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Microsoft Office Specialist Certification

World class Here's some fantastic news we didn't want you to miss. Congratulations to biology graduate Sam Millar, who through our MOS programme, competed in the MOS World Championships in the USA in August 2017 and achieved a stellar 2nd place for Excel. Read the full story of his outstanding achievement on our MOS Roll of Honour page. Will you be this year's champ?!
MOS briefing session: There are currently no information briefings scheduled, but you can come to a drop-in session (see below).
Drop in sessions: Missed a briefing session? Have a question about the MOS programme? Want to see resources demonstrated? Need help with MOS preparation? Or just want to chat about anything MOS related? Come to one of the frequent drop-in sessions. The next one is always posted below:
Next drop-in session: When Tues 27 Feb Where To Be Confirmed When 1600-1800
Upcoming exam dates:  28 Feb; 19 Apr; 3 May, or please email IT Training to arrange another suitable date-we can be flexible

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 2013 or 2016 suite of programs (for Windows 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), Expert, and Master. You would generally elect to sit a series of exams within a single version, either 2013 or 2016; but within that you may sit any exam at any level, the choice is yours, determined by your preparedness for a given exam. The exams that are available are as follows:

Microsoft Office Specialist

Core level
MOS 2013 or 2016:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Access

Microsoft Office Expert

Expert level

MOS 2013 requires passing the pair of exams Part1 and Part2

  • Word or Excel 2013 Expert Part 1
  • Word or Excel 2013 Expert Part 2

MOS 2016

  • Word 2016 Expert 
  • Excel 2016 Expert 

Microsoft Office Master

Master certifications require passes in the following sets of exams

2013 Master

  • Word Track Master: Word 2013 Expert Pt1&2 + Excel Core + 1 Elective*
  • Excel Track Master: Excel 2013 Expert Pt1&2 + Word Core + 1 Elective*
  • Classic Master: Both Word & Excel Expert exams Pt 1&2

*Either Access 2013 or PowerPoint 2013

2016 Master

  • Word 2016 Expert
  • Excel 2016 Expert
  • Access 2016
  • PowerPoint 2016

NOTE: We are not able to offer MOS exams in Outlook or SharePoint due to limitations in our delivery system, but an exam does exist.

MOS exams and MacOS: Exams are based on Microsoft Office for Windows and are not available for Mac. Exam preparation must be carried out on a Windows platform and cannot be done 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 CAPOD. 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 IT Training for more information about sitting exams as an external candidate.

What is the process?

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 available online resources through the University's subscription to the Microsoft IT Academy. The skills evaluation software itself is also a training tool as it includes an assisted training mode where detailed instructions are given after each test question.

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


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 CAPOD 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: 01334 46(2591)