Last Chance to Save: Cost of Microsoft Cert Exams to Rise

Dudebro studying on laptop with headphones on

Imagine my surprise when I saw an item in the May 26, 2016 MCP Flash newsletter that mentioned a pending price change for Microsoft certification exams. (Editor's Note: We didn't have to imagine Ed's surprise. We disclosed our own rude awakening in the April 27 edition of Certification Watch.)


I hadn't heard anything about that as yet, so I was even more surprised when I found a FAQ from MS Learning spokesperson Veronica Sopher dated April 25 and bearing the headline "FAQs: Microsoft Certification Price Adjustment 2016."


It seems that indeed a price increase — amount unspecified!! — is in the offing for not just commercial and academic MCP exams, but also for MTA exams as well. These have been pegged at $150 for quite some time now since the last price hike from $125 to $150 came through in 2011.


The price increase will be global, and will affect vouchers sold through third parties such as Pearson VUE and Courseware Marketplace, as well as direct purchases through Microsoft. I'm guessing that Microsoft Office exams could easily (and soon) go the same way.


How much will the price go up? I don't know and at this point, it's anybody's guess. My own guesstimate is somewhere between $25 (the amount of the last price increase) and $50 (which would round the price up to an even $200 a pop).


We'll find out for sure next month, when Microsoft Learning releases the official info on the price increase, and pushes those prices through its various channels and outlets to the buying public.


Couple with piggy bank

In the meantime, Microsoft Learning is absolutely correct to flog its Certification Booster Pack as a way to save money on upcoming exams. This offer comes in three forms:


? Certification exam + practice test ($200): Exam Voucher plus a practice exam, for $50 more than the exam by itself.
? Certification exam + 4 retakes ($200): Exam Voucher with the ability to re-take the exam up to 4 additional times after an initial failure, to improve the odds of passing.
? Certification exam + practice test + 4 retakes ($225): Exam voucher, 4 additional retakes, practice exam for $75 over the base exam price.


When this offer first appeared, I interpreted it as a bundling strategy to boost exam revenue for MS and its partners. Now, I'm starting to see it as a form of potential price protection. The recurrence of the $200 price here is also what makes me think the new exam price might just come in at this number.


If so, then this is a great way to get some added value (practice test and/or multiple free retakes) for the new price (or just above it for the "everything" package).


This could also justify shopping around online for exam voucher deals. If you can find them either in singleton or bundle form for $150 per exam or less, and plan to take Microsoft cert exams in the next year, then you'll be better served by buying now at the lower exam prices that currently prevail.


There's just no sense waiting to buy until after the price increase goes through in July. Please don't say I didn't warn you. I just did!


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About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.