Manipulation of Data
February 13, 2007 1:09 AM   Subscribe

Your told you have a test in Excel regarding Data Manipulation, what do you revise?

On Thursday I have an interview, as a part of the interview. I have been told that I will have a test in Excel to test my ability to Manipulate data, because there is an amount of data reporting within the role.

Now I am pretty good in Excel, but I am used to programming in VB, and I think they are looking for something a bit more basic.

I have had a look on Google and everything I can find looks a bit basic - just looking at pivot tables and basic formula (or maybe I am thinking it is going to be harder than it actually is).

What functions would you suggest that I look at for a bit of revision, and what kind of scenarios are they likely to give me to solve?
posted by informity to Technology (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you give us an idea of the sort of work the post involves?
posted by paduasoy at 3:27 AM on February 13, 2007

Surprising numbers of people have no clue at all about pivot tables. If you can drive those, you'll probably impress.
posted by flabdablet at 4:14 AM on February 13, 2007

Sorry should have explained that before. It is basically glorified systems administration, along with reporting and dealing with Freedom of Information requests for HR - for a Local Authority.
posted by informity at 5:03 AM on February 13, 2007

I agree with flabdablet - whenever I interview people who say they know excel very well, I ask them about pivot tables and wait for the sound of crickets. If you know vlookup and how to cleanse data in cells - particularly manipulating text (by the sound of what you may be doing) you should be alright. Also, don't hide the light of your VBA skills under a bushel either.
posted by Sk4n at 5:43 AM on February 13, 2007

Sounds like you'll be fine. They may well be using Excel on a very basic level to do things like log requests, look at durations etc. I used to work as an administrator for a team of statisticians in local govt - I had an Excel test as part of the interview process and it really was just data entry, formatting cells, sorting data - not even formulae, let alone pivot tables. Best of luck!
posted by paduasoy at 6:20 AM on February 13, 2007

Just a question: by "revise", do you mean "review"? I'm confused.
posted by delfuego at 7:03 AM on February 13, 2007

again, pivot tables.

although there is a "statistics in excel for dummies" book that may have more secrets.
posted by eustatic at 7:24 AM on February 13, 2007

delfuego: 'revise' is a UK-ism - Americans would say 'study' in this context.
posted by expialidocious at 12:42 PM on February 13, 2007

Data cleansing and manipulation - Trim, combining two fields, Date functions, IF functions, VLookup.

Analysis and Reporting - Sum, Average, Pivot tables, Charts / Graphs.

I'm guessing you'll probably get a dataset that needs tidying up and then a list of questions about the data that you need to manipulate it in order to answer.

Might be worth looking at the standard functions available in Excel so if there's something you've not used before, you at least know where to start. Knowing it all isn't the most important thing - knowing where to look to learn something new is possibly more important!

If you can write VB then you'll be fine.

Good luck!
posted by finding.perdita at 3:03 PM on February 13, 2007

Thank you all for your suggestions, i am glad to say i think i should be ok.

*Fingers crossed*
posted by informity at 12:35 AM on February 14, 2007

How did it go?
posted by paduasoy at 3:59 PM on February 18, 2007

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