Today I wanted to write a quick post about some of the tactics that I used to pass the Google Analytics exam my first try. I first want to say that for those of you who are in the process studying for the exam and are worried about wasting $50.00 only to fail it: Relax. Getting a GAIQ certification really isn’t terribly hard if you have an idea of what you’re doing. Think about it this way:
- It’s only 70 questions ALL multiple choice. No in-depth analysis here.
- You can stop the test and resume it multiple times within 48 hours.
- The questions aren’t particularly mind-boggling
- It’s considered an open note exam.
Now I’m not saying that the exam is a cakewalk and just anyone with an Internet browser, a few open tabs and a false sense of confidence can pass. However, the fact is that if you spend a solid amount of time preparing, you should be all good to go. Looking back at my results, I want to write about a few things that I thought really helped me and what things I would have done differently.
Study the Analytics IQ Lessons. Then Study It Again and Again
This comes as no surprise, but it really is true. For those you who don’t know, ConversionU is the main resource will you will find the vast majority of all the information you will need for the exam. Go through the videos and pay close attention. These videos fly through the information and don’t think for a second that Google won’t ask a question about something they spent less than 2 seconds covering (trust me…they do). It may be a good idea to take notes but if you don’t, no worries. There are great online resources like Jen Sorensen’s blog post. If you’re completely new to the videos like I was, here is good way to retain all the information:
First time watching: Pick up on the general concepts of each video. Don’t get too caught up in the smaller details.
Second time watching: Now that you have an idea of how the data is organized, go back and watch again. Learn the smaller details with how everything interacts with each other. Could you tell me the difference between a filter and a segment?
Third time watching: Use this to drill into your brain the previous concepts one last time as well as air out any other subjects in which you were confused on.
Some people may need to watch more times and others may be completely fine after the first one but this strategy worked nicely for me. Watch it until you’re pretty confident the subject matter.
Look At More Than Just The Analytics Videos
The biggest place I went wrong when studying for my exam was to only look at the videos on the Analytics lessons. There’s more to the test then that. I’ve heard people say that they assume Google would update these videos if they were going to ask questions that weren’t on them. This assumption is wrong. You also need to go through some of the Help Articles to get an up to date education on all of the features that Analytics offers. Ignore these at your own peril.
Spend Some Time With Google Analytics Beforehand
After you’ve done ConversionU there’s no better time than to go on Analytics and start practicing the things you’ve just learned, even if it’s only for an hour or two. Go ahead and create a new profile and just start experimenting with things. After you watched the videos, you’ll start to notice things that you didn’t beforehand. Make sure you can implement obvious things such as creating goals, segments and filters. Also be sure you go the process of slicing your data in different ways. The more practice and familiarity you get with the program after you’ve watched the videos, the better off you’ll be.
The Practice Tests
I debated whether or not to include these in here because I really didn’t use them that much. However, a lot of people really like these sites that provide practice exams:
Like I said, I didn’t personally use them because I thought they were a little overwhelming when I was first trying to learn everything, however they may be useful to some.
Get Your Resources Opened Before The Exam
Once you’ve spent a solid amount of time doing all the exercises above and feel pretty comfortable with all the material, it’s time to take the exam. Before you rush off to the test and start mindless answering questions, take a little time to queue up your resources. Here is what I had open for my test.
- The Analytics exam notes from above
- The Analytics IQ videos
- Google Analytics
If you want more resources, check this great blog post that aggregates a bunch of very useful sources that you can use for the exam.
If you’ve done all this and done it well, I see no reason for you not to come out with a passing exam. I hope this article serves you well for giving you some guidance on what to expect when exam day comes. Once you pass the certification is valid for 18 months. For those of you who were planning to seize this opportunity to impress your friends or pick up girls at the bars: Sorry, Google offers no badge for passing.