Certification Exams for Office End Users*

Office professionals, you say?

Unless you’ve worked in or been involved with someone with an office assistance or support staff position, you probably are not aware that companies, like staffing agencies, use Office certification testing for their manpower or resource talent pool (the academic community is another channel where much of Office testing is used).  With recent programs such as Microsoft’s Elevate America and Certiport’s partnership with Kelly Services out the door, the audience for these exams will continue to grow.

Are office exams like MCP exams?

In short - Yes. Office exams are exposed to the same quality and development standards as MCP exams, but unlike most (and I say “most” and not “all” here because Microsoft Learning has already started to use technology that supports performance-based testing in MCP exams such as 70-640) of the MCP exams, Office exams are actually performance-based. The Office exams are delivered for Microsoft by a company called Certiport. Are all Office exams performance-based? Well…..almost. While the  Office suite of exams (Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, and PowerPoint) are all performance-based, one exam, 77-600 (Windows Vista® for the Business Worker), is actually a simulation because of the complexity of creating a live application exam for an operating system.

When you take an Office exam, MS-Office (and not a simulation of its interface - the actual program itself) runs concurrently with the testing software in the background. What this means to you, as an exam taker, is that you will be asked to perform tasks and whether you do it by using menu selections or keyboard shortcuts, you will be evaluated in the same way: the end result. I’m sure you’ll agree that this outcome-based approach works well with Office, since most people are much better at performing a task than answering multiple choice questions about it.

* Courtesy of Born to Learn

p.s  Office 2007 SP2 is due to be released on or about 28 April 2009

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