How to become a certified Microsoft Excel professional in 2024

Achieving a Microsoft Excel certification means that you are skilled in the use of MS Excel as well as the variety of tools that go with it. Tools such as calculators, formulas, macro programming languages, graphic tools, charts, and spreadsheet functions are all able to be used to the benefit of the certificate holder as well as the company that employs them. This certification is necessary for anyone entering a data-centric position. 

Now, I am sure many of you have noticed the minimum requirements in almost every job description. It is almost always basic MS Office tools competency. Well, it was. These days it is not just enough to be able to use Excel on a basic level. Many recruiters require an actual certificate to prove that you know your way around Excel and, well at that. A globally recognised Microsoft Excel certification is just the proof you require to get a head start over any competition. 

So, what do you need to complete this course and get that precious proof that you can rock Excel? 

In this blog we are going to explain more about:

The Microsoft Excel certification process

The good news is that you do not need any specific academic qualifications to do this course. 

You will, however, need to install the latest software in order to be able to complete the online assignment. 

Here is what you will need:

  • Internet Explorer or other browser
  • MS Office
  • . NET Framework 4.0 or higher
  • Microsoft Windows Vista SP2 or higher
  • Adobe Flash Player 10.0 or higher
  • High-Speed Broadband

On application for the certification exam, Microsoft IT Academy will provide you with the date for your exam as well as a number of practice papers to work through at your own pace and schedule. 

Here is the lowdown on getting your hands on a Microsoft Excel Certificate:

  • The test is time metered with a maximum duration of 60 minutes
  • The minimum pass score is seven hundred
  • The exam is called the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel
  • The test will be invigilated by Microsoft representatives
  • Exams are scheduled every Friday between 11 AM and 5 PM and at recognised centre’s
  • No cell phone or networking device is allowed in the examination hall

Here are the steps you need to take in order to get your certification, follow them and you will be well on your way:

  1. Prepare
  2. Practise
  3. Pass
  4. Get your certification 

One thing is certain, you will need to study through the MS Certification study book before even thinking about taking the exam. The best study material can be found on the official Microsoft website, and you have a choice to purchase the ones that suit you best. We recommend that you get Microsoft Certified Application Specialist Study Guide as this will contain most of the content you need to cover. It is also recommended that you try to study from more than one of these study options in order to compare information or fill out gaps that one-course material might be missing but the other explores comprehensively. Now, this may seem like a lot of work for the certificate but if you progress subject by subject, you will quickly pick up the content as well as understand how to use it. 

Now comes the practise. And I really mean practise. You will find some practise assignments with some hints as to what will be asked in the certification exam on the website. I recommend that you download as many of these as possible and make your way through them until you feel you know the content well enough and then move on to the next one. Many companies offer free sample Excel certification tests so all you need to do is find them, log on and request the test. You may need to sign up or use a voucher code but either way, you should get through as many of these as possible. These tests will also give you an idea of what to expect when you actually sit down for your final certification examination. 

Now you need to register on the Microsoft website as well as some of those other sites. This will give you access to several old tests and guides to help you study a bit more. You will receive these old tests via email, and you can go through them at your own pace which is nifty. You should also be ready to book and pay for your slot at the testing station where you intend to take the certification test. This section of the process should not take longer than a month. This will also depend on how skilled you were when you started the course. If you have already been working with Excel for some time, then it should be fairly simple and quick to get organised. Just make absolutely sure that you are learning using the most recent version of the software. You will need the latest version as that is what you will be tested on. 

Now comes the big day. But what should you be expecting? Well luckily you went through a lot of the old tests and exam papers, and you should pick up the theme. Expect your final exam to be fairly similar to the practise tests you did. You will not be asked the most challenging questions provided you know your way around the latest version of Excel. The exam will test your abilities to perform tasks that are similar to the tasks you need to complete in your work life. So, really good practise. Just breathe and be confident you practised enough and that you know what you need to know, and you will succeed.

Once you have completed the test and you have passed, Microsoft will email you the certificate in recognition of your ability to operate Excel like a professional. You will be able to print the certificate as well as tag the certificate with your name on your CV.

Microsoft excel exam format

You will find that the Microsoft Excel certification exams are all based on performance in a real-world simulation environment. You will need to imagine you are completing the task at work to pull some inspiration. After all, these are the same tasks you will be doing at work anyway. Students hoping to receive the certification will be required to perform a variety of tasks using Microsoft Excel to demonstrate that they have the requisite skills needed to pass the exam. You will need to show that you have prepared well, and have the knowledge needed as well as the skills to navigate and problem solve using the software. You will be allocated about 60 minutes to complete the test so in the broader scheme of things it is a relatively quick examination. Your results will be available immediately on submission and your official certificate will be posted to your address within a couple of weeks.

Why you actually need the certification

Well, getting Microsoft Excel certified means that recruiters will be aware of your skills, and it may make it easier to place you in a position where you will need some Excel skills to perform at your best. It is much better than just the usual CV section that says competent in Microsoft Office applications. This shows that you have a lot more to offer than just the basic MS Office skills. 

One of the trends this year in the workplace is to have the correct skills in the company. Having an official certification proves you have the skills and definitely will give you a competitive edge over the applicants with the basic knowledge of MS Office programs that we mentioned above. 

Official certification also means your chances of negotiating a higher salary are better. Employers are prepared to pay more when the new hire has official qualifications. It is just a fact. Some studies have been done that seem to indicate that 60% of the students that complete the certification are offered employment. So, in short, getting the certificate means the possibility of higher salaries, better recognition, and better marketability.

To conclude, if you are serious about advancing your career in meaningful ways, the Microsoft Excel Certification will help with just that. Having the big name of Microsoft recognising all your new abilities is a great booster.

You will have global recognition for your Microsoft Excel skills. The cost for this is terrific value for money considering how it has the ability to change your working life for the better. And best of all, you have the skills as a backup when you decide it is time for that increase. You have proof that you have an edge over your peers and thus deserve a little more added to that paycheck. Good for you! 

From this point, it is just a case of staying current and on top of any new versions that are released as well as any new features and functions that get updated. 

Check out our Excel Course to get you started on your certification journey.

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