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Questions and Answers from SAS Certification Webinar: How to Prepare for the SAS Programming Associate Certification February 25, 2021

Started ‎03-01-2021 by
Modified ‎03-01-2021 by
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Q: Is this a recorded meeting?

A: Yes, this webinar is being recorded and you can access the recording using the same link you used to join the webinar when you registered.


Q: Do you have a sense of how long you need to study to pass the SAS Programming Associate level exam?

A: It depends.  If you have some previous programming experience, we have seen people pass the exam with a month or two of preparation.  This exam is designed for people with less experience in programming.


Q: I'm hoping to certify on SAS this year, but I have some questions. Is SAS 9.4 the same as SAS Viya? Will regular SAS be going away??

A: SAS 9 is not going away but will be easier to engage across platforms in the future.  SAS Viya is a cloud-enabled, in-memory analytics engine that provides quick, accurate and reliable analytical insights. Viya is Elastic, scalable and fault tolerant.


Q: What is the link for on-demand for SAS practice?

A: You can go to the following link:


Q: How can I have access to the slides from this presentation?

A: The slides are included as a resource (on the resource widget) as part of the recorded webinar which you can access by using the same link you used to join the webinar when you registered.


Q: Would it be possible for you to share the slides or information presented today?

A: We make a pdf document of the slides and the Q&A available on the resources widget which you can access when you access the webinar. You can access the webinar using the same link that you used to access the webinar when you registered.


Q: Are there any recommended free courses?

A: The Programming 1 course is offered as free e-learning, and this is one of the courses we recommend as part of the preparation path to take the exam. Also, the SAS Users YouTube channel is free and there are lots of smaller videos that cover a wide variety of topics in SAS Programming that you can access free of charge by subscribing.


Q: As a biologist, I am not using SAS.  How do I get experience in using SAS?

A: You can start by taking the free e-learning for the Programming 1 course where you will get some hands-on experience by working through the lab activities. The Prep Guide also provides lots of sample questions where you can have the opportunity to program in SAS and practice. In the webinar, Dominique recommended and explained how to download SAS On-demand for Academics, which gives you the ability to have SAS and practice. You can access it for free without a time limit here:


Q: Is SAS 9.4 same as SAS University Edition? Is another programming language like Python needed for SAS 9.4 use? If SAS 9.4 isn't SAS University edition, how much is SAS 9.4 to purchase, rent or 30 to 90-day practice towards SAS Programming Associate Certification.?

A: SAS University edition is being phased out. Please use SAS OnDemand for Academics instead. You can access it for free without a time limit here:

SAS On Demand for academics gives you access to the SAS Studio programming interface for SAS 9.4.Here’s a tutorial to help you get started:

No, you do not need any experience with another programming language. SAS On Demand for academics is FREE 😊


Q: What is the largest size we can upload on SAS OnDemand for Academics?

A: You have a limit of 5GB of individual data storage space.


Q: What is the cost for the e-learning after the 30 days?

A: $4200.00 per year for an individual, however, there are discounts available depending on your situation.


Q: Do you all have any notes we can have to practice, something like a “Cheat Sheet”?

A: We have free sample questions for all exams and most exams have a practice exam. See the website On our website, for every exam that we offer, we provide a complete exam content guide to help you know what is going to be tested on each exam. In addition, we provide sample questions, and, in many cases, we provide practice exams that will allow you to see the types of questions that are on the various exams.


Q: I've passed Base SAS Programming & SAS Advanced Programming for 9 few years back. And now these certificates are retired. What is a difference b/w SAS 9 and SAS 9.4? Should I also need to pass SAS exams for 9.4?

A: The main difference with the new credentials is that they are performance-based. You must write code in the new Specialist and Professional exams (not the Associate, the topic of this webinar). Because you hold the older SAS 9 credentials, there are delta exams that you can take that are shorter and cheaper should you choose to upgrade to the new credentials. More information on our certification website:


 Q: What are SAS delta exams?

A: Delta exams are available for the Specialist and Professional credentials for candidates who already hold the old Base 9 / Advanced 9 credentials. Delta exams don't apply to the Associate.


Q: Once you get the credentials, do you have to update it annually?

A: The credentials do not expire, so you do not have to update the credential annually.


Q: Is the certification prep guide free?

A: The prep guide is not free. Also, you cannot download a copy of the certification prep guide. You can find it for sale Books are currently 25% off.


Q: The passing score for the Programming Associate exam is set to 68%, is this the passing score for all exams?

A: That score is specifically for the Programming Associate. Each exam's passing score is different and can be found on our website,


Q: What is the cost for the Programming Associate exam?

A: The Programming Associate exam is $120.00. Most of the exams cost $180.00 USD.


Q: How do you find a local Pearson VUE Testing Center (PVTC)?

A: Go to: Click on “Find a Test Center” which is located on the right-hand side of the page.  You can then put in your address information and the site will pull up testing centers located closest to you.


Q: I have a Grad Cert using SAS. I have no programming experience. Which exam should I take? If new to SAS, would you recommend the SAS Certified Associate: Programing Fundamentals exam before obtaining the SAS Base Specialist exam?

A: Yes, although it is not required that you take the Programming Fundamentals exam before you take the Base Programming Specialist. The Base Programming Specialist assumes you have 3-6 months experience. The Associate level exam does not assume that you have very much programming experience.


 Q: Do you have military or Veteran discounts?

A: Yes, we do. .Go to: to check out the training discounts. To request a free certification voucher, e-mail proof of military standing to Your certification voucher code is good for six weeks at Pearson VUE. To register for your exam, first create an account in SAS Certification Manager, then follow the steps to register/schedule an exam.


Q: If someone already holds the Specialist credential is there any value to acquiring the Associate credential?  It seems like one should get Associate first, then Specialist.?

A: For the Associate in Programming, it is designed for those with little programming experience.  If you hold Specialist, it is more advanced and there is no need to take the Associate level exam.


Q: Should I take Base Programming Specialist without taking the Programming Fundamentals exam?

A: If you are comfortable with SAS programming you can take the Base Programming Specialist exam without taking the Programming Fundamentals exam. The Programming Fundamentals exam is not a prerequisite for the Base Programming Specialist.


Q: If I don’t pass the exam first time, do I have to pay for fee again

A: Yes, you will be charged the exam fee for each attempt you make for an exam. 


Q: Are the prep questions as they appear on the exam?

A: Yes, we try to make sure that the practice exam questions are similar in type and difficulty level to the live exam questions. They are not the same, but they cover the topics as outlined in the Exam Content Guide which is published on our website for each exam.


Q: If I’m testing from home, can I turn off the VPN since all my PCs have VPN installed on them?

A: Yes, you can simply turn off the VPN.


Q: If I’m taking the exam from my home, am I allowed to use the restroom during the exam? Can I leave the room at any time?

A: You are not allowed to leave the testing space during the exam, and it is the same way at a Pearson VUE testing center. Go to this site to see the information about requirements and rules for taking an exam from your home through ONVUE:


Q: If there was one thing, you would suggest a new learner to focus on to make their life easier with understanding the fundamentals. What would you suggest???

A: Take time to practice programming in the SAS software. You can do this by downloading SAS On-demand for Academics and practice programming using examples from the lab activities in the training or from the certification prep guide.  Another option would be to practice the examples from the book “Learning SAS by Example” found here: In either case, you can use SAS OnDemand for Academics as your interface for practicing programming.


Q: What if we want to retake the exam to score better?

A: The exams are pass/fail. Once you pass an exam, no further attempts are allowed.


Q: I plan to take the test from home. Does the room where I'll be taking the exam, have to be sanitized ( SAS book lying around, etc.)? Do they use the laptop camera to check?

A: Maybe not sanitized, but you cannot have books, notes, etc., lying about. The proctor will monitor the exam session using the webcam in the laptop. This information about online proctoring is covered in this webinar as well.


Q: Does SAS have RSS feed?

A: Here is more info on SAS RSS:


Q: Are there any disability testing accommodations for taking SAS exams?

A: Yes, there are. You can reach out to for your specific situation. Common accommodations are to provide a time extension for candidates with conditions such as dyslexia.


Q: I would like to take SAS Certified Associate: Programming Fundamentals using 9.4: Does it just cover SAS level 1 training only? Does it cover both level 2 and level 1?

A: It covers content from Programming 1 and 2.


Q: In the Associate level Programming Fundamentals exam there is no programming, but do you have to evaluate a code that may be right/wrong? Do you have to identify what's wrong? What is the result of this code?

A: Yes. You must interpret and analyze code.


Q: Do you get more than one chance to pass exam?

A: You can take an exam up to five times in any 12-month period, waiting 14 days between each attempt. Once you pass, you cannot take the exam again.


Q: How many times can you take an exam in a year?

A: You can take the exam up to five times in a year.


Q: I took programming 1 and 2, as well as the certification review course and the practice exams. I did all the coding exercises from the courses and the prep guide. However, I passed the practice exam only on the second attempt, not the first attempt. I don't feel enough confident. Are there other coding exercises resources I can use to gain more confidence?

A: If you still have access to the Extended Learning Pages from those trainings, I highly recommend you try the case studies. Another option would be to practice the examples from the book: “Learning SAS by Example” found here: In either case, you can use SAS OnDemand for Academics as your interface for practicing programming.


Q: I took the older version of the cert.  Is there an upgrade path so I can pick up the Programming Specialist credential?

A: This depends on how old the old version is.  Check here for info on delta exams


Q: I have taken the Associate exam and now I am preparing for the specialist base exam. To apply for jobs, how do you show the experience if you are not using SAS at your work.?

A: When you achieve any SAS certification you receive a digital badge which you can share on your LinkedIn profile. That digital badge shows that you have proven SAS programming skills and it’s verifiable.


Q: Do you need to take the Associate exam before taking the Specialist or Professional exams?

A: No, it is not a pre-requisite, but you could do this if you choose so.


Q: Where can I get local certification exam or take the exam locally?

A: You can test online, or locate a testing center at


Q: Which Internet browsers can I use with SAS® OnDemand for Academics?

A: An Internet browser is required to register for SAS® OnDemand for Academics, use the SAS® OnDemand for Academics Control Center, and download specific SAS® OnDemand for Academics software.


Q: Is there a performance-based section in SAS Programming Specialist exam??

A: Yes, you will have to program in SAS if you choose to take this exam. The Programming Associate exam does not require that you program in SAS and is only multiple-choice and fill in the blank questions.


Q: Is Programming 1 & Programming 2 training enough to earn the SAS digital Badge?

A: This is the recommended training for the Programming Associate exam, however, to earn the badge you must sit for and pass the certification exam to get a digital badge for the certification.


Q: What is the score needed for the Associate Programmer certification and what’s the average score users get?

A: The cut score for the Associate Programmer certification is 68%. Sorry, but we do not release average scores or pass rates.


Q: How many times we can do the practice test?

A: You can take the practice exam as many times as you want but it is the same set of questions. The questions do not change. The practice exams are free.


Q: Do we need to have SAS software on our computer to give SAS certification from home?

A: No, you do not need to have SAS software on your computer to take the exam from your home.


Q: For a long-time SAS programmer, which certification would you recommend taking to save cost.?

A: We recommend that you check out the comparison chart of the three programming exams found at this site: Also check out the Exam Content Guides for the Programming Associate and Programming Specialist to compare. If you have been programming in SAS for some time you would likely want to take the Programming Specialist exam because that exam gives you the opportunity to actually program on the exam using SAS so that you can answer questions. The Programming Associate credential is designed for someone with little to no programming experience.


Q: Is there any benefit to taking both the Programming Associate and Base Programming Specialist exams, or should you jump straight to Base Programming Specialist if you feel prepared??

A: The Programming Associate is designed for people with less programming experience and does not require that you program in SAS during the exam. If you review the Exam Content Guide for the Base Programming Specialist and feel confident on all the testing topics listed, then you should take that exam.


Q What SAS interface do the tests use? There is a little difference between SAS EG and SAS PC in terms of interface.?

A: The Associate credential is UI independent. For the performance-based Specialist / Professional credentials, you can use any of the three UIs, "Old" Display Manager, SAS Studio or Enterprise Guide.


Q: I don't have access to SAS is there free desktop/cloud version available?

A: Yes, you can get SAS OnDemand for Academics. You can access it for free without a time limit here:


Q: In SAS programming 1 training you can use SAS Enterprise Guide, how do you download/get SAS enterprise guide?

A: Yes, you can get SAS Enterprise Guide when you download SAS OnDemand for Academics. You can access it for free without a time limit here:


Q: If I take the Associate test and then want to upgrade to the Base Programming Specialist later, do I have to take the whole exam again?

A: The Programming Associate and Programming Specialist are two different credentials so yes; you would have to take the exam associated with the Base Programming Specialist credential and pass it to receive credit for that credential.


Q: I am interested in the Clinical Trials exam, where can I find information about that?

A: You can find the information for the Clinical Trials Programmer at this location:


Q: Are the SAS certification tests closed book or open book?

A: You cannot bring reference material to the exams. But the performance-based Specialist/Professional exams allow access to documentation from within the exam.


Q: Are these exams compulsory for the person to work in a company?

A: It is possible that some companies may require a certification, but that would be up to the individual company.


Q: How does Coursera fit into the preparations for exams?

A: We have a training path curated on Coursera that will also help you prepare for the SAS Certified Associate and SAS Certified Specialist exams. This is an alternative to taking SAS Programming 1 and SAS Programming 2 as e-learnings or Live web. It's all the same content. Check that out here




HI, do you offer exam accommodations like time extension, for non-native English speakers?


SAS does not offer a time extension for non-native English speakers.  We believe that we have offered an adequate amount of time to take the exam and that the time allotted should be sufficient, even if English is not your first language.  We offer numerous resources, that should help you prepare to take the exam and feel confident when taking it.  For the Programming Associate credential, please make sure you go to:

Make sure that you download the exam content guide because that can serve as your study guide for the exam.  From that link above, you can also access the FREE practice exam.  Take that towards the end of your studies to determine areas where you might still need to study a little more.  


Hope this helps and good luck to you. 

Kind Regards, 


thank you for the clear answer and resources

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