Guaranteed Failure

I Learnt How to Use Microsoft Word

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What? Only just now? How the hell did you get through university? No, of course I knew how to use Microsoft Word, or else my dissertation must have looked horrific. Oh dear. I formally apologise to all my lecturers… just in case.

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Although I already had a decent knowledge of Word, there were fundamental things I still didn’t know about. I had the chance to fill these gaps by completing the Word Processing Module for ECDL Level 2. ECDL stands for the European Computer Driving Licence; a qualification that covers various forms of computer usage for the modern world. It helps people with no previous knowledge, knowledge gaps and those who just want to brush up on some things. Some of the concepts are quite simple, like opening and closing Word or doing a spell check. But there were other things I didn’t know about, like setting tab distances and mail merging.

Being able to select a module to do, instead of completing the entire range from ECDL at once is great, because some people cannot commit to longer courses for a variety of reasons. Mine? The particular centre I went to for this course was based in Tottenham.

I live in South London.

Each journey by train took around 2 hours, 3 hours for when I had to take the bus up there due to my purse being a bit light. Don’t worry, I had some podcasts downloaded to pass the time and stop me from losing my mind. But why did I travel so far? I initially went up there for a different course but the start date for the next cohort is early November. This course was a chance to make the most of my time until then, if I am still interested.

I was able to do this course with government funding because I am classed as NEET – Not in Employment, Education or Training, and aged between 16 and 24. And of course I learn that this is used as a derogatory term for people who are unemployed and are considered lazy. This is a stigma that needs to be broken. Not every unemployed person is lazy and not every person in employment is hard-working. Regardless of opinions and misconceptions, it’s just probability.

Recap of the Rules

  1. I will give myself a time limit of one month to learn a skill or technique before I report back. CHECK!
  2. I will use free resources accessible via the internet, a friend or by a government-funded scheme. CHECK!
  3. I will pay for resources if the free ones are not suitable enough to make an impact and there is a sale or significant discount included. NOT APPLICABLE! 😀
  4. I will test my new knowledge/skill/technique using a test made by an independent party to avoid bias. CHECK!
  5. I will rate the resources I use and give a recommendation on if you should use them or not. HERE WE GO!


The time it took me to complete this course was around 4 days, with an average of 4 hours per day. Easily doable for someone who is unemployed or has a part-time job. There is an option to ask your employer for time off to complete this course, so those with jobs still have a chance to gain this qualification, as long as it is relevant to their current position or career path.

Course Structure

The course can be into three parts; online learning, practical exercises and the final online exam.

The online learning was completed on BCS Mosaic portal, from the Chartered Institute for IT. There were around 7 sections to get through, set up in an interactive e-book style fashion, allowing you to read the text with accompanying diagrams and visuals that you could sometimes click on. There were options for students with learning differences and ease of access to the content. I get distracted while reading sometimes, so I opted voice-over option to keep me on track. It was also a good choice because I am an auditory learner, even if the voice did sound a little patronising at times. After completing each section, there was a short quiz to consolidate your learning. At the end of all the modules, there was a quiz to randomly test different areas of the content, asking questions about where to click to start a process or how to carry out particular tasks.

The next stage were the practical exercises. My instructor gave me a variety of worksheets to get through and test my Word processing skills. After each worksheet, she went through the answers with me, identifying problem areas and showing me where I went wrong. I got to practice the same processes a few times while working through the sheets, so I learnt from mistakes pretty quickly. I also learnt that I sometimes don’t read things correctly, so I end up jumbling up the instructions for myself. I think this is due to the misconception I had when I began this course: “This is really easy, I could do this in my sleep.”

To be fair, I was falling asleep during these exercises because of my eternal lack of sleep and the long journey to the centre. But regardless of amount of rest you do manage to get, there is no harm in taking your time to read instructions. Even if you think you know what you are doing, because you might be mistaken.

The final part of the course was the final online exam, though it was preceded by a practice test to get students used to software. The diagnostic practice test was comprised of *hehe* 69 questions, which covered various topics from the syllabus. It was used as a way to detect problem areas before the final exam. I ended up getting around 95% for it because I didn’t take my time to read some of the questions again. I really need to stop following the philosophies of Sonic the Hedgehog. They were silly mistakes, like putting a symbol in the wrong place or adding formatting above something instead of below it. Simple stuff really. After this was the big Kahuna, the big boss, the big cheese, the big… something or other – the final exam!

The final exam was made of 35 questions, which is less funny and shorter in length than the diagnostic test. The allocated time was 45 minutes and I took… just under 14. I appreciate the length of time given because people who need a bit more time to answer the questions will have plenty of it. But, the teaching process had done its magic and I took my time to read the questions properly, which scored me a whopping 97%! Get the party poppers going, start the barbecue, cut the cake! Time to celebrate!

Now, some of you perfectionists are probably wondering where that 3% scuttled off to. What was my downfall? A formatting error somewhere in my answers. At one point I entered a piece of text and instinctively hit the enter key to keep things nice and clear to read. Apparently, I was much too courteous and lost myself a perfect score. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter because the pass mark was 75% and the course certificate won’t show my awesome score anyway. Everyone’s a winner!


I can proudly say that I can use Microsoft Word and not just rely on examples of my university work to carry me through. I now have a certificate to prove it – or at least I will in 2 weeks. I only completed this course on Monday. My final ratings for the course are:

  • Online Learning – 8/10
  • Practical Exercises – 8/10
  • Diagnostic Test and Final Exam – 9/10
  • Instructor – 10/10
  • Overall Course (mean average) – 8.75/10

In conclusion, I thought the course was quite good and didn’t take too long to complete. What’s the harm in touching up your Word skills and getting a recognised professional qualification in the process? I recommend this course to anyone because of the length, accessibility and option for government funding if you are qualify as NEET. ECDL regulates the process and the resources used come from them so it should not matter which centre you go to, just make sure it isn’t 3 hours away!

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By Ade

An aspiring creator in way too many areas, Ade loves to try something new, as long as it doesn't interfere with the balance of the universe too much. Trying to take each day as it comes, Ade edits videos for YouTube, occasionally records podcasts, and writes with strange mannerisms to entertain the world.