Tips for Taking the Google Analytics IQ Test, 2011 Edition

I first passed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification test in 2009; since the certification is only good for 18 months, that means I was up for re-qualification this year.

I took the test — and passed it — again this November. (Yay!)

Here’s what I’ve learned after two years and two different test-taking experiences.

Test basics

As before, the test is priced at $50 and your Individual Qualification is valid for 18 months. But now, you must score 80% or higher (rather than 75%) to pass.

Also as before, you’ll have a total of 90 elapsed minutes to complete the test’s 70 multiple-choice questions, and you can pause and come back within a time period of 120 hours (5 days).

As you go through the questions, you can right click to strike through any answers that are obviously incorrect. If this functionality was available before, I don’t remember it; I definitely found it helpful for some of the trickier questions.

If you’re uncertain if any of your responses, mark those questions for completion later. This puts them into a list that you can review before submitting, or at any time during the test.

If you don’t pass the test, you can re-take it again — but you have to wait 14 days and pay another $50. Learn more with Google’s FAQ on the IQ test.

Test prep

The best way to prepare remains by reviewing the extensive series of Conversion University videos. This time, I took some notes as I viewed them so I’d have them available for reference as I took the test.

Example test questions content

Once again, the set of questions you’re presented with will vary from person to person. So knowing the exact list of questions one person was asked will not tell you what questions to expect on your own test.

Having said that, here are some examples of the question content from the test I took:

  • Why you wouldn’t see CPC data in your reports, and how to configure a profile to see only CPC data.
  • How and why to use virtual page views, and the use of _trackPageView().
  • Attributes tracked when manually tagging an AdWords campaign.
  • A word problem on filtering that described the way a site constructed the URLs for its product pages and then asked which set of filters would produce the desired result.
  • Using Urchin and Google Analytics together.
  • How to track custom search engines.
  • What a high bounce rate on a landing page associated with a keyword suggests.
  • Goals: how many you can have, how they’re tracked.
  • Best practices for creating profiles vs. accounts for multiple clients.
  • Tracking the number of transactions vs. tracking the number of goal completions on an e-commerce site.
  • Understanding $Index.
  • How Google Analytics tracks visitors and the difference between first-party and third-party cookies.
  • Filter order and whether it’s important.

Looking at this list, you can see that the test content covers the major areas of functionality and concepts for Google Analytics.

So imagine you are creating the IQ test for someone else. What questions would you ask? You can get pretty close to the real thing by watching the Conversion University videos, looking at the subject matter groups they are arranged by, and then making a list of the main topic items for your questions.

What to watch out for

Google is in the middle of transitioning Analytics from the old interface to the new, entirely redesigned version. As of this writing, account owners can choose which version to view, but the new version will become the only option in January 2012.

The test question material didn’t rely on the version of the interface you’re using in order to determine the right answers to the questions.

However, the Conversion University videos are still using screen images from the old version.

If you think you’d find this confusing, you may want to wait to review for the test until Google has updated the videos to reflect the new Analytics UI.

(And we’re still waiting for an official graphic badge that Individually Qualified analysts can use to promote their now-certified Analytics expertise.)

Your turn

Have you taken the Google Analytics IQ test recently? What did you find most challenging? What would you change about the test? Let us know!

Find out what your website’s data is really telling you about your site performance. Our team of Google Analytics Individually Qualified experts can help. Contact us today.
[Photo credit: Blue Fountain Media, Flickr Creative Commons]

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