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Passing the GAIQ – tips from a beginner

11th January 2016 by Lauren Pearson | News & Events

Morven joined Yard in November 2015 as our new Client Relations Executive and chose to self-study for the GAIQ out of interest as to how difficult she would find it as a beginner – here’s her experience of passing the exam:

Are you looking to take the Google Analytics exam anytime soon? This post is for anyone who is thinking “there is not a chance that I will pass this!” Let me encourage you by saying this girl does not have a background in HTML or JavaScript and actually first became acquainted with Google Analytics less than 3 months ago. I’m very much still in the “beginner” camp – and yet, with some determination and considerable study effort, I managed to recently pass the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test.

There are a plethora of articles and blogs out there “teaching” you how to pass the exam in two days or in a few simple steps etc. I was drawn in by these websites and although some were incredibly useful, I did find that there was one major issue: they were almost all out-dated. Google have recently changed the exam format which, at first was much to my dismay – some articles also say Google has made the questions harder as they are  now more about application of knowledge rather than pure definition of terms. This is something that I agree with, though admittedly  I have no prior knowledge to compare it with as I’ve only taken the exam once.

About the exam

  • You have 90 minutes to complete the exam.

  • There are 70 multiple choice questions and sometimes there is more than one correct answer.

  • You need to get over 80% to pass.

  • Certification is valid for 18 months

  • NO pausing

  • NO skipping questions

  • NO returning to previous questions

  • It’s now completely free to take

  • It appears that if you fail, you have to wait 7 days before being allowed to sit it again.

How to Pass.


Okay, maybe you were looking for a slightly more in-depth answer. So, here’s what I did.

1. Create a Google Partners account.

2. Watch all of the course materials. They are all really short and punchy videos that explain everything in detail but in a non-overwhelming way. Watch them then watch them again.

3. Watch them once more and take notes. My notes were approximately 8000 words long by the time I took the exam. You will not regret it when it comes to the open-book policy of the GAIQ. Leave spaces in your notes so that you can add to your notes every time you watch the tutorials. You’ll be surprised how much more you pick up second time watching.

4. Have a look at these awesome additional resources that helped me pass.

5. Take the exam!

Taking the exam

Everyone has different methods of revising or coping with exam stress and no matter how digitally savvy you are you WILL need to study and prepare for this exam, but – and take solace from this – I  managed to pass the first time around.  The exam is by no means impossible but you do need to know what your weak topics  are – no doubt most of your questions will end up being on that area. However, there is a silver lining – it is an open book exam! Have as many browsers and tabs open as you want. I wouldn’t recommend wasting time by flipping between them the whole time as you are limited on time during the exam but it is handy to be able to look things up or to refer to your notes if you are well and truly stuck.

The exam questions themselves are pulled from a pool of questions that range from a number of topics. No exam will be the same. My exam seemed to have A LOT of questions that required the application of learned knowledge. As long as you’ve taken heed of my advice in the section above you’ll pass.

I was on a high when I passed the exam, primarily as I wanted to prove myself in my new role, but also because I felt super smart. Most importantly, before I had taken the exam I was unaware of the vast capacities the Google Analytics tool has to provide incredible insights into web traffic – also the amount of data it can collect is astounding to me!

I’ll admit the studying felt like total information overload at first. All the possibilities of what to do with data and how to customise it left me unsure of what to try first. Slowly, as I began to grasp concepts better and retain more information, and as I continued to revisit Google Analytics to test my knowledge, it became less overwhelming. So there we have it- go on and give it a try!

– Morven Mackinnon, Client Relations Executive, Yard

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