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Microsoft Office Specialist Certification

The University is an authorised Microsoft Certification testing centre. The MOS 2020-21 session is open for registration until 1 Aug to current University staff and students; you must register with the MOS programme before you may sit exams. See the Registration Process page for details.

MOS exams available during COVID-19 restrictions: On-site exams remain suspended, a remote delivery system for exam remains in force until further notice.  Exam dates will be posted here as they are released and more will be made available thoughout the year.
Exams session dates currently scheduled:
4 (15:00); 25 (10:00); 25 (15:00)
Sept: 1 (12:00); 22 (14:00)
Exam Booking Form:  University staff and students should use the
MOS Exam Booking Form to request an exam place (do not book unless you have already registered for MOS programme).
Next briefing session: 24 Sept 2021, 13:00-14:00 on Teams, click the link to book a place. Briefings will detail what's available in our MOS programme and how to prepare for exams. See this link to watch a recording of a previous briefing.
Next drop-in session
for University staff and students: 3 Aug 2021, 13:00-14:00, Drop-in Join link (only those joining from Univeristy accounts will be admitted). Pop in with any questions or to find out more about the MOS programme.
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.
Passport Programme credit: MOS Certification passes will count towards fulfilling your IT component for the Passport for Administrative Excellence and Professional Skills Curriculum.
World class: Read about our star performers 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) certification is a recognised industry standard qualification. The MOS certification program administers an invigilated, task-based exam, approved by Microsoft, to validate desktop computer skills based on the Microsoft Office 2016 or Office 2019 suite of programs 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 program (Word, Excel, etc) and at graduated levels of Specialist (Core) and Expert, with a Master certification available for a specified range of exam passes. See the table below for a list of the exams that are available through our testing centre.

For information on the gradulated levels for MOS 2019 exams, see this link to Microsoft 2019/O365 Certifications

Microsoft Office Specialist

Core exams

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • Access (2016 only)

Microsoft Office Expert

Expert exams

  • Word Expert 
  • Excel Expert
  • Access Expert (2019 only)

Microsoft Office Master

Exams required**

  • Word 2016 Expert
  • Excel 2016 Expert
  • Access 2016
  • PowerPoint or Outlook 2016

* Expert level exams may be sat without the Core exam, but it is recommended you do them both.
**Master certifications are awarded in 2016 versions only and are not a separate level of exam, but is automatically appended to a candidate's transcript when passing the specified range of exams. Top level qualifications in MOS 2019 have a different structure, see this link for detail on 2019 Expert level

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.


Once you determine your weak skill areas, the required training can be undertaken through self-led learning using provided online resources, including Microsoft online e-learning 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.

Certification through Examination

When confident, you then book onto an advertised exam date to sit a task-based exam in an invigilated session, which typically lasts 60 minutes. 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. A MOS exam transcript is entirely separate from and has no bearing upon your offical University transcript.

More information on each stage of the process

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How to start

For details on registering for the MOS program see the Registration process page. 

We welcome enquiries to discuss the Certification program. Enquiries can be made to CEED or contact IT Training directly at:
t: (01334) 46-2591


Sonny Evans

University of St Andrews

Hebdomadar's Block
St Salvator's Quad
75 North Street

St Andrews
KY16 9AJ
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 46 2591