Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool that allows users to view how visitors actually find and use their website. It’s powerful when used correctly, but the Google Analytics certification offered by Google Partners is equally useful for individuals looking to make themselves more viable candidates when applying for jobs. The certification involves passing the Google Analytics individual qualification exam (GAIQ) by answering 70 questions with at least an 80 percent passing score.
For anyone not familiar with tracking metrics the exam might seem daunting, but it’s as easy as studying for an open book college exam; the information is readily available, but it helps if you review most of the material beforehand. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to pass the GAIQ in as little as three weeks.
Fail first method
The first step in passing the GAIQ is taking the exam without any preparation. This might seem contradictory, but there are no penalties for failing the GAIQ (and if you somehow pass, then congratulations, you don’t need to read any further!). As you take the exam, type the questions in a separate word document as a study guide for later reference. There is a pool of 200 questions that rotate every time a user takes the GAIQ, but writing down the questions will be helpful in knowing what to look out for when retaking the exam.
If you’re at this part of the guide then congratulations: you’ve failed the GAIQ. Now that you have an idea of what you’re getting into, I would look up the answers to all the questions that you wrote down in a separate word document. School4seo.com is a resource that I found helpful as it provides the correct answer for any question in your word document, explains why it’s the correct answer and provides links to the Google Support page.
Next, I would read this extensive blog post that covers a large amount of material for Google Analytics. When I retook the exam, this blog post answered 50 percent of the questions that appeared on my test.
After reviewing the blog post, you might be prepared to retake the exam a second time. Additionally, you could use the online courses from Analytics Academy to take notes and complete practice exams within the four courses. The modules offer a series of short videos and links to help set up Google Analytics on your website. I personally benefited more from reading the blog post and the text links provided in the modules, but the videos are helpful for visual learners.
Try, try again
After a week or two of studying notes, going over practice questions and watching videos, it’s time to try again. In order to pass the exam, at least 56 out of the 70 questions must be answered correctly. There are two options for individuals who struggle to pass the exam on the second or third try: review the material and take a few more practice exams, or have separate tabs open for the Google Support page as well as blog post that I referenced earlier in this guide.
In earlier iterations of the exam Google forced users to download a browser lock so that users couldn’t cheat by viewing other tabs. The GAIQ is now open book, which helps users look up information that will better their chances at passing the exam. It defeats the purpose of the certification if you don’t understand the material, but this is an option that can be used as a last resort.
Next steps after the GAIQ
Congratulations, you passed! Take a breather and pat yourself on the back as you are now officially certified in Google Analytics. Now it’s time to take everything that you’ve learned and implement it beyond the classroom. Passing the GAIQ is a feat in itself, but it’s important that you reinforce what you learned by incorporating the features of Google Analytics on your website.
While having a textbook knowledge of the tool is useful, you’ll have more of an apprecation for Google Analytics by learning through practical trial and error instead of textbook theory. Despite passed the GAIQ, I still have a long way to go in understanding how to effectively apply Google Analytics to achieve goals for my website.
For those of you who are ready to move onto the next certification, you have a few options including Google Adwords, Hubspot, Hootsuite and Facebook Blueprint. I would recommend Google Adwords as it’s free and can be used in conjunction with Google Analytics, but it’s up to you on what you want to pursue next. Be sure to keep your certifications up to date as they expire every year.