Preparing for an Excel test at interview

I was recently asked what a student should do to prepare for an Excel test at interview.  Given my love of Excel (see previous technology posts), I couldn’t resist the urge to blog:

Resources

I’ve learned Excel mainly through two brilliant websites:

  • Excel is Fun (with whole term’s of video classes)
  • Mr Excel – not the most beautiful website, but the guy is an Excel genius. The podcasts and forums are mainly what I’ve used, plus his great blog: http://learnmrexcel.wordpress.com/
  • And in addition, Microsoft’s own help guides are not bad!

How to prepare

Generally for an Excel test I’d recommend the following as areas to revise by making little real-world examples (e.g.  a little practice budget, or event management sheet).

WARNING: This is just my interpretation of what’s ‘basic’, ‘advanced’ and so on, and there is lots more to Excel than this. It’s always best to check the job description and research the role to find out what might be expected and assessed.

For basic users:

Formulae – SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT and similar, using $ fixing, Autosum
Formatting – Borders & shading, Word wrap, alignment
Other – Referencing a cell on another worksheet, basic charts

For intermediate users:

Formulae – IF (COUNTIF, SUMIF, etc.), CONCATENATE, VLOOKUP
Formatting – Conditional formatting, text to columns, page and print layout
Other – Using text strings, calculations with times and dates, custom charts, data validation

For advanced users:

Formulae – Array (Control Shift Enter) formulae
Formatting – Locking cells, using group and outline
Other – PivotTables and PivotCharts

Anything I’ve missed? Anything people think is mislabeled? Comments or tweets welcome!

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About careerslucy

I'm Lucy Hawkins and when I'm at work I'm a Careers Adviser at the University of Oxford. www.careerslucy.wordpress.com is my own blog about careers-related stuff, (so not the voice of the university or the careers service). It's primarily a place for me to share stuff with other careers advisers, although if you find it useful, it's for you too!

7 responses to “Preparing for an Excel test at interview”

  1. thecareerslady says :

    This is great stuff! I’m really not an Excel Ace, so this post is helping me in three ways. 1) gives me the right terms for stuff to look up on the help sites for myself. 2) helps me advise students on what to swot with a bit more confidence. 3) inspires me to get on with my long-mulled-over post on preparing for psychometric tests. Thanks! :-)

  2. careerslucy says :

    So far suggestions for additions to this include INDEX and MATCH formulae (as comparatives to VLOOKUP)…

  3. anshul arora says :

    would you please attached excel test paper on your blog..

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