Preparing for final competition

Some 51 young adults and teenagers competed this week in Park City, Utah, to find the world's best at Word and Excel. The finalists came from a pool of about 115,000 who took part in the initial competition.

In this photo, student competitors are preparing to take the final certification test and being checked in by Certiport proctors who oversee the competition.

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Team Mercado

Adrian Mercado, along with Microsoft Learning Project Manager Wendy Johnson, his high school teacher Michelle Ferguson, and Jose Rubio, the uncle who gave Mercado his first computer.
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Mercado and Certiport CEO Ray Kelly

Mercado with Certiport CEO Ray Kelly at the final competition in mountain resort town of Park City, Utah.

The 51 finalists got an all-expenses-paid trip to Utah, while the winners in each of the four contests received a $6,500 scholarship.

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Warming up

Two competitors wait for their turn to test on Monday morning.

Many of the international competitors brought keyboards specific to their language for the event.

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Checking ID

Certiport employee Nisha Burke checks identification badges for all students before they are allowed into the testing area.
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Office exec on hand

Microsoft Office VP Takeshi Numoto (center) was among those who was on hand to watch the finals. Numoto also took the certification test himself. He passed, which Numoto told CNET was a good thing.

"I think if I didn't pass, I might have had some problems," Numoto said.

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The U.S. finalists (and cheering section)

Microsoft's Takeshi Numoto along with the four U.S. finalists--Ryan Miguel, Jason Bays, Adrian Mercado and Nicole Sponaugle--as well as Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Certiport CEO Ray Kelly.
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The competition

Students preparing for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) competition. The performance-based testing uses the applications themselves to determine proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel. Student are scored based upon both score and time.
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Hard at work

Another shot from the competition. The winners managed to complete exams that are designed to take up to 50 minutes in a matter of 10 or 15 minutes.
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