In case anyone is interested in pursuing Microsoft Office 2010 certification, I thought you might like the background information.
What it is:
The Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) program is a certification program for Microsoft Office 2010. Certification exams are available in Word (core and expert), Excel (core and expert), PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Sharepoint and Windows. Microsoft created it and utilizes Certiport (www.certiport.com) as their official partner to oversee the testing process.
Office 2007 was initially administered under Microsoft Certified Administrative Specialist (MCAS), but later the name was changed back to Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). Office 2003 was administered under the name Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) program. Office 97/2000 was administered under the name Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS) program.
How it works / Cost:
There are testing centers located throughout the US with different days/hours, etc. Cost generally runs about $75-100 with the testing center allowed to set the cost. Some charge a proctoring fee. Vouchers for the tests are available through www.certiport.com (the official site) and through various resellers (where you can often find the vouchers cheaper, including a free retake option if you don't pass).
You call the testing center, make an appointment and show up. You'll sit at a computer that has a simulated version of Office 2010 running on it. You are allowed one hour and you cannot use Help. Most exams have roughly 30 questions. Each question may (and usually does) have several parts. You will immediately receive a score to know if you passed or not and a (not very helpful) summary will print out to tell you your score and areas missed. If you pass, a nice frameable certificate will also be mailed to you. When you pass one test, you are a Microsoft Office Specialist. When you pass four tests (Word expert, Excel expert, Powerpoint, and either Outlook or Access), you are a Master Level Microsoft Office Specialist. The certifications never expire and don't need to be renewed, but they are only valid on the version of Office that you tested.
Preparing For the Test / Cost of Study Materials:
If you know the programs generally well and just want to specifically study for the purpose of passing the exam, get the study guides (roughly $25-30 each on amazon):
MOS 2010 Study Guide for Microsoft Word (core), Excel (core), PowerPoint, and Outlook
MOS 2010 Study Guide for Microsoft Word Expert, Excel Expert, Access, and SharePoint
They give you very succinct instructions on how to pass the tests based on the published guidelines of what is on each test (basically in the format of: To do this: 1) Click Here. 2) Choose that. 3) Click OK.)
If you don't know the programs well, I would buy books that are individual by program. The Microsoft Press Step by Step Series has usually been a good set, though I haven't looked at the 2010 versions specifically.
IAAP offers an Options Technology program which is computer software training, with (I believe) separate modules for each test. This program includes a voucher with purchase. I have not reviewed this program, so I have no opinion on how effective it is. I also don't know if it focuses on teaching you the software or preparing you for the test (those can be two very different focuses, you know).
More information is available at:
The official program information is available at:
Hope this helps people that are considering pursuing the certification. If you have any other questions, post them in the comments and I will try to answer them there as well.