exam numbers 101*

All of the exams associated with Microsoft Certification start with a prefix of two numbers (7something) and then a three-digit identifier (check out this example). Here is an explanation of the “seventy-something” prefixes, if this has ever caused you some consternation:

  • If you are taking an exam and it starts with “70” it is a standard version of a MIcrosoft Certification exam.

  • If you are taking an exam that starts with “71” you are taking a beta exam. What is a beta exam?

  • If your exam starts with “72” that means it is the academically-priced version of the MIcrosoft exam; available only to students (discounted for students at accredited secondary schools and institutions of higher learning). Aside from the difference in price, the “70” and “72” exams are identical and count the same toward any and all Microsoft certifications. E.g. if you pass 72-271 (nice job!), you would become an MCP just as if you had passed 70-271.

  • Exams starting with “74” are specifically tied to the MIcrosoft Partner Program competencies.

  • Exams starting with “77” are Microsoft Certified Application Specialist/Professional credentials on Office applications (thanks for the reminder Alice!)

If you want to know why they all start with “7” to start with, sit still for a minute, for once, and I’ll ask someone who knows things like this. OK, I’m back. I talked to Jim Clark, who knows most things about everything. I thought maybe we picked “70” because of the building 7 mystery on the MIcrosoft campus. Or because 70 was how old the program manager’s dog was, on the day of our first exam release. Or because 7 is the fourth Mersenne prime exponent (don’t believe me?). But really, it is just because: back in the nascent stages of this program we released exams with 10-, 20-…60- prefixes for early days certification products. And by the time we locked on the current program, we happened to be at “70-“, where it has stayed since. Is it just me, or is my story about building 7 better? 

*Or should I say, 70-101.

Comments (11)

  1. Elmo N. says:

    What’s in building 7?

  2. Command Prompt says:

    I feel the objectives of this post should have been split between 2 exams 70-101 and 70-102. I found that ‘7 is the fourth Mersenne prime exponent’ quite hard to apply to 70-101 objectives, maybe this should move to the 70-102 exam? 😉

  3. Larry West MCSD, MCPD, MCTS, etc. says:

    OK Trika, I passed 76-210 and 76-215, offered as betas of some new testing mechanism for 70-210 and 70-215.

    I’ve also use to see 77-xxx posted occasionally.

    What do 76-xxx and 77-xxx mean?

    Is there any rhyme or reason to the exam number itself? You’ve got a lot of numbers in the 100’s, 300’s and 400’s to fill in. What happens when you get past the 70-900’s.

    Also, are you still going to take 70-620 this month? Did you take it already?

  4. Brian says:

    Your description of "72" exams requires a little more qualification. They are available only to IT Academy (http://www.microsoft.com/education/msitacademy/default.mspx) students, not just any student. Also, "72" exams must be taken at an IT Academy testing facility.

  5. George says:

    I loved that part about the Mersenne prime exponents. You definitely get the cool points for that one.

    btw – The mystery is that we don’t have a "building 7" on campus. There’s alot of Microsoft lore around it, but no one’s really saying why. I think there is a building 7, but it’s "underground".

  6. Martin says:

    My theory is that it was chosen after Bill Gates’ surname. "G" is the seventh letter in the alphabet.

  7. Alice says:

    Regarding Brian’s post about the 72-x academic discount exams:

    This is not correct. As a college student, I earned my MCSA entirely through 72-x exams for $60 each at an on-campus testing center. Neither the testing center nor the academic program I was enrolled in were part of the Microsoft IT Academy program.

    I found a more accurate explanation at http://www.thebigmojo.com/discounts.htm :

    Microsoft professional technical certification exams are delivered at both commercial testing centers and Authorized Academic Testing Centers (AATC). The tests are managed and administered by Prometric, a part of the Thomson Corporation, and VUE. The general public takes their certification exams at either an Authorized Prometric Testing Center (APTC) or a VUE Authorized Testing Center. However, both Prometric and VUE offer special discounts at AATCs to students and instructors from educational institutions. This benefit applies to all membership levels.

    Authorized Academic Testing Centers (AATCs) AATCs are examination centers hosted by educational institutions that have contracted with Prometric or VUE. The AATC administers all aspects of the exam including registration, ID verification, monitoring, and administration of the test event. ***AATCs provide significant discounts off of the commercial testing price to any student or staff of an accredited institution***, including all Microsoft IT Academy member students and faculty.

    … When enrolling for one of these exams, please use the prefix 72-xxx as shown below, rather than the 70-xxx which is the commercial Microsoft exam number. …

    The retail price of technical certification exams is $125. AATCs deliver the following exams at a steeply discounted academic price of $60.

    I didn’t want other eligible students to miss out on this deal because they thought they didn’t qualify!

  8. Alice says:

    I found http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcpexams/prepare/examresults.aspx?orderby=ID , which lists the Microsoft exams by number. It looks like the 77-x exams are for Microsoft Certified Application Specialist/Professional credentials in the new Microsoft Business Certification program ( http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/msbc/default.mspx ).

    Also, here are more details about those two 76-x exams (76-210 Windows 2000 Pro and 76-215 Windows 2000 Server), which took place in May 2003: http://mcpmag.com/news/print.asp?EditorialsID=574 . I haven’t found any other examples of exams using the 76-x prefix, so apparently they tried it for this new ‘refreshing exam content’ method, and then went back to just sticking a few unscored questions into the normal exams?

  9. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    got info from the source (i.e. our academic owner) about brian/alice comments:

    "Alice is correct. Girls 1 – Boys 0"

  10. Alice says:

    I found some more information on this…

    Prior to the late-2004 introduction of the Partner Competency exams, the ’74’ prefix was also used for 74-100: Microsoft Solutions Framework Practitioner, a short-lived (from early 2003 to mid 2004) predecessor to the 70-301 exam.

    In addition to the refresh experiment, the ’76’ prefix was also used for Microsoft Trainer assessment exams (for MCTs to prove their qualifications to teach a Microsoft Official Curriculum course when there is no corresponding MCP exam). I have found there to be at least 32 of these. I don’t have exact date ranges, but they seem to have all been offered in the vicinity of 1997-2000.

    And I found a previous usage of the ’77’ prefix: Microsoft Sales Specialist! There seem to have been 4 of these exams, offered in 1998-1999.

    I have also seen a few hints of a possible ’75’ prefix used at one time, but have not found any details on if, why, or when.

  11. You can download EVENT RECORDING from here All of the exams associated with Microsoft Certification start