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The purpose of this exam is for you to demonstrate what you have learned about how to (1) analyze and describe data using Excel functions and tools; (2) properly and appropriately make interpretations and conclusions based on the data; and (3) visualize and present interesting aspects of the data in a professional manner. You will be evaluated on all three elements. Download and open the Exam1-Data-VideoGameSales.xlsx file to use for the exam.

The Exam 1 data file includes extensive data about the top selling video games in history. You will analyze this data, present interesting aspects of it, and make interpretations and conclusions. You will need to create some professional-level charts, tables, and a dashboard. You will also use the other Excel tools we covered in the class to support your analysis and presentation. You have complete flexibility on what aspects of the data you choose to focus on, but your charts and other elements must visualize or communicate the chosen data effectively and appropriately, and your interpretations and conclusions must align with the data you are presenting. You should not copy or use anyone else’s ideas for your exam. If your exam is the same as or is very similar to anyone else’s or shares the same elements, all similar exams will be rejected and you will be given 48 hours to redo them.


  • Analyze the data using any approaches or methods.
    • Create a worksheet named “AnalysisNotes.” In your AnalysisNotes worksheet, briefly describe what you did to analyze the data. You don’t need to write in complete sentences; just provide enough information so that I know what you did. Note any equations, formulas, functions, or tools that you used to analyze the data.
    • If you create additional data through equations or formulas–which you should–, don’t delete that data after your analysis.
    • If you create any Pivot Tables to use for your analysis, place them in a separate worksheet named “PivotsForAnalysis”. (These should be separate from your pivot tables used for your dashboard.)
    • You should look for interesting aspects of the data beyond what is obvious or readily apparent. You will be evaluated on this element.
  • Based on your analysis, develop at least three main interpretations and conclusions about elements of the data. Then create a professional looking table, chart, or both for each of your interpretations and conclusions.
    • Create a new worksheet for each interpretation/conclusion and place the accompanying table/chart in that sheet. Write your interpretation/conclusion in its sheet and place the table/chart below it. You should have at least three worksheets for interpretations/conclusions that also includes the tables or charts. You can name the sheets “Conclusion1”, “Conclusion2”, etc.
    • You need to use at least two different types of charts. Horizontal and vertical bar charts are considered to be the same type of chart. Develop a conclusion that will work with a different chart type if needed. If you use tables, you must also use at least two charts to visualize the data as well.
    • Your chart type or use of chart vs. table must align with the data that you are presenting. You will be evaluated in this area as well.
    • You will be evaluated on the appearance and design aspects of your tables and charts—they must fit the style we learned in class—and on the accuracy of your interpretation/conclusion and how well it aligns with your table or chart.
    • Titles, labels, coloring, borders, consistency, etc., all matter.
  • Create a dashboard to allow a person to view and investigate several interesting aspects of the data.
    • What you present on your dashboard should not be exactly what you presented for your interpretations and conclusions in requirement 2. The dashboard should allow a person to slice and analyze the data themselves so they can develop their own conclusions. You should set your dashboard up in a way that allows the person to dig around and determine what is interesting to them.
    • You must include at least four table or chart elements on your dashboard—total of four with at least one of them being a table of information and one of them being a chart.
    • You are not limited to only charts or tables; you should consider other elements for a dashboard.
    • One of the charts, tables, or elements on your dashboard should be innovative, unique, or use a more complex setup. Don’t limit yourself to basic pivot tables or pivot charts for all four required elements.
    • You must include at least one slicer on your chart, but you should include as many as are necessary to allow a person to slice and dig through the data. There is not a required number of connections with slicers and charts/tables, but all or nearly all elements on your dashboard should be dynamic through slicing or lookups. If there is an element that would fit well with slicing or lookups, it needs to have those. You will lose points if you fail to include a slicer that would have provided value to any of your charts/tables/elements on your dashboard.
    • Your dashboard will be evaluated on it’s appearance, layout, and structure. Your dashboard should follow good design principles and should be similar to the style covered in class. The title matters too.
    • I will not hold your Pivot Charts to a high appearance standard, but they should look reasonably nice—no gridlines, field buttons, unnecessary text, etc. Everything should also be titled well. You have flexibility on how you handle legends.
  • You are free to include anything else of interest or value in your exam Excel file. If you choose to do so, add that in a new worksheet named “CoolStuff”.
    • You will not be penalized for anything you include in a cool stuff sheet. However, if there is something cool that you did or found and it doesn’t fit with the other requirements, you could potentially earn some additional points or earn back some points by including that with your exam. If it fits with the other things, however, please just include it as a required exam element.
    • There is no expectation or requirement to include a cool stuff worksheet or element. Just do it if you found something cool or did something cool.

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