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Renewing Microsoft certifications in 2021

I wrote about renewing Microsoft certifications in late December 2020. By then, we knew that maintaining certifications required some additional exams to be passed. I also updated that article slightly in February 2021 when it became evident Microsoft would require assessment renewals for those who had passed a certification previously that was about to expire.

Those assessment renewals became available in early March, 2021. Here’s how that works:

You either get an email (which was quite delayed – for several days), or you can navigate directly to your Certification Dashboard. While logged in to the MCP site, go to Microsoft Docs, and sign in with the same account. You can now view which certifications are about to expire and start renewing them. To do this, open your profile (top-right corner), and you should see any certifications that are about to expire:

You can now click through each certification that is about to expire. You should see the certification landing page, and a validity note on the left:

In the image above, you can see that my AZ-500 (Azure Security Engineer Associate) exam is about to expire in 195 days. Scrolling further down, you can see the button for taking the renewal assessment – as long as it is 180 days or less from expiring!

I will have to wait 14 days and 19 hours from this moment until I can do the renewal for AZ-500.

All renewals are free, and you can take them online. There is no restriction to the number of displays, resources, or other information you can use.

I did all of the renewals I could, including the Azure Solutions Expert and Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert. Each had about 20 questions, and to pass, you have to get 65-68 % right. It varied a bit. Once you complete a renewal assessment, you get the fireworks. Sorry, it’s just an image – not a fancy animation.

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How challenging were these? I would rate them as “more challenging than a Fundamentals certification” but “much easier than the actual certification exam.” I felt the questions were valid, not aiming to trick you, and very hands-on oriented. All in all, fair, reasonable, and something you can do easily if you’ve worked with said technology recently.

Each one took about 20 minutes to complete, and I didn’t see a countdown timer anywhere – even if it states you have to pass it in 45 minutes.

Pro tip: Navigate to any Microsoft certification on docs.microsoft.com, and add /renew at the end of the URL 🙂