About The Microsoft Office User

Specialist (MOUS) Certification Program

An Introduction to the MOUS Certification Program

What It Is.
The Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS) program provides a benchmark to certify users' skills in using Office. Certification is available for many Office 95 and Office 97 programs at both Proficient and Expert User levels. As a general rule of thumb, Proficient Users can handle a wide range of everyday tasks with ease. Expert Users are expected to perform everyday tasks, plus handle more complex assignments that require advanced formatting and functionality. By requirement, MOUS certified courseware is designed to provide training on the knowledge and skills that are tested by a Microsoft certification exam. The training has direct correlation to the certification exam objectives, which specify the content of the exam. The courseware covers all the content of the exam.

What It Means To You.
About 90% of Fortune 500 companies use Microsoftâ Office products - so chances are very good that you are one of the many people using Office to get your work done. You may even know more about how to use Office products than most people. Now you can prove it - and give yourself and your organization a competitive edge.

What It Means To Your Organization.
As the growth of technology stretches the ability of professionals to use, install, service, and support information systems, companies must either hire qualified individuals or train existing staff to become qualified to perform these tasks. Many companies are experiencing acute skill shortages, while the pressure to control budgets limits their options to initiate extensive training programs. The solution? Managers can use certification as a primary qualifier when hiring new employees or consultants. In this changing market, the successful manager will view outsourcing as a prime opportunity to learn-and benefit-from these specialized experts.

Program Benefits At-A-Glance

Certification provides organizations with the validation they need to keep pace with and to stay ahead of the competition. Certification provides:

  • Reliable benchmarks for managers when hiring, promoting, and planning employee career paths
  • An excellent return on investment by providing a standard method to determine training needs and measure training results
  • An effective way to identify promotion-worthy employees as experts with the skills needed to build, implement, and support solutions on high-technology platforms
  • An assurance that high-quality standards are being maintained in the use and support of mission-critical applications
  • A useful tool when evaluating various outsourcing services

The MOUS Certification Exam

The Microsoft certification programs offer performance-based testing. This means that the exams require an applicant to do more than just understand a concept or task. Microsoft certification exams actually test candidates on their ability to apply knowledge in specific situations. In many cases, candidates must solve complex problems to show that they thoroughly comprehend how a product or product feature works within a given computing environment.

All MOUS testing is computer-based and is conducted on the Windowsâ 95 or Windows NTâ operating system with the full array of Windows capabilities, including the graphical user interface. Examinees will not be asked questions about Microsoft Office programs but instead will be asked to perform tasks. The tests mirror actual job assignments within each Office product. Each of the exams take one hour or less-some take only about 30 minutes. In addition to measuring skills, the tests also measure productivity and efficiency. Examinees may not use notes, manuals, a laptop, or any other aid to help during the exam. The built-in Office Help features may be used, though doing so may be costly in terms of time, causing examinees to fail the test.

Test results are displayed to each candidate as soon as the test is completed, and a certificate is sent directly to successful candidates one to two weeks later. With the exception of beta exams, which are offered at half price, candidates know immediately upon conclusion of the test whether they have passed or failed. If they fail, they are informed about where more focused attention is needed.

The entire testing procedure is conducted within a framework of complete confidentiality. To maintain a high level of security, all test data is encrypted, and the test process is closely monitored. Exam results are provided only to the candidate and to Microsoft.


Frequently Asked Questions About the MOUS Certification Program

Why should I get certified?

MOUS certification verifies that you have the skills necessary to complete a comprehensive set of tasks using Microsoft Office programs. The tests also measure your efficiency in these tasks. All of this earns you formal recognition and a competitive advantage in the job market.

What levels of certification are available?

Proficient User-this level indicates that you can handle a wide range of everyday tasks with ease. It is available for Microsoft Word 95 and 97 and Microsoft Excel 95 and 97 only. Expert User-this level indicates that you can also handle more complex assignments that require advanced formatting and functionality. It is available for all Office 97 products, as well as other products within the Microsoft Office family. Microsoft Office Expert-this level indicates that you have attained Expert User status in each of the five core Office 97 programs and have passed the Office 97 Integration exam, demonstrating your ability to integrate those programs. This is the highest level of certification available.

Do I need to take a training class?

Although there are other ways to prepare, training helps ensure that you get the support, guidance, and hands-on practice you need to become a Proficient or Expert User.

What is a typical test like?

MOUS exams are not multiple-choice tests, nor do they require you to rely on strict memorization. Instead, each exam is conducted within the Office product itself. Using an actual document, you will be asked to perform a series of tasks that clearly demonstrate your skills. For example, a Microsoft Word Expert User certification test might ask you to balance newspaper column lengths or keep text in columns together.

How long does a test take?

All exams take one hour or less. Some exams take only about 30 minutes. You are measured not only on your skills, but also on your productivity and efficiency.

How much does certification cost?

Estimated retail price is $50 in the United States (actual price may vary). Ask your ACT Center for details.

How do I find an ACT Center?

Call 800-755-EXAM for the location of an ACT Center near you.

Can I get a refund if I fail the test?

Refunds are not available for failing test scores or missed exam appointments. You must pay for your test in advance by calling 800-755-EXAM or your local ACT Center. In some cases, the test is included as part of a training package.

Can I give my certification to my employers if they pay for the test?

Certifications are not transferable to other individuals or organizations, even if your employer pays for your test. Employers who support MOUS testing, however, reap the benefits of more highly skilled Office users.

Can I cheat on the test?

It's not that kind of test-you have to know what you're doing to pass. You are not allowed to use manuals, notes, laptops, or any other aids during the test. You may use the built-in Office Help features, but keep in mind that this may cost you valuable time and result in a failing test score.