Excel Training and Certification Program

Microsoft Excel is an industry-standard tool in the business world.  Having a solid foundation in Excel will set you apart from your peers in today’s competitive job market.  Recognizing this, the Maxwell School, College of Arts and Science, and the iSchool are offering students access to the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel 2016 certification program that is recognized around the world. Becoming a certified Microsoft Office Specialist in Excel is proof-positive of your proficiency with this tool. This MOS certification is being provided through Certiport which is the premiere certification organization endorsed by Microsoft for their office products.


Who Can Enroll in the Program?

The Excel Training and Certification Program is available to Maxwell School, College of Arts and Sciences, and iSchool matriculated students who are actively enrolled in courses during the semester in which they are attempting to participate in this certification program. If you have not declared a Major or Minor in the Maxwell School, the College of Arts and Sciences, or the iSchool and are not actively enrolled in courses, you are not eligible to participate.


How Do I Study and Prepare?

Study Excel on Lynda.com

Lynda.com is an online library of high-quality video tutorials, created by industry professionals teaching a wide variety of software tools and skills. The full range of these tutorials are available to current faculty, students and staff.  Learn more about how to access this resource on our Lynda.com web page or on Answers.syr.edu.

You will find a wide variety of Excel training courses in the Lynda.com library including the Cert Prep: Excel 2016 Microsoft Office Specialist (77-727) course, which specifically relates to the MOS Excel Certification.

Demonstrate your advanced knowledge of Microsoft Excel by becoming a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). This course, created by Microsoft Certified Trainer Jennifer McBee, helps you prepare for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam for Excel 2016, which focuses on creating and managing worksheets and workbooks, managing data cells and ranges, creating tables, performing operations with formulas and functions, and creating charts and objects.The course begins with an overview of the certification program and how to prepare for the exam. Next, Jennifer walks you through all the certification objectives. Throughout the course, she provides you with opportunities for hands-on practice with exercises and chapter challenges, and wraps up with a full-length practice test that emulates exam 77-727.

Topics include:

  • Creating and managing worksheets and workbooks
  • Managing data cells and ranges
  • Creating tables
  • Performing operations with formulas and functions
  • Creating charts and objects

Take Practice Exams through GMetrix.com

GMetrix is a service offered by the Maxwell School and College of Arts and Sciences that provides practice tests for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam.  These practice tests help students accurately determine their skill and knowledge level prior to taking the certification exam.  GMetrix tests are provided as a service to better prepare students for their Excel Certification examination.

GMetrix has two modes: Training and Testing.  Training mode provides step-by-step help for each test question, with no time limit.  Testing mode simulates the test as closely as possible: there is a time limit, a specific number of questions, and no help.  You must pass three GMetrix exams in Testing mode with a score of 800 or higher in order to qualify for the Excel Certiport certification exam.  GMetrix allows you to familiarize yourself with the testing software and overall experience. You can take each practice exam an unlimited number of times.  Registration information for your GMetrix account is below.

Using GMetrix, and fulfilling the GMetrix requirements, is the greatest predictor of success on the actual exam.  University studies demonstrate when students properly utilized GMetrix, their certification pass rate was over 95%.  Learn more about GMetrix on their site.

Registering for GMetrix

  1. Qualified Maxwell, College of Arts and Sciences, and iSchool students must go to the GMetrix web site and create an account using your @syr.edu email address.
  2. Using your Syracuse University email address, send your Syracuse University ID number to TestingCenter@maxwell.syr.edu and someone from the ICT Testing Team will provide you with an authorization code.
  3. Once your account is created, you can start taking practice exams.  There are nine practice exams that cover all the skills required to pass the MOS Excel Exam.  Six are delivered as question/answer, and three are delivered as a cumulative project.  Any of these nine exams will count towards the requirements.  Exams that are specific to the Excel Specialist certification have names that start with “Excel 2016 core”.  (The Certification exam is project based.)

Prospective test candidates should also be aware that taking a very small amount of exams (such as 1-2) repeatedly and scoring above 800 in testing mode does not constitute adequate preparation and does not fulfill the preparatory requirement.

As there are nine exams that are applicable to the preparatory requirement, you should take three different exams, with at least one being a project based exam.  You can see how many Gmetrix exams you’ve taken, their scores, and what areas you need to work on, by logging into gmetrix.com using your Gmetrix username and password, and clicking the “Completed” button on the left side of the page.  You may take an unlimited number of GMetrix practice exams in preparation for your actual certification exam.


Ways to access GMetrix Practice Exams

  • Windows Laptop – If you own a Windows laptop with Microsoft Office 2016 installed, you can log into your GMetrix account and download the software.  Unfortunately, GMetrix is not available for Apple computers and laptops.
  • Maxwell Department Labs – GMetrix will be installed in all Maxwell department labs if you already have lab access.
  • Labs in Arts & Science (when available) – GMetrix software will be installed on the following labs:
    • 124 Carnegie (Math)
    • 231 Sims (African Studies)
    • 005 Heroy (Earth Sciences)
    • 530D Huntington (Psychology)
    • 621 Skytop (Communications and Sciences and Disorders)
  • Public Labs on campus (more info):
    • Brockway 202
    • CST 1-114
    • Goldstein Student Center 107
    • Graham 016
    • Huntington 020
    • Kimmel 029
    • Lawrinson 202
    • Physics 115
    • Schine Student Center 126A
    • Schine Student Center Ludwig Lounge 035

Remote access available for Mac laptop owners.  Email TestingCenter@maxwell.syr.edu to request access. 



Register for the Certification Exam

Requirements:  Any Maxwell, College of Arts and Sciences, or iSchool student desiring to take the MOS Excel Certification Exam will observe the following required steps:

  • Complete three different practice exams using GMetrix. Please note, the following criteria must be met:
    • Each qualifying practice exam will have a minimum score of 800.
    • Each qualifying practice exam will be 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.

After ensuring the above steps are taken, email TestingCenter@maxwell.syr.edu and include your Syracuse University ID to request your test date.  The Maxwell School Testing Center is located in Eggers Hall room 030.  The test is given on a first-come first-serve basis.

Fall 2018 testing hours:
Mondays 2:00pm – 2:50pm and Fridays 9:00am – 9:50am through December 14th. 

Students must register for the exam at least 48-hours in advance of the test date in order to reserve a seat.  

  • Before arriving for your exam, create an account with Certiport.  This account will be used to log into the exam: Certiport User Registration.
  • You must arrive at the Testing Center 10-minutes prior to the start of the exam.
  • Students must present their SU ID in order to take the exam.
  • Maxwell, College of Arts and Sciences, and iSchool 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.


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 that you probably won’t see the same questions you saw using Gmetrix, but you’ll probably see questions that are topically similar. This is because a certification exam is designed to certify that you know how to solve a problem – not just that you know the answer. It’s the same reason your grade-school math teachers asked you to show your work: “How” is important!

  • The exam you will take 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 three exams using GMetrix, taken in testing mode.
  • Ideally, these scores should be consecutive.
  • It is a time-metered test – maximum allowable time is 50 minutes.
  • The exams will be taken in Eggers Hall room 030, our testing center, unless otherwise noted.
  • Your test will be administered/proctored by Maxwell staff.
  • Cell phones and/or other network/internet connectable devices are not allowed during the test.