Here is my story of how I tried to pass part I. It's at the moments hilarious, and at the moments frustrating.
I am in India right now (I came for a longer trip, taking break from work for few months), and as I have some free time on my hands I decided to pass SCEA examination, especially after reading about new schooling requirement.
So I found myself some nice, quiet place - a small village in the jungles of Meghalaya, and armed with lots of ebooks I started my preparations.
When I felt I'm ready, I scheduled my exam on 11th of June in Shillong, capital of Meghalaya. And this is when everything went wrong.
I arrived in St Anthony College, which hosts Pearson Vue Center on time. There I spent good few minutes trying to locate where exactly the center is within campus (everyone in the college have heard about it, but opinions on it's exact whereabouts where many and often contradictory). I entered the room where I've met quite surprised young man. He called someone, and after few minutes there came a priest (catholic), who is in charge of the center. He explained, a little bit embarrassed, that they were not informed by Pearson that I would come, so they were not prepared at all. To make a matter worse, the administrator, the only person who could set-up the test, has just been transferred to Guwahati (another city). Anyhow, the priest proposed they will try to set-up the test with remote help from administrator, hoping it will work.
Well.. It didn't. They've managed to download the testing software, but they couldn't get connection to Pearson server, and after nearly 2 hours of fighting, they gave up. Administrator filled the incident report, and I was supposed to call on monday to Pearson helpline to reschedule the exam.
Easy to say, harder to do. Pearson provides only toll-free number in India, which is nice to those who can access this number, but not so nice if you cannot. And you cannot from many mobiles (especially prepaid), all public phones and many private. I spent quite a lot of time walking around Shillong trying to find some phone from which it is possible to call this center, going even to shops, offices and hotels, but without success. Obvious flaw in design, as there should be alternative, regular number provided in such case (this is how it works in my bank).
So I came back to testing center, and they gave me the number to call-center for testing centers, from which finally I got redirected to the help line for candidates. I gave my incident report number, hoping to schedule the exam for the next day.
Well... how naive I was! It turned out that now this incident must be forwarded to the technical team in USA, so it will take at least few days until they will reply. So now I'm waiting, hoping that at least I will manage to take the test - the moment I start answering the question I will now it's almost success .
At least I understand now why in India this test costs 125$
At least I understand now why in India this test costs 125$
I feel sorry for what happened in your case but reading in between the lines, I am not very happy that you are blaming India. You are trying to do everything in the remote most part of India and during the time transition is happening from Prometric to Pearson. India is still a developing country but you need to understand that Indians are nice folks.
I am living in USA for work for around 8 years. There are good and bad experiences everywhere. You should warn the people so that they won't get into the bad experience but try to pass on the positive news. Believe me this is not a perfect World. As an aspiring IT Architect you should thought about these risks and their mitigation.
Sharma, sorry if you felt offended, it wasn't my intention. I hope you understand that I was quite frustrated with the situation, especially taking into consideration that there's so little time left, and it's already more than week since my scheduled exam and I still don't know the date of a new one... I think it's mainly the fault of Prometic, that is opening too many centres without being able to assure that the quality of service will be satisfying - from what I understand, anybody can open one, and in most cases it's not the main business of such places. Just in Guwahati there are 5 different points - and now I'm fearful that again I will choose the wrong one and will have to wait long time for the next term.
While it may seems convenient to have so many places to choose from, I would prefer less but more reliable.
And according to the people from my center, they were not informed by Prometic that I would be coming. So there's obviously some fault in the system.
Another problem is the complicated procedure of responding to such incidents - why it must take so much time? Why team from USA has to be involved in it? The case is simple, I came for the exam but the exam was not conducted.
Next is the problem of this phone number - it's really problem for me to call them.
And believe me, I love India , I spent totally a year here already, but honestly, sometimes it amazes me how unorganized things can be here . And as I tried to come with some sense of humor to this whole situation, this is why I concluded it in the way I did.
And when I finally manage to clear this exam, I will for sure write about positive side of the situation.
I think this was a useful experience to share. It reminds everyone (not just those in remote parts of India) that time is tight and it behoves us to do everything we can to ensure a successful experience. Better to call the testing center and allow extra time than have a problem given the timeline.
Antoni: Is the toll free number a US or India number? Can you use Skype to call? I know that isn't that helpful at the moment. But long term, calling right at the beginning or end of the US day to the US lets you talk to headquarters where the decisions are clearly being made.
Yes, that's definitely good idea to call them in advance and make sure that they are aware of my coming. As I said, at least in this part of India all those centers are by some other institution, like college or computer training center, and probably some of them don't receive many Pearson customers at all.
This toll-free number is Indian number, and is inaccessible from most mobile networks, public phones and even all landlines that I have tried. So I suppose by Skype it will also not work (anyhow, my Internet connection is far too slow to make any Skype calls). Maybe it is just in this region where I am, but still - there should be alternative number provided.
Keep your fingers crossed - tomorrow is the last day of "3-5 working days" period and they should provide me with new term .
Actually, I see now that probably I have made big mistake of not downloading the assignment - it seems to be possible to download it before passing I part. This way I wouldn't have lost 2 weeks...
I am no longer sure to be honest, as it also looks like you can take part III before submitting part II, only when you try to do the payment you find out it's not possible. Last time I didn't go so far.
She still doesn't approve of my superhero lifestyle. Or this shameless plug:
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