Microsoft Certification exams

Microsoft Certification can take you from the start of your career to its pinnacle. Certification can increase your visibility, differentiate you from your peers, and validate your knowledge and skills.

Register for a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exam

Microsoft Office Certification

For Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exams delivered through academic outlets, register at Certiport.

Microsoft Technical Certification

For all other Microsoft Certification paths and MTA exams delivered through commercial outlets, sign in with Microsoft, and then select your exam and schedule with Pearson VUE.

Prepare for your exam

The exam details page for each exam contains a "Skills measured" section that lists the skills that will be assessed on the exam as well as any available preparation tools and resources provided by Microsoft.

Additional resources that can help you get started:

Exam formats and question types

To protect exam security and the value of our certifications, we do not identify exam formats or question types before the exam. Microsoft continually introduces innovative testing technologies and question types and reserves the right to incorporate either into exams at any time without advance notice. The exam may contain any of the following:

Exam development

Microsoft Certification exams are carefully developed with input from industry professionals to reflect how Microsoft products are used in organizations throughout the world.

1) Define the skill domain.

Experts identify the critical tasks performed when using a specific technology within specific job roles or functions.

2) Define the distribution of skills on the exam.

The skills identified in step 1 are evaluated by additional technical and job function experts from around the world. Their evaluation becomes the blueprint that defines the distribution of questions across the skill domain.

3) Write the exam questions.

Subject matter experts (SMEs) write exam questions to measure the critical skills according to the distribution defined by the blueprint created in Step 2.

4) Evaluate the accuracy, clarity, appropriateness, etc. of each question.

A panel of experts who did not write the items reviews each one for technical accuracy, relevancy, useful knowledge, and objective alignment during the alpha review.

5) Beta test the questions.

The alpha-reviewed items are then pilot tested in an exam-like situation known as a “beta exam.” This ensures that only the best content is included in the live exam.

6) Finalize the question pool.

The results of the beta exam are psychometrically analyzed for factors such as difficulty, ability to differentiate high and low performers, reliability, and more. Only those questions that meet Microsoft’s psychometric criteria will appear on the live exam.

7) Set the cut score.

A panel of experts works with Microsoft’s psychometrician to determine a passing score. This score is based on the skills needed to be considered competent in the skill domain in relation to the difficulty of the questions included on the exam.

8) The exam is available worldwide.

Pearson VUE or Certiport, independent exam delivery providers, administer the certification exam. The exam is available at testing centers worldwide or through online proctoring if delivered through VUE (online proctoring is not currently available through Certiport).

9) Sustain/maintain over the life of the exam.

Microsoft monitors the psychometric performance of the exams throughout their lifetime, ensuring that they continue to be valid and reliable measures of the skill domain. Questions that no longer perform psychometrically are removed, and new items are added as features and functionality are updated and/or to replace items removed for psychometric reasons or because of changes in the technology.

Participating in beta exams

A critical part of the exam development process is the beta exam. By taking the exam in its beta format, candidates provide us with useful information to evaluate the technical accuracy, relevance, and psychometric characteristics of the questions before we score examinees.

How to participate

Microsoft beta exams are offered at an 80% discount. Candidates who take the exam receive a 25% discount on their next exam after rescoring is complete, as explained in the Born to Learn blog post Updates on Microsoft Beta Exam Program. Qualified participants in the SME Profile database program receive a unique discount code to participate in beta exams—increasing the likelihood of getting a seat in the beta exam—approximately 3 days before the beta is announced on the Born to Learn blog.

The SME Profile database program is now hosted on Microsoft Collaborate. See the Born to Learn blog post Help Us Create Exams and Learning Content! Join our SME Database Today! for instructions on how to join the program on Collaborate.

For some technologies, such as Windows Server and Windows operating systems, we have significantly more qualified candidates in the SME Profile database than we have available seats. In these cases, we randomly select an appropriate number of qualified candidates and send the invitation to those who were randomly selected. If you’re not selected, you can still participate by watching the Born to Learn blog where we will post a different code on the day beta exam registration opens.

If you’d like to take the beta exam but did not receive an invitation or were unable to register for a discounted seat, you may take the exam during this period by registering as you would for any exam and paying the regular price. We understand that some candidates may want to take the exam early to meet job requirements or career growth needs, or to demonstrate that they are early adopters of (and competent in) the technology.

Only candidates who have experience with the technology should participate in beta exams.

Note Participation in the beta is on a first come, first served basis. Due to popular demand, we recommend that you register as soon as the beta registration period begins.

Preparing for a beta exam

In most cases, you will have access to the Exam Details page that lists the skills that will be assessed on the exam. However, formal courseware and other training materials are rarely available when the beta exam period begins. People interested in beta exams usually have access to other resources, are experienced with the technology, or work with the beta product. We recommend that you consult peers, community resources, and early-adopter articles for support if you need additional preparation materials.

For more suggestions and ideas on how to prepare for beta exams without preparation materials, see the Born to Learn blog post: Just How Does One Prepare for Beta Exams without Preparation Materials?

Beta exam scoring and results

When you complete a beta exam, you do not receive a score immediately because the scoring model for the exam is not yet finalized.

You usually receive your exam score within 2-3 weeks after the exam becomes available worldwide—this can be up to 16 weeks after you take the exam, depending on when in the beta period you took the exam. This time frame reflects the comprehensive process used to evaluate the beta exam results, including statistically analyzing the data to evaluate the performance of each question and reading and evaluating all comments provided during the beta exam. The rescore process starts on the day that exams go live, and final scores are released approximately 10 days later.

Note Participation in beta exams is voluntary, and Microsoft makes no promises or guarantees regarding the beta exam process, availability of your scores, or the timing of your results.

Passing the beta exam

Passing a beta exam in your certification path counts toward your certification. You do not need to retake the exam in its final version. Make sure that you take another exam within a year so you can take advantage of the 25% discount you earned for taking the beta exam.

If you do not pass the beta exam, you cannot retake the beta exam. If you are interested in earning a certification that requires successful completion of that exam, you must wait to retake the exam at regular cost when it’s live, or you can apply the 25% discount that you received for participating in the beta exam.

If you believe that your beta score should be available (because the exam is live or you saw a tweet stating it was), first check whether the exam delivery provider has posted it online. If it has not, contact the exam delivery provider. (Note that it can take up to two weeks after the final version of the exam is publicly available for your beta score to appear online.) If the exam delivery provider has posted a score, but you do not see the score on your Microsoft transcript, contact your Microsoft Regional Service Center.

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