You can do it your way with MCAS practice tests

November 25, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Microsoft, Study hints | Leave a comment
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MCAS certifications have been renamed MOS certifications as of June 2010. Previously earned MCAS certificates remain valid, but will be reissued under the new terminology. For more information, see this post.

Riffing off that classic Frank Sinatra tune, our MCAS products for Office 2007 let you learn your own way, live in the application. Whether it’s Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, you can perform real-world tasks using keyboard shortcuts, context menus, the quick access toolbar, or the ribbon. As long as you get the desired result, our robust grading engine will give you the points for effort. If you’re not sure where to start, we provide a step-by-step tutorial to show you a couple of ways.

But these products are not only great study tools for MCAS certification; they are also excellent stand-alone learning labs for Office novices and veterans alike. Very often, our knowledge of software products is restricted by our day-to-day activities. We do what worked yesterday because it will work today, and in this way, we can miss new techniques that would make our workflow more efficient and intuitive. If you’ve already purchased the Office Suite, shouldn’t you get the most out of your investment? What if there is a quicker way to do something? That’s where our MCAS products come into play.

Let’s step through an example. Say that you know a lot about charts and tables in Excel, but you’ve heard the phrases “pivot table” and “pivot chart” tossed about and don’t know what that means. So, you fire up Cert-77-602 – MCAS: Using Microsoft Office Excel 2007 and choose Learning Mode. You could choose the objective Presenting Data Visually, or just search using the keywords “pivot chart.”

When you view one of these items, Microsoft Excel will be launched with a sample document and set of tasks as follows:

Cert-77-602 Item with Tasks

In this item, you are given tasks to insert a pivot chart into a new worksheet and add specified fields to the report. If you’re anything like me, you’ll start exploring the ribbon and Office menu, trying to figure it out yourself. (Hint: It’s found in the Insert tab.) But if you don’t have a clue where to begin, you can click the Grade Item button to learn how to do it. The tutorial contains step-by-step, screenshot-by-screenshot description of how to accomplish these tasks.

If that’s not enough, we go through the painful Web research to provide links to official Microsoft references that provide even more details on the tasks. These references usually contain their own step-by-step guides, conceptual topics and examples.

Once you feel more comfortable, you can click the Retake button and try it out yourself. Not only will you understand what a pivot chart is, but now you know how to use one, having actually used it  in Excel!

As you see, our MCAS products are more than  practice tests; they are  inline learning assistants for your business (and personal) applications. We currently offer MCAS products for Word 2007 and PowerPoint 2007 as well. So, no more excuses; be more productive in less time!

–Joshua Hester

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