I am quite glad that tomorrow is a holiday because this week has truly been one helluva week.
::: Attended a course and sat for an exam - more about this further down this entry
::: Spent 4.5 hours on Saturday cranking out work and clearing my 3 days backlog of emails
::: Did my sis' simple evite
::: Did x2 hot yoga sessions, x1 Insanity and x1 run (not quite satisfied with the 4 times a week workout though..)
::: Attended a house party
::: Watched two eps of GA, Naruto movie and one ep of Naruto Shippuden
::: Posted the latest interview on Discovering life through sports
And the other standard stuff.
So I am mighty glad that I have an extra day to do some senseless stuff :)
With regards to the course, I have long wanted to be more proficient in using MSFT Excel. Excel is one of the most powerful MSFT applications and I wanted to learn how to maximize using it other than the standard formula calculations, cell formatting etc. My company sent a couple of us on a 3 day Expert Excel course in which we had to sit for the exam at the end of it and if we passed, we will get the official Microsoft Office Specialist certification for Expert in Excel.
The course took place at New Horizons training centre which is one of the Microsoft gold certified partners. I highly recommend this school if you wish to take any IT related courses be it for MSFT applications, Open Source etc. Lessons and materials are comprehensive, content is highly relevant and useful and the instructor that we had was great in explaining the concepts.
It's been almost a decade since I last sat for an exam so I was rather nervous when I found out that I had to sit for one. I was totally attentive in class and honestly, I really enjoyed the class because I found it really interesting!
The course book is as thick as a bible and comes complete with a CD that has all the practice files! We are even given a version of the exam questions similar to those 10 year series questions that we did in school?! Example of topics that we covered included creating lists, defining names for list, advanced filtering (extremely useful!), custom cell formatting (for e.g. making a negative number in red, a certain range of numbers in blue, etc etc), pivot tables, building templates, error checking of formulas, protecting workbooks and worksheets (not just the simple ones that most of us are familiar with!!), analyzing data using tools like goal seek, scenarios, creating trendlines, data validation and consolidation, simple macros creation and more!
Everything that was taught was done in a comprehensive manner, we had loads of hands-on sessions and I really feel as though I had not only learned a lot more about Excel, but am able to put it to good use. In fact I think that it will definitely make me more productive at work now since I spend a large amount of time analyzing data.
It was a relief that it was an 'open book' examination. Examination is taken online from Certiport - site that tests worldwide. We only had 50 minutes for 18 questions and it is quite strict in the sense that you have to be sure of where you click as your cursor is tracked and you get marks deducted if you click a wrong function or so! Thanks to the notes given to us, the exam was not as daunting as we all expected and most of us finished with time to spare.
I scored 969/1000 - I think almost everyone had around similar scores. I had full marks for all sections except formatting data and content. I think I was clicking my cursor in a few areas and was penalized for that!
It's somewhat fun to be back studying albeit short! I almost forgot what it was like to be a student all over again. The stress, trying to stay awake during lessons and I actually felt nervous whilst sitting for the exam -_- Hmmm to do a masters in the near future? I don't know! At least what I do know is that I am quite pleased to get the certification which is officially recognized :)