It’s almost that time again. In just a few short months, I will have to retake the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) test to renew my certification. While I feel overly confident I won’t need to do much preparation this time around, I will want to be sure to give myself a quick refresh, just to be absolutely sure I can fly through the test and continue to be Google Analytics IQ certified. A lot has changed in Google Analytics since I took the test almost 18 months ago, including the recent release of the new Analytics Academy, so let me walk you through how to prepare for this test and some best practices I can give having taken the exam before.
First things first, get to know Google Analytics. Do not wait until a couple hours before you take the test to click around an account, view standard reports and read up on what custom variables are. I highly recommend spending some time actually working in Google Analytics and getting familiar with the current layout (even though it will probably change in the next month or two).
A great place to start if you are new to Google Analytics is to run through the Google Analytics IQ Lessons. This has been updated since I first took the test and walked through all of these videos, however it is pretty much the same – just a new format. These 1 – 25 minute long videos walk you through the entire Google Analytics interface. These videos move pretty quickly and additional material to understand things better is almost always necessary. I recommend pausing the video, taking notes, and jumping over to the Google Analytics Help Center to dive into a subject for a more thorough explanation and understanding. Some other great resources if you need better in depth overviews on certain areas of Google Analytics are checking out two of my favorite GA expert’s blogs. They are:
Justin Cutroni – www.cutroni.com
Avinash Kaushik – www.kaushik.net
And of course, you can always visit the SwellPath Analytics blog section to read what we are writing about in the Analytics world on various subjects and new releases.
My next bit of advice would be to register for the new Google Analytics Academy. This was recently rolled-out as an addition to the Analytics IQ Lessons. This new Analytics Academy is a huge improvement for Google Analytics training in general.
Here is what Google states the Analytics Academy course will provide:
- An overview of today’s digital measurement landscape
- Guidance on how to build an effective measurement plan
- Best practices for collecting actionable data
- Descriptions of key digital measurement concepts, terminology and analysis techniques
- Deep-dives into Google Analytics reports with specific examples for evaluating your digital marketing performance
Google is offering this as 3-week training courses that you must register for. Be prepared to spend some hours going through the material – they expect the course to take 4-6 hours to complete. Google is also including access to Google Analytics experts by using the course forum, the Google+ community or the two live Hangout sessions that will be available during the course period. Another item that this Analytics Academy is offering that wasn’t available when I was preparing for the GAIQ are quizzes and practice exercises. Once completing a section of the course, you will be asked to partake in activities and quizzes to test your knowledge. This is a very valuable addition, because it gets you back in the mentality of testing again. For most people, it has probably been awhile since you’ve taken an actual “test”, and it is always nice to give yourself a nice refresh to calm your nerves and get you back in a testing environment.
This brings me to my next tip: take practice tests – and lots of them. Although the Analytics Academy is now offering quizzes, this particular website helped me tremendously when preparing for the GAIQ. Take the practice test, and if you don’t get a very good score, take it again and spend more time in the areas that you feel most uncomfortable with.
The next step is to take the test once you’ve reached a point where you feel comfortable enough to conquer the GAIQ test. To do so, you must create an account on the Testing Center website. A tip to keep in mind, is open the test in one browser and have all your Google Analytics resources opened in a separate browser. They give you 90 minutes to complete the test, however you can pause the test and take as much time as you need to find the answer if you get stuck on a question.
Following these tips and best practices will get you GAIQ certified in no time. If anyone has any other tips or resources that have helped you to become a GAIQ testing expert, feel free to share!