Josh Patrice // Apr 23 2010
The Google AdWords Professional Exam is actually kinda tough. A lot of people fail it, (not me, 3 for 3) and studying for the test takes awhile. There are a lot of different ways to study (Agencyland for the SEM agency, AdWords Help, Pro Center, and various videos, blogs, practice tests).
On my most recent attempt, I used Agencyland. It was very well organized, tracked my progress, and has a few bells & whistles that the other options don’t. However, in the end, I also felt prepared for my first 2 exams when I went through Google’s Help Center material.
The real tip here is to study. Do not think that you’ll be able to pass the test without learning (or writing down) a few of the finer details about AdWords. Even if you’ve used AdWords since the beginning, there are things that you probably don’t know. Write them down.
2. Be clear on Settings structure and Account Access Levels
This was a lifesaver for me. When studying, these topics couldn’t sound/be more mundane. However, when you’re 50 questions into the test and feeling like a star, they hit you with a question like “At which level can you set the language?” Well, if you’re like me, you either always work on English accounts, or find the setting on instinct.
Same goes for Account Access Levels. What can a standard user do? What’s a standard user? How many user types are there? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, learn them. Then – write them down.
3. Don’t skip the Mobile Ad section
Questions on Google’smobile ad policies will show up. Not once, but a few times; and, if you don’t know the various acceptable sizes, networks, link languages (WAP, HTML, CHTML, WML, XHTML), how ads get ranked, etc. you’ll get burned. Write them down.
4. Optimizing in AdWords
Google asks a lot of questions about how to optimize your account for different strategies (CTR, ROI, Traffic, Branding). These then get hidden in vague questions like “Placing keywords in the ad copy will help with what?” or “Calls to action and Unique Selling Points are ways to optimize for ___.” Knowing which actions apply to which strategies, makes answering these questions a breeze.
5. Which tab does what
This one burned me. The next time I logged into AdWords I realized that I’d marked the wrong answer. Study where certain reports, settings, functions, etc. are in relation to the tabs – and that means both AdWords’ tabs and your account’s tabs.
I never use the Account Snapshot, so I never knew it was under the Home tab. Well, apparently that would’ve helped me get a higher score, and it might help some of you pass the test.
In the end, being an experienced AdWords user isn’t enough, but it will be a tremendous help. For a lot of the questions, you’ll be able to rely on your experience; but, there will likely be a few questions that are outside of your knowledge base. Hopefully, these tips will help you out. If you have more, throw ‘em in the comments!
A Note about Agencyland
If you have an AgencyLand login and you are signed in on a company MCC, the testing center will assign you a candidate ID (12 digit number) based on that company MCC. This ID is assigned to the MCC email address, not your Agencyland one. So if you pass, the MCC email will show as a Associated Individual…not yours.
However, if you login with AgencyLand, are not signed in to the MCC, you’ll receive a unique candidate ID and then go to the testing site. You’ll have to link your profile to your company, but your score will be on your own email.
The first scenario is exactly what happened to me :(
Since we don’t want that to happen to you, we talked to Google and got these simple instructions:
How To Take The Exam
1. Create and log into your Google Advertising Professionals Individual account at https://adwords.google.com/professionals/
2. If you are employed by an agency that has already created a company profile, don’t create your own company account in the My Company page. Instead, ask your company GAP administrator to link your individual profile to the existing company profile by inviting you as a Professional using your personal email address.
3. Navigate to the My Exams page and locate your 12-digit candidate ID – you’ll need this to take the exam.
4. Visit the Google Testing Center site by clicking on “Take this exam” next to the appropriate exam title or go to http://google.starttest.com
5. Enter your voucher code in the field entitled ‘Have you been provided a voucher code?’ and click ‘Submit’
6. You”ll then be taken through the signup process and create a unique login (this is separate from any Google- or AdWords-associated login you may have)
7. Remember you must enter your Candidate ID in the Google Testing Center profile in order to get credit for passing the exams.
8. On the next screen, select the exam you wish to take by clicking on ‘Start Online’
9. You’ll then be asked to download a secure browser where you will take the test
10. Launch the secure browser, log into the Google Testing Center site, and select the exam you wish to take by clicking on ‘Start Online’ You then have 120 minutes to take the test.
We also found out why you’ll want to use your own personal email address to take the test. In the past, this was a bit more of a gray area, but with new changes to the GAP program, the score will be portable. So if you ever leaves your company, you can remove access to the company qualification and carry it with you. Again, more details from Google:
Why You Need To Sign In With Your Personal Email
Since the individual holds the knowledge, but the agency owns accounts, the MCC and spend information is associated with the company, but the individuals own the exams.
Impact on individual:
Exam passes recorded at individual level rather than against MCC. Employees can leave at any time and take their exam pass with them.
Impact on company:
Employers get credit at Company level for an employees pass by inviting them to join the company account. If an individual leaves (by unlinking their individual account from the company account) their pass no longer contributes to company’s certification. If the individual joins a new company (by accepting an invitation from the administrator of the new Company account), their qualification will count towards the new organization’s certification.
It is possible to have done this through Agencyland, but it’s probably easier to just follow the steps above. It’s important to pay attention to Step 2 and be sure to “ask your company GAP administrator to link your individual profile to the existing company profile by inviting you as a Professional using your personal email address.”
Step 6 is also an important. This login is only for the test you’re about to take, not for any other Google related accounts or activities.
Again, study hard, follow the instructions, and good luck!
With his background in UX design, PPC and SEO, Josh is king of the search-nerds. He educates both our clients and SEO experts how to optimize websites so that search engines want to shout their urls from a mountaintop. When Josh isn't teaching everyone else how to be awesome, he is the epitome of a modern renaissance man, playing music, cooking, and finding the perfect quip for any situation. Read More