I recently completed an AWS Certification exam at home through Pearson Vue's online proctoring option.
Prior to the Coronavirus epidemic, most certification exams had to be taken at testing centers, where test-takers are monitored to protect the integrity of the exam process. Now many of these exams can be taken from home using online proctoring. Pearson Vue is the service I used to take my AWS certification exam.
When you book your exam, you will be given the option to take it from your home or office. Don't book your exam until you are sure you can meet the technical requirements.
A Stable Internet Connection:
This is one of the most important things to consider before taking a test from home. Using WiFi can be risky because WiFi connections aren't always stable and you will definitely want to avoid interruptions and technical difficulties during your exam. You can bypass WiFi using an ethernet cable. If you have a desktop computer, using an ethernet cable shouldn't be a problem because they typically have ethernet ports. Many laptops don't have them, including my laptop. Luckily, my husband's laptop had one. Make sure to turn off WiFi on your desktop or laptop when using an ethernet cable.
You can run a connection test from the Pearson Vue website to ensure you have enough bandwidth to run an exam. To run the test, you don't need to enter your phone number. Download Pearson Vue's OnVUE software to ensure it works. On the day of the exam, you will have to run this test and download the software again. Make sure to enter your phone number during your test check-in.
You will be monitored through your webcam. Most laptops have a webcam built in. If you're using a desktop, get a webcam if you don't already have one.
Microphone and Speakers:
You will have to communicate with the exam proctor, so a microphone and speakers are required.
How to Check into Your Pearson Vue Exam
The process will vary depending on the type of exam you are taking. In some cases, you may have a Pearson Vue account and you can access the exam from there. In other cases, you may have to log into the certification section of the certification provider. I took an Amazon AWS exam and I connected to Pearson Vue through the AWS Certification website both to book and take the exam. On the day of the test, I logged into my AWS certification account and clicked Manage Pearson Vue exams which redirected me to Pearson Vue.
Your exam will have a check-in time. Check your registration email to find it. My exam was scheduled for 11:15 a.m. but my check-in time was 10:45 a.m. This is the time when a Check In link will be made available. I recommend checking in as soon as you are allowed access because it takes some time to go through the checking in process. You will need an official ID. In my case, only one official ID was required. I used my driver's license. Make sure the ID you use isn't expired.
You will have to run a system test and download the OnVue software. Once you've done that, you will have to take several pictures using your phone. They provide a link to enter into your browser and an access code that identifies you. They require a photo, the back and front of your ID, and four pictures of the test-taking space—front, back, left, and right.
Before your exam day, make sure your phone browser has the permissions it needs to access your camera. Instructions will vary by phone.
Watch this video a couple of times, so you know exactly what to do on the day of the exam. While the instructions on Pearson Vue are easy to follow, I found it very helpful to know exactly what to expect.
EXAM DAY: Process of using onVUE App (Pearsonvue Online Exam Application) at Home or Office
Make sure your space is as clear as possible. Completely clear your desk. Make sure there aren't any papers, books, electronic gadgets, etc. The proctor wants to be sure you can't cheat. I took my exam in my bedroom because there's too much stuff in my home office and clearing that space would have been too much trouble. I placed my computer on a bedside table that I moved to an open area of the room. The proctor will examine your room photos and have you move your webcam around to examine your space. The last thing you want to deal with is the proctor making you clear your test-taking space. Do it in advance.
After you've uploaded your photos, you have to hit a refresh button. If you need to get a drink of water or use the bathroom, do it before you hit refresh. Once you do, you will be visible to the proctor. Also, put your phone out of reach before you hit refresh.
Once you click refresh, you are not allowed to leave your desk. I had to wait about 15 minutes before the proctor contacted me through the Pearson Vue software. He asked me to show my space and prove that I wasn't wearing a watch. He asked me if I had any questions and told me how to contact someone for help if I needed it during my exam. Then he released my exam. Once I finished it, I clicked End Exam and that was it. I didn't have to have any more contact with anyone from Pearson Vue.
For me, taking my AWS certification exam from home went very smoothly. But that was because I did plenty of preparations. Before booking my exam, I made sure that I could pass the connections test. I watched the above video to ensure I knew the process of checking in. I made sure my testing area was completely clear. I read all the rules in advance. For future exams, I will definitely take them from home.