| About this Exam |
The Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam for Microsoft Office Excel 2003 is now available at Authorized Testing Centers
Candidates qualifying for Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits may receive reimbursement
for the cost of Microsoft Office Specialist exams.
Microsoft Office Specialist certifications have been recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE) for college credit. Candidates who achieve certification can apply for college credit through participating ACE member institutions.
This Microsoft Office Specialist exam is performance-based, requiring you to perform a series of tasks using Microsoft Office Excel 2003. Scenario-based
Many of the questions in this Microsoft Office Specialist exam require you to complete a series of tasks to create or modify a typical business document. For example, you might be instructed as follows:
Modify the Store Inventory worksheet by completing the following tasks:
- Enter a formula in cell F26 to average the values in cell range F3:F25 to calculate average purchase price.
- Use AutoFilter to display the records for items with a retail price greater than or equal to 100.00.
During the exam you will see the exam controls across the bottom of the screen. Each of the exam controls and their functions are described below.
- COUNTER: The Counter tracks how many questions you have completed and how many remain.
- TIMER: The Timer starts when the first question appears on your screen. The Timer displays the remaining exam time. If the Timer is distracting, click the Timer to remove the display. Note: transition time between questions is not counted against total allotted exam time.
- ZOOM: The Zoom icon enables you to increase or decrease font size of the question text by clicking “+” or “-“.
- RESET: The Reset button enables you to restart work on a question if you think you have made an error. Note: the Reset button will not restart the entire exam nor extend the total allotted exam time.
- NEXT: When you complete a question, click the Next button to move to the next question. Note: It is not possible to move back to previous exam questions.
One to three points are possible per question, depending on the number of specified tasks. At the conclusion of an exam your final score is derived by converting the task score to a 1000-point scale.
While some questions involve more tasks than others, each question is scored on a total-score basis (i.e.; number correct) rather than on a pass/fail basis. For example, a 20-question exam may have 34 possible points; one point for each task.
This exam uses the actual Microsoft Excel 2003 program. All menu items, keyboard shortcuts and right-click options will be available to complete the tasks. The help menu, including use of the Office Assistant, is not available in any of the exams.
This exam has 15-20 questions involving 30-45 tasks. The number of questions depends on the exam form you are administered.
This exam has a maximum allowed time of 50 minutes.
Success Profile and Preparation Tips
Experience using Microsoft Word is the most effective method of preparation.
The majority of successful candidates for Microsoft Excel 2003 certification:
Passing standard (cut-score)
- Have had more than one year experience using the application in an applied setting (i.e., on the job, in school, and/or at home) prior to their exam experience,
- Spent no less than 20 hours in exam specific preparation,
- Chose practice tests/assessments, instructor-led training, self-study/books guides, or computer-based training as their primary preparation methods, and
- Used the following methods of preparation in combination:
- practice tests/assessments,
- self-study books/guides,
- computer-based training, and/or
- instructor-led training.
Multiple forms (or versions) of this certification exam are produced to maintain exam security. The passing score for this exam, accordingly, depends upon the form that is administered. Test-Taking Rules
- Exam security: Certain security measures are in place to protect the integrity of Office Specialist exams. For example, all examinees are required to present personal identification at the testing center and to consent to a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before taking an exam. Finally, additional rules and procedures are in place for Microsoft Office Specialist Authorized Testing Centers and examinees to combat cheating and misuse of exams.
- Retake policy: Candidates may retake the same exam one time without restriction. However, candidates who wish to retake the exam a second or subsequent time must wait a minimum of seven days before retaking the exam. Candidates participating in exam beta-testing may take each beta exam only once.
- Entering Information: Enter requested information as it appears in the instructions without duplicating the format. For example, all text and values that you will be asked to enter will appear with bold and underlined text formats, however, you should enter the information without applying these formats unless you are specifically instructed to do otherwise.
- Dialog Boxes, Task Panes and Toolbars: You must close all dialog boxes, but you do not have to close task panes before proceeding to the next question, unless you are instructed to do otherwise. Closing floating toolbars is optional.
- Saving: You do not have to save your work before proceeding to the next question, unless you are instructed to do otherwise.
- Office Help: To ensure a fair and secure testing environment, the Office Help system (including the Office Assistant) cannot be accessed during the exam.
- Printing: For questions that ask you to print a document, spreadsheet, chart, report, slide, etc., please note that nothing will actually be printed.
- Scoring: Scoring is based on a combination of the end result of your work and, where specified, the method used, but not the time taken to complete questions or the exam. Extra keystrokes or mouse clicks will not count against your score. Tasks that are not dependent upon other tasks within a question may be completed in any sequence.
- Computer Interruptions: In the event of a computer interruption, notify the testing center administrator immediately to restart your exam. The examination software will return to the point in the exam where you were interrupted and will retain your score and your remaining testing time.
- Exam Time: The exam timer works against the time spent answering the questions and does not count the time required by the computer between questions.
| Audience Profile |
Microsoft Office Excel 2003 certification is intended for students and information workers whose responsibilities include the use of Microsoft Excel to create, modify, and manage common business workbooks and worksheets in organizations of every size.
| Note This preparation guide is subject to change at any time without prior notice and at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Microsoft exams might include adaptive testing technology and simulation items. Microsoft does not identify the format in which exams are presented. Please use this preparation guide to prepare for the exam, regardless of its format. |