Things you must know before appearing Amazon AWS proctored exams 2020
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown, Amazon Web Services is offering ‘Test-From-Home’ facilities to the candidates. Since most of the testing centers are closed due to lockdown, it is very helpful to sit at the comfort of your home and take the test, but there are certain things that you must know to successfully complete the exams. Here in this article, I shall discuss some tips which you will find helpful.
Update 1: The lockdown has been lifted from most of the cities and the testing centers are now mostly open. The proctored exams, however, are still available and you may want to choose between taking the test from home or a testing center.
Scheduling the exam
Once you create an account in https://aws.amazon.com/certification, you can schedule a new exam from ‘schedule new Exam’ button. Clicking it will take you to the ‘Upcoming Exam’ tab where you can search and schedule your test. Be very careful here to choose the correct test, because there might be multiple tests on the same certificate (retiring and new). Check the exam code carefully before selecting the exam.
Once you select the exam, you would be given an option to take it from an local test center or from home or office. Selecting the home/office option will ask you to do a compatibility check of your system.
Technical Compatibility Check
The compatibility check or system check will start checking your computer’s microphone, internet speed and webcam. If you are planning to take the test from a desktop, make sure you have a webcam attached to it. Once these preliminary technical tests are done, you will be taken through the procedure and asked to pay for the exam. There are certain policies which needs to be checked and generally we ignore, but in this case, we need to talk about those.
You need to show a Government issued ID card before taking the exam
Make sure you have a driver’s license or passport handy with you before taking the exam. The picture should match with your face. Amazon claims to have state-of-the-art facial recognition program which can track and match the candidate and the image, so my recommendation is to show the passport as your ID.
Your home/office desk and periphery should be at par with the requirements
You must keep the following in mind before you start the proctored exam. Not having the standard room arrangement may result in delay in your exam or even cancelling the exam. Your exam proctor will scrutinize the workspace before start of the exam.
- You have to take photos of front, back, left and right side of your desk and submit in the app. For this, the best option is to use mobile phone to take snaps of yourself, ID card and surroundings. So, keep your mobile handy till this step.
- No books, notepads, pens or any reading/writing material should be in the workspace.
- Headphones, mobiles or any electronic gadgets other than workstation should not be present.
- There should be only 1 monitor. Multiple monitors are prohibited.
- No drinks/foods are allowed. So, get rid of that water bottle.
Basically, make sure you have 1 desk and 1 computer and nothing else in your vicinity.
Physical or audible Presence of any third-party will result in termination of the test
There should not be anyone present in the room or entering the room while the test is in progress. Please ask your family members not to come to your room or call you during the exam. These are valid reason for your proctor to immediately terminate your exam.
Tips for AWS proctored home exam
Below are some tips which I have followed during my proctored exam. I took one certification exam from my home office during COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the tips are common sense but I thought to keep them posted if it helps anyone.
My Proctor was non-intrusive and made sure that all processes written here are followed. Fortunately, there was no commotion outside my house and no one came calling, which was my biggest concern.
Be present before 30 minutes of your exam
Though Amazon suggests to be present before 15 minutes of the exam, my recommendation is to be there before 30 minutes, take all the required pictures and be ready so that you can adjust anything which the proctor recommend. This way, you will still be on time for your actual test.
Keep multiple internet options available
Keep more than one internet option available during the exam. Your main internet might be an internet broadband connection, but I suggest keeping a mobile hotspot or a dongle also available. Though I never came to this unfortunate event of loosing the connection during exam, any redundancy is a good idea (since we are AWS candidates 😉).
Keep your bladder and bowel clean before the exam
You will not be permitted to leave your desk until after the exam. The exam will be terminated if you leave your station. So, for obvious reason, make sure you have answered all of nature’s calls.
Try not to schedule home exam on weekends
The AWS call centers are closed during weekends and holidays and they only have chat agents available. In case of any problem, if you want to contact AWS for help, chances are that they will be very late in responding. So, please do not schedule the exams on weekends or holidays.
Conclusion: My choice
I had appeared for both test center and home test and in my experience, I was less stressed while I took my test in a test center. All I had to make sure that I reach there quite early with my passport. All preparations are arranged by the test center and they are already standardized. I don’t have to worry about internet connection, no need to worry about people coming un-announced to my room etc etc. I am permitted to use the rest rooms and water breaks, but the clock keeps ticking off course. So, if you have the option to take it from the test centers, my suggestion would be to use Pearson or PSI test centers.
Let me know your experience of taking the exams and if there are any more tips you want to add below.