Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 21, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 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. Plus, if there are two or more identical low scores, then only one of those scores is thrown out; the others remain in the result returned. This is exactly what you would want to have happen if you are only tossing out a single low score, not all low scores.

(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, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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. ...

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What is two more than 7?

2022-05-24 09:58:43

J. Woolley

@Dave Bonin
You're right. It's been a LONG time since I was in school. I was thinking of scores for the class, not for a single student. And I wondered why the teacher would throw out the lowest score for the class. Mea culpa.

2022-05-23 10:14:48

Dave Bonin

Mr. Wooley,

It appears you may have mis-read the setup. Though not specifically stated, it appears Mr. Jones was willing to throw out ONE lowest score, not ALL lowest scores.

Consider the case where a student took five quizzes and received a grade of 70 on each.

Allen's formulas would give the student a calculated overall score of 70.

Your formula would give the student a calculated overall score of 0.

2022-05-22 14:48:07

J. Woolley

If there are two or more identical low scores, who gets the credit? This seems more fair:
=SUMIF(B3:B12,">"&MIN(B3:B12))
Mark Twain: "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics."

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