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 Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect and developer, a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), 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.


      1. Michiel Wouters October 17, 2018 at 3:20 am

        Will an MCSD certification that is not current (2016) count towards satisfying the requirements to apply for a Gold membership? (4 MCSD developers)

      2. Chris Pietschmann December 5, 2018 at 2:38 pm

        It is my understanding that only current and active certifications count as credit towards Microsoft Certified Partner programs.

  4. My MCSE: Messaging was upgraded to an MCSE: Productivity around September 2016. I have not take an exam this year to receive the 2017 version of this certification but was wondering what will happen in 2018? Can I just take an exam in the first part of 2018 and receive the 2018 equivalent of this cert? Or if I miss the 2017 exam will I need to retake everything again?


    1. Chris Pietschmann January 28, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      Your certification will remain, but it’s basically marked with the year you earned it. Since you were automatically awarded MCSE due to having already passed the exams that were current, you didn’t need to do anything to get it then. According to the information that Microsoft has published on retaking exams to renew and keep the MCSE current, then you would have to take an exam in 2018 to renew it. However, I’m in a similar situation with my MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification, and the MCP website still shows my MCSE as current, so it’s possible they might be changing that policy due to community feedback. I’ll certainly post information on if the policy changes, or I find out more information, so please subscribe to get updates in your email. 🙂


  5. Hi,

    I happened across this article and I’m hoping you could point me in the right direction. I’ve been researching this but I am still very confused. I started my certification path before the changes. I finished my MCSE Server Infrastructure when I passed 70-414 on Feb 15 2017. Microsoft converted that into “MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure”. I read that that certs no longer expire but I’m not clear what happens after I let a year lapse. My cert will go “Inactive”? Or will nothing happen but just the date on the cert will look old? If I retake an exam, the date next to my MCSE in my transcript gets refreshed? I’m not sure what test I want / need to take.

    Any info you have would be much appreciated.



    1. Chris Pietschmann January 28, 2018 at 6:28 pm

      After 1 year from the most recent exam you passed, your MCSE Cloud Platform and Infrastructure should show as Inactive on your official MCP transcript. Then to renew and keep your MCSE current, you would need to pass another exam or retake one that was updated since you last passed it. However, I’m in a similar situation myself, and I have noticed that Microsoft has not made my MCSE inactive yet, so I’m not sure if their going to change that policy again or if it’s just delayed. If I find out more information on what’s going on, I’ll be posting it on Please subscribe to keep up to date on all the latest information around Azure. 🙂


  6. This is by far the most useful thread of this nature to date!

    So here is my question, is this ANY ceritifcations, or only certifications gained AFTER the 2017 date? And what does CHARTER actually mean?

    Cheers, Malc.


    1. Chris Pietschmann August 9, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      In general, for the MCSD and MCSE you can retake an exam you’ve already passed in order to renew your certification after that exam has been updated a year or so later. The “Charter” designation just means that you earned the certification by passing exams before the certification was created; sort of a “grandfathered in” type.


  7. Thank you for very helpful article! I have a question though: MCSE and MCSD have overlapping exams which can be counted towards both certifications. Can I renew both MCSE Cloud and MCSD AppBuilder by re-taking one exam, say 70-533, or I have to take 2 exams, one for each cert renewal?


    1. Chris Pietschmann August 15, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Yes you can!!


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