Mar 21, 2019

MOS Excel 2016 Expert

I'm thankful that with the individual Learning Needs Analysis (LNA) in place in my current company (TÜV SÜD), I was able to indicate my interest in pursuing any courses/certifications of my choice (of course that would have to relate to my scope of work, or at least I would think so :D).

There is a whole pre-defined list of learning programs in the LNA form (which obviously does not interest me at all) alongside a section where I could fill in the programs which I'm interested in, subjected to my reporting officer's review and approval.

Below is what I filled in for that section:

Proposed Program Training Provider
Certified Quality Process Analyst (CQPA) American Society for Quality (ASQ)
Chartered Engineer (UK) Engineering Council (UK)
Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel 2016 Expert Chua Chu Kang Community Club IT Centre


  1. Manage workbook options and settings
    • Objective 1.1: Manage workbooks
      • Save a workbook as a template
      • Hide or display ribbon tabs
      • Enable macros in a workbook
      • Copy macros between workbooks
      • Reference data in another workbook
      • Reference table data by using structured references
    • Objective 1.2: Manage workbook review
      • Restrict editing
      • Protect workbook structure
      • Encrypt a workbook with a password
      • Manage workbook versions
      • Configure formula calculation options
  2. Apply custom data formats and layouts
    • Objective 2.1: Apply custom data formats and validation
      • Create custom data formats
      • Populate cells by using advanced Fill Series options
      • Configure data validation
    • Objective 2.2: Apply advanced conditional formatting and filtering
      • Create custom conditional formatting rules
      • Create conditional formatting rules that use formulas
      • Manage conditional formatting rules
    • Objective 2.3: Create and modify custom workbook elements
      • Create and modify cell styles
      • Create custom themes and theme elements
      • Create and modify simple macros
      • Insert and configure form controls
    • Objective 2.4: Prepare a workbook for internationalization
  3. Create advanced formulas
    • Objective 3.1: Apply functions in formulas
      • Insert functions into a formula
      • Perform logical operations by using the IF, AND, OR, and NOT functions
      • Perform logical operations by using nested functions
      • Perform statistical operations by using the SUMIFS, AVERAGEIFS, and
      • COUNTIFS functions
    • Objective 3.2: Look up data by using functions
    • Objective 3.3: Apply advanced date and time functions
      • Reference the date and time by using the NOW and TODAY functions
      • Serialize numbers by using date and time functions
    • Objective 3.4: Perform data analysis and business intelligence
      • Import, transform, combine, display, and connect to data
      • Consolidate data
      • Perform what-if analysis by using Goal Seek and Scenario Manager
      • Use cube functions to get data out of the Excel data model
      • Calculate data by using financial functions
    • Objective 3.5: Troubleshoot formulas
      • Insert functions into a formula
      • Perform logical operations by using the IF, AND, OR, and NOT functions
      • Perform logical operations by using nested functions
      • Perform statistical operations by using the SUMIFS, AVERAGEIFS, and
      • COUNTIFS functions
    • Objective 3.6: Define named ranges and objects
      • Name a cell or range
      • Name a table
      • Manage named ranges and objects
  4. Create advanced charts and tables
    • Objective 4.1: Create advanced charts
      • Add trendlines to charts
      • Create dual-axis charts
      • Save a chart as a template
    • Objective 4.2: Create and manage PivotTables
      • Create PivotTables
      • Modify PivotTable field selections and options
      • Create slicers
      • Group PivotTable data
      • Reference data in a PivotTable by using the GETPIVOTDATA function
      • Add calculated fields
      • Format data
    • Objective 4.3: Create and manage PivotCharts
      • Create PivotCharts
      • Modify PivotCharts
      • Drill down into PivotChart details

How did I prepare for MOS Excel 2016 Expert?

The step to getting certified in MOS Excel 2016 Expert is really simple - you just need to pass the 77-728 Exam (the passing score is 700/1,000).

Initially, I wanted to just attend the 3-day course with Chua Chu Kang Community Club IT Centre and sit for the exam directly with them. Unfortunately, there wasn't sufficient candidate to justify for a commencement of class (which is very common for every similar training provider), that's when I realized I need an alternate exam prep resources.

Owing to my experience preparing for PMP, I was pretty confident with learning from legitimate source of content from Udemy.

After going through some available MOS Excel 2016 Expert courses, I decided to purchase the following courses from Dave Murphy:
  1. 77-728 Complete Techniques for the MOS Excel Expert Exam (S$17.99)
  2. 77-728 MOS Expert Excel Practice Tests and Video Solutions (S$17.99)

Fundamentally, the first course is all you need to prepare for the 77-728 Exam, and it also comes with good amount of practice tasks.

For myself, I started preparing for the exam 10 to 14 days before the exam.

What kind of exam questions to be expected?

There are plenty of videos on YouTube with the instructors going through the practice tasks, and the actual exam questions are very similar to those. This is when the second course listed above comes in handy, where you can really time yourself completing the whole set of projects within the allowed duration (50 minutes).

I would advise one to go through a mock test if possible and jot down the areas where you need more practice (eg. many people may need more practice on conditional formatting, so they should look out for more practice with conditional formatting related tasks)

How did I do for the exam?

The exam is only delivered via a Certiport Authorized Testing Center (CATC). I took mine at Chua Chu Kang IT Centre, and it just happened to be very near where I live.

The exam costs S$149.80 for me (at least Chua Chu Kang IT Centre is transparent about that, where most of other testing centers are lack of such information to the public).

I completed the exam in about 25 minutes with a score of 963/1,000 (not to boast but I wasn't sure where did I not answer correctly though XD).

*NOTE: I've been using Excel pretty extensively, my experience may therefore differ from others'.

May 15, 2018

Bali, Indonesia

12 (Sat) - 15 (Tue) May 2018

Lodging: Jas Green Villas

Yingjun and I wanted to plan a short holiday trip to somewhere with beaches so that we can perhaps do some leisure dives. Our initial plan was to visit Boracay on May 11, and we've even bought the flight ticket from Scoot and reserved for accommodation from Agoda until one day on April 4 the Philippine government announced the closure of Boracay for 6 months starting April 26. THIS IS ULTIMATE UNLUCKINESS!

But thankfully our flight and accommodation expenditure got refunded, although the time spent planning all these can't be refunded. Oh well, we then got to plan for another destination, in which we chose Bali. Yingjun has been to Bali but I haven't.

Our flight details
12 May 2018 (Sat)
Changi Airport Terminal 1 - Ngurah Rai International Airport
Flight No: JQ 117
5:00AM - 7:40AM

15 May 2018 (Tue)
Ngurah Rai International Airport - Changi Airport Terminal 1
Flight No: 3K 246
7:20PM - 10:05PM

Average return fare per person: $116

Day 1
12 May 2018 (Sat)

It started off with a red-eye flight at 5am in the morning. So we reached Bali, and then the villa pretty early, earlier than the time we may check in. So we had breakfast there (we had to pay for it as breakfast for the first day was not included) and walked around first before checking into our Room A9.

The cost of accommodation was $292.18 for 3 nights, and it looks pretty decent.

Had a short dip in the pool (have to right, it's a villa hor) before we headed out for dinner

Day 2
13 May 2018 (Sun)

The most forward-looking day of the trip - diving day! The van from the dive centre stopped by along Gg. Kayangan to pick us up (as the road to Jas Green Villas is too narrow). We arrived at the dive centre in the morning to pick our gears, and departed on a 1.5-hour journey to Padangbai.

Our dive master was Firas from Bali Aqua Dive Center. We communicated via email prior to this on our choices and proficiency of diving. He's pretty nice as he listened to our experience and he explained what to be expected and what can be observed for our next dives at Padangbai. Funny that we ordered our food at a restaurant along the beach where we departed to our dive sites, when the food was only served after both dives.

Topi Inn at Padangbai

We'll be doing a total of two dives today at Blue Lagoon and Tanjung Jepun.

Dive #1: Recreational Dive @ Blue Lagoon

Time in : 09:44 Starting pressure : 200 bar
Time out : 10:50 Ending pressure : 50 bar
Safety stop : 3 minutes Max dive depth : 14 m
Weight used : 3 kg Bottom time : 66 minutes

Mar 8, 2018

Succulent Terrarium from Floral Garage Singapore

Feeling bored with the emptiness of your office desk? Or getting tired with the dull environment of your living room?

Placing a terrarium in your living room or on your office desk will certainly deliver liveliness and brighten up your mood with its natural touch.

Big thanks to Floral Garage Singapore for sending me this simple yet lovely Succulent Terrarium. Not only it's a great birthday gift for myself, I can use it to add some color to my living room.

This is an open terrarium as succulents adapt to dry climates, and this allows air flow in the terrarium to prevent excess moisture.

Busy people like us, however, tend to forget watering and rendering adequate care to plants. This make succulent terrarium a perfect one to keep for these people (because it's so easy to maintain).

Simple tips to care for a succulent terrarium

  • Light
    • Succulents have a preference for bright or direct light.
    • You want to place your succulent terrarium in a spot with sufficient and adequate light, but at the same time monitor and make adjustment as the glass may have refracted and magnified direct sunlight, causing your succulents to burn.
  • Water
    • Succulents are drought tolerant because they're able to store water in their stems and leaves. Water when the soil has gone almost completely dry.
    • Rule of thumb: Water once a fortnight
    • Watering terraria with spray bottle is pretty common, but be careful not to leave obvious water marks on the inside of the glass.
    • When you notice shriveled leaves, it's time to water. If you notice spongy and dark-colored leaves, you're probably watering too much.

Check out their website for a variety of terraria which you too can use for a green decoration idea. They also deliver products like hand bouquets, dried flowers, bridal bouquets, flower stand, party supplies and hampers.

Floral Garage Singapore

Call: (65) 6282 2813
WhatsApp: (65) 9387 8871

Operating hours

Weekdays: 10am - 6pm
Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 10am - 1pm

756 Upper Serangoon Road
#03-34, Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre
Singapore 534626

Jan 27, 2018

Laptop Table from Primero

First of all, thanks Primero for sending me a Sato Classic Laptop Mobile Cart to try out.

If you didn't know, Primero is a newly emerged online furniture store in Singapore, which focuses on wide range of trendy yet affordable Scandinavian styled furniture.

Let's talk about this laptop mobile cart, not only it's sturdy and wide, it even has a separate mouse table to allow the user to alter the height, because I would say it's ergonomic that mouse is at the elbow height and the laptop screen is at eye level. I don't like to strain my neck for looking at my laptop screen downwards, so this is definitely a plus point.

Besides, it's a mobile cart, I can literally drag it to my bedside or the couch wherever I feel like using my laptop.

What about iPad or Kindle? Similarly, I find this laptop table ergonomic for use of such devices as well, with the surface being able to rotate clockwise-anticlockwise and tilt up-down, especially for readers and musicians. Move this laptop table with you to wherever you feel like reading or playing your instrument with a music score on your iPad.

Do check out Primero's new arrivals, they provide free shipping and installation services for purchases over $100.

Jan 23, 2018

A Few Ideas to Sending Birthday Flowers Gift

Flowers are one of the most beautiful way you could think of to wish someone a happy birthday. Sending birthday flowers means that you care for them and they have a special place in your heart.

Even if you are thinking to get a present, you can choose flower to complete the gift—a single or a bouquet of That Flower Shop. Of course, the flowers must not be a random choice. There are a few things you need to consider before you choose the flower gift and there are some ideas you could do to make it special.

A few ideas when sending birthday flowers:

1. Choose birth flowers

Did you know that each month have a certain birth flower? When you choose the flowers based on this, the receiver would likely think that you have put some thoughts and considerations for the sake of their birthday, and it means good. Here is the list of the birth flower of each month:
January for Carnation
February for Iris
March for daffodil
April for Daisy
May for Lily of the Valley
June for Rose
July for Larkspur
August for Gladiolus
September for Aster
October for Marigold
November for Chrysanthemum
December for Narcissus

2. Choose the perfect color

You must know that specific color can deliver or convey different ideas or messages with it. Below is the list:
Yellow: Choose this color to make someone smile because yellow is generally associated with happiness and brightness.
Pink: This color symbolizes innocence, youthfulness, grace, and joy. Choose this color if you want to leave the receiver wonder about your intention.
Orange: Orange is about enthusiasm and excitement. Choose this one when you want to encourage or support someone.
Red: This one has the strongest meaning of all. It associates with love and can be used to convey such deep and passionate love.
Blue: Blue represents success or pride. Can be used to convey “I’m proud of you” kind of message.
White: White is always about purity and innocence. Choose this to convey your pure emotion to the receiver.

3. Choose the special arrangement

There are so many arrangements of flowers available, choose the one that you think will be liked by the recipient and fit their personality. Don’t forget that you can add greeting card or small present as the special addition of your birthday flower.

4. A surprise delivery

And last but not least, you could use a delivery service from an online florist. Order flowers online from the website and makes sure that the birthday person will be able to receive it well. Online flower delivery is easy to approach and indeed a good idea for a surprise.
So how about it? Already got an idea to send your birthday flowers now? Don’t waste any more time, sending flowers as a birthday surprise is a pleasant experience, you should try it sometimes.