on specific exam questions while working through the questions or one can mark specific questions and return to add comments at the end of the test. There's also a brief confidential demographic survey administered at the end of the exam to 'calibrate' the test scores and for statistical analysis.

A candidate is scored only on the questions that are chosen for the production version of the exam. While it takes about 8 weeks for the production release of the exam after the beta testing period closes, an additional 2-4 weeks is required to receive the exam results from Prometric. The good news about passing a beta exam is that is it the same as passing a production exam. For example, if one were to pass all the beta versions of the exams required within an Oracle Certification path, one will earn your Oracle Certified Associate, Oracle Certified Expert or Oracle Certified Professional credential as the case may be. One need not take the production version again to get certified. For each certification track, there is a hands-on course (HOC) requirement that needs to be fulfilled. The course/s can be taken before or after writing the beta exams since there is no pre-requirements for beta exam registration. However, attending a course and then attending the corresponding certification exam is a more logical order.

The beta exam cycle may be a six months cycle covering the following stages -
1: Pre-registration - when the beta exam is announced but testing has not started yet
2: Open - when beta exam testing dates are available
3: Closed - when beta exam testing period is over
4: Post-beta review - the intensive process when the Oracle Certification Program team analyzes the beta exam questions and select the list of questions for the production release.

Beta exam benefit both Oracle as well as the Oracle certification candidates. Oracle Certification program team gets a statistically significant number of test takers to validate the questions, improve the exam content and maintain its superior value. Certification candidates get the opportunity to get certified at a significant discount (discounts are often 50%-75% of the production release registration fees) and get the privilege to announce themselves as one of the first in the world to be certified on that exam track!

The above discussion is based on the blog editor's experience, conclusion and understanding of the beta exam announcements and its contents. Every blog reader is encouraged to write to the Oracle Certification Program team at ocpexam_ww@oracle.com for any clarifications and an 'official' response to any of their questions.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks advisor for providing the detailed comparison between beta and production exams. Well the deta seems to tough and one need to wait for the outcome of the exam for bit longer time. Well i am planning to take beta exam "1Z1-215 Oracle E-Business Suite R12: General Ledger and Payables Fundamentals" , lolz on this link http://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=211 they have wrote 1Z0-215 instead of 1Z1-215 ;)
    Anyways i need some some inputs from all the gurus here how to start with preparation of 1Z1-215, i already cleared the 1Z0-204

    Regards
    Hasan

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  2. Hi Hasan:
    As mentioned 1Z0-215 would be the production exam and hence represented as such on the schematic diagram illustrating the OCE track. If you click on the hyperlink, the beta exam corresponding to 1Z0-215, i.e. 1Z1-215 page appears. So the content on the URL you provided is correct.
    The combo beta exams are doubly difficult as you have to prepare for 2 papers. Did you take the R11i exam or is this your first certification exam on these modules? Are you currently working on these modules?
    I am planning to start a multi-part series on how to prepare for the combo beta exams soon. So please look out for future blog postings.
    Best of Luck,
    Your OCP Advisor

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Advisor
    Well man this is my first certification towards Oracle EBS. Well i m currently involve in the implementation of EBS R12 , with KPMPG as the implementer for our company, being a IT Professional in our company, i m the part of implementation right from the project kick off.
    Currently done with setups of prototype solution based on To-Be documents. Now a days presenting the prototype solution to user.
    I mostly involved in PA module. So i have some hand on experience on financial module as well. Plus i also the good business knowledge of finance & accounts.
    Well i will really appreciate if u can assist me and all the reading preparing for exam.
    At last can u tell me that do i receive any certificate for 1Z-204 Oracle EBS R12 Essential for implementers? actually need to show to my company for reimbursement of exam fee.

    Regards
    Hasan

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Hasan:
    Thanks for the background about yourself. It's greate to know that you are part of a R12 implementation. There is no substitute for hands-on on-the-job training. Though your core area is Project-to-Profit (PA-AR-GL and/or AP-PA-GL), I presume you would get access to GL, AP, AR modules to review the setup/configuration as well as practice the process flows. The Tutor documents provide a very handy guide while you review the concepts.
    For 1Z0-204, as far as I know there are no certificates that are awarded. This is a foundation level exam for the OCE tracks. For reimbursement of the exam fee you may need to take a printout of your score from the Prometric website. Only after you complete an OCP/OCE track, certification is awarded.
    Best of Luck,
    Your OCP Advisor

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah i have the access on GL-AP-AR, PA have tight integration with these modules.
    Well i am thinking to check with oracle by mail or by phone.
    In 11i there are two exams 1Z0-211, 1Z0-212 & 1Z0-213 for GL, AP & AR. Now for R12 there two exams 1Z1-215(GL + AP) & 1Z1-216(GL + AP).So i want to know how different are these news exams from old 11i exams? Like 1Z0-204 is much similar to 1Z0-200 with newer topics like MOAC etc.

    Regards
    Hasan

    ReplyDelete
  6. Again - a very good question!

    Please look out for one of my future posts this week when I discuss the OCE R12 combo exams (e.g. GL+AR or GL+AP etc)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ok man will be waiting for your newer post on OCE R12 combo exams (e.g. GL+AR or GL+AP etc). I hope it will be soon.
    Regards
    Hasan

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. How is the exam result notified.
    I took the beta exam about 9 weeks back and have'nt heard anything from either Oracle or Prometric

    ReplyDelete
  10. As mentioned in the above post, beta exam results are declared about eight weeks AFTER the production exam is released. This is because the beta exam is scored only the questions selected for the production exam. Check on the Oracle Certification website if the beta exam is in production release now. If yes, you should expect your results in 6-10 weeks. If the exam is still in beta you have to wait patiently (perhaps for months more). For example, if one wrote the R12 beta exam earlier this year, they might be waiting for 1 year to get the test results since the beta testing period has been extended to December 1, 2008. Beta exam scores are notified on your Prometric account as well as by postal mail to your address.

    ReplyDelete
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  12. Where i can find documentation for preparation of beta exam .
    i m planing to give 1z0-425 exam

    ReplyDelete