Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification

  1. MOS Information

Microsoft's MOS certification (Microsoft Office Specialist) is designed to demonstrate proficiency in the use of the Microsoft stable of Office products, namely Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Project, SharePoint and OneNote. The certification is aimed at users with at least 6 months experience using Microsoft Office products although this is not a requirement to take any of the MOS exams.

There are essentially three levels of MOS certification that can be earned:
MOS certification candidates can choose which particular Office version they wish to become certified in. At the time of writing MOS certification is offered for the following:
  • Microsoft Office 2016
  • Microsoft Office 2013
  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Microsoft Office 2007

Retired MOS tracks:
  • Microsoft Office Vista
  • Microsoft Office XP
  • Microsoft Office 2000
  • Microsoft Office 2003

MOS exams are available for each of the individual Office products (i.e. Word, Excel etc.) and candidates can choose to simply take any or all exams that they wish (unless going for the MOS Master certification in which case all exams need to be passed). So those wishing only to show proficiency with Microsoft Word can simply elect to take the MOS Word exam in the version of Office they are familiar with (2016, 2013, 2010, etc). Passing that exam will earn the candidate the MOS Word Specialist credential. If the candidate then decides to go on and pass the Microsoft Excel exam, they then earn the MOS Excel Specialist credential and so on. The candidate can choose to do as many individual MOS certifications as they wish. There are no upgrade exams available for candidates who have passed an earlier MOS exam for any particular Office product (for example, there is no upgrade exam for a holder of MOS Excel 2010 to convert that credential to Excel 2016. In such a case, the candidate would simply have to pass the Excel 2016 MOS exam).

MOS 2007 and 2010 exams ask the candidate to complete a variety of real-world tasks using the tools and functions of the repsective Microsoft Office product. Each question is generally a stand-alone question - although some questions may be grouped into categories. From MOS 2013 onward, candidates are given a real-world project to work on in which the candidate will be required to use their entire knowledge of the Office application in order to successfuly complete the project. You can see an overview of the format of the new exams here.

MOS exams can be scheduled and taken at any Certiport testing facility. A typical MOS Exam might take up to 90 minutes in duration. Candidates will be shown their score immediately upon conclusion of the exam and should you fail the exam, you are required to wait a period of 7 days before retaking that same MOS exam. Upon successfully completing the MOS exam you will be presented with a score sheet and confirmation of the pass and your official MOS certificate will be mailed to you in a matter of weeks.

MOS Study Resources: