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Microsoft Office Specialist Certification

Upcoming exam dates: 30 Oct, 4 Dec, 29 Jan
Next briefing session: None currently scheduled
Drop in sessions: Missed a briefing session? Have a question about the MOS programme? Want to see resources demonstrated? 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 21 Oct, 15:00-17:00 Where Bute Building-D25 (D25_directions (PDF, 305 KB)
New eligibility: MOS Certifications can now count towards your Professional Skills Curriculum in PSC-Plus with IT.
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 suite of programs for Windows. 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 what exams are available in our testing centre (NOTE: there are MOS exams for other Office programs such as Outlook and SharePoint, but we are not able to offer them).

Microsoft Office Specialist

Core exams

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

Microsoft Office Expert

Expert exams

  • Word 2016 Expert 
  • Excel 2016 Expert

Microsoft Office Master

*Exam passes required:

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

*Master certifications are not a separate level of exam, but is designated to a candidate who passes the specified range of exams.

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 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?

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


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)