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 bring you recognition for your knowledge and skills.

Register for a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exam

There are two ways to register for an exam:

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

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

The exam details page for each exam contains a "Skills measured" section that you can review, along with a list of preparation tools and resources provided by Microsoft. The best way to prepare for an exam is to practice the skills listed in the preparation options. Hands-on experience with the technology is required to successfully pass Microsoft Certification exams. Additional preparation resources are available at Microsoft Virtual Academy and on study group forums.

Here's an example of the exam details page for a popular Windows Server exam.

There are additional resources that can help you get started:

Training

Practice tests

Further resources

To protect exam security and the value of our certifications, we do not identify exam formats or question types before the exam. The exam may contain any of the following:

Microsoft continually introduces innovative testing technologies and question types and reserves the right to incorporate either into exams at any time without advance notice.

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

  1. Define the skill domain. Experts identify the critical tasks performed within specific job functions and/or when using a specific technology.

  2. Define distribution of skills in the exam. These skills 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 exam questions. Based on the blueprint, subject matter experts (SMEs) write exam questions to measure the critical skills.

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

  5. Beta test. 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. Finalise question pool. The results of the beta exam are analysed 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 in the live exam.

  7. Set 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, and on the difficulty of the questions included in the exam.

  8. Live exam. Pearson VUE or Certiport, independent exam delivery providers, administer the final certification exam. The exam is available at testing centres worldwide.

  9. Sustainment/maintenance. After an exam is published, its psychometric performance and the ongoing validity and reliability of its questions are continually monitored. If questions are no longer valid, reliable or performing well, they are removed or replaced and the exam is republished.

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 offers a limited number of beta seats for free. These seats are available by invitation only. Invitations to participate in beta exams are sent by email to qualified members of the Microsoft training and certification SME profile database. This notification includes a registration code that enables you to register for that specific beta exam. Only candidates who have work experience in the technology are sent notifications. For some technologies (like 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'd like to take the beta exam but did not receive an invitation or were unable to register for a free seat, you may take the exam during this period by registering as you would for any exam and paying the standard price. Although this exam is not free, we understand that some candidates may have an interest in taking 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. By providing this as an option, we are able to meet the needs of such candidates who, in the past, would have had to wait until the live version of the exam was available.

If there are remaining seats, their availability is posted in Microsoft certification-related blogs.

Note Receiving an invitation does not guarantee you a seat in the beta exam. 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 an exam preparation guide. However, this is not always possible. In addition, 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.

Beta exam scoring

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

You usually receive your exam score by the time the final version of the exam becomes available – this can be up to 16 weeks after you take the exam. This time frame reflects the comprehensive process used to evaluate the beta exam results.

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.

Beta exam results

After the beta period closes, we statistically analyse the data to evaluate the performance of each question. We also read and evaluate all comments provided during the beta exam.

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.

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 when it's live and at its standard cost.

If you believe that your beta score should be available, 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 Centre.

The following table lists new exams, beginning with the most recently released.

Exam title

Exam number

Managing Enterprise Devices and Apps

Deploying Windows Devices and Enterprise Apps

Virtualising Enterprise Desktops and Apps

Upgrading Your Windows XP Skills to MCSA Windows 8.1

Mobility and Devices Fundamentals

Cloud Fundamentals

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Application

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Installation

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Financials

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Trade and Logistics

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 CU8 Development Introduction

Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

Designing and Providing Microsoft Volume Licensing Solutions to Large Organisations

Recertification for MCSE: Server Infrastructure

Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions