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 November 5, 2016)

1

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

Setting Up Custom AutoFiltering

The filtering capabilities of Excel are very helpful when you are working with large sets of data. You can create a ...

Discover More

Recognizing a Header Row when Sorting

When you sort data in a worksheet, there are a couple ways you can do it. Using the simple way can result in ...

Discover More

Aligning a Paragraph in a Macro

If you are applying formatting from within a macro, you may want to change the alignment of various paragraphs. Here's ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Extracting a State and a ZIP Code

Excel is often used to process or edit data in some way. For example, you may have a bunch of addresses from which you ...

Discover More

Developing Reciprocal Conversion Formulas

When converting between measurement systems, you might want to use two cells for each type of measurement. Make a change ...

Discover More

Last Non-Zero Value in a Row

If you have a lot of values in a single row, you might want to pull the last non-zero value from that row. There are a ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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}] in your comment text. You’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 four more than 7?

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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.