Exam security policy and Exam retake policy

Microsoft has specific policies in place that address the areas of security pertinent to Microsoft Certification exams.

Certification expiration and recertifications

Microsoft role-based and specialty certifications are currently valid for two years from the date certifications are earned. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on individuals and businesses, we have provided extensions to individuals whose certifications were initially scheduled to expire before December 31, 2020. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation. If needed, we will notify and provide more time for individuals whose certifications are expiring. At this time 'No action' is required by you to ensure that your certifications stay valid. We will continue to inform you of the situation and changes. Stay informed on future program updates and requirements for recertification by subscribing to the Microsoft Learn Blog.

Candidate bans

If a candidate violates any testing rule, exam policy, or term within the exam agreement (NDA), or engages in any misconduct that diminishes the security and integrity of the Microsoft Certification Program in any way, the candidate may be permanently prohibited from taking any future Microsoft Certification exams. In addition, the candidate may be decertified from the Microsoft Certification Program, and test scores and certifications may be revoked.

Examples of such misconduct, misuse, and fraud include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Falsifying score reports, by modifying and/or altering the original results/score reports for any exam record
  • Cheating during the exam (such as looking at the monitors of other exam takers, using an unauthorized device, or looking at notes)
  • Providing or accepting improper assistance
  • Bringing non-authorized items into the testing center during an exam session (such as notes or unauthorized materials and electronic devices, such as cell phones)
  • Using unauthorized material in attempting to satisfy certification requirements (this includes using "brain-dump" material and/or unauthorized publication of exam questions with or without answers)
  • Falsifying identity or impersonating another individual to gain access to an exam
  • Misconduct as determined by statistical analysis
  • Copying, publishing, disclosing, transmitting, selling, offering to sell, posting, downloading, distributing in any way, or otherwise transferring, modifying, making derivative works of, reverse engineering, decompiling, disassembling, or translating any exam in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, verbal or written, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose
  • Disclosing Microsoft intellectual property (IP)
  • Disseminating actual exam content
  • Using the exam content in any manner that violates applicable law
  • Violating the current exam retake policy
  • Violating the Microsoft non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in any way
  • Violating the agreement with the exam delivery provider in any way

Candidate appeal process

  1. Candidates may appeal their ban by submitting an appeal to mlsecure@microsoft.com.

  2. A candidate may appeal a ban for falsifying a score report by submitting the original report (no scans or electronic copies) to:

    Microsoft Worldwide Learning Security Team
    One Microsoft Way
    Redmond, WA 98052

  3. The Microsoft Worldwide Learning Security Team will review all submitted appeal requests, conduct a thorough investigation of each specific case and will communicate directly with the candidate regarding the conclusion of the investigation and final appeal decision.

Exam retake policy

  1. General Microsoft Certification exam retake policy

    1. If a candidate does not achieve a passing score on an exam the first time, the candidate must wait 24 hours before retaking the exam. At that time, candidates can log onto their certification dashboard and reschedule the exam themselves.
    2. If a candidate does not achieve a passing score the second time, the candidate must wait at least 14 days before retaking the exam a third time.
    3. A 14-day waiting period is also imposed between the third and fourth attempts and fourth and fifth attempts.
    4. A candidate may not take a given exam any more than five times per year (12 months). This 12-month period starts from the first attempt. The candidate is eligible to retake the exam 12 months from the date of their first attempt.
    5. To take a given exam more than five times per year or to have the time between attempts waived, a candidate must have experienced one of the errors listed below and request an exception from Microsoft. Requests should be sent to mlsecure@microsoft.com. These requests must include the following information:
      • Candidate ID
      • First/Last Name
      • Email associated with your Candidate ID
      • Exam Registration ID
      • Exam Number
      • Description of error
      • Pearson VUE case number

    Exam retake exceptions will be granted for the following reasons:

    • Failure due to lab crash
    • Failure due to internet connectivity issues
    • Failure due to equipment failure

    Exam retake exceptions will NOT be granted for failure due to a candidate’s lack of preparation, knowledge, skill, or ability or if the request does NOT include a Pearson VUE case number.

  2. Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) and Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) exam retake policy:

    1. If a candidate does not achieve a passing score on an exam the first time, the candidate must wait 24 hours before retaking the exam.
    2. If a candidate does not achieve a passing score the second time, the candidate must wait seven days before retaking the exam a third time.
    3. A seven-day waiting period is imposed between each subsequent exam retake.
    4. A candidate may not take a given exam any more than five times per year (12 months). This 12-month period starts from the first attempt. The candidate is then eligible to retake the exam 12 months from the date of the first attempt.
  3. Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam retake policy

    1. If a candidate does not achieve a passing score on an exam the first time, the candidate must wait 24 hours before retaking the exam.
    2. If a candidate does not achieve a passing score the second time, the candidate must wait 2 days (48 hours) before retaking the exam a third time.
    3. A two-day waiting period will be imposed between each subsequent exam retake.
    4. There is no annual limit on the number of attempts on the same exam.
    5. If a candidate achieves a passing score on an Office exam, the candidate may take it again.
  4. Beta exam retake policy

    1. Beta exams may be taken only once during the beta period. If the candidate passes the exam (determined after the beta period ends), it counts toward credit for the certification. If the candidate fails the exam, it can be retaken per the policies above.
    2. This policy supersedes the general retake policy.

Testing center closures due to security reasons

  1. Microsoft may suspend testing at any location where we deem there is a security or integrity problem.
  2. Microsoft may suspend testing at sites that are related to test sites that pose security risks.

Testing center appeal process

Testing center owners can appeal a site closure by submitting an appeal to mlsecure@microsoft.com.

Data forensics

Microsoft will use data forensics as a basis for an enforcement action against a candidate. Statistical evidence may demonstrate diminished exam integrity and/or be used to corroborate evidence of improper activity. Exams and scores may be canceled, candidates may be banned, and testing centers may be closed, based on statistical evidence.

Out-of-country testing

To sit for a Microsoft Certification exam at a testing center in India, China, or Pakistan, you must be a legitimate resident of that country. If you are a legitimate resident of that country, note the following:

Testing centers in these three countries are required to confirm and record that each Microsoft Certification candidate has shown documented proof that he or she is a legitimate resident of that specific country. To verify country of residence status, the candidate is required to present two forms of original (no photocopies), valid (unexpired) IDs—one form as a primary ID (government issued with name, photo, and signature) and one form as a secondary ID (with name and signature).

Important: If you are not a legitimate resident of India, China, or Pakistan, you will not be allowed to sit for a Microsoft Certification exam within that country.

Testing for citizens of Slovenia or who have Slovenian citizenship identification

Due to privacy laws in Slovenia, online proctored exams cannot be delivered to candidates who live in Slovenia, or who have Slovenian citizenship identification. These candidates can take exams at a test center.

  • Candidates who reside in Slovenia, will only be presented with Test Center delivery as an option when scheduling an exam.

  • Candidates who reside outside of Slovenia may see online proctoring as an available test option, however they will not be able to successfully complete the test when they present Slovenian citizenship identification (passport or other identification) as proof of identification. These candidates should schedule an exam at a test center.

Candidate retesting at request of Microsoft

  1. Microsoft reserves the right to ask any candidate to retest for any suspected fraudulent activity or anomalous testing patterns at any time.
  2. Retesting will take place at a facility that is selected by Microsoft at a time agreed upon by Microsoft and the candidate.

Revoking certifications

If a candidate violates any testing rule, exam policy, or term within the exam agreement (NDA), or engages in any misconduct that diminishes the security and integrity of the Microsoft Certification Program in any way, the candidate may be permanently prohibited from taking any future Microsoft Certification exams. In addition, the candidate may be decertified from the Microsoft Certification Program, and test scores and certifications may be revoked.

Right of exclusion

Based on security and integrity concerns, Microsoft reserves the right to exclude specific regions, countries, and testing centers from the Microsoft Certification Program altogether.