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.

There are essentially three levels of MOS certification that can be earned:
  • MOS Specialist (requires at least one exam to be passed)
  • MOS Expert (requires at least one exam to be passed)
  • MOS Master (requires three or four exams to be passed, 1 of which is elective)
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 2013
  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Microsoft Office 2007 and Windows Vista

Retired MOS tracks:
  • 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 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 (2010, 2007, 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. There are no upgrade exams available for candidates who have passed a MOS exam for earlier versions of Office products.

For the MOS 2007 and 2010 exams, all questions are simulated, real-world-type questions as opposed to written, multiple choice-type questions. The user is presented with a somewhat limited version of the Microsoft Office application in question (e.g. Word) and given a number of questions or tasks to complete. Each question in the exam can contain a number of parts - for example, the candidate may be asked to format a paragraph with a certain style, then apply bullet points, and lastly to insert a page footer – all for the one question or task. The candidate will be scored on the actual steps taken to complete each part of the task, and any incorrect menu choices, wrong options and such will be taken into account for your final score for that question. The help menu is not accessible at any time during the exam.

For MOS 2013 candidates are instead given a project to complete with a set of instructions. Watch a demonstration video here.

MOS exams can be scheduled and taken at any Certiport testing facility. Exams are typically 50 minutes in duration. Candidates will be shown their score immediately upon conclusion of the exam. Should you fail the exam, you are required to wait a period of 7 days before retaking the exam. Upon successfully completing the 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: