Admission: The first time I tried the Google Analytics exam, I failed.
Another admission: The second time I tried the Google Analytics exam, I also failed.
Today, though? Today I am finally Google Analytics certified!
Here. I have proof.
So what changed? How did I go from also-ran to Analytics champion?
Here are my tips for how to pass the Google Analytics exam – hopefully, unlike me, on your first try.
If at all possible, get some help!
Studying for the Google Analytics exam on your own is soul-destroying.
You can’t ask questions. You are working largely on your own. You have to watch a series of increasingly annoying videos.
Thankfully, you don’t have to. There are lots of resources for people who aren’t satisfied learning in front of a computer.
My first two attempts at the Google Analytics exam were built on what I learned from the videos in the Analytics academy. The result? Well I think you already know!
The final time around, the time that I actually passed, was part of a class. A real, live, in-person class. I could ask questions and learn from others and didn’t have to worry about pausing a video to understand what an API is.
If at all possible, try to enroll in one. I ended up taking the Analytics module as part of the Ottawa Digital Marketing Certificate with Soshal. Marissa Homére, Soshal’s Marketing Director, provided everything we needed to pass the exam.
Put what you’re learning into action
Always, always, always have the test account from Google Analytics open.
My big problem, the first time I studied for the exam, was to think that I could just absorb whatever information was being imparted and then spit it back out during the exam.
Maybe this works for some people. But it didn’t work for me.
The best way I found, when I finally passed, was to put what I was learning into action right away.
If I just learned about how to find out where traffic to a site was coming from, I immediately went to Acquisition<All Traffic<Source/Medium and started poking around.
It made a world of difference.
Try to think outside the marketing box
The Google Analytics exam isn’t just for people who (like me) are interested in digital marketing insights.
Analytics is also for developers and information technology professionals, among others. As a result, you end up learning a bunch of stuff that you probably won’t (and I mean ever, really) need.
The Analytics exam being what it is, you can’t just brush off the stuff about application programming interfaces and other technical terms that likely don’t mean much to you.
You need to learn them, so devote the necessary attention – even if you know you’ll never use them again.
Who knows? They might even come in handy.
Take notes – lots of notes!
The Analytics exam has a lot of really specific – some might even say irrelevant, though I’m not naming any names – questions.
If the course gives you a number, write it down.
Say, just to pick a random example off the top of my head, the course mentions how many days a view can be recovered for once it’s deleted, you’ll want to make a note of it. It will probably come up later (hint, hint).
One last thing…
Google Analytics is a tool that relies mostly on the creativity of its user. There are so many different pathways you can take to slicing and dicing the data. Analytics isn’t going to be able to think for you.
If you want to actually make use of Analytics, start to get creative about how you’ll put all your new skills to use.
After all, it’s not just about passing the exam. You actually want to be able to solve your real-world marketing problems.
And don’t get too worried if you don’t understand it all right away.
According to Marissa Homére, who’s been using the tool for close to a decade, it takes a while to understand it intuitively.
Mark Brownlee is a Digital Marketing Strategist in Ottawa and a candidate for the Digital Marketing Certificate at the Telfer School of Management.