Microsoft Excel specialists

The programme and exam

Programme overview
What you get
Sample exam questions
Speciality papers

Programme overview

This is a self-study programme. You can download coursework, submit assignments, and book online exam(s) at any time throughout the year.

There is the main paper (Paper 1) and four optional speciality papers (Papers 2 – 5).

Each paper has 5 parts, each with quizzes, and an assignment.

Once you have submitted an assignment for a part, you can book the online exam for the part. You get a certificate for passing each part. Once you have passed all five parts of the main paper, you gain the qualification. To prove you have the qualification, you get a certificate and an online account that can be made temporarily available to others to verify your passes.

Assignments make up 20% of the final mark and the exam 80%.

Enhance the qualification with any of the four speciality papers.

What you get

If you purchase the qualification coursework and exam, you get an online account where you download the PDF coursework and assignments. From the account, you upload your completed assignments. With your online account, you also have access to the quizzes that appear at the end of each topic.

If you are a manager, you can order papers and allocate them to employees as you see fit. You can track employee progress on downloads, quizzes, assignments and exams.

Online quizzes help you learn

Work through PDF coursework

Optionally, play videos for some topics

Submit assignments and get feedback

Prove your capability with online verification and with certificate


When you purchase an exam unit, in addition to the exam, you receive an assignment to complete. Assignment files need to be downloaded and uploaded from your online AbleOwl account given to you. You will receive feedback on your submitted assignment.

What are the assignment rules?

  • You must not have the assistance of any other person in any way in     completing any assignment. The work submitted is all your own.


    How is the exam structured?

    The exam for one part is 40 minutes and contains multiple choice questions and a practical.

    The exam runs at your choice of location and date and is invigilated by means of webcam and mic.

    How should I prepare for the exam?

    The best way to prepare for an exam is to work through the coursework for the qualification part, answer the quiz questions, complete the assignment and use the sample exam as a mock exam. For many of the qualification parts, it is most unlikely that you can pass the exam unless you have studied the coursework. One reason for that is that you won’t otherwise be familiar with the conventions applied to spreadsheets. So, prior experience, however extensive, does not guarantee that you will pass the exam.

    Can I access sample questions?

    Multiple-choice questions are like those in the quizzes. Practical exam questions are like those of the assignments. Access an example exam.

    How much do the exams cost?

    An exam (which includes an assignment) for one qualification part costs NZ$49+GST; AUS$46+GST; US$38

    What is the exam booking procedures?

    Go to In the side bar, choose My account. In the My current products section, choose Go to personal qualification and under Exam choose Book, then select a date and time for the exam. If you don’t yet have an AbleOwl account, you will be provided one on purchase.

    Within one working day of booking your exam, we will email you a Skype for Business link for your exam.

    If you do not have Skype for Business installed on your PC, you can use the Skype for Business Web Application, the user manual can be found here.

    What setup do I need to take the exam?

    A closed room that has no one else in the room.

    A PC that runs Windows and Excel 2007 or later version and that has mic and speakers.

    An internet connection.

    How can I test Skype for Busines

    If you have not used Skype for Business before on your PC, you should test that the links below work in advance. There is no refund if Skype for Business fails to run on your laptop.

    To ensure that Skype for Business works on your computer, do one of the following:

    Test Meeting with Skype for Business Client (also known as lync)

  • A. Click on the following URL (
  • B. The Skype for Business client will open the meeting in a new window
  • C. Click "Use Skype for Business (full audio and video experience)" if it pops up
  • D. At this point your Business Client should have joined the meeting. If successful, you will see a small timer (e.g. 0:25) counting in the upper-right corner of the meeting
  • E. Your computer is ready. Please click the red "Hang Up" button to disconnect

    Skype for Business Web Application Test Meeting:

  • A. Click on the following URL (
  • B. Download and install the Skype for Business Web App plug-in
  • C. Enter your name (e.g. Jane Doe)
  • D. Click "Join”
  • E. If successful, you will see a small timer (e.g. 0:25) counting in the upper-right corner of the meeting
  • F. Your computer is ready. Please click the red "Exit Meeting" button to disconnect

    Please contact us if you face any issues.

    Will the exam cover material not in the course work?


    What are the exam rules?

    See exam rules

    Sample exam questions

    Multiple-choice - Formulas

    To check whether two numbers in A1 and A2 are effectively the same, which of the following formulas is the simplest, reliable one to do so:

    (a)   =SUM(A1-A2)<0.001

    (b)   =SIGN(A1-A2)<0.001

    (c)   =ROUND(A1-A2,0)<0.001

    (d)   =ABS(A1-A2)<0.001

    (e)   =A1=A2

    To make the total of M22:M33 equal the sum of the formatted values:

    (a)   Enter total formula =SUMPRODUCT(ROUND(M22:M33,0))

    (b)   Enter total formula =ROUND(SUM(M22:M33),0)

    (c)   Enter total formula =SUMROUND(M22:M33,0)

    (d)   Switch on the Precision as Displayed option.

    (e)   A and D

    If the Status Bar Calculate indicator does not disappear after you press F9, the possible reasons are:

    (a)   The number of formula references is beyond a certain limit.

    (b)   There is a circular reference calculation and a certain iteration option is on.

    (c)   There is some other option that has been switched on.

    (d)   A and B

    (e)   A, B and C

    Possible causes of slow calculation include:

    (a)   Lookup functions

    (b)   Volatile functions

    (c)   Array formulas

    (d)   A and C

    (e)   A, B and C

    Practical - Structure and presentation

    (1) Open ExTitlesBorders.xlsm and go to sheet rKey.

    (2) Improve the report shown below, which is in the range K10:R38.


    Figure 99 – Sheet to be reformatted.

    File: ExTitlesBorders.xlsm, sheet: rKey

    The side of the report needs to be improved to show how it is divided vertically. The report has financial and physical figures. There are direct and indirect costs.

    An additional month will be inserted each month and, so, the sheet needs to be altered so that is quick to do.

    Improve the formatting in other ways to make the report as clear and readable as possible.

    Sample exam

    Open the file below and see the instructions on the GuideExam sheet.

    Speciality papers

    Model construction and analysis
    Available for purchase and download in TBD

    Data extraction and analysis with MS Query, PivotTables and Power BI
    Available for purchase and download in TBD

    Reporting with charts, tables and dashboards
    Available for purchase and download in TBD

    Macros for automating tasks
    Available for purchase and download in TBD