Passing the Google AdWords Individual Qualification

I am very pleased to have passed both the Google AdWords Fundamentals exam and the Search Advertising Advanced exam in October 2012 to remain a qualified Google AdWords Professional (see my Individual Google Certification Program Profile).

The exams are designed to demonstrate proficiency in AdWords account management and you must pass 2 exams to become qualified, which cost $50 each.

Everyone who wants to gain the qualification must take and pass the Fundamentals exam plus one advanced, there are 3 advanced exams to choose from:

  1. Search Advertising Advanced Exam, a passing score is 80%
  2. Display Advertising Advanced Exam, a passing score is 70%
  3. Reporting & Analysis Advanced exam, a passing score is 75%

For the Fundamentals exam the minimum pass score is 85%. I received a score of 99% for the Fundamentals exam and 91% for the Search Advertising Advanced exam, both scores are personal bests for me!

I studied for both exams using the AdWords Certification Program Learning Center as well as hands on experience working on an AdWords account and of course keeping up to date with developments with AdWords via relevant blogs / news sites.

The Fundamentals Exam

This exam, which I sat in October 2012, concentrated heavily on the display network, as well as placement & keyword targeting. If you are planning to take the exams I recommend lots of revision in those areas. This exam must be taken every 2 years.

The Search Advertising Advanced Exam

The advanced exams must be taken every year to remain qualified. When I took this exam in October there were a lot of questions focusing on:

  • Conversion optimiser
  • My Client Center (MCC) / Sub MCC’s
  • Bidding
  • Account access levels
  • The API

As well as a few questions regarding Google Places, which was a surprise as the learning center didn’t really go into any detail on this topic!! For both exams I would also recommend reading up on language and location targeting for AdWords ads.

The exams, however, were out of date in places! For example there were a couple questions in the advanced exam about the AdWords Website Optimiser which no longer exists (we now have a new tool in Google Analytics for A/B testing, called Content Experiments).

Out of date questions has been an issue for as long as I’ve taken the exams, but thankfully as I have used AdWords and Analytics for over 5 years now I was aware of changes like these and able to answer questions about them.

Having to retake one exam every year and both exams every 2 years may seem like a big investment of time, which it is, but I find it very useful as it gives me the opportunity to refresh my knowledge on the basics as well as read up on new developments.

This year as part of my revision I also restructured our AdWords account, which has proven to be a really useful experience and I’m already convinced the new structure will make it a lot easier to manage going forward.

If you are interested in joining the program and gaining the qualifications you can join and find out more from the Google Certification Program website.

Are you an AdWords Qualified Individual? If not, will you be signing up for the program?  Share your tips in the comments.

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