As a tutor of MOUS (Microsoft Office User Specialist) courses, I often get asked many questions about them. I have posted on this page some of the questions that I get asked the most. I will continue to add more to this page as time goes on.
If you have a questions on a MOUS issue, go to the Contact Us page and send me an e-mail. I will send you an answer and add your question to this page.

How long is the MOUS exam?
The MOUS exams can vary in length, but the average length of time of the Office 2000 MOUS exams is 45 minutes. The average length of the Office 97 MOUS exams is 60 minutes.

Does the exam start straight away?
No. You are allowed time to read the exam instructions before the timed exam begins. No reading time during the Office 2000 exams is allocated once the exam starts.

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Where can I sit the exam?
You can make a booking with any ATC (Authorized Testing Center). For a list of ATC’s in New Zealand, visit the New Zealand MOUS web site, at www.mous.co.nz
Or you can visit http://www.microsoft.com/traincert/mcp/mous/default.asp (Microsoft’s MOUS page), and then click on the Locate an Authorized Testing Center link. This will allow you to search for a ATC (Testing Center) in your country or region.

How many Questions are in the exam?
The number of questions varies depending of the subject and the version of Microsoft Office you are sitting your exam in. The Word 97 exam has 57 questions, Word 2000 has 32 questions, Excel 2000 has 36 questions. Their could be up to 60 questions in the exam.

Is the exam a theory exam?
No, the exam is a practical exam. You are given a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint Presentation, etc, and asked to perform one or more tasks on it. Recently I sat the Outlook 2000 exam, it had 5 or 6 multiple choice questions in it.

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Can I skip a question and go back to it later?
No, because it is a practical exam, you either know how to do it or you do not. When you CLICK the next question button, the exam software marks your question correct or incorrect. If you performed the task correctly you are awarded the points for that question.

What is the pass mark?
The pass mark can go up or down, it starts off at 75% or 750 mark out of 1000 possible marks. If the the exam is deemed to be to easy them the pass mark is increased until a fair pass mark for that exam is reached. Some exams can have a pass mark of over 90% or 900 marks out of 1000.

If I sit an exam and fail, do I have to pay to sit again?
Unfortunately you will need to pay another exam fee to re-sit an exam you have failed previously.

If I sit an exam and fail, can I re-sit on the same day?
I checked this one out with the MOUS authorites, and you can re-sit the same exam on the same day if you are prepared the pay another exam fee. If you fail the same exam a second time, you must wait two weeks before attempting the exam again, but you can sit one of the other MOUS exams. E.g. if you failed the Word exam twice in one day you would have to wait 2 weeks before you could site the Word MOUS exam again, but you could site the Excel exam or any of the other Office Exams without having to wait.

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How much does it cost to sit a MOUS exam?
The cost of the exam is set by the ATC. I have seen prices as low as $95 (NZ) and up to $120.00 (NZ) including GST. I suggest you visit www.mous.co.nz to get a list of ATC’s in your area, then ring around to see what deals are available.
Or you can visit http://www.microsoft.com/traincert/mcp/mous/default.asp (Microsoft’s MOUS page), and then click on the Locate an Authorized Testing Center link. This will allow you to search for a ATC (Testing Center) in your country or region.

When will I be notified of my pass mark?
When you CLICK the next question for the last time, or your time runs out, your exam will end. The exam software will display a screen giving you your mark, you will be told whether you have passed or failed the exam, and what your mark out of 1000 is.
At this point your ATC can printout a report that has a chart or break down of how well you did in each topic you were questioned on. If you passed the exam, this report becomes a temporary certificate.

How long will it take for my certificate to arrive?
It usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks for your certificate to arrive from the U.S, in some countries certificates can be produced by the local MOUS agent. If it does not turn up in the mail, contact the ATC you sat the exam at. You will need the temporary certificate they printed out for you on the day you sat.

Will I be told what questions I got wrong?
Unfortunately the exam software does not tell you what questions you answered incorrectly. The ATC will printout, a temporary certificate for you, this will have a chart on it indicating how you did in each topic you were questioned on. You should get this report or certificate at the end of the exam whether you pass or fail.

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Are there any old exam papers I can use to study from?
No, the MOUS exams are practical exams. They are done on a computer. I have not yet seen anyone attempt to publish the answers to a MOUS exam, but I am sure if they did Microsoft and Nivo International would have it removed very quickly. Of course a new exam would be issued to ensure no one has the answers.
There are various practice exams appearing around the Internet, most of the ones I have seen are multiple-choice tests. You should keep in mind that the MOUS exam is a practical exam and not multiple-choice, (Microsoft Outlook 2000 has some multiple choice questions in it). But the practice test will aid in testing your knowledge on the MOUS products. See my Links page for some links to sites offering MOUS Practice exams. Some are offered free of charge, others you will need to pay for.

If I run out of time in my exam, can I complete the question that I was on?
No, when the time runs out, i.e. your 45 minutes is gone, that is the end of the exam.

What happens to any questions that I have not answered when the exam time runs out?
Any questions not answered when the exam time expires, are automatically incorrect. You should keep and eye on your time, to ensure that you are not spending to long on each question.

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What can I take into the exam with me?
Nothing, anything you need to complete the exam will be provided for you. You cannot take your bag, books, calculator, or a cell phone into the exam room with you.

What happens if the exam computer locks up during my exam?
If for any reason the computer you are using to sit the exam locks up, or malfunctions in any way, you should call the ATC supervisor immediately. The ATC supervisor will restart your computer, and then restart your exam. You will not be asked any questions that you have already answered, but you may get the question you were working on when your computer locked up, a second time. If your computer locks up the exam software will allocate some extra time to compensate for any time lost due to the lock up.

Do I get a special certificate if I pass all the MOUS exams on one Office version?
Yes, if you sit and pass all the Office 2000 MOUS exams, you can apply to be issued with a Office 2000 MOUS Masters certificate. This will make you a Microsoft Office 2000 Master.
Note 1: You can become a MOUS Master in any of the Microsoft Office versions. Being a MOUS Master in Office 2000, does not make you a MOUS Master in Office 97, or Office 2002 (XP). To become a MOUS Master in Office 97 and Office 2000, you must have sat all MOUS exams for Office 97 and all the MOUS exams for Office 2000.
Note 2: You must apply for the MOUS Masters certificate, it will not be sent to you automatically. You will need the TRA number for each exam you have sat. The TRA number is on the temporary certificate printed at the end of each exam by the ATC. If you do not know the TRA numbers and / or do not have the temporary certificates, contact the ATC you sat your exams with.