Institute of Commercial Management | Qualification Subject

General Purpose Software

Main Topics of Study

Spreadsheet

  • Layout of a spreadsheet screen. Help features. Loading/saving models.
  • Cell formatting. Font/size. Alignment. Column width, row height. Boxing grouped cells. Moving/copying/deleting cell(s).
  • Data types including NUMBER, TEXT, CURRENCY, SCIENTIFIC, DATE, TIME
  • Data formatting – decimal places. Alignment. Date/time options.
  • Formulae. Cell addresses. Absolute and relative addressing. Replicating a formula to a block of cells.
  • Functions:
  • a. Number: SUM, COUNT, AVERAGE, MAX, MIN, INT, ROUND, RANDOM, SQRT, ODD, SIN, COS, TAN, POWER.
  • b. Text: CHAR, VALUE, TRIM, RIGHT, LEFT, UPPER, LOWER.
  • c. Decision: IF, AND, OR, NOT
  • Nesting functions within functions.
  • Lookup tables and their use.
  • Design and construct spreadsheet models for a given problem. Layout design.
  • Print data, print formulae adjusting column widths as necessary. Print with/without grid lines. Print with/without row/column labels. Fitting to a page.
  • Charts. Pie chart, histogram, bar chart, line graph. Customising output.
  • “What-if” models for the determinations of best results. Practical use in business.
  • Exporting/importing data to/from other packages.

Word Processing

  • Layout of a word processing screen. Help. Loading/saving documents. Multiple documents.
  • Document formatting. Margins. Alignment. Indentation. Bullet points. Page breaks.
  • Font/font size. Varying fonts/size to add effect to a document. Bold/italics/underline.
  • The concept of hidden embedded control characters to format. e.g. underlining.
  • Block editing. Copy/cut blocks of text. Tabs. Changing case.
  • Search and replace in lengthy documents. Use of previous documents to create an updated version such as a newsletter, catalogue.
  • Spell check and the options IT offers. Grammar checking. Limitations of both. AutoCorrect.
  • Creating a table.
  • Mail merge. Realistic business examples of its use.
  • Quick entry of commonly use/local words/phrases using a few keys. Macros.
  • Final checks on a document. Print preview.
  • Printing. Sections or entire document. Choosing quality of print. Multiple copies.
  • Columns – newspaper style. Choosing column options.
  • Inclusion of clip art. Artistic lettering. Exporting/importing data to/from other packages.

Database

  • Concept of a database as a single system with multiple users and uses.
  • Relational databases and their advantages – single entry, consistency, integrity, redundancy, independence of data and programs.
  • Concept of normalisation of data.
  • Creation of a database. Defining the data structure. Tables/columns.
  • Key fields. Primary key. Secondary key. Foreign key.
  • Data modelling. E-R diagrams.
  • Entering data. Editing data. Searches/enquiries. SQL. Basic SQL statements – SELECT…FROM…WHERE, CREATE TABLE…, INSERT INTO…
  • Report generation. Customisation of reports. Ordering. Column totalling.
  • Printing reports.

Graphics and Presentation Packages

  • Means of producing graphics – limited drawing in word processing, charts in spreadsheets to drawing packages and commercial CAD packages.
  • Typical uses of packages by industrial/commercial users.
  • Layout of a graphics package screen. Help features.
  • Main features. Line drawing. Line selection. Boxes. Shapes. Text. Libraries of objects.
  • Manipulating the drawing features. Moving, extending, copying, rotating, hatching.
  • 3-D effects. A drawing as a series of levels.
  • Dimensioning.
  • Printing. Saving/loading.
  • Presentation package (eg PowerPoint) as a combination of text/graphics.
  • Features of a presentation package. Creating slides and a slide show. Customising to house style.

Operating Systems

  • Purposes of an operating system. GUI operating systems. Comparison between GUI and command control.
  • General features of operating systems – folders, files. Types of files for program, data, text, email, pictures etc.
  • File manipulation – copying, moving, deleting, printing.
  • Batch files.
  • Customising the desktop.
  • Installing and customising software packages.

Example Candidate Response Booklet

Example Candidate Response (ECR) Booklets are a source of crucial information for Centres and Candidates as they use real candidate responses. We ask Senior Examiners to comment on five or more responses in terms of why the mark was awarded with commentary about how to improve the answer (if necessary).

Recommended Reading

Indicative Text:

Alternative Text and Further Reading:

In addition, Computer manuals for specific computer packages can be used.