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Average top 3 scores

Excel formula: Average top 3 scores
Generic formula 

To average the top 3 scores in a data set, you can use a formula based on the LARGE and AVERAGE functions. In the example shown, the formula in I6, copied down, is:


The LARGE function is designed to retrieve the top nth value from a set of numbers. So, for example LARGE(A1:A10,1) will return highest value, LARGE(A1:A10,2) will return the 2nd highest value, and so on:

LARGE(range,1) // 1st largest value
LARGE(range,2) // 2nd largest value
LARGE(range,3) // 2nd largest value

In this case, we are asking for more than one value by passing an array constant {1,2,3} into LARGE as the second argument. This causes LARGE to return an array result that includes the highest 3 values. In cell I6:


returns an array like this:


This array is returned directly to the AVERAGE function:

=AVERAGE({10,10,10}) // returns 10

The AVERAGE function then returns the average of these values.

Note: the AVERAGE function can handle arrays natively, so it is not necessary to enter this formula with control + shift + enter.

Dave Bruns

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