Earlier this month, my coworker, Michelle K and myself successfully completed our certification to make Ecreativeworks an official Google AdWords Certified Partner for the second year in a row.
What’s the Purpose?
By renewing our Google AdWords Certification, Ecreative has shown Google once again our advanced knowledge and practical applications of AdWords and their tools, and we have earned the ability to place Google’s recognized stamp of approval that we can promote on our site. Additionally, we can also choose to be listed in the Google Certified Partners Database as a certified pay per click management company.
So, what did I learn and what did I get out of this experience?
The first thing I realized is that the gone are the days of yore where an AdWords Certification only involved passing one exam. Once called the Google Advertising Professionals exam, this exam was retired in April 2010. The previous certification was much less stringent than the current one. The previous one involved only having a $1,000 90 day combined Ad Spend and scoring 75% on 104 questions in 1.5 hours. Although, I understand that the previous test wasn’t a cake walk, it didn’t add up to Google’s current standards.
In today’s world, to become a Google Certified Partner, one has to have managed at least $10,000 over 90 days, have at least one individually qualified employee and pass both the Google AdWords Fundamentals Exam as well as one of the Advanced Topics — either the Search Advertising Advanced Exam, the Display Advertising Exam or the Reporting & Analysis Advanced Exam.
What are my tips to others going through the certification?
1. Make the Time to Study.
I am not the best test taker. My palms sweat and hearing the term, “multiple choice” gives me nightmarish SAT flashbacks. But by giving myself several months to sift through the two 100+ page packets, I retained more info. Even though I have been managing AdWords in some capacity for 4+ years, I still needed nearly 50 study hours to pass my tests. Spend time on areas that you don’t work with on a daily basis.
2. Practice and Use the Resources
Practice, Practice, Practice! Not only are the materials in the Google Learning Center valuable, watch the videos as well. Oh, and once you read all of the materials, read them again. I also purchased a subscription to a practice test website which I found very helpful.
3. Watch the Time and Know What To Expect
As soon as you press “Start,” your screen will black out. Have your highlighted notes available and another computer available to access the Google Learning Center. For both the Fundamental and Search Exam (the one I chose to take) I had 3 hours. The first exam had 109 questions while the Advanced Search Exam had 113 questions. That’s still only about a minute for each question and many of the questions are very tricky with overcomplicated phrasing.
Get enough sleep the night before, take the test in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, have water next to you, go to the bathroom before the test, etc.
To pass the Fundamentals Exam, you’ll need 85% to pass and to pass the Advanced Search Exam, you’ll need to score 85% as well. The minimum score requirements vary based on which Advanced Exam you’ve chosen to take.
4. Use the Features and Don’t Panic!
The ability to right click and cross off potential answers may seem like a silly feature, but it’s incredibly helpful when you’ve been staring at your screen for several hours and you’re second guessing yourself. Also remember to mark questions you’re not sure about and go back as you may be looking through your notes for another question and stumble up on the answer for the question you’ve marked.
Good luck! And hopefully you’ll enjoy the feeling of relief I felt when my passing score popped up on my screen. And Google…are you listening? No, I do not want to take a survey while I’m waiting for my exam score to calculate, thankyouverymuch.