The Microsoft Office assessment is usually comprised of several different tests, but it most commonly involves a Microsoft Excel test accompanied by a Microsoft Word test. Typing tests are sometimes also included. These tests often come in two different levels of difficulty — basic and intermediate-advanced. Each test, regardless of its difficulty level, contains topics involving both fundamental skills as well as more sophisticated ones. What sets these tests apart is the amount of questions relating to each level of Microsoft Office skills.
The basic test includes more questions of the fundamental skills variety, such as formatting cells in Excel or inserting a text box in Word. This test is often aimed at candidates applying for positions involving clerical or secretarial work, but it can also be used for many other jobs.
The intermediate-advanced test also consists of questions on fundamental skills, but it features more questions associated with higher level skills. Such skills include creating Macros in Excel or using Smart-Art in Word. This test is often used in the screening processes for analysts, financial advisors, engineers, and more.
In addition to the different difficulty levels, there are also two different methods of conducting the test: the interactive test (this might also be called a spreadsheet test) and the multiple-choice question test (this might also be in the form of an adaptive test.)
Interactive tests are taken on a special software that simulates Microsoft Office’s different applications’ actual interfaces, thus enabling a very similar user experience. For each question, a task and relevant data will be presented to you. The task must be completed in the time limit given. Once the task is finished, a new task will be prompted (along with its relevant data) for you to complete. Unlike actually working on the Office app itself, the simulation software allows almost no room for trial and error. Any misspellings of formulas or functions (in the case of Excel) will not be accepted, nor will they be corrected by the software.
These tests can be divided into two groups: regular multiple choice question tests and adaptive tests (or computerized adaptive tests, CAT). The first group is pretty much self-explanatory - a succession of multiple choice questions that are either completely test-based or are accompanied by a relevant picture or data. Questions usually appear in random order and have a time limit. Jumping between questions is often not allowed, so in order to proceed an answer must be chosen.
The adaptive tests are a bit more complicated in nature but are superior in their ability to effectively measure a candidate’s abilities. Adaptive tests are constructed in the same manner as the regular multiple choice question tests, albeit with one small but significant difference - the order of the questions is not random but is based on the candidate’s ongoing performance on the test. For instance, let’s say you were given a question of easy difficulty and you answered it correctly. The next question will be of a higher difficulty level. Now, if you happen to fail to answer this question correctly, the next question will be of a similar or lower difficulty level. The test goes on until the system “senses” it has gathered enough information. As such, you will not usually come up against all of the questions available on an adaptive test, thus making it shorter in duration.
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