* *Update: Google has replaced the AdWords Certification program with the Certified Partners program. Learn more in this article.
In 2010, Google revamped its AdWords Certification program, designed to recognize individuals and agencies proficient in pay-per-click management. In order to be individually certified, you must now pass the AdWords Fundamentals exam as well as at least one of three Advanced Exams (Advanced Search Advertising, Reporting and Analysis, or Display Advertising) with a score of at least 85%. Each exam costs $50 to take, contains approximately 120 questions, and must be completed in two hours. I recently completed the AdWords Certification process and thought that it would be helpful to provide tips for preparing for these exams.
- Use the resources Google gives you
- The Learning Center is an excellent starting point to prepare for the exams. They provide written summaries of key concepts as well as interactive modules and YouTube videos. Be sure to pay attention to all of the sections, even the ones that you don’t think that you will ever use, as the exams cover all of the materials contained in the Learning Center.
- The AdWords Help Center offers more in-depth information on the concepts covered in the Learning Center modules. Many concepts in the Learning Center are hyperlinked to their specific help article.
- Find your own resources
- The best way to learn AdWords is to set up an account and dive in. In addition to reading about concepts I wasn’t as familiar with, I found that creating a campaign (you can delete it when you’re done) and playing around with the various options available gave me a deeper understanding of those concepts. Many of the questions on the exam are phrased as real-world scenarios, so having experience with the concepts is a definite plus!
- Take Notes
- The AdWords certification testing module does not let you have any other windows open while taking the exam, so while it’s not impossible to take the exam “open book,” Google doesn’t make it easy. I made notes of things that seemed to make good exam questions (lists or statistics) and organized them in a way that I could quickly find what I needed.
- Take Advantage of the Testing Software Features
- The software used for administering the AdWords certification exam has many useful features available while taking the exam. The first is the ability to mark questions. As I was going through the exam, if I was unsure of any questions (or if I had no idea), I marked them and continued through the exam answering the questions that I was sure about. After going through the whole exam, the system lets you go back to the questions that you marked. Throughout the exam, you can see how many unanswered questions and time you have remaining.
- Another useful feature is the ability to cross out answers that you know are not correct simply by right-clicking on those answer choices. I found that it was very helpful to narrow down the answer choices on a few of the questions.
- You can go back through the questions as many times as you want before the time runs out. The software allows you to either scroll through them one at a time or use a handy drop down box in the upper right, which shows whether questions are unanswered or marked.
While studying for the AdWords certification exam, I found several ideas for PPC campaigns that we are currently working on. So not only will preparing help you make a better score on the exam, you may find features on AdWords that could be useful for current or future campaigns you conduct.