Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Throwing Out the Lowest Score.

# Throwing Out the Lowest Score

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 22, 2021)

I remember when I was in junior high school, my algebra teacher (Mr. Jones) would periodically take pity on us and institute a grading plan that was actually quite helpful. Mr. Jones would take a look at all our quiz scores for the grading period, and then throw out the lowest score. (Sometimes I think that is all that got me through his class.)

Using Excel, Mr. Jones could easily have automated the throwing out of the lowest score. For instance, let's say that the quiz scores for the period were in cells B3:B12. Putting the following in cell B13 provides a total for the scores:

```=SUM(B3:B12)
```

This isn't exactly what is wanted, since the lowest score is still figured into the total. To throw out the lowest score, simply change the formula in B13 to the following:

```=SUM(B3:B12)-SMALL(B3:B12,1)
```

The SMALL worksheet function returns, in this case, the lowest score in the range. When that is subtracted from the total, the result is that the lowest score is removed from the mix. You could also use a slightly different formula to remove the lowest score:

```=SUM(B3:B12)-MIN(B3:B12)
```

Either approach will work fine.

(Mr. Jones would have been more impressed with this than he was with my algebra skills.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12358) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Throwing Out the Lowest Score.

##### Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

##### MORE FROM ALLEN

Bogging Down with Calculated Items

Create a complex PivotTable and you may find that your system slows to a crawl. The reason for this may be due to the way ...

Discover More

Understanding Outlining in Word

Remember when you needed to create outlines for your writing when you were in school? Word includes outlining ...

Discover More

Retrieving Drive Statistics

Need to gather some information about the drives on a system? It can be pretty easy to do using a macro, as shown in this ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

##### More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Concatenating Values from a Variable Number of Cells

Excel makes it easy to concatenate (or combine) different values into a single cell. If you need to combine a different ...

Discover More

Entering Formulas in Excel

The primary way you signify that you are entering a formula is to start a cell entry with an equal sign. The equal sign ...

Discover More

Removing Dashes from ISBN Numbers

ISBN numbers are used to denote a unique identifier for a published book. If you remove the dashes included in an ISBN, ...

Discover More
##### Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. Youâ€™ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine minus 5?

2021-07-29 05:52:14

Harold Druss

How about a macro to catch low value in more than one cell?
===================================================
Sub DeleteLowestValue()
Dim lRow, iLowValue, iRowNum

' get the last cell in column 1 that is not empty
lRow = Cells(Rows.Count, 1).End(xlUp).Row

' seed the low value with the last value in this row
iLowValue = Cells(lRow, 1)

' loop through the column to find the low value
For iRowNum = lRow - 1 To 1 Step -1
If Cells(iRowNum, 1) < iLowValue Then
iLowValue = Cells(iRowNum, 1)
End If
Next

' loop through the column from the bottom up deleting all rows that equal the low value
For iRowNum = lRow To 1 Step -1
If Cells(iRowNum, 1) = iLowValue Then
Rows(iRowNum).Delete
End If
Next

End Sub

2021-07-25 13:18:37

Thomas Papavasileiou

The result may be surprising if the minimum in the range, is present more than once.
A more elegant solution will be highly appreciated

2017-07-21 15:09:55

Dennis Costello

Another use case for this is in scoring race results in a yacht regatta. A common approach (I suspect variations on this theme apply in other sports, too) is to award 3/4 of a point to whoever comes in first in a given race, 2 points to the second-place finisher, 3 points to the third, etc. Your score for the regatta is the sum of your score for all the races - obviously lower scores are better. But you get to "throw out" your worst (highest points) result in forming your total.

In this case, you'd use either the LARGE or MAX functions, instead of SMALL or MIN, in the formulae that Allen cites above. The LARGE function has the advantage of allowing two throwouts (which you might have in a season-long race series, for instance).

##### This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.