Microsoft Office is one of the most widely used suites of productivity tools in the business world. In fact, it’s so essential that understanding it is a prerequisite to obtaining employment at some companies.
Given its prevalence in the corporate world, becoming Microsoft Office certified is one way you can stand out from the crowd and prove your level of proficiency.
According to a Microsoft report, a Microsoft Office certification can earn an entry-level business employee as much as $16,000 more in annual salary than uncertified peers.
So what MOS certification is right for you? How do you prepare for a MOS certification? And what can you expect during the exam? Where do you take the exams? I am going answer all those questions. As one who has been through many industry certification exams, inclusive of Microsoft Office Master, I want to share with you how you prepare for your certification, and increase your chances of successfully passing your exam.
Choose a Certification
Microsoft offers three levels of Office certification. At the Specialist and Expert levels of certification, you can get certified in a specific Office application, such as Word or Excel, which involves a single exam. Or you can become a Microsoft Office Master by passing multiple exams.
MOS 2013 exams are performance-based, which gauges the ability to perform real-world tasks similar to the projects you would encounter in your daily work.
MOS 2013 Specialist: The specialist exams validate core skills in the following Office 2013 applications. Passing at least one of the following exams will give you MOS 2013 specialist status.
- Office 365
MOS 2013 Expert: An expert exam certifies advanced skills in Microsoft Word and/or Microsoft Excel. To earn a MOS 2013 expert certification, you must pass the two-part exam for Word or Excel Expert.
MOS 2013 Master: A Master certification demonstrates expertise across multiple applications within the Microsoft Office suite. There are three master tracks to choose from within Office 2013. Each track requires you to pass four exams – three required and one elective.
For more information and full details on each MOS certification, click here.
Certification exams are available in MOS 2013/2010/2007. If you are certifying for the first time, I suggest that you consider certification in the most current version.
How to Practice and Prepare for Your Microsoft Office Certification Exam
The first step you should take to prepare for your MOS certification exam is to get familiar with the exam objectives. The links below offer a list of MOS exams and associated exam numbers. (Click on the link for your exam to view the specific objectives.)
I also recommend using practice tests to better prepare for the exam, and learn more about how it’s structured.
As described by Microsoft Press, “The MOS Study Guide is designed to help readers practice and prepare for the skills and knowledge measured by the MOS certification exams. The book divides exam coverage into chapters representing groups of core, related skill sets that correspond to MOS exam objectives.”
The guides include exam objectives, hands-on tasks for your practice and downloadable practice tests. You can find the MOS 2013 Study Guide Series here.
Preparing for a MOS certification can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Success is achieved one step at a time. And when it comes to MOS certification, it’s important to take it one exam at a time. Determine where you have the greatest expertise and start there. For example, if you work extensively in Microsoft Office Word, begin with that certification. Download the exam objectives and start studying. If you find you’re lacking in knowledge in some exam objectives, be proactive and get the training you need!
Getting a MOS certification is well worth the effort, and it can add value not only to your admin career, but it has potential to increase your paycheck, too! So get studying — you can do this!
Note: my article first appeared in a guest post for the All Things Admin newsletter. Their newsletter is excellent. ~ Donna Gilliland, Founder of MOSTraining, Inc.