Can’t get the thought of digital marketing out of your mind? … Do you look around the web and all you can think of is opportunity? … Right now, is your top life priority studying for and passing the Google Analytics IQ exam?
If you are still reading … guess what … this post is for you.
This post will take you through the process of studying for and ultimately passing the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ).
Studying for the IQ certification can seem like a daunting task. When you first look online there are many study resources (lots of which are out of date) some people say the exam is very difficult, others say its not that hard. Whatever the case, the exam is fairly difficult, long and full of specific information. But, if you have a weekend to completely dedicate to studying and taking the exam, here is how you do it …
First things first…
Why take the test
The Google Analytics Individual Qualification is a top of the line industry recognized certification that will bring you new job opportunities, provide a catalyst for understanding digital marketing and make you feel like you have really accomplished something. Also, your friends will think your cool and you will even lose weight (no that will only happen if you are nice, funny and work out, just seeing if you are still awake)
About the test
90 minutes, 70 questions. To pass you must score a 80% (if you can't do this in your head, you may want to reconsider this investment) The test is free. You cannot pause the test. The timer will run straight through even if your machine shuts down.
The screen displays a clock that counts down from 1hr 30min when you begin.
It can be helpful to create a table to indicate what question you should be on in relation to the timer (see right)
To sign up for the test visit http://google.com/partners
You will need to sign up for a Google partner account sign up for Google Partners
They offer a test study guide study guide but to be honest I did not use, except once for reference during the exam. The resources in this post are sufficient for learning all of the material
My preparation took two days, Sat and Sun. You will need to plan on anywhere from 16 – 20 hours of total preparation to follow this guide (depending on your level of familiarity with the material)
· 3 monitors (or 3 computers, or some combination of 3 to screens for exam taking)
· Note pad
· Powerade and Hamburger Helper for fuel (no one has time to cook)
· A mountain bike and helmet, helmet important to protect that brain of your (needed for adrenaline breaks ... see below)
· Pencil / Pen
· Internet access
Saturday time commitment: 10 hrs (studying and note taking)
Sunday time commitment: 8 hrs (6 hours of studying, and 2 hours to take the exam)
Make sure that you wake up early, and get plenty of sleep too!
Lets get down to it
1st step is to take Digital Analytics Fundamentals DO NOT skimp on this step. I took nearly the whole 10 hours the first day to go through this course, I did not leave a stone un-turned. I took all of the practice tests, and print screened my answers. I stopped the videos and notated all the way through. This course alone, if you understand it completely, can almost get you through passing the test. Many of the answers on the test we very similar to the practice questions. Since I print screened and PDF’s all my answers, I was able to quickly reference them during the exam if needed.
Make sure that you take a break in the middle of the day to mountain bike, or do some other extreme sport! It helps with the retention of the material. When you are faced with danger, it helps solidify the concepts in your mind. There has to be some science about this.
2nd Step is to take Google Analytics Platform Principles. Treat this exactly like the first section. Take notes, PDF all the practice problems and the final assessments. Really understand all the material. This should take about 3 hours.
Once you are done with this, it’s time to hit some more jumps on your mountain bike. Just visualize your movements, turn off your brain and go for it. Remember hesitation will get you hurt!
Now you are ready for your final 3 hrs of prep before the exam. First go here ....
Take the practice problems. They are ridiculously hard and none of them will be on the exam, but if you approach it as a knowledge building experience you will not be disappointed. Make sure that you save the test in PDF so you can print out / reference later.
Next you will want to review this blog
This is a huge, complicated post! Only read the sections you know nothing about. If you studied hard on the training videos you will know many concepts already. Take notes on the sections you don’t know about.
Now download this summary sheet, review it thoroughly and take notes
Once you have done that, take 25 practice problems from this http://www.googleanalyticstest.com/ They are ridiculously hard and I only got about 50% of them right. Just take it in and try and remember what they are saying.
Taking the test
Before the test, I printed out all of the PDF’s I had made, both online modules from Google all of the practice problems, and the final assessments. I printed out the cheat sheet and had my notes. I went to my office and brought my home laptop so I had 3 screens up. On the two monitors I had the test site on one, and then the resource tabs on the other. I had the following resources open.
IP address range tool
Google Analytics Help Page
Google Analytics Page
Some page I don't remember .. you get the point ... have resources ready (see below)
Above you can see my work station, the space for notes really helped.
On my 2nd laptop I brought up all my note PDF’s that I could search those doc’s if necessary. Last but not least I laid the blastam cheat sheet out in front of me.
When I started the test, I was cooking through the answers. All of them were right on the top of my mind. Literally I got through nearly half the test in less than 30 minutes, with hardly referencing any notes.
Now that I realized I had lots of time left, I wanted to be very diligent. If I didn’t know an answer, I would start to look it up thoroughly. This is when I realized something ..... could probably take this exam without even studying and by using cheats on the internet! I’m not going to provide sites, but know this is possible. If all you want to do is pass the exam and not learn anything, well then you would have even read this far, so it doesn't matter.
Since I had time, to finish up the test I verified ever single answer was correct prior to submitting. When done I ended up with a 95% on the exam. Pheeeew that’s over now … Time to print out your certificate and stick it next to your cubicle!
Learning the material made the test so much easier, I was able to answer so many questions so quickly, it gave me lots of time to research hard questions
Almost every time an answer had the choice, all of the above, that was the correct choice
There was absolutely to regular expression questions, and only one URL tagging question
Build a web site, define your site objectives, identify some strategies and tactics to meet your objectives, determine KPI’s to measure, sign up for GA, tag your site appropriately, segment your reporting and analysis and continually improve your site based on hypothesis data driven recommendations.
Also get ad words certified and start to learn more about paid search!
Please find my google analytics certificate here
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