In the past once you passed a specific Microsoft certification exam you were not allowed to retake that exam again, ever. After all, there wasn’t really any benefit to since you passed the exam and it counted towards earning you a specific certification. Back then the exams did not undergo any major updates or restructuring until they were retired and replace with a brand new exam on the latest technology and product releases. With the recent changes and restructuring of the Microsoft certification program, the exam are now getting updated periodically and you will now be able to retake an exam after such updates have been made.

As of March 17, 2017, the necessary changes have been put into place to allow for exam to be retaken on an annual basis. After a period of 365 days from the date you pass a certification exam, you will now be able to retake that exam again. This will allow for you to retake a particular exam, or at least the most recent update of that exam, to be used as the qualifying elective exam necessary to renew an MCSD or MCSE certification and keep it active for the current year.

Currently, the exams eligible to be retaken are:

This new retake policy is a really great improvement. It was previously assumed that only a new elective needed to be passed every year to keep the MCSD or MCSE certifications current for the given year. If this were required then you would be required to keep learning new technologies and product releases to pass an exam even if they didn’t relate to you job duties. However, by allowing already passed exams to be retaken annually, you will now be able to renew and keep up-to-date by continually brushing up and maintaining the exam skills that pertain to your daily job duties over time.

This change goes along with the other improvements being made to the Microsoft certification that are really making the program much better than it was in the past by keeping the certifications relevant and useful.

Posted by Chris Pietschmann

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has nearly 20 years of experience building enterprise systems both in the cloud and on-premises. He is also a Certified Azure Solutions Architect (both MCSD and MCSE), a trainer, and Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.


  1. Thanks, this is excellent news!

    Of the list of exams for MCSE (Cloud Platform & Infrastructure), there was only one more exam outside of the core 3 that would be of relevance to my job so I was worried about renewals after a year or so.

    This solves that problem very neatly and commits Microsoft to keeping exams updated yearly so people aren’t rewriting the same ones they already passed! Two birds, one stone!


  2. Hello,
    I Passed MCSE 4.0 in 1998, but after that i didn’t do any update
    1. Can i renew my certification from 4.0 to latest version and what exams needs to be passed
    2. if not , can I use my old certification number to give all new exam, so in my exam portel i will show my old and new certifications. ?


    1. Chris Pietschmann September 20, 2017 at 8:23 am

      The exams you’ve previously taken are FAR too out of date. They will not count today, nor is there a short upgrade path. You will need to take all the current exams required to earn the MCSE today.


  3. What are the renewal rules exactly? Do I need to renew between 1st January and 31 December each year? Or is it 1 year after previous exam?
    What if I don’t pass any exams in a given year? Can I do it the following year to get my certification active again? For example: I got MCSD App Builder in 2016. Then in 2017 I did not do anything. Then in 2018 I passed one of the elective exams? Will I get MCSD App Builder 2018 certification in that case?


    1. Chris Pietschmann November 21, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      An MCSE or MCSD certification is designated with the current calendar year you earn it. In order to renew for the next calendar year you need to pass another elective exam, or retake an exam that’s been updated in the next calendar year. That stated, your certification doesn’t really expire, it’s just not “current” anymore if you don’t renew.


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