Microsoft changes Exams to be “Open Book” – what does this actually mean?

Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes

On Aug 22, 2023, Liberty Munson, Director of Psychometrics for Microsoft’s Worldwide Learning organization wrote in her blog on Microsoft Tech Communities:

I am pleased to announce that we are adding a powerful new resource designed to help with all role-based (associate, expert, and specialty) certification exams. On August 22, we will begin updating our exams so that you will be able to access Microsoft Learn as you complete your exam. This resource will be available in all role-based and specialty exams in all languages by mid-September.

What does this actually mean in practical terms?

Anyone who has taken a Microsoft Exam, either at a training center, or virtually from the comfort of their home or office, knows that your examination environment is designed so that you cannot browse the internet in search for answers whilst you are working through the questions.

There has always been an accessibility question for people who struggle to memorize and retain information. This has been seen as detrimental to their recognition for the work they do in the real world. Others have reported anxiety linked to the fact they need to sit exams but cannot easily remember what they have learned.

To assist many students who are affected by the above, Microsoft is now allowing access to Microsoft Learn from within the Exams system – It means you still cannot browse the internet, but you have the ability to click on “Microsoft Learn” on any question, so that you can search for answers within the learning system that anybody can access in real world scenarios. This approach will not please everybody and some think it may devalue the way certifications have been attained up to now. However, many do support this inclusivity move from Microsoft, because Learn is there to prepare anybody towards exams. Therefore, that resource is available beforehand, for free and should have been used by professionals to prepare before sitting an exam.

Below you can see a couple of screenshots showing how the Exam Questions will look:

We strongly recommend to read the full official blog here.

You can also watch this Youtube video, where Liberty answers all the questions about this.

Andy De Rosa

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