Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) demonstrates a person’s expertise in Google Analytics (GA). For me, expertise in Google Analytics is knowing how to implement Google analytics and being able to use the data and various reports provided by Google Analytics to derive insights.
To ‘earn’ a Google Analytics Individual Qualification, one has to pass the GAIQ exam. Since I passed the Google Analytics Individual qualification in September 2014, one common question that I have been asked multiple times is how to prepare for the exam?
There are numerous posts out there describing the ‘3/4/5 easy steps to pass the GAIQ’. Some of them even describe how you can pass the exam with 2 hours of study. Most of these posts provide outdated information or may not be feasible for someone new to GA. So, how do you actually prepare for the GAIQ exam?
Here is a list of things you should do to prepare for GAIQ.
1. Know the basic stats about the exam
- Time duration – 90 minutes
- Number of questions – 70
- Passing score – 80% (56 questions)
- Waiting time to retake the exam – 7 days
- Validity of the qualification – 18 months
2. Create an account on the Google Partners website.
This is where you can attempt the GAIQ exam. Since September 2014, GAIQ can be attempted free of charge. But at the same time, Google made some changes to the exam. The main changes are:
- Exam cannot be paused
- Questions cannot be skipped
- Past questions cannot be revisited
Hence, strategies such as pausing the exams and researching for the answers mentioned in older posts will not help.
3. Once you register, you will see the Exam study guide with links to Google analytics academy videos under the ‘analytics’ section on the left menu.
Note: These videos can also be accessed without creating a Google Partners account.
Anyone attempting GAIQ should go through each of these videos until the concepts are clear. For effective study, take down notes while watching the videos and also check any Google analytics account you have access to as you go through each topic in the videos. This will help you familiarize yourself with the Google analytics interface and make the learning sessions more practical.
I would also recommend reading the articles provided in the ‘Read further’ section of each course topic. Each of the courses also have assessments. Ensure that you are clear about each of the questions in the assessments and the reason why the answers are right since GAIQ picks questions very similar to the ones in these assessments.
4. One aspect that I have noticed about the GAIQ exam is that the questions tend to be practical and are not just based on definitions.
The questions tend to check your understanding of the concepts which can only be learned from actually implementing, using and testing the various features and reports of Google Analytics.
Hence, for anyone new to GA, learning the above videos and getting your hands dirty on some Google Analytics accounts, is the best way to prepare for GAIQ.
5. The GAIQ exam now tends to touch upon the newer features of Google Analytics.
Some additional features and tools that you should be aware of are:
- Google Tag Manager (GTM) – GAIQ tends to ask 2-3 questions on GTM and hence it would be wise to learn the basics even if you do not intend to study GTM in-depth. More information can be found at the GTM help center. You can also refer to my previous blog about benefits of using GTM.
- Ecommerce and Enhanced Ecommerce – These topics are covered in the analytics academy videos, but it is important to be familiar with the e-commerce tracking setup and terminologies.
- Real-time reports – How can they be used and what are the reports that can be viewed real time.
- Custom Data Import (Dimension widening) and Measurement Protocol – Here are good resources for Custom Data Import and Measurement protocol.
- Regular expressions – They help in creating patterns that are a necessity when extracting and analyzing data. This great fun guide to Regular expressions should help you learn the basics. Be sure to try them out in your Google Analytics accounts!
- Intelligence Events – I do not remember this being mentioned in the videos, but questions related to Intelligence events do tend to appear in the GAIQ exam.
- Filters – Questions related to filters appear quite often in GAIQ. Hence, ensure that you are familiar with the different filters and how they affect the data in your GA properties.
- Metrics and Dimensions – TIP: if you are confused about this, just try to create a custom report and you will see all the metrics and dimensions separately!
- Universal Analytics – Since Universal analytics came out of Beta early last year, it is the new standard for GA. Universal analytics has some differences in features when compared to classic (old) analytics. Hence, it would be wise to know the differences between the two.
6. After studying the concepts, reviewing some practice questions.
This would definitely help you set expectations about the types of questions that may appear in the exam. Two sites with practice questions that are closest to what appear in the GAIQ can be found here and here.
7. Once you feel confident enough, you can attempt the GAIQ by logging into your Google Partners account.
Before starting the exam, open a separate browser with the following tabs: Google Analytics Study guide, Cheat Sheet, Regular Expression generator, URL builder, The Big G and your Google analytics account. These tabs will help you quickly look up information if required.
A word of caution: Some of the data in the referenced links might not be up to date or accurate so please use your judgment when learning from them.
Finally, all said and done, there is no substitute for practice. Look into as many GA accounts and reports as possible and familiarize yourself with most of the features available in GA.
Following the above guide should make you confident about passing the GAIQ exam and also improve your knowledge of Google Analytics. Good Luck!