The Beta exam starts August 11, 2009 and continues through September 9, 2009. The cost is only $50 US. If you pass the Beta (you find out in writing 4 to 6 weeks after taking it), it counts like the "real thing".
Of course, the Instructor Team here will be running out to enjoy this new Beta. We will strive to make updated materials available by September 10 for the Gold version of the exam.