Excel can help you excel

It’s that time of year again! No, I don’t mean the twinkling lights, bells, and candles. I mean the last minute projects, study sessions, and calculating our grades hoping that we are passing.

Don’t tell me you haven’t yet added up your points in class to see how bad you can actually do on your final exam and still pass. If that’s your struggle in many of your classes, it can be pretty time intensive and tedious calculating, and then recalculating, after every new grade you get, especially when you could spend that time actually studying.

Well, if this is you, I am about to introduce to you the wonderful world of excel. Setting up an excel sheet to calculate grades is helpful to make such calculations and even track your progress throughout the semester. It is not difficult to make and will save your time in the future. So, if you haven’t yet discovered this beautiful tool, you are in for a wonderful surprise.

Open up excel (it is probably good to have your syllabus on hand), and use title the first four columns your assignment/title, grade, weight, and earned points. Enter the weight as a whole number and not a percentage.

Next enter in your score for the grades you have received. Enter them as a decimal or convert them to percentages by clicking the percentage sign in Home.

Next, calculate your earned points by multiply your score by the weight. Use the formula shown in the picture. Copy that down to each title.


If you have a grade that is calculated by multiple assignments. Calculate the total score of that separately (you can make a separate table on the same sheet to make it easier) and then insert that score into the main table.

Next sum the total points by typing the formula shown in the picture. You can then change your scores to see how your grade will change. For example, I can see what my final grade will be if I get a 90% on the final.

And that is the basis of it! There is so much more you can do in excel using formulas and tables and such, but we’ll save that for another time. Hope this helps as the semester comes to an end.

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