Web Analytics

So You Want To Be Google Analytics Certified

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A week ago I took the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Exam and PASSED (with a 91%).

Now let’s rewind a little bit. Two weeks ago I was sitting in my Digital Marketing class at Western Washington University and my professor, the amazing Mark Staton, told us that in exactly one week we would be taking the GAIQ… We would be getting Google Analytics certified.

So the countdown began, my fellow DigiMark 5.1 classmates and I had exactly 7 days to learn everything there was to know about GA.


Before I jump into how I passed the exam, let’s talk about why you should get Google Analytics certified.

  1. It is a great thing to have on your resume. If you are planning on pursuing a career in the marketing industry, understanding the principles behind web analytics and knowing how to use the GA platform can give you an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs.
  2. You’ll get a general understanding of how to use the GA dashboard. The whole point of taking the GAIQ is so that you can show the world (potential employers) that you know how to use Google Analytics. Studying for this exam ensures that you are familiar with everything from setting up your account to multi-channel funnels, conversion rates and KPI’s.
  3. Understanding GA can make it easier for you to learn how to use other web analytic programs. Google is not the only company that provides web analytics tools, and someday you may have to learn how to use one of the other platforms. Getting GA certified will give you a solid understanding of web analytics and make it easier to crossover to other tools/programs.

Here is how I prepared for and passed the exam.

I want to start off by saying that if you have access or can gain access to an active Google Analytics account, you will definitely want to utilize that resource. Getting hands on experience with an account that is actually collecting, configuring, processing and reporting data makes it a million times easier to understand the concepts behind web analytics. If you don’t have access to an account, I would recommend creating one, even though it won’t be actively analyzing data you will still be getting hands on experience.

1.    Take Advantage of the Google Analytics Academy!

Google provides you with very useful study materials. Start with the Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Google Analytics Platform Principles videos. While you are watching the videos make sure to take notes, and if you have access to a GA account try out what the videos are telling you to do. One important side note is that while you’re going through the academy you will notice links to additional readings and resources,READ THEM. I noticed that the additional readings gave me a deeper understanding of the concepts and covered some topics that were on the test that the videos didn’t.

2.    YouTube is your Friend

YouTube has thousands of ‘how to’ videos, so why wouldn’t they have video about Google Analytics? There are hundreds of videos on how to use GA, and if you are anything like me watching someone actually use the platform is the most beneficial tool when learning something new.

Here are a few of the videos that I watched (keep in mind that some videos will be outdated, these resources can still be useful but don’t assume that everything is still the exact same):

Google Analytics Tutorial Step-by-Step

How to Read Google Analytics Data

Google Analytics Complete Tutorial

3.    Find Other Online Articles

Many people have taken, passed and written about the GAIQ so take advantage of that. Again keep in mind is that GA does change, so like I mentioned before watch out if an older video/article/blog is telling you something different than the GA academy.  I tried to stick with resources that were no older than 4 years, but really focused on the ones that were from 2016. Also, you will come across practice tests/sample tests. Take those! I found that sample tests helped a lot and they even used some of the same questions as the GAIQ exam.

Here are a few online resources that I found:

Advanced Google Analytics Cheat Sheet

Google Analytics Reference Guide

2016 Google Analytics IQ Exam Preparation + GAIQ Sample Questions

Google Analytics Test

Google Analytics Certification and How to Pass the GAIQ

Now Go Take the Test!

Remember the GAIQ is a timed (90 minutes), 70 question exam and you need to get an 80% to be certified.


One last thing before you go. Just because you are/will be GA certified, it does not mean that you are an expert in Google Analytics. It’s been a week since I passed the exam and I don’t feel like I’m certified. After passing the exam don’t stop learning about analytics, and if this is something you want to do for a career make sure that you have a solid understanding of web analytics before advertising to employers that you are GA certified. Passing the exam and knowing how to use GA are two different things, so don’t stop learning about it. 

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