Microsoft Excel is one of the leading numerical software packages on the market, used by companies all around the world from various different professions. If you’re looking at expand your Excel knowledge and develop your professional skill-set, taking a course could be highly valuable.
Here are a few tips to help ensure you get the most out of your education.
Get Back to Mathematics
Excel is like a giant complex calculator, but one with a simple, user-friendly interface. While it will do all of your calculations for you, there’s no harm in having a basic understanding of common mathematical terminologies.
Prior to attending your courses do a quick maths refresher. This will streamline your workflow in the future and give you a better understanding of which tools will be most suitable for each task. This is particularly important when dealing with graphs, charts and certain calculations.
Practise on OpenOffice
Microsoft software can be expensive; however, there are open source options that are perfect for practising. Download OpenOffice if you can’t afford to invest in MS Excel just yet. While open source software won’t have all the features and applications as the “real thing” it will give you a firm grasp of the basics.
Know Your Short Cuts
Working in the financial sector often means that you’ll be under some sort of deadline. Knowing shortcuts can save you a lot of time and help you to work more efficiently. Having a small pocket book available with the various Excel shortcuts noted down will come in very handy. Learning shortcuts will also allow you to save data and perform other simple tasks in other Microsoft programs.
Establish What You Need
Excel has a huge array of different tools that you can use; however, it’s unlikely you’ll need all of them. Before you attend your course speak to someone who knows Excel skills for banking in order to get an idea of what sort of tasks they use software for. By practising these you’ll give yourself a solid foundation with which to focus on.
Regardless of your preferred study method, you should always try to recap on what you have learned. Try to make notes or flashcards throughout your studies that can be skimmed over in the evening. This method forms part of a process called Retrieval Practice, and provides an effective way to improve information retention and memory recall.
Don’t Stop Now
Souters courses are CPD accredited. This means that you are awarded Continuing Professional Development points that can be used in the future. CPD points can be added together with courses in similar fields to either minimise future fees, or in some cases, combine qualifications to create a more authoritative accreditation. This is something you may want to consider utilising, as it helps to demonstrate a vested interest in your career progression.
Fundamentally, studying need-not be difficult. Simply ensure you focus on the quality of your learning and prioritise the areas of Excel you’ll need the most.