Whether it’s your first time writing the Google Ads exams, or you need to recap the annual renewal of your certificate, working through Google’s study materials can be a drag. As a specialist who’s written all the exams, I’ve had the opportunity to learn what works well and what doesn’t to help me pass. So let’s start.
1. Know your strengths and weaknesses before you start
There are various resources out there that can teach you how to pass the exams, but if you don’t know which learning style suits you, you’ll likely end up wasting your time. So take a quick learning style quiz if you have no idea which style suits you and map out your plan of attack.
Also, if you’ve never looked at a YouTube or Display Campaign, choosing that as your first Advanced Exam will be an uphill battle. Choose the Advanced Certification that you’re most familiar with.
2. How to prepare for the exam if you are a visual/spatial learners
I’m a mostly visual/spatial learner, so watching a video is one of the easiest ways for me to understand and remember the concept that is being explained to me. If you’re a visual learner, my recommendation is making use of the official “Refresher Course Videos” Google publishes every two years.
We’ve created a playlist with the most recent Google refresher course videos, at the time of writing this, on our channel that you can use to prepare for the exams.
These videos give you most of the key insights into what Google considers best practices, and will even highlight some of the questions you may be asked in the exam. Just remember that these will help you pass the exam, but they won’t make you a product specialist.
3. The strategy to follow if you’re a kinaesthetic (physical) learner
I would recommend starting with the Fundamentals refresher course listed in the playlist above to familiarise yourself with the key concepts of Google’s best practices.
Once you’ve passed the Fundamentals Exam, you can dive into YouTube again for step by step Tutorials on how to set up the various campaign types. Here are my tips for finding the right tutorials:
- Steer clear of videos created by Google; they’re not very in-depth and they only give you the principles, not the “where to click” advice.
- Find videos that show you how to work on the new Google Ads interface; these videos would have been published in 2018 and later.
- The longer the tutorial, the higher the likelihood that it will add value and teach you a few ins-and-outs that you weren’t aware of.
I found a step-by-step tutorial video for Search Advertising campaigns, published by Surfside PPC, that fulfils all of the above criteria that you can use as a guideline for the other specialisation videos.
4. Social /verbal learner? Attend Google’s official exam prep sessions
Google presents official classes at their local head office once or twice a year, depending on the demand. These sessions are free and are presented by local agency experts who can give you a couple of tips that have helped their clients grow with Google Ads.
The difficult part: getting notified of the upcoming courses and getting in.
There are various ways you can do this:
- Reach out to your local Google Ads office. This is tricky because finding a local office generally means that you will need to know in which city the local office is located in order to perform a search that gives you their contact details.
- Create a Google Partners profile with your Gmail address and join the local Google Ads community on Google+. You will need to request access to the group, but your Google Partners profile will be your ticket in. Reach out to the Community Moderator, and ask if they could point you in the right direction.
- Ask someone you know who’s already working for an agency that is a Google Partner to look out for upcoming training invitations and forward these to you. Register as soon as you receive that email – these classes tend to fill up quite quickly.
5. Google Academy for Ads for the solitary learner
Finally, for the solitary learner type who loves self-study, Google has created Academy for Ads, which is an amazing e-learning platform.
This rich resource will provide you with relevant content in preparation for the various exams. If you’re a seasoned Ads specialist, you can skip through the bits that you know and focus on the parts of the specialisation that are a bit fuzzy.
Each of the courses is mapped out to take approximately 3.5 – 5.5 hours to complete, but this is only if you do every section of the course. I’ve started using this resource more than the others because I get to choose which sections I need to cover simply because I do not use them as often in my day-to-day as others.
In short: Don’t take the shortcuts. Take the route that will teach you how to excel at Ads
There are other cheats you can implement to pass the Google Ads exams, like watching other people complete the various specialisations on YouTube. This will help you pass, and quickly, but it won’t make you an expert.
Rather take the route that teaches you how to drive value for your customers and you won’t have to worry about making unnecessary mistakes.