A little while ago, I studied for, took and passed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) test. I got an 84% after about 4 hours of studying. That said, I had been using Google Analytics for a few years. You need to get at least 56/70 questions correct for a passing grade of 80%. There are a ton of fantastic walkthroughs out there on how to pass this exam, but I felt that some of them were a little bit too wordy, and sort of trick you into over-preparing for it when you don’t really need to.
Ready? Here’s how I passed it after just an afternoon of studying:
First, go to the Google Testing Center and sign up for an account. This is different from your Google login. The test is $50. I searched around and even asked a few of my friends at Google for a promo code, to no avail.
Next, go to the Google Analytics IQ Lessons and watch all of them. Yes, all of them. I know, it sucks, but do it. It’s a little over two hours. Take notes and pay attention. If you can make it through these, you’ll probably pass. Some people recommend having your analytics account open so you can play with it while you’re watching the videos, but I didn’t do that.
Download the Slingshot SEO GAIQ Practice Problems and read through it once. It’s a great guide, and the questions seem to mimic the actual test quite closely.
Once you’re done watching the videos, and you’ve taken notes and read through the practice problems once, go back to the Google Testing Center and fire up the test. It will open up a browser that doesn’t let you escape, so make sure to open up a second browser, and include the following 5 tabs: Analytics Help Center, your Actual Google Analytics Account, the GAIQ Lessons, the Analytics IP Address Traffic Exclusion Tool (this is only 1 question on the test) and of course the big G itself.
Slingshot SEO has proposed a strategy for taking the test that worked really well for me: Do all the easy questions first. If you have some idea of what the answer might be, the test gives you an option to “mark” the question. Mark it. If you have absolutely no idea, leave it blank. Once you’re done with the easy ones, it will bring you to a screen that allows you to review either the marked questions, the blank questions, or all questions. This way, on your second time through, you can tackle the “marked questions” first because they are the ones that you have a good shot of getting correct. Afterwards, you can work on your “oh my god I have no idea what’s going on” questions.
The test takes an hour and a half. I used up all the time. If you fail, it’ll cost you another $50, and they won’t let you take it for another 2 weeks (although, you can just create another Google account and take it if you’d like, but that’s annoying).
The certification is valid for 18 months, and you get a shiny new logo and another line on your resume.
Want to learn more? Here are some great resources:
The ClickMinded SEO Training Course is a comprehensive online training class,
designed to teach you how search engine optimization fundamentally works.