There are several facets to the overall testing experience when sitting Microsoft certification exams. These includes the many different types of questions that could appear on the exam. There are also multiple options for taking the exams at a testing center or online proctored. You will also need to make sure you have a valid photo ID.


Exam Registration

Microsoft has partnered with delivery partners Pearson VUE and Certiport to make certification exams available. This enables worldwide availability for candidates to sit for certification exams. You can register to take a certification exam from the official Microsoft Certification page for the particular exam you wish to sit for.

There are two options to choose from when registering and taking Microsoft certification exams:

  • Testing Center
  • Online Proctored

Testing Center Available Worldwide

The delivery partners Pearson VUE and Certiport offer a worldwide network of testing centers available for sitting for Microsoft certification exams. The Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exams are delivered through academic outlets via Certiport. All other Microsoft certification paths and MTA exams are delivered through commercial outlets via Pearson VUE.

Identification Requirements

You will need to present a valid photo ID when appearing to take a certification exam. The name on your ID must match your Microsoft account and Pearson VUE registration. There are several forms of ID that are accepted for verification:

  • Driver’s license
  • Military ID
  • Passport
  • Identification card (national/state/province identify card)
  • Alien registration card (green card, permanent resident, visa)
  • Government-issued local language ID (not in Roman characters); only accepted if issued from the country in which the candidate is testing

You will need to present a valid photo ID when appearing to take a certification exam.

Online Proctored Exams

The Online Proctored option for taking Microsoft certification exams is a great way to go through the certification process if you can’t go to a testing center for some reason. This can be useful if you live or work in a location that doesn’t have any testing centers easily accessible. It’s a great option to sit an exam in a location that’s more familiar and controlled by you so you can lower any potential testing anxiety you may experience.

It’s a great option to sit an exam in a location that’s more familiar and controlled by you so you can lower any potential testing anxiety you may experience.

Exams offered for the online proctored option are available in all languages supported by the testing centers in your country. Online proctored exams are available in most countries, except Japan. It’s also worth noting that there is greater support, proctor support, the proctoring software is currently only available in English.

Before you register for an online proctored exam, be sure to complete these steps:

  1. Complete the required system test on the same computer and connected to the same network / Internet connection where you will sit the exam. You can find information about the system test here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/online-exams.aspx
  2. Confirm that your Identification (ID) is compliant with the requirements, and that the name on your identification exactly matches the name on your profile.
  3. Review the technical, system, environment, and testing protocol requirements to sit an online proctored Microsoft certification exam.

When getting ready to sit for an online proctored exam, it’s recommended to login to your computer and get ready to site the exam 15 minutes prior to the scheduled exam start time. It’ll take a few minutes to get connected to the proctor, verify your identification, and go through the scanning process before you are able to start the exam.

It’s recommended to login to your computer and get ready to site the exam 15 minutes prior to the scheduled exam start time.

Home or Office Requirements for Online Proctored Exams

You will need a dedicated space to sit for an online proctored certification exam. This space must be setup so you can sit the entire exam uninterrupted. It also must be clear from any distractions or possible methods that could be used to cheat or video record the exam being taken.

Your home or office setting must meet these requirements:

  • The conference room or office must be walled, have a closed door, and be free from all disruptions.
  • If sitting the exam at home, the room must be free from all disruptions.
  • No other person can be in the room or heard talking in the background during the testing session.

When beginning the testing session, the online proctor will have you perform a scan of your working area using the webcam on your computer. You will need to move your webcam around, or lift and rotate your laptop, as instructed by the proctor so they can scan and inspect your working area. You will be instructed to scan up and down to show the entire room you’re sitting the exam in; from floor to ceiling.

You will need to move your webcam around, or lift and rotate your laptop, as instructed by the proctor so they can scan and inspect your working area.

The scanning process is so the online proctor can scan for security risks. There are several items the proctor will look for and ensure certain requirements are met. These may include the following:

  • Additional monitors are unplugged and turned away from you. They may ask you to show them the power plug to verify any additional monitors are disconnected.
  • Additional computers must be turned off and monitors must be dark.
  • Wall art / posters will be inspected.

The desk area where you will be sitting the exam must be cleared of all items. Any use of smartphones, books, notepads, Post-it notes, writing instruments, paper, or whiteboards are not allowed. You are not allowed to access any personal belongings, eat, drink, take breaks, or get assistance from any other person during the testing session.

During the entire online proctored testing session, you are acknowledging that the webcam of your computer will be used to continuously monitor you through audio and video until you are finished with the exam.

How many questions are on the exam?

Microsoft doesn’t officially publish the total question count on each of the certification exams. Most of the Microsoft certification exams typically contain somewhere between 40 and 60 total questions. Although, the total number of questions on an exam can vary depending on the exam.

Microsoft certification exams typically contain somewhere between 40 and 60 total questions.

When Microsoft certification exams are created, there is a question pool created that contains many more questions than will be given to a candidate when they sit the exam. At testing time, the candidate will be given a subset of the total question pool. The questions are divided up amongst the different objective domains covered on the exam. Each objective domain will contain the appropriate number of questions so the correct percentage of the exam is made up of questions from the question pool for that objective domain.

Each candidate that takes the exam will likely receive a different subset of questions from the total question pool. Also, if you need to retake the exam due to a failed attempt, you will receive a different set of questions the next sitting as well. All of this keeps the exam being different for each candidate to help ensure the validity and integrity of the exam. No single person will see all the questions in the pool, and will have a slightly unique experience with each testing session from other candidates.

At testing time, the candidate will be given a unique exam made up of a subset of the total question pool for that certification exam. This ensures unique testing experiences per individual and across retakes.

How long are the Microsoft Certification exams?

The total time to sit for an exam depends on the type of Microsoft certification exam taken. The time given to complete most of the Microsoft certification exams range from 150 to 180 minutes. In generally, you should also allocate an additional 30 minutes to take the exam, since there is identification verification and setup time required to get started.

The time given to complete most of the Microsoft certification exams range from 150 to 180 minutes.

Part of the setup time includes the necessary time to read through the exam instructions, read and accept the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). There will also be additional time needed if you choose to provide any comments / feedback on exam questions once you’ve finished the exam.

Each type of Microsoft certification exam is given a slightly different amount of time to take the exam (referred to as Exam time) and the total allocated time for sitting the exam (referred to as Seat time). The following table lists out all the different Exam and Seat times for the different certification exam types.

Here’s a list of the total Exam Times given for each of the different types of Microsoft Certificaiton exams, along with total time you should exapect to sit for the exam:

  Exam Time Seat Time
Fundamentals Level Job-Role Exams 60 minutes 90 minutes
Associate Level Job-Role Exams (without Labs) 150 minutes 180 minutes
Expert Level Job-Role Exams (without Labs) 150 minutes 180 minutes
Associate Level Job-Role Exams (with Labs) 180 minutes 210 minutes
Expert Level Job-Role Exams (with Labs) 180 minutes 210 minutes
MTA Exams (delivered by Certiport) 45 minutes 50 minutes
MTA Exams (delivered by Pearson VUE) 45 minutes 80 minutes
MCSA Exams 120 minutes 150 minutes
MCSE Exams 150 minutes 180 minutes
Dynamics Exams (with MB#-nnn numbering) 120 minutes 150 minutes
All Other 70-nnn Exams 150 minutes 180 minutes

More Information about Microsoft Certification Exams

The Ultimate Guide to Microsoft Certification

Advance your career through cloud certification

Written by Chris Pietschmann

This book will guide you through choosing which certification path(s) to follow you’re your unique career goals and technical background. It’ll also explore all the different certifications Microsoft offers, as well as many of your questions, like:

  • Which certification is right for me?
  • How much does it cost to get certified?
  • What are the exams like?
  • How do I get started?
  • How do I study?

Microsoft and cloud certification helps you keep up-to-date on the latest technologies in a structured, easy to follow path, that is also verifiable by your peers and future career opportunities.


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