Frequently asked questions

Exam basics

How long is the exam and what types of questions can I expect?

How should I prepare for an exam?

How do I register for a Microsoft Certification exam?

Am I required to take an exam in English?

Microsoft Certification exams are available in several languages. However, candidates who must take the exam in English rather than in their native language can request an accommodation for additional time. Approval for extra time is provided on a case-by-case basis and needs to be requested in advance of the exam. This should be requested through the accommodations process.

What disability accommodations are available?

How much do exams cost?

Associate and Expert exams typically cost US$165 but are priced according to currency values in specific countries and regions. Exam prices are subject to change. In some countries and regions, additional taxes may apply.

  • For exact pricing for Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), contact Certiport.
  • For all other exams, browse all exams to find the exam page where you will find the price of the exam.
  • Special packages may also be available, for additional details visit: Offers.
  • Academic pricing is also available, for additional details visit: Student discounts.

How can I provide feedback about study materials or training for the exam?

If you have feedback about an instructor-led Microsoft training course, provide it directly to the instructor. If you have feedback about a Microsoft online course, complete the feedback form that appears when you finish the course. Microsoft does not review study materials developed by third parties and is not responsible for their content. If you have questions or comments about exam preparation materials developed by third parties, please contact the publishers directly.

How can I submit feedback about an exam question or exam experience?

  • If you have a concern about the technical accuracy of a particular item, please visit: Exam item challenge process.
  • To report a concern about a testing center or technical difficulties experienced during your exam, please contact customer service at the appropriate exam delivery provider.
  • To report a security concern, please contact mlsecure@microsoft.com.
  • To offer other types of feedback, please contact certification support.

Exam specifics

How does Microsoft decide how many questions on a particular subject to include on the exam?

The skills measured on an exam are identified by subject matter experts external to Microsoft (in other words, they are not Microsoft employees). This list of skills, called the “objective domain,” is the basis for exam development. The number of questions that measure each skill area is determined through the blueprinting process; sections of the exam measuring critical and/or more frequently performed skills will contain more questions than those that assess less important or less frequently performed skills.

Why is the case study exam format used?

The case study exam format uses complex scenarios that more accurately simulate what professionals do on the job. Scenario-based questions included in the case studies are designed to test your ability to identify the critical information needed to solve a problem and then analyze and synthesize it to make decisions. You can refer to scenario details as often as you’d like while you are working on questions in a case study.

After I complete a case study, will I be able to review the questions?

You may review the questions in a case study until you move to the next case or section of the exam. Once you leave a case study, however, you will not be able to review the questions associated with that case. When you complete a case study and its associated questions, a review screen will appear. This screen lets you review your answers and make changes before you move to the next case study.

Case studies are not timed separately from the rest of the exam. The number of case studies in an exam is noted on the exam introduction screen. Manage your exam time accordingly so that you can complete all case studies and all other sections of your exam.

What is the process for determining if an exam has been updated when a new feature or function is added or when something has changed in the associated technology?

We review our cloud-based exams every two months. Any changes that affect the objective domain and the existing questions are incorporated into the exam. Specifically, technically inaccurate questions are removed from the exam; some items are modified, and new items may be created to assess new, but related, skills.

Microsoft reserves the right to update content for any reason at any time to maintain the validity and relevance of our certifications. This includes, but is not limited to, incorporating functionality and features related to technology changes, changing skills needed for success within a job role, etc.

While most questions cover features that are General Availability (GA), the exam may contain questions on Preview features if those features are commonly used.

How will I know if exam has been updated when a new feature or function is added or when something has changed in the associated technology?

We update the exam details page to notify candidates when changes occur. We also include information about such updates in our newsletters, blogs, and through other appropriate communication channels, and we encourage you to sign up for such communications if you would like to know about changes to the exam content.

Because our primary communication with candidates about exam content is through the exam details page, we will update it as soon as we know what’s changing and when; we update our exams every two months, so we strongly recommend that you review the exam details page regularly as you prepare to take an exam.

Microsoft reserves the right to update content for any reason at any time to maintain the validity and relevance of our certifications. This includes, but is not limited to, incorporating functionality and features related to technology changes, changing skills needed for success within a job role, etc.

While most questions cover features that are General Availability (GA), the exam may contain questions on Preview features if those features are commonly used.

Will the training kits, books, courseware, and other exam preparation materials be updated when the exam changes?

Microsoft makes every attempt to keep the training and exam aligned when changes occur; however, that is not always possible. Keep in mind that Microsoft exams are not intended as post-tests of any preparation or training product created by Microsoft or any third-party provider. Our certifications are designed to measure experience-based skills regardless of the way candidates obtain these skills.

The best way to prepare for an exam is to practice the skills listed in the “Skills measured” section of the exam details page. Hands-on experience with the technology is required to successfully pass Microsoft Certification exams.

Microsoft does not review study materials developed by third parties and is not responsible for their content or for ensuring that they are updated to reflect product updates. If you have questions or comments about exam preparation materials developed by third parties, please contact the publishers directly.

Why did an exam include material that was not covered in the Microsoft training or Microsoft Press book?

All learning materials related to a given job role are built from the same job task analysis. As a result, the learning content should be closely aligned to the exams. Keep in mind, however, that the learning materials are developed independently of exam content because the exams are intended to assess competence in the job role, not the effectiveness of training materials or learning. Because the exams are designed to assess your ability to apply skills beyond what was explicitly covered in the learning, the skills will be assessed at a higher level than what was taught in the training. For some candidates, this can give the impression that the skill was not taught in the associated learning; however, all skills assessed on the exam are included in our learning options.

Microsoft works hard to ensure that some form of training material exists for all skills that will be measured on an exam. A list of these resources can be found on the exam details page.

Scoring and results

How are exams scored?

What is the exam retake policy?

Can I request a re-evaluation of my score?

If you have a concern about the technical accuracy of a particular item, please submit an online request. An Item Challenge form will be sent to you. However, a re-evaluation of your score is unlikely to change your pass/fail status. Because Microsoft must ensure that candidates who pass exams and earn our certifications have demonstrated the required proficiency level(s) across the skill domain(s), the final result of an exam is rarely changed based on a re-evaluation of your exam results. Even if a question is flawed in some way, we cannot assume that you would have answered it correctly if it had not been. In these cases, we provide candidates with the opportunity to retake the exam free of charge.

How can I challenge an exam question?

If I do not pass an exam, can I have a refund?

No. Microsoft does not offer refunds for exams you do not pass or exam appointments you miss.

Exam security

What is the exam security policy?

Performance-based Testing

What is performance-based testing (PBT)?

Performance based testing gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills by completing tasks in the technology. Today, this means completing tasks in a graded lab, but in the future, PBT may take a different form. For example, for those of you who are currently performing the job role, Microsoft is exploring ways to incorporate the work that you do every day into our certification requirements. For those of you who are not in the job role yet, we’ll continue to have other ways for you to demonstrate your skills through portfolios and graded labs. Microsoft is constantly innovating to ensure that we assess your skills and abilities in ways that align to how you actually get your work done. To view the PBT tutorial video, click here.

What can I expect when I complete the labs?

This type of question asks you to perform tasks in a virtual environment. You will see a screen that includes a virtual machine window and a Tasks pane. The virtual machine window is a remotely connected live environment where you perform tasks on real software and applications.

The Tasks pane lists the tasks you need to perform in the lab. You can expand or collapse each task with the + or - symbols. For your convenience, each task has a checkbox so you can mark tasks as you complete them. Doing this won’t affect anything in the lab or scoring. Nothing in the lab will indicate if you did not complete a required task, so you may want to keep track of the tasks that you have completed by checking the boxes.

After you leave a lab, you will not be able to return to it because scoring starts (in the background) as soon as you leave a lab. When you click Next, you will be asked to confirm that you really want to leave the lab. Clicking Yes will end the lab section, and the tasks will be scored.

How is the exam structured when it has labs?

When you launch the exam, you will see a screen that tells you how many items, case studies, and labs, including the number of tasks, that will be on the exam. Please make note of this information so that you can plan your exam time accordingly.

After you launch the exam, you will answer all of the traditional questions (for example, multiple choice, drag and drop, build list, etc.) on the exam as the labs load. The lab(s) will be the last section of the exam. Please note the following:

  • After you leave any section of the exam (e.g., case study or labs), you cannot return to it. However, at the end of most sections, you have the opportunity to review your answers (your exam may include a section that cannot be reviewed; this is noted at the beginning of the section). Exam time does NOT stop while you are reviewing your answers. Make sure you manage your time; pay attention to the time AND number of questions remaining.
  • Exams with labs contain one or two performance sections/labs with multiple tasks that you must complete. Research shows that tasks take approximately 3 times longer to complete than a traditional item. Please manage your time so that are able to complete the labs in the time remaining when you get to them. We have ensured that candidates who manage their time wisely will have more than enough time to complete the lab(s).
  • The number of labs and tasks on the exam is provided on the overview page preceding the first lab. Read it! And then, manage your time accordingly.
  • Do NOT wait for tasks to execute before moving onto another task. In some cases, you need something to execute before you can complete another task, but this will be noted in the task, and there will be other tasks that you can be working on while that task executes. Don't lose time waiting for tasks to run. Move onto something that is not dependent on that task so you can maximize your exam time. In some cases, starting a task may be sufficient for scoring (for example, creating a resource in Azure); you can let the task execute in the background while you work on other tasks. We include a note in the task list telling you that you only need to start the task. You can move on to other tasks or even leave the section (move to the next lab if applicable or end the exam) without being penalized. Read the task carefully. Do what’s required to solve the problem posed in the task.

Why does an exam with labs contain traditional question types (for example, multiple choice, drag and drop, build list, etc.)?

For a variety of reasons, we cannot assess all critical skills with labs. For example, we can’t ask you to complete tasks that take more than a few minutes to run or that require significant resources; as a result, we will continue to assess those skills using question types that are more appropriate to the exam experience.

How many labs are on an exam? How many tasks are in each lab?

If an exam contains labs, it will have at least 1 lab. Each lab contains between 7–15 tasks. You will be told if the exam has labs and how many in the introduction to the exam.

How are tasks scored?

The tasks are scored based on the end result. We do not care how you accomplish the task (for example, through the UI or using PowerShell commands)—only that you successfully accomplished it. Complete the task as you normally would; the scoring script evaluates the end result based on the key characteristics to determine if it was done correctly. For example, if the task was to add a user, the scoring script ensures that you added that user.

We do NOT require you to use a specific method to perform tasks. If you are more comfortable using PowerShell or CLI, instead of a GUI, that’s what we want you to use. We test you on the end result of your task—did you perform it correctly?—not on the method that you use to perform a task.

How many points is each task worth?

Most tasks are worth one point; if the task is worth more than one point, that information is provided in the task description.

How much time do I have to complete the labs?

Labs are not timed separately from the exam. At the beginning of the exam, the number of labs, case studies, and questions as well as the exam time will be provided in the introduction (read it!). You must answer all questions, including completing tasks associated with any labs, in the time provided. Manage your time accordingly so that you can complete all activities that must be done.

Will I have enough time to complete the labs?

The labs are designed to be completed within the exam time provided. You will not be asked to perform tasks that execute long running operations or tasks that have many dependencies. If important skills need to be assessed that are based on tasks that require long running operations or have many dependencies, we will either assess them with traditional items, or, if possible, set up the labs so that these operations have already taken place, and then you will perform tasks that logically build on the outcomes of those operations.

How do you determine which tasks to include in the labs?

Like all questions on the exam, lab tasks map to the objective domain. We select the tasks that best lend themselves to lab-based assessment, that do not require long execution times or resources, and that can be completed within the anticipated time for test takers to complete the exam.

Why did I have to wait before I could start my lab?

It takes time to provision the environment in the cloud, and the environment you will access to complete the tasks is loaded only when the resources are fully provisioned. As a result, the exam begins with a series of traditional items (multiple choice, drag and drop, build list, etc.) that allows time to provision the labs and load them into the environment. If you answer these questions too quickly, you will have to wait for the labs to finish loading.

I have heard that labs can launch with a blank white screen. Is there something I can do to fix this?

If your lab launches with a blank white screen, try opening a new tab and navigating to https://portal.azure.com. Opening this new tab will resolve the issue most of the time.

I had some issues with my labs. How do I let Microsoft know?

If you run into issues with labs, please complete the Exam item challenge process. Although we won’t be able to provide a specific explanation for your experience, our investigation will help us identify root causes and identify solutions that will improve the experience for everyone.

I had some issues with my labs. How do I request a rescore?

If you received a score, it is an accurate reflection of your performance on the exam; we have designed scoring to account for any lab issues that you may experience. If you failed, a rescore will not change that result.

When will I receive my score?

Labs take longer to score than traditional item types. Because the labs appear at the end of the exam, you may not get your result immediately. It can take 30 minutes or longer to receive a score. You do not have to wait for the score report. It will be passed automatically to our certification database and will show up in your MC dashboard. This should occur within 24 hours of the exam delivery. If it does not appear, please contact certification support.

Do exams with performance-based questions take longer to complete?

Yes. These exams may take longer to complete than exams that do not contain performance-based items. The amount of time allotted for each exam takes this into account.

Should I prepare for the performance-based exams differently than I prepare for other exams?

No. The skills measured remain the same regardless of the format of the question. The knowledge and skills assessed on the exam are listed in the “Skills measured” section of the exam details page. If you practice the skills, you’ll be prepared for any item type, including labs.

Are there any specific test center requirements for exams that have labs? Many test centers are not listed when I try to schedule the exams that have labs, but the same test centers are listed for exams that do not.

Exams that include labs require testing centers to meet certain internet connectivity requirements, so a smaller set of testing centers are available. As labs are added to more of the new role-based exams, they will also be subject to these testing center limitations. If you have specific testing centers in mind, contact the specific test center to learn if they can deliver labs; alternately, they will not be listed as available test centers once you select the exam. If that occurs, we recommend finding a different test center or taking the exam through online proctoring. In the future, you may be able to take labs through online proctoring, but we are currently limiting lab delivery to only test centers that meet the connectivity and technical requirements needed to deliver them successfully.

Where can I find a list of exams that contain labs?

We do not share a list of exams that have labs because the presence or absence of labs can literally change from one candidate to the next based on Azure availability, outages, and bandwidth, leading to escalations when candidates think the exam was to have labs but didn’t.

The goal is to have labs on every role-based certification, so it is best to plan for labs as you’re preparing. An added benefit is that by preparing as if the exam will have labs, you get additional experience that only puts you in a better spot to have the experience needed to pass the exam.

At the beginning of the exam, the instructions provide information on what to expect on the exam, including if it will have labs. Read the instructions carefully so you know if the exam contains labs (as well as case studies and other question types that may have different requirements than what’s typical).

Academic pricing on exams

Are student discounts available for exams?

Can I get a refund if I initially registered and paid for an exam without verifying an academic discount, but I’m verified now?

No. If you decide to register and pay for an exam before you have verified your student status, you must pay commercial pricing and will not receive a refund. You must ensure that you are verified before completing your registration and payment.

Does my academic verification expire?

Yes. Your academic verification is only valid for 12 months. After 12 months, you need to repeat the verification process.

I’m an educator. Can I still receive an academic discount (in applicable countries/regions) on my Microsoft Certification exam delivered in the commercial channel?

Yes. You need to follow the same process as a student. In other words, you must select “Student” as your job function in your Microsoft account profile, and you must verify your status through the same process as a student. For more information, visit: Student discounts.

Who do I contact for questions regarding the academic verification process for Microsoft Certification exams?

If you have general questions related to exam registration or questions specific to a new or pending verification request, please contact certification support.