Microsoft Office Specialist Certification

The opportunity to gain a recognised qualification in Microsoft Office is available to all staff and students at the University for the 2023-24 session through our certification programme. Information provided here on our MOS programme is solely for staff and students. External candidates wanting to sit MOS exams through our testing centre should contact for further details. 

Find out more about MOS
Next briefing session:
No briefing scheduled currently. Missed the last briefing? There's frequent MOS drop-in sessions on Teams for all MOS related queries, see the links below.
Next drop-in session:
29 Apr 2024, 13:00-14:00 (Teams), Pop into a drop-in using the embedded link, with any questions about the MOS programme, exam preparation or to see resources demonstrated; you can join anytime during the session.

MOS Exam Session Dates

MOS exam delivery: The standard delivery method for MOS exams has returned to on-campus, in-person exams. 

On-campus exam session dates during 2023-24
The time listed for each date is the start-time for a 2-hour exam session, 2 exams may be sat per session. Exams are delivered throughout the year; dates are posted several months ahead, later session dates will be posted as they become available.

Apr: 3 (9:00), 17 (13:00)
May: 8 (10:00), 22 (15:00)
June: 5 (11:00), 19 (14:00)
July: 3 (12:00), 17 (15:00)

Exam Booking:  Request a place on one of the advertised exam dates using the online MOS Booking form (the form link is given in the Certification Pack sent to registered participants).

World class: Read about our star performers, including one just this summer, who made it to the MOS World Championships, on our MOS Roll of Honour page.

What is Microsoft Office Specialist Certification (MOS)?

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications are a recognised industry standard qualification designed to benchmark and validate skills in Microsoft Office. The University of St Andrews is a Certification Authorised Testing Centre and delivers invigilated, task-based exams, approved by Microsoft.

The exams are currently based on Microsoft 365 Apps versions of Office for Windows (certification exams and all training resources are for Windows versions of Office only; see the note below regarding Mac users wanting to do MOS). 

There is a separate exam for each application in the Office suite (Word, Excel, etc) and at graduated levels of Associate and Expert. Expert level exams may be sat without having passed the core exams, but it is recommended you do both levels to certify the full range of competencies. Higher aggregate certifications, denoting fluency across a range of applications, are awarded for achieving a specified series of passes. For information on the aggregate certification requirements see this link: Microsoft 365 Certification

The list below are the MOS 365 Apps exams currently available.

Associate level

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook*

Expert level

  • Excel Expert
  • Word Expert
  • Access Expert*

* The Outlook and Access Expert exams are only available in the 2019 version and can be sat by special arrangement. 


MOS exams and MacOS: Exams are based on Microsoft Office for Windows and are not available for Mac Office. Exam preparation using the GMetrix practise test software must be carried out on a Windows platform and cannot be run on a Mac (unless you are running Windows on your Mac through a VM or Bootcamp partition). However the GMetrix practise test software is available in all the PC classrooms across the University and can be effectively used for exam preparation.

Information from Microsoft about the certifications, including the specific skills examined in each certification is available on Microsoft's Certification webpage.

Who is eligible to register for MOS exams?

The MOS exam program is open to all University of St Andrews staff and students. The exams are provided free of charge (the RRP for a MOS exam is £65) and are administered by CEED. This represents very good value as most other institutions offering this qualification charge a fee up to £125 (dependent on the bundled training materials).

External candidates may register to sit MOS exams at our testing centre with the purchase of a voucher issued by our MOS program. Contact for more information about sitting exams as an external candidate.

What is the process?

There is no formal training associated with this programme but offers self-directed and self-led learning resources so that you have maximum flexibility to prepare as and when you have time. The certification route is generally a 3-stage process:

Skills Analysis

When you join the MOS programme, skills evaluation software is made available that delivers practise tests similar to the actual MOS exams. These tests are used to evaluate your skill level and determine your training requirements.

Exam Preparation

Once you determine your weak skill areas, the required training can be undertaken through self-led learning using provided online resources, including Microsoft online courses. The skills evaluation software GMetrix is itself also a training tool as it includes an assisted training mode where detailed instructions are given for required tasks.

MOS training resources: We have a subscription to the Microsoft Imagine Academy offering MOS-targeted self-led learning courses for each of the MOS exams. See the exam resources page for more information.

Certification through Examination

When confident, you then book onto an advertised exam date to sit a task-based exam in an invigilated session. Each exam has a 50-min completion time.  Exam results are displayed on screen immediately on completing the exam. All MOS exam results are stored in the candidate's exam account and may be accessed through your candidate portal. Authorised transcripts may be requested from the exam authority, Certiport, to be sent directly to specified addresses (eg employers) and certificates can be printed on demand.

MOS Certifications and your University transcript: The Associate and Expert aggregate certification awards will be listed in the HEAR section of your University transcript.

Please see more information on each stage of the MOS Certification process.