What is the Excel Certification program?

The Whitman Excel Certification program is a method by which Whitman students participate in a self-paced, self-study program that prepares them to take (and pass) the Microsoft Office Specialist Excel Certification (and Expert certification, should they so choose.)

Candidates can access the information for the Excel Course through Blackboard. The Blackboard course will explain everything that one would need to know. Nine times out of ten any question that is asked has already been answered in the Blackboard course. If that's not the case, please notify wsmhelp@syr.edu of the question so documentation can be updated.

Why do we have it?

Several years ago, a committee was convened to determine what could be done to improve upon the Whitman student experience that would better prepare our students for professional careers. One of the things that the recruiters who work with Whitman identified was proficiency in Microsoft Excel. So, over the past few years Whitman has implemented and revised the method by which our students may improve their proficiency at Excel. Whitman's curriculum has been restructured to include more frequent and in-depth use of Excel as a classroom tool, more focus has been placed on the importance of Excel in the classroom and in the real world, and the timing with which the Certification Program was introduced has been modified to more heavily target incoming (new-to-Whitman) students, so that they are familiar with Excel before their academic career begins, and get even more out of their education while at Whitman.

Who can take part?

Whitman Students, faculty and staff are welcome to take part in the program.

How does it work?

There are three parts to the Excel program.


Candidates must complete the instructional materials. Currently, this material is sourced from LinkedIn Learning and curated in a Blackboard course. Whitman may from time to time change the instructional material, and the method of access, but there will always be instructional material to participate in.

Read about LinkedIn Learning here: LinkedIn Learning at Syracuse University

Practice and Exam Registration Requirements

Candidates must take practice exams. Currently, the practice exam program is called GMetrix. GMetrix is accessible on all Whitman lab computers or by utilizing Whitman's Remote Desktop service. 

Any student desiring to register for/take the MOS Excel Associate or Excel Expert Certification Exams will observe the following required steps:

  • Complete the instructional material from LinkedIn Learning relating to the level of certification exam you wish to take
  • Complete five different practice exams (in testing mode) by noon the day before exam, using GMetrix which meets the following criteria:
    • Each qualifying practice exam has a minimum score of 800.
    • Each qualifying practice exam was taken within 30 days of your desired exam date. 
    • You must take both Excel Associate 2019 Practice Exams (1 and 2)
    • You must take at least two Excel Associate 2019 Skill Reviews
    • You must take at least one of the Excel 2019/365 Concept Reviews
  • Satisfy these requirements before registering for the exam event on Handshake. Do not register before you have completed the required preparatory work.
  • Register for your desired exam slot on Handshake no later than 12:00 PM (noon) the day before your desired exam date.


Certification exams are open to those students who have completed the prep requirement. Exams are given every Friday of each semester from 12-4 pm, usually in WSM 009 unless otherwise noted. 

Each Whitman student is allowed two free attempts at the Excel Certification Exam; after that, any subsequent attempt must be paid for by the student. Generally, the prep requirement ensures that students don't fail more than once.

To take the exam the student must register for a date and time on Handshake. Each exam day is visible in Handshake one week prior to its occurrence. People wishing to register must do so by 12 PM the day before their requested exam date because their eligibility must be verified. 

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