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:


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:

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!