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So you failed your GAIQ test or scared of taking it? Guess what? I failed too the first time I took despite the many years of using it almost on a daily basis.

Some of us think we are smart, know everything and brave enough to plunge in deep waters where most of us would not dare to without getting prepared or trained. Thanks to my reckless bravery I happened to fail my first Google Analytics Individual Qualification Test back in 2012.

Well, the main cause of my failure at that time, was obviously the self confidence I had and having considered that several years of experience I had in online marketing especially SEO, PPC and Google Analytics were sufficient enough to take this test successfully.

Now, in my post I’ll guide you through all the steps you should take as well as recommending you some valuable resources and a practice test to assure you’ll pass the GAIQ test at your first attempt. I’ll fully guarantee, following my guidelines and all the resources I provide, you’ll get your qualification, no questions about.

The main problem

You might be using Google Analytics on a daily basis but this does not necessarily mean you are aware of all the aspects of this tool, how it works or how you should correctly interpret all the data it provides. Google Analytics is evolving year by year, it is a very complex analytical tool and there are many technical aspects you might not be aware of or worse, you can easily get confused when it comes to choose from answer A.) or B.) or even worse A.), B.), C.), D.) or E.).

I’ll be quite frank with you, just working or using Google Analytics regularly, your chances of passing the test without getting prepared is very slim, all you can reach is between the range of 50%-75% (if you are really good), that’s exactly what happened in my case when I decided to take it on a late Sunday afternoon in 2012 reaching only 68% at that time. Of course, such a result might be acceptable but not satisfactory in case you really want to become a fully Qualified and Certified Individual. For those still not familiar with the Google Analytics Individual Qualification Test or GAIQ, you must reach 80% to successfully pass it, meaning you need at least 56 correctly answered questions out of 70.

Here are some of the main causes of failures in taking the GAIQ test without proper preparation:

  • time limit – you have roughly 90 minutes to go through all the 70 questions, slightly more than 1 minute per question
  • multiple choices – when you face five different answers, you must really know which ones are correct and which ones are not, you can easily get confused, here is one example just to emphasise its importance
    Analytics multiple choice answers
  • one out of 4 up to 5 possible correct answers – you’ll face 4 and up to 5 different answers but only one is correct (answers are tricky so you can easily misinterpret them)
    Analytics one choice answers
  • technical related questions – either it’s a regex or a rollup reporting related question, well there are plenty of terms or techniques you might not even heard of or not quite familiar with, that’s why you need to go through the lessons for a fresh brush up of your memories

I might have already scared you with all the challenges you’d have to face to become a Certified Google Analytics Individual, but no worries, I got really good news for you. The aim of this post is to assist you in overcoming your fear and ensure your success in passing the test.

Here are all the steps I’m gonna walk you through to get you fully prepared for the test:

An important note and advice for those not familiar with Google Analytics:

If you are an early adopter I’d not advise you to focus on taking the GAIQ test, you’d rather get familiarised with the tool and get used to its interface. Still, I encourage you to follow my guidelines as it will result in getting you more accustomed to the Google Analytics platform and later when you really feel comfortable using it and you want to polish up your CV to get promoted or apply for a new more senior position, then you can go through again the preparation phase and get your test.

Step 1 – Register for a Google Analytics account

Well, I suppose most of you already have at least one active account but for those of you who haven’t registered one yet or using your employer’s account, all I can advise to have an account of your own (even if you don’t own a website).

Access Google Analytics and register for an account. If you are using Gmail for your emails, you basically already have access to Google Analytics.

At this stage you don’t need to take any further steps, I just wanted to make sure you already have access to this analytical tool.

Step 2 – Get prepared for the GAIQ test

There are four main courses provided by Google through their Analytics Academy platform. If possible bookmark this web address and make sure it’s always at hand.

The four main courses you should go through are as follows:

  1. Course 1 – Digital Analytics Fundamentals (1st to go through)
  2. Course 2 – Google Analytics Platform Principles (2nd to go through)
  3. Course 3 – Ecommerce Analytics (New) (3rd to go through)
  4. Course 4 – Mobile App Analytics Fundamentals (New) (4th to go through)

And now let’s see in brief what each of these courses will teach you.

Course 1 – Digital Analytics Fundamentals

In this course you’ll get a thorough introduction into the core principles of digital analytics with the aim of becoming more knowledgeable in all that digital measurement can offer for your business.

The course is divided into 6 Units and an assessment about which I’m not going to cover you all the details. However here are some of my own highlights I jotted down while listening to this course:

  • Avinash Kaushik’s definition of how he and last but not least you should interpret what digital analytics means to your business
  • the difference between micro and macro conversions
  • the emphasis on a continuous improvement of the whole process from measurement to reporting and from analysis to testing
  • data segmentation by date, time, device, marketing channels and other characteristics
  • the difference between a last-click and first-click attribution
  • the importance of creating a measurement plan and identification of your business objectives
  • the lack of structured thinking most organisations have
  • introduction into the 4 main components of the Google Analytics System (data collection, configuration, data processing and reporting)
  • the difference between a metric and a dimension
  • what is a session or a visit
  • the difference between measuring your website and a mobile application
  • the hierarchy of a Google Analytics Account, how it is structured
  • the importance of ordering your filters in the correct logical order
  • how to properly interpret and configure goal values against ecommerce values
  • link tagging with campaign parameters for accuracy of your Analytics reportings
  • the difference between a source, medium and a campaign
  • how ROI is being calculated
  • a walkthrough of all the reports Google Analytics has to offer from acquisition reporting to behavior reports and last but not least ecommerce and multi-channel reportings

START YOUR DIGITAL ANALYTICS FUNDAMENTAL COURSE

Course 2 – Google Analytics Platform Principles

At this stage you are supposed to have gone through each lesson in the Digital Analytics Fundamentals course (at least twice!) and now you are prepared to learn some more advanced aspects of the Google Analytics tool.

There are 4 units in this course in which you’ll learn more about how Google Analytics collects, transforms and organizes data into all the reports you can see under your Google Analytics account.

And here are some of my own highlights as well as what you’ll learn by taking these lessons:

  • what are the main components of the Analytics platform
  • what is a hit or interaction
  • where should the tracking code be embedded
  • how external Google and non-Google data can be imported into the Analytics system
  • understand how data sampling works and what benefits it has
  • how to properly combine metrics and dimensions to align with analytics data hierarchy (user, session, hit)

START YOUR ANALYTICS PLATFORM PRINCIPLES COURSE

Course 3 – Ecommerce Analytics (New)

Compared to previous courses, you’ll find the Ecommerce course rather interactive than plain video, so it’s quite of a fun going through these lessons.

Few of my own remarks and what you are expected to learn by watching through these lessons:

  • simple dashboard reporting for CEOs vs the more granular dashboards for marketing professionals
  • user and session based segmentation – helps you develop different profiles (ex buyers and non-buyers), makes us better uderstand visitor/user behaviors
  • multi-channel analysis – how certain channels and campaigns assist other channels and drive conversions
  • introduction into Enhanced Ecommerce reports
  • checkout analysis – why you might be considering the implementation of guest checkout
  • the importance of Product List Performance report to better visualise the performance of different on-site selling tools
  • the importance of the Shopping Behavior Analysis – to see where you’re losing customers throughout the checkout process

START YOUR ANALYTICS ECOMMERCE COURSE

Course 4 – Mobile App Analytics Fundamentals (New) (4th to go through)

I’ll make sure to keep you updated as soon as I’ll manage to provide more on this course 🙂 .

Step 3 – Some really useful advice

Step 4 – Take a full practice test then check your results

Now you reached the point when you’d listened and taken notes of each individual lessons of all the three courses needed to get you prepared for your GAIQ test. This is the point which reminds your college or high-school years when after many days of studying, you realised you knew nothing :).

Well, you shouldn’t worry, what you feel is natural and it happens with any of us. In order to make your life easier I have created a practice test, actually the one I took in May 2014 and passed with 84% (59 out of 70) though I hoped for something above 90% 🙂 . The scope of this test is to simulate the original one and I’m offering it for free.

To reach the test, please click here.

Step 5 – Register on Google Testing Center (GTC)

By this time you are really supposed to get fully prepared for taking the test. My advice is to schedule your test for the morning when you are completely relaxed and wide-awake 🙂 . Prior taking the test, you’ll need to register on Google Testing Center (GTC) but remember, here you’ll need a new account, not the regular Gmail account you might be using.

After registration and accessing the GTC platform, besides the Google Analytics Individual Qualification Exam you’ll find four additional AdWords Exams as well. The GAIQ test itself costs you $50 but since I’m so grateful, here are two voucher codes you can use and get 50% discount: BrianCliftonBook2010 or ‘PerformanceMarketing’.

In order not to get a Security validation failure you might need to access the above address on other browser or use the incognito mode of your regular one. When I took my GAIQ test I just used my regular browser without any problems however for AdWords exam I had to download the Testing Center browser, an .exe file which you can only run under Windows.

Anyway, I’m just trying not to miss anything critical to get you fully prepared.

The testing interface is really simple and effective. You can mark those questions you are not 100% sure of the correct answers, this way you can easily review them after going through all the questions.

After passing your GAIQ test

Hopefully you’ll pass your test and as soon as you did so, you’ll be awarded with a certificate, a downloadable PDF (looks pretty much of a diploma) and eventually you can use a badge (see below) on your own website.

Just in case you missed passing your exam ie you did not reach 80%, at the end of the test there will be listed all the topics on which you did not perform sufficient enough and you need some further improvements so that you can get more prepared for your second round in taking the test. As long as I know there are two occasions to take the test within a 30 day period of time, basically two times in a month, so no worries.

Analytics Qualified Individual

I really hope you found my guidelines helpful and wish all of you preparing for the GAIQ test to make it a success then share your experience lower in the comment section.

In addition I thought few of you would be willing to take their journey even further and become veterans or advocates in all that web analytics has to offer. Please go through the additional resources I have collected for you, they are really good stuff.

Further resources (books, blogs and courses)

This is optional and relates to those who have taken the test successfully and are eager to become professionals as digital data analysts.

Brian Clifton: Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics [Kindle Edition]

Brian Clifton: Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics [Kindle Edition]

Avinash Kaushik: Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity

Avinash Kaushik: Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity

Justin Cutroni: Google Analytics Pre-order [Paperback]

Justin Cutroni: Google Analytics Pre-order [Paperback]

Few resources for advanced training and courses:

And some other useful blogs covering all sorts of topics related to web analytics: