Business analysts, during your whole time working in Google Analytics, I’m sure there has been a conversation or thought about taking the Google Analytics IQ exam. After all, you’ve worked within Google Analytics on a daily basis and you or your company might want you to be Google Analytics certified.
Besides, who wouldn’t want to show off to the world that you’re competent in Google Analytics? Even though gaining Google Analytics certification might not be relevant to make or break situations like business deals and such, it’s still a great document to back up your Google Analytics skills and knowledge.
So now that you’re set on getting certified, where do you begin?
GAIQ Exam Research
When I started researching and preparing for the Google Analytics IQ exam the second week of May, there was a whole slew of information out there. As I read more and more about the exam, I realized that most of the information out there was dated and few recent GAIQ exam articles were available. So what to do when not all the information out there isn’t accurate for today’s Google Analytics IQ exam?
Start With Google Analytics Academy
When you first begin to study for the GAIQ exam, look no further than Google itself to provide you with the latest and greatest information about the Google Analytics IQ exam. The Google Analytics Academy will go over the basics of Google Analytics and to a lesser extent Google AdWords. With these courses, which you’ll see below, you’ll be able to review what you already know from on-the-job training and catch up on Google Analytics functionality that you might not have had the chance to experience at work.
From the above courses, be sure to focus on the first two – Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Google Analytics Platform Principles. The third course – Ecommerce Analytics: From Data to Decisions – isn’t as important to the exam, so study it about half as much as you studied for the first two. And the final Google Analytics Academy course – Mobile App Analytics Fundamentals – you can skip altogether. Anything that was relevant to the exam in this fourth course is already briefly mentioned in the other three courses.
Now that you’ve gone through all the relevant coursework, go back into Google Analytics and play around with anything that you’re uncomfortable with. When the test rolls around, you don’t want to be so nervous that you get stuck on one problem, so prepare yourself enough so that you’re comfortable and familiar with all of Google Analytics. And don’t forget – take the unit assessments at least twice.
So to recap how you should study the Google Analytics Academy material:
1. Watch the Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Google Analytics Platform Principles videos twice
2. Watch the Ecommerce Analytics: From Data to Decisions videos once
3. Ignore Mobile App Analytics Fundamentals
4. Read through all the supplementary information from each of the units at least once
5. Take the final assessments for the courses while you’re taking the course and again a day before or the day of the exam
Review Other Bloggers’ Information
Now that you’ve completed the Google Analytics Academy, it’s time to take a refresher course by reading exam prep from other bloggers who have taken the exam. Even though not all of the information in their blog posts might be relevant to today’s exam, it’s still a good idea to read through Google Analytics study guides created by folks who aren’t affiliated with Google.
Begin by reading through Distilled’s great post about what you need to know for this exam. Even though this article is about 1.5 years old, all of the questions and sections under “What Else Do I Need to Know?” were relevant to my May 15, 2015, exam and really helped me establish if truly understood information that was glossed over in the Google Analytics Academy.
Then go through this awesome Viget overview of GAIQ exam content and resources. While I only reviewed and found helpful to my exam prep a handful of the resources, be sure to go through all of them to figure out which resources will help fill in any gaps or confusion you had with certain sections in the Google Analytics Academy. The two key resources to success from Viget’s post would be Blast Analytics & Marketing’s Google Analytics Reference Guide (which is a great resource to keep on your desktop or even print out and put on your desk/wall at work) and Jens Sorensen’s EXTENSIVE GAIQ Exam Test Notes (Even though it’s dated, it’s a near complete list for even today’s Google Analytics exam).
As for mentally preparing yourself for the exam environment and test day itself, I found Moz’s A 5-Step Plan to Mastering the New GAIQ Exam perfect to understand what is expected of you while you take the Google Analytics IQ exam. Just keep in mind that a few things are dated in this article, specifically the cost of the test (It’s free now), the ability to mark questions and go back to them later (You have to answer every question and cannot go back to any question at the end of the exam), and the ability to pause the exam (There is no pausing the test. You have 90 minutes for the exam and that’s it).
Take Practice Tests
So you think you’re finally ready for the Google Analytics IQ exam? If you’re feeling confident and want to take a test run before actually setting aside a full hour and 30 minutes, look to iPassExam and Google Analytics Test to go over practice problems. But be sure to do this with caution, as not everything in the practice tests are relevant and/or correct (especially for the Google Analytics Test site). Besides these two sites, the only other practice test I could recommend would be the Google Analytics Academy unit exams. There were quite a few questions on the GAIQ exam that were word-for-word the same question as on the unit exam. So don’t gloss over those unit tests!
With all this information at your hands, you should be ready for the exam!
Space Out How You Study
My recommendation for studying for the GAIQ exam is to space out when and what you study. That way you actually learn the information and don’t memorize it solely for certification. I don’t know about you, but if I start cramming information for an exam, I start to get major headaches, am stressed out to the max, and feel as if I’m not prepared on exam day. Technically, you can cram for this test since it’s free and you can take it multiple times, but you’ll probably be taking as much time, if not more, than setting aside time to study it thoroughly first. So try taking the better route for this exam. After all, you have to renew your Google Analytics certification every 18 months, so you might as well retain the information for the next go around and for your current/future work.
Here’s How I Studied
Day 1: I watched all the videos for Digital Analytics Fundamentals, took the unit exams, and took the course’s final assessment
Day 2: I watched all the videos for Google Analytics Platform Principles, took the unit exams, and took the course’s final assessment
Day 3: I watched all the videos for Ecommerce Analytics: From Data to Decisions, took the unit exams, and took the course’s final assessment
Day 4: I read through other bloggers’ information about exam preparation and took a few practice tests
Day 5: I read through Google Analytics Academy’s supplementary information
Day 6: I took a break this day
Day 7: I watched a few Analytics Academy courses again, started to watch Mobile App Analytics Fundamentals (and realized it wasn’t relevant), and took the unit exams again.
Day 8: Test day!
By the time test day rolled around, I was pretty confident about this GAIQ exam. So I went to Google Partners and signed up (which is not a very intuitive location for the GAIQ exam). Afterward, I clicked on “Analytics” under “Certification” on the left nav. I took a deep breath, clicked the tiny blue button on the right that says “Take exam,” and started my GAIQ exam journey.
The GAIQ exam is an open book test, so you can have Google Analytics, your notes, and anything else open while you take the test. Even though other bloggers suggest to have a multiple tabs/documents open, I suggest you reduce it down to three:
- Your own notes (specifically notes on any sections you had the most trouble with)
- Google Analytics’ dashboard
- Google Analytics Help Center
For most of the exam, I only used the above resources to double check my answer. There were very few questions that I had trouble with after about a week of studying. And because I was so prepared, I finished the test with about 30 minutes to spare and scored a 92/100!
Congratulations, You Are Now Google Analytics Certified!
Within a week, you too can pass the Google Analytics IQ exam. All it takes is a few hours each day and some background working with Google Analytics. And then you can show to the world your Google Partners page with all your Google Analytics and Google AdWords certifications.
Did this exam preparation help you when you took the GAIQ exam? Let us know your thoughts below and on Twitter @BayLeafDigital. And be sure to comment with any tips or tricks you think anyone preparing for the GAIQ exam should know!