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Microsoft Excel Certification Program

Why should you get certified in Excel?

  1. Microsoft Excel is an industry-standard tool in the business world.
  2. The recruiters that work with Whitman ask us for students who have a solid foundation in Excel.

This certification, called Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel 2016, is recognized around the world. It’s proof-positive that you are proficient with Excel; it will set you apart from your peers, and it will give you a competitive edge that Whitman wants for all our students.

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

Please note: Whitman's Excel Certification Program is only for Whitman matriculated students who are actively enrolled in courses during the semester they are attempting to participate. If you have not declared a Major or Minor in Whitman and are not actively enrolled in courses, you are not eligible to participate.

What do you need to do?

  1. Study. Complete the self-paced pre-work using the instructional material provided to you via Blackboard (Whitman Excel Course)
  2. Practice. Use Gmetrix to take practice exams. Click here to learn about Gmetrix, what it's for, and how to use it.

    Any student desiring to register for/take the MOS Excel or Excel Expert Certification Exams will observe the following required steps:
    • Complete the instructional material from LinkedIn Learning relating to the level of certification exam you wish to take.
    • Complete five different practice exams using Gmetrix which meet the following criteria:
      • A minimum score of 800.
      • Taken within one month of your desired exam date. 
      • At least one practice exam will be in Multi-Project format.
    • Satisfy these requirements before registering for the exam on Handshake. Do not register before you have completed the required preparatory work.
    • Register for your desired exam slot on Handshake no later than 12:00PM the Thursday before your desired exam date or make an appointment during the spring semester by email wsmhelp@syr.edu.

    There are nine practice exams that cover all the skills required to pass the MOS Excel Exam: six that are delivered as a question/answer, and three that are delivered as a cumulative project. Any of these nine main exams will count towards the requirement described above. Specifically, for Excel Specialist, the exams which count have names that start with "Excel 2016 Core."

    Additionally, we have created five supplemental skillset-focused mini exams that are designed to further your abilities in the various skillsets required for the MOS Excel Certification. These are accessible using the information available in the Supplemental content detailed in our Blackboard course. Please note that because these are not skillset-complete exams, they do not count toward the requirement of the five exams.

    As there are nine exams that are applicable to the preparatory requirement, you should be taking five different exams, with at least one being one of the project based exams.

    You can see how many Gmetrix exams you've taken, their scores, and what areas you need to work on, by logging into www.gmetrix.net and clicking the "Completed" button on the left of the page.

  3. Register for an exam. During the Fall semester, log in to Handshake at https://syr.joinhandshake.com, search for Events called "Whitman Excel Certification", choose a date, and reserve your spot! During the Spring semester, email wsmhelp@syr.edu to make a testing appointment.

    Please note: 
    • Exams are scheduled for Fridays during Spring and Fall semesters, between 12pm and 5pm, and are given in Whitman 009.
    • If you have not completed the practice requirement mentioned above using Gmetrix prior to registering, your reservation will be canceled.
    • Whitman students are allowed two attempts at the Certification exam at no charge. Students wishing to take the exam after their second attempt must pay for subsequent exam attempts.

What things do you need?

It is possible to study for this certification using either your own computer or using Whitman's computer labs. Log into Blackboard and look for "Whitman Excel Course" in your course listing. If you don't see it there, fill out and submit the form at http://whitman.syr.edu/wsmhelp/forms/excelstudent.aspx.
 
If you would like to use your own computer to study, please familiarize yourself with Whitman's Remote Desktop.

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 that have been selected specifically to demonstrate proficiency in a particular skillset or area.

While the categories are specific, the questions will be random. This means is that you probably won't see the same questions you saw using Gmetrix, but you'll probably see ones that are topically similar. 

Facts about the MOS Excel 2016 exam

  • The exam you will take this semester is called  Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel 2016.
  • The test is delivered by Certiport, a Microsoft Partner and Authorized Testing Authority. This means that Microsoft has approved all of the test content.
  • The score required to pass is 700.
  • 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.
  • It is a time-metered test – the maximum allowable time is 50 minutes.
  • You can register for an exam using Handshake. Exams are every Friday from 12PM-5PM. Last registration of the day is at 4PM.
  • The exams will be taken in Whitman room 009, unless otherwise noted.
  • Your test will be administered/proctored by Whitman staff.
  • Electronic devices are not allowed during the test.

Taking the Exam

When you are ready to take the exam, please register through Handshake (or if during the Spring semester, schedule an appointment by emailing wsmhelp@syr.edu). We will verify that you’ve achieved the appropriate number of passing scores with Gmetrix, and then accept your registration. At that time, you just need to make sure you’re on time, have your SU ID card, and are ready to go.

Have Questions?

Do you have a question about the Microsoft Excel Certification Program? Visit our FAQ.