Excel Certification

Earning a Microsoft Office Specialist Certification can help differentiate you in today's competitive job market and broaden your employment opportunities. All Albers undergraduate students are required to pass EXCEL Level I Certification in order to progress in your BABA or BAE program.

Beginning in Fall 2017 we will be testing on the Excel 2016 exam.

For more information about the requirements and how to prepare for the certification exam, visit Microsoft's Exam Details page.

Four Steps to Sign up for the Exam

*not required for students enrolled in IS-3150

Register with Certiport

You must register with Certiport.com prior to your test date. It is essential that you input your student ID in the "Student/Employee ID" field during the Certiport registration process. Failure to input your student ID may cause a delay in processing your test results. Please complete the Microsoft registration as well at the end of the Certiport registration process. You should also login to Certiport.com to assign your voucher number to your account, and register the exam ID for your class if you are taking the exam within IS-3150.

If you have a disability that might interfere with your performance on this test, you will need to apply for an accommodation with Certiport. Applications must be mailed or faxed and take up to two weeks or more (10 business days) to be processed. In addition, you may need to contact ExcelTest@seattleu.edu to arrange a testing time.

Reserve a time slot

If you are not taking the Excel exam as part of IS-3150 or you need to schedule a retake, you can reserve a time to take the exam at Albers' Eventbrite page. There is no charge to register for an exam session, but please register for only one session at a time - if you are signed up for multiple sessions at once, all of your registrations will be cancelled. If you do not pass the exam you may then register for another session. The exams are held in Pigott 328.

The Seattle and King County Public Libraries offer Microsoft Office Specialist exams for free periodically, however space is extremely limited. Visit the Seattle Public Library registration page to reserve a seat, or contact instruction@kcls.org for test dates, times and locations outside of Seattle. If you pass the exam at a Public Library (or any other Certiport Authorized Testing Center outside of Seattle University) please see the Exam Verification page for additional instructions on providing proof of your certification status to your instructor and/or advisor.

Buy a Voucher

Please purchase your voucher prior to your test date. Vouchers can be purchased at the SU Campus Store or online, the voucher at the bookstore includes one retake if necessary. The SU Campus Store voucher with retake is approximately the same price as the voucher without retake when purchased directly from Certiport, so the Campus Store voucher is recommended.

A voucher is not required for Seattle Public Library exams.

Retake Policies

Vouchers purchased at the bookstore include a retake if necessary: if you pass the exam on the first attempt you will not receive a retake voucher. If you fail the exam on your first attempt Certiport will issue a new voucher number to your account and email it to you within a few days. Retake vouchers expire 30 days after the first exam attempt.

After your first exam attempt you must wait 24 hours before taking the Excel exam again. After your second and any subsequent attempts, you must wait 48 hours before taking the same exam again.

Prepare for the exam

There are several resources available to help you prepare for the exam: online study tools, hard copy study guides, and a practice exam that simulates the actual exam. Utilizing this study material is highly recommended as the exam is very difficult.

GMetrix SMS

GMetrix SMS 5 software simulates the exam environment. The exam is formatted as a multi-part project editing a single spreadsheet, rather than a series of disconnected tasks in separate questions. GMetrix version 5 is recommended for Office 2016 practice tests.

You will need to create your own account with GMetrix. You can create an account from within the software (using the "Sign up now" link in the lower right corner) or at www.gmetrix.net

You will also need a GMetrix access code to take a full length practice test. Email ExcelTest@seattleu.edu from your SeattleU email account to get an access code, or you can visit the Albers Front Desk in person to request a code.

GMetrix includes two modes, Training and Testing:

  • Testing mode is the closest approximation of Microsoft's Excel certification exam, it is a timed test and no feedback is given until the test is Finished and Submitted. After the practice test is completed your results are displayed with a score for each of the major topic areas (listed below). Use these results as guideline to which areas you should focus on.
  • Training mode gives feedback immediately after the spreadsheet is submitted, indicating which tasks were incorrect. It also includes a light bulb icon that will display the instructions for each task.

You may take any of the practice or training tests as many times as you want, it is recommended that students complete all three practice tests at least once. Students who complete all three practice tests are usually successful on their first attempt to pass the official exam.

GMetrix can be found on the virtual desktop, which is provided on all computers in the computer labs and Lemieux Library. Windows users with Office 2016 installed can also download the exam software to their own computers from GMetrix.net. If you use a Mac or do not have Office 2016 on your own computer, you can access GMetrix by visiting http://desktop.seattleu.edu, downloading the VMWare client if necessary, and connecting to the Seattle University Virtual Desktop. GMetrix is found under Albers Applications.


Lynda.com provides video-based tutorials with downloadable exercise files for you to follow along and perform the same tasks demonstrated in the videos. Seattle University students can use their Seattle Public Library card to access Lynda.com, if you do not have an SPL library card you can apply online. Then visit the SPL lynda.com login page to get access.

You can search for "Excel 2016" to see all available Excel 2016 courses, Excel 2013 Essential Training covers a wide variety of exam topics.

Study Guides

The SU Campus Store carries the Microsoft Office Excel 2016 Core Certification Guide from CCI Learning (ISBN:978-1-55332-473-7)

For experienced Excel users Microsoft Press offers a more abbreviated study guide outlining the topics covered: MOS 2016 Study Guide for Microsoft Excel.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How many times can I take the Excel certification exam?

A. You can take the exam as many times as necessary to pass… BUT, you will need a unique voucher number each time. The voucher you buy through the Seattle University CampusStore includes one free retake voucher if necessary. You must use the retake voucher within 30 days of your initial exam.

Q. How much does a test taking voucher cost?

A. You can purchase your exam voucher at the SU CampusStore. The voucher with one free retake costs approximately $99 plus sales tax. If you purchase your voucher on the Certiport website, it will cost $115.

Q. How long do I have to pass the exam?

A. All business students entering SU summer 2012 or later are required to pass the EXCEL Level I Certification Exam as a requirement for graduation.

Q. Can I get a voucher for free or reduced cost?

A. The SU Campus Store purchases vouchers in bulk from Certiport and sells them nearly at cost, so we are unable to offer any discounts. The Seattle and King County Public Libraries offer the Excel exam for free periodically, however space is extremely limited. Visit the Seattle Public Library registration page to reserve a seat, or contact instruction@kcls.org for test dates, times and locations outside of Seattle. If you pass the exam off-campus you will need to report your certification status to your instructor and/or academic advisor, see the Exam Verification page for more details.


If you have any further questions, please email ExcelTest@seattleu.edu.

Skills measured on the Excel 2016 Exam
(Exam 77-727)

Major topic Area


Additional Preparation Resources

1-Create and manage worksheets and workbooks
1.1-Create worksheets and workbooks: Create a workbook, import data from a delimited text file, add a worksheet to an existing workbook, copy and move a worksheet
1.2-Navigate in worksheets and workbooks: Search for data within a workbook; navigate to a named cell, range, or workbook element; insert and remove hyperlinks
1.3-Format worksheets and workbooks: Change worksheet tab color, rename a worksheet, change worksheet order, modify page setup, insert and delete columns or rows, change workbook themes, adjust row height and column width, insert headers and footers
1.4-Customize options and views for worksheets and workbooks: Hide or unhide worksheets, hide or unhide columns and rows, customize the Quick Access Toolbar, change workbook views, change window views, modify document properties, change magnification by using zoom tools, display formulas
1.5-Configure worksheets and workbooks for distribution: Set a print area, save workbooks in alternative file formats, print all or part of a workbook, set print scaling, display repeating row and column titles on multipage worksheets, inspect a workbook for hidden properties or personal information, inspect a workbook for accessibility issues, inspect a workbook for compatibility issue

Create worksheets and workbooks

Design workbooks

2-Create cells and ranges  
2.1-Insert data in cells and ranges: Replace data; cut, copy, or paste data; paste data by using special paste options; fill cells by using Auto Fill; insert and delete cells
2.2-Format cells and ranges: Merge cells, modify cell alignment and indentation, format cells by using Format Painter, wrap text within cells, apply number formats, apply cell formats, apply cell styles.
2.3-Order and group cells and ranges: Insert sparklines, outline data, insert subtotals, apply conditional formatting
Add text and data
3-Create tables  
3.1-Create and manage tables: Create an Excel table from a cell range, convert a table to a cell range, add or remove table rows and columns
3.2-Manage table styles and options: Apply styles to tables, configure table style options, insert total rows
3.3-Filter and sort a table: Filter records, sort data by multiple columns, change sort order, remove duplicate records
Add and format tables
4-Perform operations with formulas and functions
4.1-Summarize data by using functions: Insert references, perform calculations by using the SUM function, perform calculations by using MIN and MAX functions, perform calculations by using the COUNT function, perform calculations by using the AVERAGE function
4.2-Perform conditional operations by using functions: Perform logical operations by using the IF function, perform logical operations by using the SUMIF function, perform logical operations by using the AVERAGEIF function, perform statistical operations by using the COUNTIF function
4.3-Format and modify text by using functions: Format text by using RIGHT, LEFT, and MID functions; format text by using UPPER, LOWER, and PROPER functions; format text by using the CONCATENATE function
Use formulas and functions
5-Create charts and objects
5.1-Create charts: Create a new chart, add additional data series, switch between rows and columns in source data, analyze data by using Quick Analysis
5.2-Format graphic elements: Resize charts, add and modify chart elements, apply chart layouts and styles, move charts to a chart sheet
5.3-Insert and format objects: Insert text boxes and shapes, insert images, modify object properties, add alternative text to objects for accessibility

Add and format charts

Analyze and chart data