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  • Published:
    August 23, 2017
  • Languages:
    English, Japanese, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), French, German, Korean
  • Audiences:
    IT professionals, Developers, Information workers
  • Technology:
    Python (version 3.6 or later)
  • Credit toward certification:

Introduction to Programming Using Python

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Skills measured

This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

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Perform Operations using Data Types and Operators (20-25%)
  • Evaluate an expression to identify the data type Python will assign to each variable
    • Identify str, int, float, and bool data types
  • Perform data and data type operations
    • Convert from one data type to another type; construct data structures; perform indexing and slicing operations
  • Determine the sequence of execution based on operator precedence
    • Assignment; Comparison; Logical; Arithmetic; Identity (is); Containment (in)
  • Select the appropriate operator to achieve the intended result
    • Assignment; Comparison; Logical; Arithmetic; Identity (is); Containment (in)
Control Flow with Decisions and Loops (25-30%)
  • Construct and analyze code segments that use branching statements
    • if; elif; else; nested and compound conditional expressions
  • Construct and analyze code segments that perform iteration
    • while; for; break; continue; pass; nested loops and loops that include compound conditional expressions
Perform Input and Output Operations (20-25%)
  • Construct and analyze code segments that perform file input and output operations
    • Open; close; read; write; append; check existence; delete; with statement
  • Construct and analyze code segments that perform console input and output operations
    • Read input from console; print formatted text; use of command line arguments
Document and Structure Code (15-20%)
  • Document code segments using comments and documentation strings
    • Use indentation, white space, comments, and documentation strings; generate documentation by using pydoc
  • Construct and analyze code segments that include function definitions
    • Call signatures; default values; return; def; pass
Perform Troubleshooting and Error Handling (5-10%)
  • Analyze, detect, and fix code segments that have errors
    • Syntax errors; logic errors; runtime errors
  • Analyze and construct code segments that handle exceptions
    • Try; except; else; finally; raise
Perform Operations Using Modules and Tools (1-5%)
  • Perform basic operations using built-in modules
    • Math; datetime; io; sys; os; os.path; random
  • Solve complex computing problems by using built-in modules
    • Math; datetime; random

Preparation options

Instructor-led training
Practice test

Take a Microsoft Official Practice Test for exam 98-381

Beginning in April 2017, over time, practice tests will become available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), and Russian. To see when a specific language is offered for this practice test, please check back.

Who should take this exam?

Candidates for this exam should be able to recognize and write syntactically correct Python code, recognize data types supported by Python, and be able to recognize and write Python code that will logically solve a given problem.

Candidates are expected to have had, at a minimum, instruction and/or hands-on experience of approximately 100 hours with the Python programming language, be familiar with its features and capabilities, and understand how to write, debug, and maintain well-formed, well documented Python code.

More information about exams

Preparing for an exam

We recommend that you review this exam preparation guide in its entirety and familiarize yourself with the resources on this website before you schedule your exam. See the Microsoft Certification exam overview for information about registration, videos of typical exam question formats, and other preparation resources. For information on exam policies and scoring, see the Microsoft Certification exam policies and FAQs.


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. To help you prepare for this exam, Microsoft recommends that you have hands-on experience with the product and that you use the specified training resources. These training resources do not necessarily cover all topics listed in the "Skills measured" section.