Your questions about the Microsoft 365 tests answered

Updated by Amy Thomas

Are candidates who are more familiar with using a Mac at a disadvantage when completing the test?

Mac users should not be at a disadvantage on the test compared to Windows users.

The Excel 365 simulations provide candidates with a stripped back version of the Excel user interface and do not include any commands that are unique to either Windows or Mac. The simulation tasks do not require any specific Excel knowledge that is unique to Windows or Mac.

The multiple choice questions (MCQs) assess core knowledge and skills that are applicable across both operating systems. While many of the MCQs are image based questions, and these show the Windows user interface, they are not asking about specific Windows functionality. Some questions ask about keyboard shortcuts, which are different across both Windows and Mac, however, in these cases we have explicitly stated the keyboard shortcut used across both systems.

Do the Microsoft 365 tests assess functions in the online or app version of these programs?

The multiple choice questions and the Excel simulations do not assess functions or commands that are unique to either the online (browser) or the app (desktop) applications of the Microsoft 365 programs. While the differences between the online and app versions of the programs are relatively minor, the Microsoft 365 skills tests do not assess any functions that behave differently across the two different offerings.

Do the Microsoft 365 tests assess proficiency across Google applications (i.e., Google Docs, Sheets, Slides)?

The Microsoft 365 tests are designed to measure one’s skill and knowledge with using Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. As these applications share similar functionality with the Google applications, scores on the Office 365 tests may also provide a general indicator of proficiency across Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

However, it is worth noting that Microsoft applications include more advanced features and functionalities than their Google counterparts. Therefore, the Microsoft 365 assessments will assess knowledge and skills that may be unknown to users who predominantly use the Google applications. As such, while it may provide a general indication, the Microsoft 365 tests should not be considered a one-to-one test of proficiency across the Google applications.

Can my candidates use keyboard shortcuts to complete the Excel simulation tasks?

Microsoft Excel 365 has a large number of shortcuts available. This is further complicated by the differences between operating systems (Windows or Mac) and browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge). Each possible combination of system and browser may have slight variations in what each shortcut does.

Because of the complexity around shortcuts, we have not supported the use of most cell selection (e.g., Ctrl + Shift + Arrow) and command (e.g., Ctrl + C) shortcuts in the Excel simulation tasks. However, candidates can use the arrow keys to move the active cell, and the Enter key to execute formulas. Some multiple choice questions ask about keyboard shortcuts, however, in these cases we have explicitly stated the keyboard shortcut being referred to.

The instructions for each simulation task advises candidates that keyboard shortcuts are not supported.

Why do the Excel 365 test simulations only show the Home tab?

The Excel 365 simulations only show the icons that candidates will need in order to successfully complete the task. Many of the simulations require candidates to complete tasks that are solely done from the Home tab. The other, more difficult, types of simulations can be done with the keyboard.

Our research indicates that including the other tabs can confuse candidates, who may not understand why they are not able to access that area of the ribbon menu. (In the test, the tab would not be accessible if it is not needed to complete the task.)

This saves the candidate time, which they only have a limited amount of, to complete each simulation, and improves their overall experience of the test.

Can I use a mix of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft 2016 or 2013 tests in a test battery?

You certainly can! For example, you may want to continue using the Word 2016 test but add the Excel 365 simulations test.

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