Note: see the updated section at the bottom of this post for changes made to the exam.
The Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test is an industry recognized certification that can help you get the most out of digital analytics and give you an edge in your career. Plus once you pass your name gets added to the searchable Google database! The process of preparing for the test can be daunting – there are many blog posts and resources out there. Many are outdated though and reference tools no longer available. So, here is the simplified, step-by-step approach that I used recently to pass the test.
Study time: You need to find time to study that works for you. How long you need will vary based on your existing knowledge of Google Analytics. I studied each night for 5 days and took the test in the morning on day 6.
- Complete the Digital Analytics Fundamentals Course in Analytics Academy. This is a free self-study course consisting of units. Each unit covers several topics; each topic has a video and transcript. At the end of each topic is a multiple choice activity. I started with the end activity in each topic, to gauge my existing knowledge. I then watched the video and checked out the additional resources. Definitely read through the additional resources, and take notes on more difficult concepts.
- Take some practice tests. I spent my last night of studying taking practice tests. Free tests can be found on Google Analytics Test (this is not an official Google site). These practice tests will be harder than the actual test, so they should really build your confidence.
- Do some extra reading on Google Tag Manager. It isn’t covered in depth in the Fundamentals course but is on the test.
- If you feel you need a little more knowledge, check out the Google Analytics YouTube channel. Even if you don’t use it for the test there are great 30 second how to videos.
- Feeling ready? Prepare your test taking station! Have one browser open that you will take the test in. Have a second browser open with tabs for the resources you will use during the test. I had many resources open but ended up only using these four:
- Google Analytics Help
- An actual Google Analytics account. If possible, pick one that has ecommerce tracking enabled and has collected ecommerce data. There were several ecommerce questions on the test.
- This IP tool: http://www.analyticsmarket.com/freetools/ipregex
- Go for it! Sign up for the Google Analytics IQ test and get started.* You have 90 minutes to answer 70 questions. You can pause the test, and you have 120 hours to finish it once you activate it. You can also flag questions that you want to return to. Decide beforehand what your strategy will be for taking the test. I knew I wanted to plow through and finish it in one sitting. I didn’t skip many questions – I took the time to look things up as I went, and finished the majority of questions the first time through. I did flag some questions that I wanted to return to, and at the end when I had 6 minutes left, I went back to these. Use the full 90 minutes! The majority of questions are “check all that apply.” Take your time and make sure you don’t miss any pieces.
Updated 1/19/15. Since this post was written Google has moved the location of the test, and made a few other important changes:
- The Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test is now free! The test used to cost $50.
- You can no longer pause the test. Once you begin the test, the exam timer will continue to count down even if your computer shuts down. You have 90 minutes to complete the exam (this didn’t change; just the pausing part changed).
- If you fail the test you can retake it in 7 days. This is a shorter wait time than in the past. You used to have to wait 14 days to retake the exam.
- You can no longer flag questions to go back to during the exam time. In the past you could mark questions if you wanted to go back and spend more time on them. Now you need to answer the questions and move on.
- The exam can now be found at https://www.google.com/partners/ To get to the exam, login with your gmail or Google email. (Note: If you are taking the exam for work, and your company is a Google partner, be sure to use your work email address so that you’ll be listed under your company.) Click on “I’m an Agency.” Next choose “Join Google Partners.” Complete your profile. Once this is done, you’ll see your certifications on the left, and a link to the GAIQ exam on the bottom right.