I’m about to call my own bluff with this blog post.
I took the Google Analytics Certification exam yesterday and received a grade of 75%. I missed a passing grade by 5 points. Hi. In the fallout during the post mortem monologue/rant – and there was fallout, and some thrashing about, and some piss and vinegar – I passed through various emotional gates and finally arrived this morning at a place called reason. OH and OH again! How I had pinned so much hope on passing that exam. It would be THE thing that opened new employment opportunities for me, THE thing that would get me that great marketing gig I’ve been chasing all these months… Cold water bath.
The Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) Test
On the surface I have to admit the exam was much trickier than I could have anticipated. While the 21 study modules seemed straight-forward enough they, simply put, were NOT enough. [Lesson learned from a hard science POV: Joe, you’ll need to spend much more time actually riding your GA tractor through the unplowed quantitative fields of your website data. No way around it.] And here’s the bluff. I thought that by memorizing the study material I could squeeze under the Google fence and then blind my audience with the glint of my new GA badge as I crossed the Google graduation stage. Turns out, the folks at Google are not a bunch of pushovers. They actually ask exam questions framed around critical thinking and problem-solving. Who would have guessed? And you have to actually know how to use the product to pass the exam. Bummer.
Some Specifications: The test is 70 multiple choice questions. You have 90 minutes to answer all questions. You can pause the exam at anytime – your answers will be saved. However the test expires after 5 days. There is a $50.00 charge to take the exam. If you fail, you can take the exam again. You receive your grade immediately upon finishing the exam. NOTE: I did not write down or make a record of any of the exam questions.
Chasing After False Idols
What was I thinking!? I’m the first one to rail against mediocrity in any form and here I was trying to fool the system. And in a larger sense I was trying to fool any potential employers into believing that I was some kind of GA Ninja. Shame. OK, receiving a grade of 75% on the exam by only “kinda trying” does say something about me (dangerous person) but sooner or later I would have been called out on my inability to use Google Analytics – a tool I find so wonderful and fascinating. And being called out like that is not good for anyone. Not for me, not for the folks I work for. I was chasing after false idols.
Advice For Passing The Google Analytics Individual Qualification Test
- Use it: I advise you to actually use the GA software before you take the exam. (Its free by the way.) Reach a level of comfort with all of its capabilities and aspects including how it integrates with Adwords. Learn where the controls are, the difference between a metric and dimensions, etc. A good soldier can take apart his/her rifle blindfolded – think in those terms of familiarity.
- Book: Read and understand Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik. You might also want to subscribe to his blog Occam’s Razor.
- Another Book: Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics by Brian Clifton is a very recent additioin to the books on GA and seen by many as an excellent resource. (See Brian’s comment below.)
- YouTube: Subscribe to the Google Analytics YouTube Channel and watch the videos.
- GAIQ Lessons: Make the Google Analytics IQ Lessons part of your life.
- Practice Exam: Run by Eric Fettman, Google Analytics Test is a free training resource for GAIQ preparation and real-world Google Analytics Skills.
The Path of Morality – And Web Analytics Mastery
So, last night, as I sat outside the walls of the great Google tower, listening to the revelry from within and stewing in my chameleon juices, it became clear to me that there is another path. As in; “How about actually learning how to use Google Analytics then take the exam.” And for support, I sent a Tweet to the master, Avinash Kaushik. And the master Tweeted back; “I would encourage you to skip forward to Web Analytics 2.0.” And so that’s just what I plan on doing. I’ve shaved my head, I’ve wrapped myself in monks clothes and I plan on immersing myself in a little number called Web Analytics 2.0. I’ll also be following my own advice as outlined above.
Bravo to Google for creating an exam that weeds out the trouble-makers!
Hire Joe Kyle
I am currently seeking a full-time opportunity in the Boston area within the discipline of social media marketing, business development, or corporate communications. Please visit www.josephkyle.com for more information. Thank you.
P.S. I’m also in training for my Google Analytics Individual Qualification exam.