Pearson VUE and Prometric are professional testing companies that deliver a wide range of tests to candidates on behalf of a number of different clients (such as Microsoft, Cisco, government departments etc).
Pearson VUE (visit homepage) has over 5000 facilities in over 160 countries while Prometric (visit homepage) has over 3000 centres globally - so most candidates will have no problem finding a testing centre in a convenient location. Some certification vendors are exclusive to either Pearson VUE or Prometric respectively, while others use the services of both companies.
Both companies are required to provide facilities that meet an agreed standard, including exam security measures, candidate comfort and minimum hardware requirements to ensure a smooth delivery of the exam. Most of the testing centres will be licensed subsidiary affairs, but the standards of the respective parent company should be maintained.
Upon arriving at the testing centre you will be required to produce adequate identification and proof of identity. This may require showing a government-issued photo identification (such as a drivers licence, passport etc.) and identification with your signature and address on it. Some certification vendors, in order to maintain the integrity of their certification tracks, may even require the testing centre to carry out additional identification procedures. Cisco certifications, for example, require the testing centre to take a candidate's digital signature and photo. You may also be required to sign a test centre agreement form indicating you agree to abide by the rules of the testing centre. Some certification tracks require you to have already applied for a candidate identification number, so make sure you understand the testing requirements for the certification track you are taking.
Because both Pearson VUE and Prometric deliver tests for many different clients it is entirely possible that you will not be alone in the testing centre and that other test takers will be in the same room as you. You will have your own cubicle (similar to that of many open plan offices) so there is a good degree of privacy. You will be under the watchful eye of an exam monitor at all times during the course of the exam and you are not permitted to bring personal items into the exam area (you should be given a secure storage area outside the exam room to store any items not permitted into the exam room). You should be provided something to write with, and something to write on.
Contact your nearest testing centre well in advance of your intended exam date to be sure that they provide the test you wish to take and to see if there are any specific booking requirements. Those with special needs should make enquiries as early as possible.
When booking your exam you will be required to make payment up front using a credit card or other suitable means of payment. Discount exam vouchers can often be used to lower the cost of the exam so it's worth considering paying with a voucher where possible, particularly as many are bundled with free training material (books, practice questions etc.) for the exam you're taking.
For more information, and to find a Pearson VUE testing centre near you, click here
For more information, and too find a Prometric testing centre near you, click here