The Google Analytics Certification Test
If you’re not familiar with the Google Analytics (GA) individual qualification (IQ) test (GAIQ), let me give you a quick background. Google lets you get ‘certified’ in their analytics and adwords platforms by passing online, timed tests. The GAIQ test is a 60 question/90 minute test that you must get greater than an 80% on in order to become officially certified. The test costs nothing and if you don’t attain an 80%, you can retake it seven days later. If you follow what I’m about to walk you through below, you should have no problem passing the test.
To access the test, you need to sign up for the Google Partners network (I was a bit confused by this and did a decent amount of googling trying to find out where to access the test). This is basically a spot for you as an individual or the agencies out there to manage the certifications they have and be a part of an online Google professionals community. There’s no way to take the test without it, so sign up!
3 Steps to Learn Google Analytics / Prepare
The test actually covers a wide variety of GA-related topics. It doesn’t go super-deep on any one topic, but you’ll definitely need to know the different aspects of GA and their purpose in life (from best practices for setting up views to integrating with adwords). It’s not something you can study for and pass in a few hours if you have little to know GA knowledge. The better question isn’t how to pass the test, but how to learn Google Analytics. To be clear, you don’t need to be a GA ninja to pass the exam, so don’t be intimidated, but you do need to probably have a 6.5ish level of knowledge on a scale of 1-10.
Step 1 – Buy and read Google Analytics Demystified: A Hands-On Approach (est. time: couple hours a night for a few weeks, depending on your speed)
This book is thick but a very significant portion of it is screenshots and it takes you through everything at the perfect level of detail to get a really solid understanding of Google Analytics. I’d recommend this book for those with no experience up to those with a medium/medium-high level of experience in GA.
The book is clearly written, provides great, practical examples of how to use the different menus in GA, and takes you through everything ranging from Account/Property/View structures to the menu options (Dashboards, Behavior, Acquisition, Ecommerce, etc…). As you read the book, little options and menus in GA that you never noticed before come into focus and I found myself going ‘a-ha!, I never knew I could do that’ quite frequently.
I’d highly recommend having a GA account to poke around in handy while going through the book, whether it’s your company GA account, a client’s GA account, a personal one, or creating one from scratch. I found myself frequently going to GA while reading it to see things in action and how concepts could apply to my data.
Step 2 – Watch all the videos in Analytics Academy (est. time: ~2 hours)
I did this after going through the book, and it was a great review. Since I was already familiar with the concepts, I watched every video on 2x speed and took notes on anything I didn’t know (the list was pretty short). I found getting into the details in the book, then getting the high-level review in the videos was very helpful as the videos reviewed topics I read about in the book a week or two earlier and hadn’t thought about in a while. I’d recommend watching the videos in all of the courses EXCEPT Google Tag Manager Fundamentals, as the test doesn’t cover it.
Step 3 – The day before the test I went through all sample questions on this website (est. time: ~2 hours)
It has a lot of past exam questions and a few that are on the current test (this being written early 2016). It gives you a great feel for the test question format that will be on the real thing and it gives you an opportunity to test yourself prior to the real thing. Any answer I didn’t know with confidence I’d go research and read about in the GA documentation and then poke around in one of my GA accounts to see it.
As I mentioned above, make sure you have a Google Analytics account. As you go through the three steps above, always have your account in front of you. If something is fuzzy or lacking a screenshot, check it out in your account so you can visualize it. This will come in handy for the test (which lets you have other internet windows open). Once you finish all three steps above, I’d encourage you to spend an hour or two poking around your GA account. I built myself new dashboards, built custom segments, added filters, removed views, and did a bunch of house cleaning to clean up / sharpen my GA account and review all the topics.
I can’t recommend the book highly enough and using the videos as a review instead of an initial introduction to the topics. That’s all – good luck and let me know if you have any questions!