Microsoft Technology Associate Certification

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification?

The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification is a new, entry-level certification designed to help individuals take the first step toward a career as an IT professional or developer.

An MTA certification is based on 80 percent knowledge and 20 percent skills. The next step in the Microsoft certification path is Microsoft Technology Specialist (MCTS), which requires hands-on experience with the Microsoft technology platform.

Q. Is the MTA certification for me?

If you already have an in-depth understanding of and hands-on experience with Microsoft technologies, you might want to start with a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification or one of our Professional Series tracks, which includes the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and the Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) certifications. If you are a student, changing careers, just starting your career, or exploring a technology career, earning an MTA certification will help guide your career planning.

At this time, the MTA certification is only available to students, faculty, and staff of an accredited academic institution that is an approved MTA testing center.

Q. How does the MTA certification fit into the overall Microsoft Certification Program?

Millions of people in the world would like to pursue a career in technology, but they lack the foundational knowledge necessary to pursue one of our Specialist Series (MCTS) or Professional Series (MCITP or MCPD) certifications. The MTA certification creates a new entry point to help people jumpstart their career aspirations.

Q. Which technologies are covered in MTA certification exams?

Each MTA certification exam covers a broad technology area, such as web development or network fundamentals.

Q. What do I get when I earn an MTA certification?

Earning an MTA certification can help you stand out when you are applying to colleges or internships. This certification helps prove your commitment and knowledge of fundamental technology concepts. Having a validated certification from Microsoft can help you launch a successful career.

Earning an MTA certification can be the first step toward becoming a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS). When you earn an MTA certification, you become a member of our Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) community. You get access to members-only benefits, such as special offers, a transcript tool, and private newsgroups where you can network, find peer support, and share your accomplishments with millions of MCPs worldwide.

Q. How many exams do I need to pass to earn an MTA certification?

To earn an MTA certification, you only need to pass one exam.

Q. What if I pass more than one MTA certification exam?

You only need to pass one MTA exam in order to earn the certification. However, we recommend that you review the MTA Exam Certification Paths chart and consider earning a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification to help you further your career in the IT industry. Passing more than one exam shows potential employers and college admissions offices that you have a variety of technology skills and are committed to a wide set of abilities.

Q. What is the retake policy for MTA certification exams?

The retake policy for MTA exams is the same as for our Technical and Professional Series certifications.

  • Learn about Microsoft Certification exam policies

Q. Will MTA certifications expire?

Yes, MTA certifications expire after five years.

Q. How do I submit feedback about an MTA certification exam?

We appreciate your feedback about the MTA certification and your testing experience, and we work to ensure your satisfaction. If you have a concern about the technical accuracy of a particular item, please fill out an Item Challenge form.

Q. How do I know if I'm an academic customer?

Academic customers are defined as being registered as a student, faculty, or staff member of a qualified educational institution. MTA certification exams are not available through commercial learning institutions at this time.

Q. My school does not have an MTA campus license, but I would like my students to consider taking an MTA certification exam on their own. Is this possible?

At this time, MTA exams are only available to academic institutions that have purchased an MTA campus license.

Q. How does the MTA certification fit into the courses I teach?

Microsoft designed the MTA certification to support academic technology learning goals. To see how MTA exam topics fit into your current course curriculum, review our MTA course mapping.

Institutions that purchase a Campus License will receive MTA certification exam review kits, which include sample activities, lesson plans, and lecture slides.

Q. What should I do after earning my MTA certification?

After you pass your MTA certification exam, highlight the certification on your college and internship applications to set you apart from your peers. Also, consider becoming a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS). You have already validated your fundamental technology knowledge—now it's time to show the world that you are an expert!

Q.How will I know what will be covered on an MTA certification exam?

Each MTA certification exam has a preparation guide that describes all of the subjects that will be covered on the exam.

Preparation

Q. How will I know when I'm ready to take the exam?

The preparation guides are a great tool to help you determine whether you are ready to take an exam. Review the preparation guide and ask yourself whether you have a strong understanding of what is being covered. You can also play "Are You Certifiable?", a game that tests your exam readiness.

Q. What training is available to help me prepare for MTA certification exams?

If you are an educator.

MTA certification exam review kits are complimentary for educators with the purchase of an MTA Campus License.

You can access tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio, Windows Server, Microsoft Expression Studio, Microsoft SQL Server, XNA tools, and much more at no cost. You can use these tools to make applications and games for Windows, Xbox 360, the web, Zune, and mobile phones.

Educational institutions can access this same software for their lab and classroom computers at a very low cost through the MSDN Academic Alliance program.

Q. Are there any training prerequisites for the MTA certification?

There are no prerequisite training requirements for MTA certification exams. However, you should be comfortable with your knowledge of the skills listed in the preparation guides before you take an exam.

Q. I am a student at a school with an MTA Campus License. Can I access the MTA certification exam review kits?

Yes. If your school has purchased an MTA Campus License, your instructors will have the MTA certification exam review kits and can share them with you.

Q. Can I access or purchase the MTA certification exam review kits if my school does not have an MTA Campus License?

No. At this time, the MTA certification exam review kits are available exclusively to institutions that purchase an MTA campus license.

Q. I'm an instructor. How do I integrate MTA certification exam review kits into the curriculum I'm already teaching?

The exam review kits were created in a modular format so that they can be adapted for a variety of teaching scenarios. Each kit includes 20 lessons based on the topics covered in the associated MTA certification exam. You can select which lessons to use in your classroom based on the curriculum you are already teaching.

Q. My school has already purchased an MTA Campus License. Where do I access the MTA certification exam review kits?

If you are an instructor, visit the Certiport website and use the account credentials you created when you registered to become a proctor. If you are a student and your school has an MTA Campus License, contact your instructor, who will have the review kits available for you.

Q. How does MTA fit into the Microsoft IT Academy Program?

Each IT Academy is fully resourced to prepare students for Microsoft technology certifications. Microsoft recommends that you encourage students to earn MTA certifications so that they have a solid foundation before moving on to the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications. Each IT Academy receives preferential pricing on MTA Campus Licenses and vouchers.

Q. Are practice exams available for the MTA certification?

Currently, practice exams are not available for the MTA certification. However, you can play "Are You Certifiable?", a game that tests your exam readiness.

Q. In what languages are MTA exam review kits and training materials available?

Currently, MTA training material is only available in English. In the near future, training materials will be released in Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Korean, Japanese, Spanish, German, Portuguese (Brazil), and Russian.

Q. Do the MTA certification exams cover topics that are not discussed in the preparation guides?

No, the exams only cover topics that are discussed in the preparation guides.

Q. What is included in the MTA certification exam review kits?

Each kit has 20 lessons based on the topics covered on the seven MTA certification exams. Each lesson includes the following items:

  • A review lesson (in both Microsoft Office Word and Adobe PDF formats)
  • Lecture slides in Microsoft Office PowerPoint format
  • One to two student activities (in both Microsoft Office Word and Adobe PDF formats)

Pricing

Q. How much does it cost to take an MTA certification exam?

Educational institutions can buy a one-year MTA Campus License which allows up to 1,000 exams to be delivered. Additionally, institutions can purchase vouchers valid for a single exam.

Q. I'm a student. Can I get a discount on MTA certification exams?

Currently, MTA is only available for purchase by educational institutions and are already priced for the academic market.

Q. Is there a proctoring fee when taking an MTA certification exam?

Proctoring fees vary by testing center. Many academic testing centers waive the proctoring fee for students who attend that institution. To learn more about proctoring fees, contact your local testing center.

Q. Is there a discount on the MTA campus license for institutions enrolled in the Microsoft IT Academy Program?

Yes, we offer IT Academy members a substantial discount on the MTA Campus License and exam vouchers. For more information, contact Certiport and have your ITA membership number on hand.

Q. How does my school adopt the MTA certification?

Schools can adopt the MTA certification by purchasing an Campus License or single exam vouchers.

Q. Do I need multiple MTA Campus Licenses if I would like to deliver exams at more than one campus location?

The MTA Campus License is only valid at a single campus with the same address. To deliver exams at more than one location, you must purchase additional Campus Licenses.

Q. What details are required to purchase an MTA Campus License or exam voucher?

Your educational institution must be qualified and it must be registered as a Certiport testing center. If your institution is a Microsoft IT Academy, you must have its membership number in order to receive discounts on your MTA purchase.

Q. How many exams can be taken by using an MTA Campus License?

One thousand exams can be taken per year by using an MTA campus license.

Q. How long does an MTA Campus License and exam voucher last?

An MTA Campus License and exam voucher expire after one year.

Q. Does an MTA Campus License and exam voucher include all seven MTA certification exams?

Yes, after purchasing an MTA Campus License or exam voucher, your institution will be able to deliver all seven MTA certification exams.

Q. Can my organization purchase an MTA Campus License or an exam voucher if it is not an academic institution?

Only qualified academic institutions can purchase the MTA Campus License and exam vouchers.

Q. What is the refund policy for exams?

Please follow the policies outlined by the institution where you took your exam.

Exam delivery

Q. Where can I take my MTA certification exam?

MTA certification exams are currently offered only to students, faculty, and staff of academic institutions. If your school is set up as a Certiport testing center and it is signed up to administer MTA certification exams, your teacher or proctor can deliver your exam to you. If your school is not signed up to administer MTA certification exams, an administrator or teacher at your school can contact Certiport.

Q. How do I become an MTA certification exam proctor?

First, find out if your school is already a Certiport testing center. If so, contact your testing center and have an administrator walk you through the process of registering as an MTA proctor.

Q. Can MTA certification exams be delivered offline?

Offline exams are not currently available.

Q. How many questions are on each exam?

MTA certification exams typically contain 30 to 50 questions.

Q. How long do I have to complete the exam?

You have 50 minutes to complete your MTA certification exam. If an exam is not available in your native language and you must take it in English, you can request an additional 30 minutes to complete it. You must make this arrangement with your proctor before the exam appointment.

Q. How do I become a Certiport testing center?

Visit the Certiport website to start the testing center registration process.

Q. Can I take an MTA certification exam at a Prometric testing center?

No, MTA certification exams are only available at Certiport testing centers.

Q. When will I receive the results of my exam?

You can find out your score and exam results immediately after taking the exam.

Q. How do I get my MTA certificate after passing an exam?

Certificates are only available through online download. You can obtain any of your Microsoft certificates by using the Microsoft Certified Professional website.

You will need your Windows Live ID that has been associated with your Microsoft Certified ID in order to access this site.

Q. How do I get a copy of my score report?

Your score report will be shown immediately after completing your exam. It will also be available on the Certiport website.

Q. Where can I find my certification transcript?

You can find a transcript of all your Microsoft certifications on the Microsoft Certified Professional website. You will need your Windows Live ID that has been associated with your Microsoft Certified ID in order to view this transcript.

You can find a transcript of all the exams you have taken through Certiport on the Certiport website.

Q. How do I associate my Microsoft Certified ID with my Windows Live ID?

After passing your first Microsoft Certification exam, you will receive an email message with your Microsoft Certified ID and detailed instructions on how to associate this with your Windows Live ID. You will need to make this association before accessing the Microsoft Certified Professional website.

Q. Will I know how my students score on the exam?

Yes, students will need to allow their results to be available to the proctor. The proctor will then be able to see a report of how their students did.

Q. I have a disability that might affect my performance on a certification exam. What accommodations are available?

Please contact the testing center at your academic institution for more information about special accommodations.

Q. English is not my first language. What options do I have for taking certification exams?

MTA certification exams are currently only available in English. However, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Korean, Japanese, Spanish, German, Portuguese (Brazil), and Russian will be coming this year. If an exam is not available in your native language, contact the testing center at your academic institution for more information.

Exam scoring

Q. How are MTA certification exam scores calculated?

All MTA certification exams are scaled such that the passing score is 70. A common misperception is that you must answer 70 percent of the items correctly in order to pass the exam; however, the actual percentage varies from exam to exam and may be more or less than 70 percent. After you complete your exam, the number of items that you answered correctly is compared with the cut score to determine whether the result is pass or fail.

Here is some general information about exam scoring:

  • There is no penalty for guessing. If you choose an incorrect answer, you simply do not earn a point for that item. No points are deducted for incorrect answers.
  • If a question specifies that you must choose multiple correct answers, you must choose the exact number of correct answers specified in the question in order to earn a point for that item.
  • Some questions on the exam may not be included in the calculation of your score. To gather data to update and improve the quality of each exam, we need to present new content to candidates without counting the results toward their score.

Q. How should I interpret my score report?

All MTA certification exams are scaled so that a passing score is 70. Any score of 70 or greater is a "pass." Any score below 70 is a "fail." The bars on the score report show your relative performance in the various subject areas covered by the exam—the longer the bar, the stronger your performance in that area.

Q. What does the score report look like?

The score report details the areas in which a candidate demonstrates technical strength and the areas in which the candidate shows a need for improvement. The report provides a numeric score for overall exam performance as well as a bar graph for each subject area of the exam.

Q. What does my numeric score mean?

Microsoft provides numeric scores on all exams, which gives candidates some indication of their level of performance on the exam. For MTA certification exams, Microsoft has created an exam scale that is consistent across all exams. The scale requires a minimum passing score of 70 on all exams. If you receive a score of 70 or above, it means that you are at least minimally qualified; if you receive a score below 70, it means that you are not minimally qualified.

Q. What do the bars on the score report mean?

The bars indicate how strongly an examinee performed on each skills section of the exam. The closer the bar comes to the strong end of the continuum, the higher the score on that skills section. The closer the bar is to the "needs development" end of the continuum, the lower the score in that topic area. These results will help examinees determine areas where they have strengths and where they need improvement. The sections listed on the score report correspond to those listed in the exam preparation guide.

Q. Does the score report show a numerical score for each section?

MTA certification exams do not show a numerical score for each section. The score report provides a numerical score to reflect pass/fail status only. Because we provide scaled scores and each exam section often contains different numbers of questions, combining their numerical results at the section level may not reflect your final exam result. As an alternative to providing a numerical score for each section, we provide score bars to show an overview of areas of strength and weakness relative to overall performance.

Q. The bars on the score report show that I have scored more than 70 percent, but I didn't pass the exam. Why is this?

Each section of the exam may contain a different number of questions; therefore, the relative results on individual exam sections might not reflect your final exam result. In other words, there is no one-to-one relationship between the length of the bars and your pass/fail status. Additionally, a common misperception is that you must answer 70 percent of the items correctly in order to pass the exam; however, the actual percentage varies from exam to exam and may be more or less than 70 percent, depending on the input provided by the subject-matter experts who helped us set the cut score.

Q. Are some questions or tasks worth more than others?

Each question, task, or simulation is worth the same amount, regardless of what you have to do to answer the question.

Q. Is there a penalty for guessing? Are points deducted for incorrect answers?

No. Points are not deducted for incorrect answers. If you answer incorrectly, you will simply not earn the point associated with answering correctly.

Q. Why are some questions unscored?

Microsoft is committed to continually updating exam content and utilizing innovative testing techniques. Our goal is to increase the relevance of our exams, offer a more comprehensive and valuable certification, and ensure the security of exam content. To gather the data needed to update and improve the quality of exams, we present new content to candidates without counting the results toward their score.

Q. I have taken this exam multiple times and have received the same score every time. Does this indicate an error in the results computation?

No, it does not indicate an error. It is not uncommon for candidates to obtain similar or identical scores on multiple attempts of an exam. Receiving the same score on multiple attempts does not indicate that the program computing the results is in error.

Q. I scored zero in one of the sections. How is this possible?

The number of questions that appear for each section is determined by subject matter experts. As a result, some sections have more questions than others. It is not uncommon to score zero when a section contains relatively few questions.

Competitive positioning

Q. I'm already teaching content geared to a non-Microsoft exam. Why should I switch to cover MTA exams?

MTA exams have been designed specifically for use in classrooms at academic institutions. An MTA Campus License allows your registered proctor pool to administer up to 1,000 exams across departments, anywhere on campus. Instead of exams being tied to a lab, exams can be delivered anywhere with Internet access. This flexibility means educators can use MTA certification exams as a course final or mid-term. Additionally, the MTA certification was created to give beginner students a launching point for successful and relevant careers in the IT industry. The MTA certification exams test knowledge, whereas the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification validates skills application.

The Microsoft technology platform is one of the most recognized and broadly used in the world. Today there are over five million Microsoft Certified Professionals working in all areas of the technology industry. An MTA certification is the first step for students on the Microsoft Certification path.

Q. How is the MTA certification different from Cisco certifications?

Cisco only offers an entry-level certification for those interested in becoming a networking technician. This Cisco exam tests professional-level skills for people in their first three years of learning and job experience instead of evaluating fundamental concepts. The Cisco exam is not platform-agnostic and only focuses on Cisco networking devices. In addition, Cisco does not offer an academic Campus License for their exams. Instead, students must take the exam at a Pearson VUE test center. Cisco exams are also substantially more expensive than MTA certification exams, especially when compared with the value of an MTA Campus License.

Q. How is the MTA certification different from Cisco certifications?

Cisco only offers an entry-level certification for those interested in becoming a networking technician. This Cisco exam tests professional-level skills for people in their first three years of learning and job experience instead of evaluating fundamental concepts. The Cisco exam is not platform-agnostic and only focuses on Cisco networking devices. In addition, Cisco does not offer an academic Campus License for their exams. Instead, students must take the exam at a Pearson VUE test center. Cisco exams are also substantially more expensive than MTA certification exams, especially when compared with the value of an MTA Campus License.s

Q. How is the MTA certification different from Oracle certifications?

Oracle does not have a certification comparable to the MTA certification. Instead, Oracle's entry-level certification is comparable to the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification, which is targeted at people with one to two years of technology experience and validates skills application. Additionally, the exams are not platform-agnostic and only focus on Oracle technologies. The MTA certification validates fundamental knowledge, providing students with confidence and a solid foundation to continue with more advanced technology classes.

Q. Are MTA certifications similar to CompTIA certifications?

The MTA Exams 98-365: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals; 98-366: Networking Fundamentals; and 98-367: Security Fundamentals cover similar topics and difficulty levels as CompTIA's Server+, Network+, and Security+ certifications. A key difference is that CompTIA's Server+ is vendor-agnostic, while the MTA exam on Windows Server Administration Fundamentals presents concepts in the context of Windows Server technology.

In addition to the preceding exams, MTA offers four exams for software developers that do not overlap with CompTIA certifications:

  • 98-361: Software Development Fundamentals
  • 98-362: Windows Development Fundamentals
  • 98-363: Web Development Fundamentals
  • 98-364: Database Administration Fundamentals

Q. Why is Microsoft introducing certifications that are similar to CompTIA certifications?

CompTIA certifications have been endorsed by Microsoft in the past as an elective to help prepare beginners for our legacy Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certifications. However, our academic customers have indicated a need for an entry-level Microsoft certification that serves as a direct stepping stone to our MCTS certifications while putting students in a clear career path. In addition, academic institutions need certifications to be more affordable and accessible in the classroom. This is why Microsoft introduced the MTA certification, which was designed specifically to address the training and certification needs of academic institutions and their students.

Q. Will Microsoft continue to endorse CompTIA exams in their technical tracks?

Microsoft will continue to allow candidates to use their CompTIA certifications to count toward our legacy Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certifications. However, CompTIA certifications do not count toward any of the current Microsoft certifications (MCTS, MCITP, and MCPD). MTA is the official entry-level certification by Microsoft that serves as a stepping stone to MCTS and puts students on a clear career path in Microsoft technologies.

Q. How is the MTA Campus License different from site licenses offered by other certification vendors?

An MTA Campus License allows an institution to deliver up to 1,000 exams per year in any building and room within one campus. Exams can be delivered in any computer lab, classroom, library, or other facility as long as there is a computer connected to the Internet and a faculty proctor who can deliver the exam.

In contrast, most certification site licenses in the market are restricted to a single computer room.

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