So, you want to get Google AdWords certified? You’ve come to the right place. How important is getting certified? Let’s look at some numbers:
- Experts expect the industry to grow over 69% to $260 billion in revenue by 2020.
Now is a great time to get certified!
There are plenty of Google AdWords classes available with price tags near 500 dollars. But if you follow my guide, you should be able to quickly get certified without spending a dime.
Why should you take my advice? Before I started studying for the Google AdWords exams, I didn’t even know what an impression was. As the Data & Analytics intern at Viget, I combined great online resources with a drive to obtain my certification and ended up Google AdWords certified in only two days! Of course, getting certified in two days will not be an easy task. As such, I wanted to share some tips and resources you can use to help you along the way.
To begin, you’ll need the following:
Computer (Two monitors is optimal but not necessary)
- Caffeine (Optional but recommended. Green tea was my weapon of choice.)
Getting certified requires three basic steps:
Register for a Google Partners account
Pass the Google AdWords Fundamentals exam with a score of 80% or higher (100 questions, 120 minute time limit)
Pass one of the five other Google AdWords exams with a score of 80% or higher. For reference, I have included the exams below:
Search Advertising (100 questions, 120 minute time limit)
Display Advertising (100 questions, 120 minute time limit)
Video Advertising (74 questions, 90 minute time limit)
Shopping Advertising (60 questions, 90 minute time limit)
Mobile Advertising (70 questions, 90 minute time limit)
Step 1 should take you no more than ten minutes. There other two steps are going to take a little bit more time…
Let’s get started! To prepare for the AdWords Fundamentals exam, begin with the Google AdWords Fundamentals study guide found here. Reading the first module “Understanding the Value of Online Advertising” will provide you a general comprehension of how AdWords works. Follow your reading of the first module with this helpful video on the auction process. For visual learners out there, I highly recommend watching all of the videos embedded in the study guide. Google does an awesome job of making them clear and informational.
Got a foundational understanding of AdWords by now? Great—let’s dive a little deeper.
As you explore the further modules, break out the notebook and take plenty of notes that you can reference during the test. As concluded by this Princeton University study, handwritten notes will allow you to better retain the information. Taking screenshots of the study guide can also be helpful, such as the screenshot I have embedded below.
Still hanging in there? After finishing the AdWords Fundamentals exam study guide, try out these super helpful non-Google resources.
Start out with AdHawk’s “Marketer’s Guide to Google AdWords,” downloadable here. Although we’ve already covered lot of its material in the Google study guide, the people over at AdHawk do a great job of showing how you would apply this material to actually optimize an AdWords campaign. Other materials you should check out from AdHawk include The Complete Guide to AdWords Ad Extensions and a complete AdWords Glossary.
Second Exam Preparation
That’s it for the AdWords Fundamentals exam! Still determined to get Google AdWords certified? You better be, because we’ve got a second exam to prepare for. Remember, we have five options:
I chose to take the Search Advertising exam because, in addition to finding the topic interesting, I had already covered a considerable amount of the exam’s material during my preparation for the Fundamentals exam. Feel free to take whatever exam you like! My guide, however, will detail on how to prepare for the Search Advertising exam.
This is when you’re going to need the caffeine. Open up the Search Advertising study guide, find a new page in your notebook, and repeat the same process we used for the AdWords Fundamentals study guide. Yes, I know it’s a lot of information. I never said it was going to be easy, did I? Some quick tips:
Avoid rote memorization. Trying to cram all of this information into your head is a recipe for disaster come exam time. Rather, try to understand the materials conceptually and how they apply to an actual search campaign.
Don’t be scared to skip over the information you’ve already covered in your preparation for the Fundamentals exam! There’s a considerable amount of review in the Search Advertising study guide.
Feel like you’ve mastered Search Advertising? Still awake? Awesome, let’s humble ourselves with some practice exams.
Practice exams will help you see how much of the material you actually know. I found the practice exams helpful in showing the following: 1. What aspects of AdWords I needed to focus on understanding better. 2. How exam questions would be worded and formatted. Here are some practice exams I found useful:
WayToExam: This is the bread and butter of the practice exams. With 90 questions, VERY similar wording to the actual exam, and explanations for every question, save this exam for last. If you do well on this, you’re ready to go!
iPassExam: While the full course costs money, a free trial provides an overview of the exam and 40 practice questions.
GyaniAkash: This practice exam consists of 50 questions. The questions were helpful, but the wording is sometimes unclear, some answers are incorrect, and the questions only refer to the “advertiser” as “he”.
Flashcards: Here are some extra flashcards that may help with a final review.
Finished with the practice exams? Great, you’re almost there—we just need to make some final preparations. I highly recommend using two monitors or two computers during the exams (if you only have one monitor or computer don’t worry- you’ll still do just fine). This approach will allow you to quickly search for any terms or concepts you can’t remember without wasting too much time. Be careful though—there is not enough time allocated for you to rely on the internet for too many answers! I also recommend loading up the PDF versions of the Fundamentals exam study guide and the exam study guide of your choice for reference.
Make sure to go to the bathroom beforehand (and bring a snack if you get hungry)! You cannot pause the exam, so once you decide to begin, you should be ready to go for 120 minutes. In the case that you’re also taking the Search Advertising exam, I recommend taking the exam shortly after finishing the Fundamentals exam. You don’t want to to forget anything!
Taking the Exam(s)
This is your time to shine! If you have diligently prepared for the exams, then go ahead—step up to the plate and knock them both out of the park.
Did you pass both exams? Congratulations! You are now officially Google AdWords certified—feels good, doesn’t it? Whether your next plan is to now start your own AdWords campaign, market your AdWords expertise for mountains of cash, or conquer the world, you first need to sit back, relax, and bask in your accomplishment—you deserve it.
Do you have any tips or tricks that worked well for you? Please share them below in the comment section!