Everything You Need to Know

In today’s competitive job market, passing the Microsoft Excel Certification can be the difference between getting a job offer and waiting for the phone to ring. Nearly every position in every industry uses Microsoft Excel to track figures, calculate data, or review performance.

Holding an MOS Certification can earn an entry-level business employee as much as $16,000 more in annual salary

Source: Microsoft

When you earn a Microsoft Office Specialist Intermediate or Expert certification in Excel, you instantly become a more attractive candidate, and if you already have a job, you open new doors toward promotions. Hiring managers trust Microsoft exams and certifications because they know you can contribute to the team immediately.


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You can get either an Intermediate or Expert certification in Excel 2016 or Excel 2019. The certificates are cumulative; you must first pass a basic test before being eligible to take the Intermediate certification, and you must have Intermediate certification before taking the Expert certification exam.

Preparing for the test is your best bet for success. Even if you’ve used Excel every day for the last decade, test prep courses will remind you of features and formulas that you haven’t needed in years. 

So practice. And take the test. Because the best part of your career is still to come.

Test Features

The Microsoft Excel Certification test is an interactive test. You’ll be given 26-35 questions from several different domains which need to be completed in 50 minutes.

The test is administered in a computer lab at an authorized Certiport testing center. Results of the test are available immediately following completion of the test.

The questions on each test are unique, so if you are taking the test for a second (or third time) you can expect to see different questions each time. 

The following table details the domains involved in each Microsoft Excel Certification test.

CertificationExcel 2016Excel Expert 2016
Exam Official NameExcel 2016: Core Data Analysis, Manipulation, and Presentation; Exam 77-727
Excel Expert 2016: Interpreting Data for Insights Exam 77-728
Objective Domains– Create and manage worksheets and workbooks
– Manage data cells and ranges
– Create tables
– Perform operations with formulas and functions
– Create charts and objects
– Manage workbook options and settings
– Apply custom data formats and layouts
– Create advanced formulas
– Create advanced charts and tables
Exam Duration5050
No. of Projects and QuestionsTotal of 35 questions.
7 Projects, each having 4-7 tasks to perform
Total of 26 questions.
5 Projects, each having 4-7 tasks to perform

If needed, you may go back and restart a project during the test, but this should be done with caution as the timer does not reset.

CertificationExcel Associate 2019/365Excel Expert 2019/365
Exam Official NameMicrosoft Excel (Excel and Excel 2019): Exam MO-200
Microsoft Excel Expert (Excel and Excel 2019): Exam MO-201
Objective Domains– Manage worksheets and workbooks
– Manage data cells and ranges
– Manage tables and table data
– Perform operations using formulas and functions
– Manage charts 
– Manage workbook options and settings
– Manage and format data
– Create advanced formulas and macros
– Manage advanced charts and tables
Exam Duration5050
No. of Projects and QuestionsTotal of 35 questions.
7-8 Projects, each having 1-7 tasks to perform
Total of 25 questions.
5-6 Projects, each having 1-7 tasks to perform

Test Facts

General Information

The exam is given on a computer. There is a timer on-screen, which you can choose to show or hide. Once the test begins, it can’t be stopped.

The test consists of a number of projects. You’ll be asked to do specific tasks to complete those projects. Successfully completing the project will result in correctly answering the question, while failure to do so will be marked as incorrect. 

Source: Microsoft

After completing each project, you’ll click submit, and start the next project. You can go back and make changes to projects that have been submitted until you finish the exam or run out of time. Once you select Finish Exam you can no longer make any changes.

Before taking the test, you must show a photo ID. You may not bring pens, pencils, cameras, phones, laptops, or any type of recording or communication device into the testing room.

There is a fee to take the test, which may change in different locations. In the United States, the test costs $100. Retakes of the test also cost $100.

Passing the Certification Exams

In the next section, you’ll read about the different parts of the 2016 and 2019 Excel certification tests. You should expect the projects in the certification test to cover many of the elements listed below. Success on the certification test depends largely on your ability to use the software correctly. 

If you are currently in a work environment that uses Excel 2016, taking the 2016 certification course makes sense. However, if you are a student or trying to break into the job market, we recommend taking the Excel 2019 certification. 

Both tests are similar. However, the new Excel 2019 certification puts more focus on managing workflows and information, while the 2016 version of the test has greater emphasis on creating different Excel elements.

2016 Excel Intermediate Certification Test

The 2016 Excel intermediate test challenges test takers to complete projects that cover the following areas:

  • Create and manage worksheets and workbooks
    • Create worksheets and workbooks
    • Navigate in worksheets and workbooks
    • Format worksheets and workbooks
    • Customize options and views for worksheets and workbooks
    • Configure worksheets and workbooks for distribution
  • Manage data cells and ranges
    • Insert data in cells and ranges
    • Format cells and ranges
    • Summarize and organize data
  • Create tables
    • Create and manage tables
    • Manage table styles and options
    • Filter and sort a table
  • Perform operations with formulas and functions
    • Summarize data by using a function
    • Perform conditional operations by using functions
    • Format and modify text by using functions
  • Create charts and objects
    • Create charts
    • Format charts
    • Insert and format objects

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2016 Excel Expert Certification Test

The 2016 Excel expert test challenges test takers to complete projects that cover the following areas:

  • Manage workbook options and settings
    • Manage workbooks
    • Mange workbook review
  • Apply custom data formats and layouts
    • Apply custom data formats and validation
    • Apply advanced conditional formatting and filtering
    • Create and modify custom workbook elements 
    • Prepare a workbook for internationalization
  • Create advanced formulas
    • Apply functions in formulas
    • Look up data by using functions
    • Apply advanced date and time functions
    • Perform data analysis and business intelligence
    • Troubleshoot formulas
    • Define named ranges and objects
  • Create advanced charts and tables
    • Create advanced charts
    • Create and manage PivotTables
    • Create and Manage PivotCharts

2019 Excel Intermediate Certification Test

The 2019 Excel intermediate test challenges test takers to complete projects that cover the following areas:

  • Manage worksheets and workbooks
    • Import data into workbooks
    • Navigate within workbooks
    • Format worksheets and workbooks
    • Customize options and views
    • Configure content for collaboration
  • Manage data cells and ranges
    • Manipulate data in worksheets
    • Format cells and ranges
    • Define and reference named ranges
    • Summarize data visually
  • Manage tables and table data
    • Create and format tables
    • Modify tables
    • Filter and sort table data
  • Perform operations using formulas and functions
    • Insert references
    • Calculate and transform data
    • Format and modify text
  • Manage charts
    • Create charts
    • Modify charts
    • Format charts

Free Excel Practice


2019 Excel Expert Certification Test

The 2019 Excel expert test challenges test takers to complete projects that cover the following areas:

  • Manage workbook options and settings
    • Manage workbooks
    • Prepare workbooks for collaboration
    • Use and configure language options
  • Manage and format data
    • Fill cells based on existing data
    • Format and validate data
    • Apply advanced conditional formatting and filtering 
  • Create advanced formulas and macros
    • Perform logical operations in formulas
    • Look up data by using functions
    • Use advanced date and time functions
    • Perform data analysis
    • Troubleshoot formulas
    • Create and modify simple macros
  • Manage advanced charts and tables
    • Create and modify advanced charts
    • Create and modify PivotTables
    • Create and modify PivotCharts

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Results Scale and Interpretations

The Microsoft Excel Certifications are scored between 1 to 1,000. Passing scores vary on each test, but they are approximately 700, or 70%. There is no penalty for getting an answer wrong, so if you are not sure, it doesn’t hurt to guess. 

Source: Microsoft

You will receive your results on screen immediately after completing the test. The report includes the following:

  • Numeric score 
  • Pass/Fail result
  • Bar chart showing performance on skills tested

The information in the bar chart will show you areas where you are stronger, and areas that you might want to improve on, especially if you fail and want to take the test again.

If you passed the test, you’ll receive an official certificate in the mail within approximately 2-3 weeks of taking the test. 

MOS Excel Certification Sample; Source: Microsoft

If you failed the test, Microsoft requires a 24-hour waiting period before retaking it. Each additional failed test requires a 2-day waiting period before trying again. There are no limits to the number of tests you can take.

Microsoft Excel Certification FAQs

What are the benefits of being certified in Excel?

Having a Microsoft Office Specialist certification makes you a more qualified job candidate than those who lack certification. It will help your resume stand out, especially if you are looking for an entry level position and have limited experience. Furthermore, Microsoft claims that an entry-level candidate with MOS Excel Certificate will earn more money than someone who doesn’t have the certification.

What is the best way to prepare for the Excel Certification test?

Earning an Excel certification requires that you know that software really well. However, taking practice tests like those offered by iPrep will help identify areas of weakness, and ensure that you are familiar with features in the program that you don’t use very often.

Do you have any tips for passing a Microsoft Office Specialist Excel certification test?

Pay close attention to the details within the question. Be sure to read the question carefully before performing the task required. Reading the question wrong could cause you to lose valuable points.

Is Certiport the only Excel Certification?

Certiport is the only administrator of Microsoft Office Specialist Excel certifications. However, there are a number of other Excel certifications available, including eLearn Excel, Isograd TOSA Certifications, and Go Skills. The test prep package created by iPrep will help you succeed at any of these Excel certification tests.

What is the Certiport Excel Test?

Certiport is the administrator of the Microsoft Excel Certification test.

What is the GMetrix practice tests for Excel assessments?

The GMetrix Excel test is the official practice test for MOS certifications. They help students build familiarity with the testing environment, as it builds confidence for future tests.

How often can I retake the Microsoft Excel Certification test?

Microsoft allows you to retake the test after 24 hours. Each additional test requires a 48-hour waiting period. There are no limits to the number of retakes you can try, but you will need to pay for each retake. The price changes based on your location. In the United States, each test costs $100.


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Administration

  • Test Location: Test can be taken at any Certiport testing center.
  • Test Schedule: You can schedule the Microsoft Excel Certification test at your convenience. 
  • Test Format: Computerized Simulation 
  • Test Materials: Test taken on computer
  • Cost: Prices vary based on country where it’s taken. In the United States it costs $100 per attempt. 
  • Retake Policy: First retake after 24 hours. Subsequent retakes require 48-hour waiting period. There are no limits to the number of retakes you can take.

Test Providers

The Microsoft Excel Certification test was created by Microsoft, and administered by Certiport. It can be taken at any Certiport testing center. It is used by job candidates and employees looking to distinguish themselves in their job search or career advancement efforts.

Disclaimer – All the information and prep materials on iPrep are genuine and were created for tutoring purposes. iPrep is not affiliated with Certiport or Microsoft.

Get a taste of the Excel Certification Test by practicing with these sample questions: