In 2009, Google Analytics launched an Individual Qualification program. This program would “allow individuals to demonstrate proficiency in Google Analytics.”
Why would you want to take the test?
- A good way to really learn Google Analytics is to prepare for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) test. You have probably learned the sections of GA that are most useful to you already. But to take the test you have to know all of the Google Analytics software. You might be surprised at how much you have to learn to prepare for the test.
- You can use your Google Analytics Individual Qualification as an external validation of your Google Analytics ability. By itself it won’t be enough to get you a job or a client. It’s more like table stakes. But completion of the test will send a clear signal that you are a legitimate player.
What exactly does Google require? When you are ready, here are the steps:
- Set up an account in the Google Testing Center.
- Select the Google Analytics test from the list.
- Purchase the test for $50.
- Successfully complete the IQ test of 70 questions in 90 minutes with a grade of 80%.
Once you have purchased the test you have five days to complete it. You can start and stop the test, though many recommend that you prepare well, then take the test in one session.
You can use other materials for your test. It is open book. In fact Google expects you to have Google Analytics open. So have your materials ready when you start.
How do you prepare for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification test?
Take a practice test
Start by taking a practice test. I know, you are going to do poorly. That’s ok. In fact, doing poorly on your first practice test is useful. Why? It will get your attention. Many people think they know more about GA than they really do. Taking a practice test will shake you out of your complacency and get you focused on the areas where you need to learn more.
More than one source of practice tests is out there, but I’m going to suggest the Google Analytics Test, a group that provides a “free training resource for GAIQ preparation and real‑world Google Analytics skills.”
Feras Alhlou at E-Nor is on the content committee for Google Analytics Test and recently explained some of the advantages of the Google Analytics Test, including:
Once you are finished with the test, you can see the results immediately. Users are given the overall score and shown a recap of the test question again. To see why a question was answered incorrectly, simply click on the question and you’re directed to the page with a thorough answer explanation, along with carefully annotated screenshots of that scenario. Users also have the ability to comment on the question.
What I like is that you can create your own test from the 28 categories they have. You can also create the number of questions you want in your practice test. Thus you can make your practice test as narrow or as comprehensive as you like.
Gather your resources
What are some resources? Start with Google Analytics IQ Lessons, though it’s likely you will find them cryptic and will need to find other resources.
For a more thorough treatment of Google Analytics, a good book to have at your side is Brian Clifton’s Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics. He just published his third edition, so it’s current with Google Analytics v5.
Of course, your best resource is Google Analytics itself.
Study the questions and answers on the practice test
One you’ve taken the test and gathered your resources, it’s time to start studying.
My method for studying for a multiple choice test is simple. I review each of the questions on the practice test, with special attention to the ones I missed. I look at all the choices, not just the right answer. This way I learn not only what is right. I also learn why the incorrect choices are wrong.
As you become more confident that you’ve mastered sections of GA, continue to check your progress by taking practice tests on specific subject areas using the Google Analytics Test.
And finally, remember that Google wants you to succeed. They are not trying to trick you. On the one hand, Google wants the qualification to be seen as credible, so they’ve written a rigorous and comprehensive test. But it’s also in their interest for as many people as possible to complete it.
Do you have any suggestions of methods that have worked for you to prepare for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification test? Share them in the comments!