All of the exams associated with Microsoft Certification start with a prefix of two numbers (7something) and then a three-digit identifier (check out this example). Here is an explanation of the "seventy-something" prefixes, if this has ever caused you some consternation:

  • If you are taking an exam and it starts with "70" it is a standard version of a MIcrosoft Certification exam.
  • If you are taking an exam that starts with "71" you are taking a beta exam. What is a beta exam?
  • If your exam starts with "72" that means it is the academically-priced version of the MIcrosoft exam; available only to students (discounted for students at accredited secondary schools and institutions of higher learning). Aside from the difference in price, the “70” and “72” exams are identical and count the same toward any and all Microsoft certifications. E.g. if you pass 72-271 (nice job!), you would become an MCP just as if you had passed 70-271.
  • Exams starting with "74" are specifically tied to the MIcrosoft Partner Program competencies.
  • Exams starting with "77" are Microsoft Certified Application Specialist/Professional credentials on Office applications (thanks for the reminder Alice!)

If you want to know why they all start with "7" to start with, sit still for a minute, for once, and I'll ask someone who knows things like this. OK, I'm back. I talked to Jim Clark, who knows most things about everything. I thought maybe we picked "70" because of the building 7 mystery on the MIcrosoft campus. Or because 70 was how old the program manager's dog was, on the day of our first exam release. Or because 7 is the fourth Mersenne prime exponent (don't believe me?). But really, it is just because: back in the nascent stages of this program we released exams with 10-, 20-...60- prefixes for early days certification products. And by the time we locked on the current program, we happened to be at "70-", where it has stayed since. Is it just me, or is my story about building 7 better? 

*Or should I say, 70-101.