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. ...

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What is eight more than 0?

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).


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