What is the Excel IQ™ score?


Your Excel IQ measures your ability at Excel relative to everyone who has taken our test. A score of 100 means you are of exactly average ability. We interpret your score in terms of the following classes of Excel proficiency (using Dreyfus and Dreyfus' (1986) 'Five Stages of Skill Acquisition' model). See the diagram below.

Scoring methodology

What do the scores by category mean?

In addition to your Excel IQ™ score, the results of our test include scores for five important sub-categories of overall Excel ability. These scores are calculated in the same way as the Excel IQ™, but rely only on those test questions that assess that particular expertise.

  1. Spreadsheet administration: your ability to manage and protect an Excel file and its contents.
  2. Orientation and efficiency: your knowledge of the basics of Excel, and the efficiency with which you interact with it.
  3. Data handling: how well you can manipulate different forms of data in Excel - sorting, cleaning and categorising it.
  4. Data analysis: how well you can analyse and interpret data in Excel to produce useful results.
  5. Presentation: your ability to format spreadsheets and present results within them to communicate those results powerfully.

What does Percentile refer to?

This is a statistical measure of a particular value of a variable below which a certain percent of observations fall. For example, a percentile of 76.54 means that your score was higher than 76.54% of all scores. It helps give some context for your Excel IQ score.

Our Excel IQ™ score is calculated in the same way as an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) score is calculated. The average score of test-takers is 100, and the spread of scores is adjusted so that 95% of candidates score between 70 and 130. The scores of people taking our test are approximately normally distributed. That means the number of people with any given score follows the pattern of this graph: 

One important advantage of this type of adjusted score – called a T-score – is that it can be compared meaningfully between different tests, because variations in the difficulty of questions are factored out. Crucially this means our tests reliably measure improvement in Excel, even though users answer a different set of questions before and after any training.

Besides an overall Excel IQ™ score, our test will rate your performance in five sub-categories: orientation & efficiency, data handling, data analysis and presentation. Each sub-score is calculated in the same way as the overall score.

In more detail...

The Excel IQ™ score is calculated from your ‘raw score’ (the number of questions you answer correctly) in two steps:

  1. First, each question is weighted according to how good it is at indicating the aptitude it is testing – this is something we can measure by checking how well questions correlate with ability.
  2. Second, we transform your weighted score so that the average of all candidates’ weighted scores is 100, and the standard deviation is 15, according to the equation:

Where w is your weighted score, w is the average weighted score of test-takers, and σ is the standard deviation of weighted scores of test-takers.

IQ scores are used by psychologists to define categories of intelligence eg an IQ of between 130 and 144 is categorised as ‘moderately gifted’. We have categorised Excel IQ™ similarly, eg an Excel IQ™ of between 115 and 129 means we think you are ‘proficient’ at Excel.