You aced your first interview and you couldn’t feel better about it – you answered all the questions correctly, made a great impression, and managed to have a professional yet very friendly conversation with someone you might be working with soon.
That is when you found out that the next step of the recruitment process is an Excel test. And while you may be feeling a little apprehensive about the test, you are also determined to do well.
Fret not because, in this blog post, we will guide you through the process so that you are as prepared as can be when you finally take it.
Why do I Have to Give an Excel Test?
Many employers will require you to have a certain level of proficiency (we’ll discuss this in more detail later) when it comes to using Excel, depending on the job description.
They want to know beforehand if you are skilled enough in the use of the software to be able to perform the tasks required of you – think of it like the SATs that determined whether you’d actually be able to cope at school.
The better you do on the test, the greater your chances of getting the job. So let’s begin!
Excel Test Format
Different companies can have different versions of the test depending on their unique requirements. There will usually be an MCQ section (to test your knowledge), an interactive activity section (to test the application of that knowledge) or both.
Difficulty Level and What to Expect
There are three different types of tests – you will be asked to take the one that is relevant to the position you applied for. Let’s take a look at them:
- Basic Level Excel Test – You will be asked to take this test for an entry-level role in which you’d be required to carry out everyday clerical tasks.
The questions will mostly revolve around your knowledge of formatting, page layout, filtering and sorting data, defining a cell reference, creating tables, and other basic functions and commands such as save and print.
While these are very basic things, they need to be on your fingertips during the test for you to do well.
- Intermediate Level Excel Test – This test, often also referred to as ‘standard test’ will contain questions ranging from the basic level to the advanced, in an attempt to determine your overall level of proficiency with the software.
You will need to be knowledgeable in a large number of areas and commands as your tasks will likely have more than one advanced-level components.
- Advanced Level Excel Test – If the job position requires you to deal with large volumes of data and perform high-capacity tasks, this is the test you will be asked to take.
You will need to show expertise in all areas of the software. You will come across questions related to formulae, advanced formatting, document properties, and macro creation among other things.
Now that you have a basic idea of what you are up against, let’s discuss one of the most popular Excel tests used today.
Kenexa Prove It Excel Test – What to Expect
This is an Excel assessment used by many organizations to evaluate candidates during the interview process. Here are some basic features of the test:
- Interactive exam that allows the employer to see how well you perform the given tasks.
- Untimed tasks; however, the time you take to complete each task is noted and will likely have an effect on the final result.
- No MCQs.
So, how does it work?
Well, you are presented with a simulation that looks like an Excel sheet. You have to apply your knowledge and skill set to answer questions and complete tasks as they appear.
There are two levels of the Kenexa Prove It Excel test, the Normal User test and the Power User test.
- Normal User – This is a basic test that requires you to have beginner-level knowledge of the software and perform 30 tasks.
- Power User – In this type of assessment, you will have to complete 25 advanced-level tasks related to things like pivot tables, macro creation, and other specifics we have already discussed above.
Tips to Excel at the Excel Test
Whether the employer you are interviewing with uses a Kenexa Excel assessment or some other variant to test your knowledge and skill set, you need to be prepared. And while you may be excellent at the software itself, you also need to be great at taking the test. Here are some tips that will help you out.
- Know Where You Are Giving the Test
Some companies require you to visit their office to give the test while others will just let you take it online from the comfort of your home. In either case, you need to be fully prepared.
If you have to go to the office, you need to make your peace with the fact that will be chatter and activity around you so practice your focus before you appear for the test.
If you are giving it at home, on the other hand, you need to find a spot where you will not be easily distracted or disturbed.
You may have been an Excel expert when you used it back in college or at your old job but that doesn’t mean you remember everything.
There are thousands of commands and processes you will need to know, more so if you are appearing for an advanced version of the test.
So make sure you review commands, practice processes, and get up to speed well in time.
- Take Practice Tests
Practice tests are a great way to familiarize yourself with the exam format and the kinds of questions you will come across.
You can also set targets and time yourself so that you become accustomed to working quickly, reducing the time you take on each subsequent test you try. So brush up on those skills so that you can give it your best during the actual exam.
It is important to note here that a JobTestPrep Excel Practice test can help. With this preparation pack, you get access to
- Microsoft Excel Training Software;
- Sample questions;
- Timed practice tests;
- Comprehensive score reports that identify where you need more work;
- Explanations for answers when you get stuck;
- Study and exam tips;
- Useful advice;
- And much more!
- Time Yourself Well
If your test is timed, then you need to do a ton of practice tests in advance to make sure you pick up speed along the way.
If like the Kenexa Prove It test, it isn’t, you still need to be as quick as you can because the time you spend on each question is monitored and, as we mentioned before, will likely affect the results.
- Be On Point Every Time
On the Kenexa interface and many others, there is usually no room for errors – you will have one chance to nail the answer.
The interface will not correct spelling mistakes, allow formulae to be auto-filled or let you use shortcuts in some cases.
So make sure that there is no guesswork – you need to be on top of your game in all aspects!
- Don’t Shy Away from Parallel Assistance
If you are giving the test at home, you can have another laptop, tablet or smartphone for use to look up something you just can’t remember at the time.
Don’t take too long, however, as the time you take for each task matters.
If the company invites you to take an on-premises test, this can be a little harder (or even impossible), in which case you need to make sure you are fully prepared!
Ace Your Excel Test
And the last thing we have to say to you is, nail that Excel test!
It may seem intimidating at first but if you have put in the time to study and practice, you are more prepared than you think.
Give it your best and get that second interview call because you deserve it.