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Whiz kid
High school junior rates high in Microsoft competition
Jackie Buelow finished second in the 2014 Certiport Microsoft Office Specialist National Competition in June. The Richmond Hill High school junior and aspiring CFO just missed getting to compete in the world championships. - photo by Photo provided.

A Richmond High School junior took home second place in the Certiport 2014 Microsoft Office Specialist U.S National Competition last month.

Jackie Buelow, the 16-year-old daughter of Janet Buelow, traveled to Atlanta to participate in a competition that tested her proficiency in Microsoft Word 2007.

“It is a competition that tests you in your field (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2007 and 2010),” Buelow said, “There are two parts of the competition: one part is the certification exam again and the other part is the interview that tests your skills by having officials ask about your goals and proposes scenario-based questions about your track. “

Qualification for the national competition is based on the time and score on the certification exam for the student’s track.

Buelow earned her certification in Word 2007 because her CTAE pathway exam in school involved getting certified.

“I got the certification mostly for my need to learn new things and to be able to get a job in one of my hobbies, computer science, in order to pay for college,” she said.

She was able to earn 100 on her certification exam in a short amount of time and said she did not know about the competition when she took the exam.

“I actually hadn’t ever heard of the competition before,” she said,  “I remembered being surprised when they emailed me and told me I qualified. I didn’t even remember signing up.”

But lots of people did.

There were more than 400,00 entries for the competition this year and only 44 students from 18 states qualified.

Buelow got a score of 967 out of 1,000 on the national exam and she thinks she only missed one question.

She was slightly nervous about the interview because she had never done anything it before.

“I would probably consider this my first real interview and that made me even more nervous,” she said.  

She said since it was her first time she was nervous about the competition, but she said she was “also a tad bit of excited just because I like doing new things. I should have done better, but I suppose it was good for my first try. “

Buelow does not plan on competing again but she does have to get certified in Excel, “so we will see what happens,” she said.

She urges more people to get certified than to necessarily compete in the competition.

“Don’t get me wrong, the competition is an achievement, but certification is a milestone. Besides, certification isn’t too difficult to get and sets you apart for the people who say that they can use Microsoft Office and those who truly can use Office.”

However, she says those planning on competing should “be a little nervous, but don’t be so nervous you can’t think straight. I approached the test and interview in a calm, but still serious manner. The best thing you can do for yourself is forget it is a competition and not to psych yourself out."

Buelow wants to become a chief financial officer because of her “passion for numbers and finance,” she said.

She hopes to attend Columbia University because of their “great undergraduate program in economics,” she said, and then earn a Master’s of Business from Harvard.

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