After much deliberation last week, I decided to bite the bullet and look into doing my Microsoft Word Expert exam in Word 2016. Duangta and I were heading to Bangkok on other business, so if I could also schedule this in, take the exam (and pass), then I might as well.
I must admit, the last time I took a Microsoft exam was way back in 1999 when I studied for, took, and passed my Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer’s courses (all 6 of them) on Windows NT (Winnt). I remember doing them in a dusty old building close to Liverpool Street station using (even way back then) old machines. The exams struck me as rather strange as not only did you need to know how to use the software, but you had to remember exactly where everything was as well.
For example, they were something along the lines of:
“If you want to add a user where do you do this:

  1. Control Panel > Users > Add User
  2. Control Panel > Computer Management > Users > Add User
  3. Control Panel > Administrators > Users > Add User
  4. MMC > Users > Add User

Now, I know they have their time and place, but c’mon…does it matter if I click on the wrong item in Control Panel (if it’s even there)… of course not. It doesn’t test much of worth.
Thankfully, Microsoft have revamped the new exams and they’re more task-based. The problem (for me) was I had no idea what the new format was.
On the Microsoft website, there are a few study guides, but (and it’s a BIG BUT)…
Microsoft Office Specialist Study Guides
They’re only available for pre-order. So, no good there then.
As a result, I went in blind.
Thankfully, I know Word so was confident anyway, but there’s still that niggling doubt.
The allotted time for the exam is 50 minutes, and you can get between 4 and 7 projects, apparently.

My Microsoft Word Expert 2016 Exam

My own exam consisted of 5 projects, each with 5 tasks. I will be honest, the very first question threw me (probably nerves more than anything); but I do remember on these exams (from 1999) that you have to work the way Microsoft want you to work: kind of like using Word in general, really: if you want to do your own thing it’ll come back and bite you one day! For me, that’s not so great as I use shortcuts everywhere.
Having no idea if they’re recording mouse clicks or whatever, I just went and did what I did. But that first question was a pain. I can’t say what it was as I had to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement but it just showed me that the only way to fully prepare for an exam is to run through old exam questions. As it turned out, I wasted about 5 minutes on that 1 question alone trying to work out what they wanted and it’s something tht I’ve done a thousand times unknowingly.
All told, it took me about 25 minutes (the allotted time is 50) and I had 5 projects each with 5 individual tasks.
I knew I’d passed (I use Word on a daily basis, and have done for years), and Duangta and I were out of there in good time.
Ever-efficient Microsoft…the email was waiting for me within minutes…

So, after 22 years of using Word, and 19 of those in business-related environments, I now have a certificate to prove I can probably help you.
If you think your business can benefit from consistent, professional documentation, then feel free to get in touch.