Learn more about XAT

• Individual and Bulk Pricing: These options are available and can be found on the Payment page.

• Hiring managers and HR people often see this on applicant resumes: “I know Excel” or “I am proficient/expert in Excel”. I created XAT® to reveal who knows as much about Excel as they claim to know. You get the short list of truly qualified Excel candidates, saving time and money.

• Trainers will place their trainees’ skill levels into the proper training sessions for maximum relevance of the training material. Beginners won’t get lost in advanced material, and Advanced people won’t get bored with known material.

• Trainers can measure their own effectiveness by comparing their trainees’ improved XAT® scores of before and after tests.

• There are no questions to trick or mislead you. There is no bias for keyboard, mouse, or memorization of Ribbon icon or menu locations. If you know any of a dozen ways to do something in Excel, the questions are designed to credit you for that knowledge.

• New questions can be added for specific cutting edge tests, such as dynamic arrays, the XLOOKUP and LET functions, Office Scripts, and so on. As a test administrator, you will want to avoid bias against people who do not have access to an Excel feature that a test question asks about. That is where the test platform’s flexibility comes in, to fashion a test to fit the version or release of Excel that you care about.

Every XAT® question has 4 answer choices, whereby one choice must be marked Correct and the other 3 marked as either Wrong or Unsure. This helps to expose the answer’s confidence while avoiding a false positive score from just guessing. This way, each question tests you on 4 Excel topics, so with up to 60 questions on a single test, you can be evaluated on up to 240 graduated Excel concepts.

Marking a truly wrong answer as Wrong earns a higher score than marking it Unsure. Marking the truly correct answer as Wrong earns a lower score than marking it Unsure. Test takers are advised to use the Unsure option sparingly, if at all. Even if you mark the truly correct answer as Correct, your score will still be reduced if any of the other 3 answers for that question are marked Unsure instead of Wrong.

There is a reason why the “A” in XAT® stands for Aptitude. For example, if you answer a question correctly about pivot tables, you will not be asked a basic question later about how to Bold a cell’s font. Your aptitude is credited for a more complex topic to be asked with the next test question, and your knowledge (or your quick ability to learn) a simpler topic is assumed by the scoring algorithm. If the assumption was wrong, it will be corrected with the next few questions. Most questions involve scenarios to measure how well you understand an Excel concept that can be cross-applied to other scenarios. The objective is to increase the efficiency and relevant difficulty of test questions, to enable a valid Expert level score to be achieved.


I want you to succeed. XAT®‘s objective is not to make anyone look good or bad at Excel, but to show a person’s Excel skills as whatever they are. It’s OK to not be strong in any particular category. Each category has its own relative complexity. It is just a fact that Data skills are more complex than Formatting skills. Therefore, a basic Data question will be more complex than a basic formatting question. If you are looking for a specific need such as formula skills or data analysis, those categories’ scores stand alone on the Scoring Summary.

Your comments in the Feedback field of any reviewed question can help me to improve XAT®. You are welcome to suggest a question that you have not seen on your tests. Your question might be in the test’s pool of 650 questions, so maybe you just haven’t seen it yet, but either way, I’ll reply to your suggestions. All comments and suggestions come to me directly by email at tom@atlaspm.com and they remain private. My direct telephone number in San Francisco is (925) 310-4170.

Excel is too vast for a single test to cover every possible feature or scenario. The testing method evaluates your score in real time after every question. How you answered a previous question determines the difficulty or ease of your next question.

The test is at xat.tomurtis.com.

Tom Urtis

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