Preparation Materials

Divide them into three!

People need to prepare for an exam seems logical enough don’t you think? But what materials do we use to prepare for exams. For technical exams there are special training kits available but for MOS exams that is different. Ofcourse there are the study guides like the one i blogged about earlier (this one is for Office 2010). I am a teacher so i think like a teacher. What would i ask when i was in the shoes of the people who make these exams? If you ask yourself that you will find that a lot of questions you might think of are actually exam questions 🙂

If you tink of the various apps which you can take an exam for think 3!

For instance:

Microsoft Excel 2010: now split this application into three separate parts and start writing down your questions.

  1. There is the Ribbon; you have to know your way around your ribbon and fast too! When this version came out the ribbon was changed again! How about that [Backstage] thing. I would ask a lot of questions if i were the one making up examquestions for this.
    Now go on and click every available tab and examine every available option. And remember the [Developer Tab] is not visible by default so that has to be turned on before you actually see it.
  2. There is the application technique; you know Excel is about calculations and spreasheets right? They will ask you questions about calculations and spreadsheets. The functions, formulas, lists and so on will be a part of your exam questions. For this part i would recommend the studybooks which can be the Step by Step series or the Inside Out series. These books will explain the ins and outs of the applications and the available techniques.
  3. Finally think “What’s new” and focus on the functionality that has been added to the new version of the application. Focus on that and practice. For instance the Pivot table functionality in 2007 and 2010 had a significant improvement in contrast to the earlier versions. What to use to study that? Well for starters there is the blog run by the programgroup. Every application has its own blog where the new functionality is described extensively with examples and all. So be sure to add those to your favorites! Watch youtube videos to see what others found out. And visit the apps formus and ask questions about the new functionality.

Is that it?

I wish i could say that following the three steps would be enough but it is not. You do need hands on experience as well. So there it is; open the laptop and start practicing (a lot). And remember these exams are hands on so reading about it does not prepare you enough to pass the exam…

Available Resources to use

Ofcourse i am going to provide you with the necessary links to get well prepared for the exams. The list is not limited and every additional resource you can find i would say use it.

  • Ribbon Hero: this is a fantastic piece of preparation material. You can download it for free here. This can be used for Office 2007 and Office 2010
    What to expect.. well after the download and installation you will see additional options in your various Office applications (new tab). By clicking that you are about to go on an adventure with Clippy (omg that paperclip?). You will practice the ribbon options in every aspect needed to find exactly what is where and how to use it. So for the first of the three pointers this is the place to start!
  • Online training (Microsoft Learning Library): ofcourse you need hands on training materials. Video’s explaining to you the diversity of the application etc. The following list shows you the available online courses for the MOS applications. (see end of the page…)
  • Books: Reading and studying about you apps can be done using the step by step series or the Inside Out series. Look under the books category to see which books are available. MS Press often lets you read a chapter for free.
  • Blogs: Every program group has its own blog where they post about the application. This is the source to find anything related to what’s new and how it works. So here we go:
    – Excel: http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-excel/
    – Access: http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-access/
    – Word: http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-word/
    – PowerPoint: http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-powerpoint/
    – Outlook: http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-outlook/

Courseware list for Online Learning (Microsoft): Ceck yourself: http://learning.microsoft.com/Manager/Catalog.aspx

Coursenumber Application – Level Pricing
Collection 10358: Skills Training in Microsoft Excel 2010 $34.99
Course 10296: Beginner Skills in Microsoft Excel 2010 $14.99
Course 10394: Advanced Skills in Microsoft Excel 2010 $14.99
Course 10393: Intermediate Skills in Microsoft Excel 2010 $14.99
Course 10283: What’s New in Microsoft Excel 2010 $14.99
Course 10384: Advanced Skills in Microsoft Access 2010 $14.99
Course 10383: Intermediate Skills in Microsoft Access 2010 $14.99
Course 10382: Beginner Skills in Microsoft Access 2010 $14.99
Course 10395: What’s New in Microsoft Access 2010 $14.99
Collection 10349: Skills Training in Microsoft Access 2010 $34.99
Course 10391: Intermediate Skills in Microsoft Word 2010 $14.99
Course 10392: Advanced Skills in Microsoft Word 2010 $14.99
Collection 10357: Skills Training in Microsoft Word 2010 $34.99
Course 10281: What’s New in Microsoft Word 2010 $14.99
Course 10294: Beginner Skills in Microsoft Word 2010 $14.99
Course 10386: Advanced Skills in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 $14.99
Course 10523: Intermediate Skills in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 $14.99
Collection 10351: Skills Training in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 $34.99
Course 10282: What’s New in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 $14.99
Course 10295: Beginner Skills in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 $14.99
Course 10280: What’s New in Microsoft Outlook 2010 $14.99
Course 10385: Advanced Skills in Microsoft Outlook 2010 $14.99
Course 10524: Intermediate Skills in Microsoft Outlook 2010 $14.99
Course 10293: Beginner Skills in Microsoft Outlook 2010 $14.99
Collection 10350: Skills Training in Microsoft Outlook 2010 $34.99
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