What is changing?
Effective May 1, 2009, the RHCE exam will be a single section lasting 3.5 hours. Previously the exam consisted of two sections of 2.5 and 3.0 hours. The RHCT exam becomes a single section lasting 2.0 hours from its previous two section format lasting 1.0 hours and 2.0 hours respectively.
How have the exams been made shorter?
The exams, which cover essentially the same skills previously tested, use candidates’ time more efficiently and re-organize tasks into a single section. Our analysis of thousands of exam results found that more time was allocated in the first section than was needed for candidates who could historically pass the second section. Allocating 2.5 hours in the first section was only beneficial to individuals who, we found, were unable to pass the second section.
Providing candidates with pre-installed systems for the entire exam shortened testing time as well. Previously, candidates were required to install systems from “bare metal” in the second section of the exam. Our analysis found that installation is something virtually every candidate accomplishes successfully. However, the installation process is time-consuming. A significant amount of time was spent watching packages as they install, a task that is not indicative of an individual’s abilities. Providing a pre-installed system saves valuable time.
Are the exams easier or more difficult now?
We would expect someone who took the exam on April 30 under the earlier format to have the same outcome that they would have on May 1 under the new format. The scope of what is tested is the same. Consider our online prep guide for the RHCT and RHCE exams: the only section of it that has changed is the section concerning timing and format. Our guidance on the skills one must have has not changed.
Can I still take the old format exams after May 1, 2009?
All exams worldwide given on or after May 1, 2009 will be under the new format.
Why are the exams being changed?
Taking a certification exam is like a visit to the doctor: it should take as long as is necessary to make an accurate diagnosis, but should not take any longer than necessary. A shorter exam makes better use of candidates’ time.