Countdown to Ignite: The One About Getting Certified and Not-To-Miss Places in Chicago

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Joey and Rick discuss Microsoft Certification—and how you can get certified at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago. In Episode 3 of the Countdown Show, they explain the basics of taking certification exams at Ignite, and the special discounted price (see below) exclusively for attendees. Then, they take us on a tour of some of Chicago's biggest attractions.

Certification Central:
Microsoft Ignite is a prime opportunity to get your Microsoft Certifications at 50% off the regular price (for registered attendees). Everything you need to prepare for, earn, upgrade, or renew your Microsoft certification is available onsite at Ignite.

Take advantage of the resources available at Certification Central, the special pricing, and the face-to-face help of Microsoft Certified Trainers. Here are the details:

Testing Registration
Pre-register for your exams online—it's easy, and secures your choice of testing timeslot. You also can register for exams onsite at Certification Central. We highly recommend pre-registering, so you know your chosen timeslot is available to you. Go to and use promo code IgniteNA to receive the discounted attendee rate.

Exam Prep Sessions
Exam Prep Sessions are interactive study groups led by Microsoft Certified Trainers who'll walk you through the exam objectives and offer test taking tips. These are breakout sessions that each focus on helping you pass a specific exam. Check the Session Catalog for exam topics—coming soon!

Study Hall
Visit the Study Hall at Certification Central to access a variety of free exam prep resources, find a quiet place to study for your exam, or try a practice test. MCTs will also be available in the Study Hall to answer your questions.

More resources to help you plan and prepare for your Certification path:

And now back to Chicago, and the attractions you really should experience

Joey and Rick took time to visit some of Chicago's big attractions—we're talking museums, shopping, and the best views of the city from the water and 1,000 feet up. Watch the video and read on for details!

Magnificent Mile [06:59]
The Magnificent Mile district includes a 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue that runs from the banks of the Chicago River to the south, to Oak Street to the north. It's a full square mile of shopping, restaurants, museums, landmarks, and more. With 460+ stores, from high-end department stores to designer boutiques, there really is something for everyone.

Art Institute of Chicago [08:51]
This may be the cultural highlight of your trip to Chicago... so don't miss it. The Art Institute Chicago is an encyclopedic art museum—displaying artistic expression from all of the great cultures of the world, throughout history, including modern works that will intrigue and inspire you. More than 130 years old, the museum has one of the best impressionist collections in the world, outside of France.

Admission is $23, and you may want to consider the $39 Skydeck Combo ticket, with access to the Skydeck Chicago offering spectacular views spanning up to four states, interactive exhibits and... The Ledge, which is a glass balcony extending four feet outside the 103rd floor of Willis Tower. Not for those with Acrophobia. Yikes!

River Architecture Tour  [15:39]
Explore the architecture of Chicago the easy way—sitting on a relaxing tour boat with an entertaining tour guide sharing historical anecdotes as you cruise down the river between beautiful skyscrapers, historic buildings, and parks. Sounds good, doesn't it? Named Chicago's #1 Architecture Tour, the river cruise highlights more than 50 architecturally significant buildings and is led by passionate volunteer docents (guides) from the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Daytime tours are about $40 per person, or a Twilight Tour for around $43. Tickets online or at the dock. Tours depart from Riverside Gardens at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive (SE corner of Michigan Ave. Bridge). If you're looking for a more active experience, you may also want to check out available kayak or canoe tours, or tour on foot on the River Walk.

360 Chicago [11:24]
Get a 360 degree view of the city from the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building, 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile. This historic building offers the best all-around view of Chicago, plus a new attraction, TILT! This architectural achievement offers a unique downward facing view of the city from the glass block of 8 viewing stations that tilts out 30 degrees from the side of the building. It's pretty cool!

Cost is around $18, with an additional $7 if you want to TILT! 360 Chicago is open 365 days a year from 9:00am to 11:00pm (last entry is at 10:30pm).

Keep watching! Episode 4 will offer more tips for getting the most out of Ignite, and your time in Chicago!

Microsoft Ignite is May 4–8 in Chicago at McCormick Place. Register today.





The Discussion

  • User profile image

    There is no place on the learning site to put in "IgniteNA". Am I overlooking something?

  • User profile image

    @Bill: The code is entered when you register for an exam. When you get to the checkout of exam registration you will find the place to enter the code for the discount!


  • User profile image

    @Bill - "IgniteNA" is the promo code you would enter on the payment page, similar to a coupon code you enter when shopping online. During step 3 of the checkout process, you will see "enter voucher or promo code," above where you enter credit card information.

    One additional note: Be sure to select "Microsoft Ignite North America 2015" as the testing center location when scheduling your exam. You'll see the test center location is only "open" from May 4 to May 8, 2015. Hope this helps!

  • User profile image

    Thank you both! The information from each of you allowed me to register. Looking forward to Ignite!


  • User profile image

    Thank you all for doing this series!!  I've enjoyed the ones you've done for the previous TechEd's as well.  The information you guys provide is always top notch!!  I look forward to hearing you talk about what to pack, what type of connections/charging stations will be at Ignite, and if we will be getting backpacks or other goodies!!    Thanks guys!! 

  • User profile image

    Great Series.  Quick Q on the exams.  Is there a limit to the number of exams we can take with the promo discount?  Wondering as I might prep to take 2 exams while there Friday.  Thanks!

  • User profile image

    No limit on the number of exams you can take with the conference discount!

    I would recommend pre-registering to secure your preferred exam times.

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