Top Tips to Passing MOS Exams
Regardless of which version you intend doing (MOS for 2000, MOS for 2003 etc.) are there any tips which can be used to help you pass MOS exams?

At Activia, we have a considerable number of certified trainers. So, the suggestions given here are the combination of advice from a number of people. That way, you are not just getting the biased opinion of one person who might have fallen foul of certain things.

Tip 1: Prepare thoroughly

This might sound obvious but MOS Exams and Microsoft Office exams are based on real world skills and how you apply knowledge. For that reason, make sure that you are aware of all the uses for a particular feature and not just the most common because each exam has a set of objectives. Check the Microsoft site for those to make sure that your preparation means that you can fulfil your objectives.

Online Research

There are also many ways to learn the material. There is self-study, ELearning or instructor-led training which can help you to pass MOS and Microsoft Office exams. Instructor-led training does seem to result in the highest pass rates.

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Tip 2: Be aware of what is included and available

As you might be somebody that has written the older version exams before and are now updating your skills, it is always worthwhile double checking that the same resources are available. For example, in much older versions, you did have access to ‘help’ files but these are no longer available. So, if you go into your exam expecting them to be there, you are going to be disappointed.

Tip 3: Be aware of all the alternatives

With the ability to create certain things in multiple ways (use a button, use a shortcut etc.) make sure you can do things in all the different ways. If you regularly do a specific task in the same way, practice completing it in other ways. You might be asked to carry out an action in a way that you do not usually do so and you might lose valuable time. Therefore, you need to practice as much as possible.

Tip 4: Do only what you are told

You do not gain marks for doing extra. If anything, you can lose marks for doing additional elements that the question did not require. Besides possibly losing marks, it is a waste of valuable time.

Tip 5: Read the entire question carefully

You should make sure that you scroll down to not miss out any key instructions. Check if there is a scroll bar to ensure that you have read everything you need to.

Tip 6: Measure twice, cut once

Like the old illustration, once you have cut the wood you cannot measure again. It is the same with this. Before you hit next and move on, double check that you are happy with your answer because you cannot go back later. 

Tip 7: Begin the question again

If you have struggled with an answer and tried a few things unsuccessfully before finding the correct answer, start the question again. The software tracks your answers and, by starting again, you overwrite all of the unsuccessful work that could cause you to lose marks.

Tip 8: Keep calm and carry on

Time can be critical. So, if you do have to restart a question, or have taken longer answering one than you felt you should have, do not rush the rest of the questions. Keep following all the other advice. You should also make sure that you fully read the question correctly as well.

Tip 9: Do not be afraid to ask for help

Although no assistance with the exam itself will be given, it is still an electronic testing system. Occasionally, there can be problems with the software. If you think that there is a problem, ask for help.

Ask Questions

Tip 10: Write a pre-assessment exam

There are some companies that offer pre-assessment exams. Certiport and Transcender seem to be the best guides. While they cannot provide you with exact questions, they will give you a very good idea on whether you know the material or not.

Tip 11: Ensure that you can be focused on the exam

This can include so much but it enables you to remain focused in general. You cannot take anything in with you so do you need to take a bag or anything at all? Unless you have double checked with the venue that they can keep your goods safe, you are going to be worried about leaving items outside. You should plan to take as little as necessary with you. Similarly, try to remove any other things that could prove to be a distraction.

Tip 12: Do not be scared to try again

Should you fail, don’t let it put you off and do try again. If you are planning to do the exams for multiple subjects, failing your first does not mean you will fail them all. That first exam will teach you lessons so that you can pass the other subjects first time.

Tip 13: Sit your easiest exam first

If you are planning to get certified in a number of different applications, pick the one that you find easiest first. Word and PowerPoint seem to be most people’s first suggestions and if you do intend to also do Access, most people recommend doing that last. However, you might feel that one is easier than the other because you have used it more. By doing this, you can get the feel of how everything works while working with material that you are most comfortable with.

Want to Improve Your Microsoft Excel Skills?

Activia offers online, public and onsite courses to match your needs.