Looking at IT Training Credentials

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In this article TrainingZONE IT training looks at ways in which IT trainers can gain Microsoft Office User Specialist Accreditation (MOUS). Many IT trainers will already have recognised training credentials, however, as facilitators of learning, they will acknowledge their own need for ongoing learning and refreshing their skills.

For IT Trainers and end-users of the Microsoft Office Suite, the issue of whether they need certification or not is an individual choice, nevertheless, the MOUS certification is a highly regarded accreditation within the IT training and business worlds.

This is not an easy certificate to gain, study and knowledge ranges are quite intensive and expansive, thus having obtained it you can be sure that your competence as a user and instructor of Microsoft Office is to the highest level and has been recognised as such. The definition of MOUS exams 'not being easy to pass', should by no means thwart or sway your decision to apply for it. In reality it means that once gained, the certificate is proof of your level of knowledge. This is what makes the certificate so highly regarded.

The MOUS examination gives you a chance to gain a meaningful certification recognised by Microsoft for the Office applications: Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint, and Outlook.

What are the applications concerned?
It is possible to gain MOUS certification in Office 97 applications (Word, Access, Excel and Powerpoint), and in Office 2000 Outlook can also be gained. It is also possible to take exam levels in Word and Excel as stand alone programmes.

There are two exam levels in Word 97, Word 2000, Excel 97 and Excel 2000. There is a core level (proficiency) and an expert level. For PowerPoint 97 and Access 97, only the expert certification is available. For Powerpoint, Access and Outlook 2000 only one level of certification is available.

What the certifications to be gained?
If you obtain the expert level in Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access 97 you are certified as a Master of Office 97. If you obtain the expert level for Word and Excel 2000 as well as MOUS certification in Powerpoint, Access and PowerPoint 2000, you are certified as a Master in Office 2000.

How do you apply to take the exams?
To enrol for these examinations you should apply to one of the Microsoft Authorised Testing Centres. There is a list of these centres available online at:http://www.mous.net/. Many local Higher and Further Education Colleges are registered testing centres; you will need to verify this with your local College.

What happens in a MOUS examination?
You will need to perform a certain amount of tasks on the software in question. Each action you perform will be tested to ensure you have done exactly what was requested. There are no multiple choice questions and the exam is not a simulation;you work directly in the application. Each exam generally lasts around 45 mins to 1 hour.

How do I pass the examination?
You must carry out a certain percentage of the required tasks correctly, within the allocated time. This percentage varies depending on the exam. You will be told your result as soon as you have finished the exam.

When will I know the results?
The results are confidential, and are only known to Microsoft and the candidate. When you pass a MOUS examination you will receive a Microsoft-approved exam certificate, proving that you hold the specified MOUS level.

How do I prepare for a MOUS examination?
It is possible to train for the MOUS examination with a Microsoft Approved MOUS Training Provider. For details of one nearest you go to http://www.microsoft.com/uk/skills/tellme.htm. It is also possible to prepare yourself by using Microsoft Approved courseware. Details of these are also available at one of the above Microsoft links.

What if I fail the examination?
You will be given a list of the tasks that were not performed correctly, so that you can see where you went wrong. You can take the exam as many times as you like, but you have to pay the enrolment fee each time you apply.

Self Preparation
From time to time all Trainers recognise their need to upgrade or refresh their training or teaching skills, in this situation they may need a ‘Trainer the Trainer’ type course. However, many IT trainers will feel they are competent enough to train themselves to a higher standard in their own field. Those IT trainers who specialise in using Microsoft office have access to excellent courseware for working towards MOUS certification.

One such type of courseware is a series of books entitled ‘Exam Preparation Guide MOUS Microsoft Office User Specialist'. One of these books is ‘Word Expert’, which bears the Microsoft Office User Specialist seal of approval. The publisher of this book is ENI Publishing ENI Publishing. Further information is obtainable from http://www.mous.edexcel.org.uk">http://www.mous.edexcel.org.uk. Information given was obtained from this book.

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