Microsoft Excel Training and Certification Program - Spring 2014

Why should you get certified in Excel?

Simple: Recruiters are asking Whitman for students with a solid understanding of Microsoft Excel. Simply claiming proficiency with Excel on your resume is not enough; having an industry standard certification provides prospective employers proof positive of your skills, verifiable by Microsoft’s standards. This certification, called Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel 2010, is recognized the world over, and having it will make you a more valuable and attractive potential hire, setting you apart from the rest of your peers and providing you with a competitive edge that Whitman wants for all of our students.

To read more about the Microsoft Office Specialist exam, click here.

Please note: Excel Training and Certification is only available for students who are enrolled/matriculated into a Whitman degree program (Whitman Majors/Minors only).

What things do you need?

Your computer should be equipped with the following software:

Additionally, if you haven’t already, you will be given access to self-paced training from Microsoft IT Academy (you will receive emails containing instructions and access information).

Please note: You MUST use Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer to participate in the Microsoft IT Academy Training. This is an absolute requirement. For more information about this, click here

What do you need to do?

Step 1: Study. Complete the self-paced pre-work that you receive from Microsoft IT Academy.

Step 2: Practice. Download and install Gmetrix using the links above. When you have installed it and need an access code, email Chris Mead at Gmetrix allows you to take an unlimited number of practice exams, in two modes: Learning/Practice mode, and testing mode. Learning/Practice mode allows you to take a practice exam at your own pace, and during that, you can request help, receive tips about the questions, the testing environment, and familiarize yourself with the testing process. It’s a very helpful tool. Testing mode will simulate an actual testing environment – the test is 60 minutes long with a specific number of questions, and you can receive no assistance or pointers.

Step 3: Score High. Using Gmetrix, you must score 800 or better five or more times in testing mode.

Step 4: Register for an exam. Once you have completed the work above, and have satisfied the practice exam requirements with Gmetrix, log into MySlice, and click on OrangeLink in the center column underneath Career Services. Once you're in OrangeLink, search for workshops called "Whitman Excel Certification", choose a date, and reserve your spot! Please note that if you have not completed the requirement with Gmetrix, your reservation will be cancelled.

What do you need to know?

Facts about certification exams

A certification exam follows a general but specific guideline: you will be tested on your knowledge of specific categories/topics within Excel that have been specifically selected by Microsoft.

While the categories are specific, the questions will be random. What this means is that you will probably not see the same exact questions you’ve seen in the past, though you may see ones that are similar. This is because a certification exam is designed to certify that you know how to solve a problem – not just that you know the answer. It’s the same reason your grade-school math teachers asked you to show your work: How is important!

Facts about the MOS Excel 2010 exam

  • The exam you will take this semester is called  Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel 2010
  • The score required to pass is 700
  • It is a time-metered test – maximum allowable time is 60 minutes
  • You can register for an exam using OrangeLink. Exams are every Friday from 11AM-5PM
  • The exams will be taken in Whitman room 009, our testing center
  • Your test will be administered/proctored by Whitman staff
  • Cell phones or other network/internet connectable devices are not allowed during the test
  • You are required to have scored 800 or better on at least five exams using Gmetrix, taken in testing mode. Ideally, these scores should be consecutive

Taking the Exam

When you are ready to take the exam, register through OrangeLink. We will verify that you’ve taken the appropriate number of passing scores, and then accept your registration. At that time, you just need to make sure you’re on time and ready to go.

Frequently asked questions

I have a Mac. Can I use it?

This Certification absolutely requires Microsoft Windows and other Windows-only products. If you own only a Mac, you need to have your Mac set up to run Windows. This does not mean you will lose Mac OS, and it does not mean you will lose your files on your Mac. It just means your Mac will run Windows too. Click here for more information about why you need windows and what you need to do if you have a Mac.

I already have Office on my Mac. Can I use that instead of getting Windows?

No. The exam is for a Windows-only product, Microsoft Office 2010. Additionally, the software used to take practice exam is a Windows-only product. Even though there is a Microsoft Office for Mac, it is not the same product. It is built differently, and in several cases, does not do the same things that Microsoft Office for Windows does/will do.

I already have Microsoft Office 2007/2013/365. That should work, right?

No. Again, this certification is specific to Excel 2010. No other version of Office/Excel will work.

My computer has Windows XP. Will that work?

No. The software you are required to use for this process needs to have at least Windows Vista SP2. Ideally, Windows 7 or newer is best.

Why am I not getting certified on Excel 2013? Isn't that the newest version?

Microsoft Office 2010 is more commonly used in the business world currently.  Additionally, there is much more training material available for Office/Excel 2010 than there is for 2013 -- his is simply because 2013 is such a new product that Microsoft has not developed a full training curriculum for it yet.

Does this mean that my certification will be less valid/less valuable?

Not at all! You are being certified on a tool used every day in the business world. Everything that you learn in 2010 will be possible in 2013 as well, and if you decide that you want to be certified in Excel 2013 later on, it will be that much easier for you.

I already know Excel really well. Do I really need to do all this extra stuff?

Yes, you really should. Lots of people say the same thing. Even though you may be confident in your knowledge, having a refresher on things that you don’t use all the time will be helpful to you, and you may learn some things you didn’t know before. Excel isn’t just a simple spreadsheet program – it’s an extremely powerful, capable tool. Also – You aren’t going to be allowed to take the test until we see you’ve scored where we recommend on Gmetrix.

I have a technological question that’s not addressed here. Who should I contact?

Contact Chris Mead, the Whitman Student Computing Services Coordinator. You  can send him an email at, or stop in to the 2nd floor computer lab.