If you are looking to become a certified Google Partner and AdWords certification looms in your future, you are no doubt wondering what you’ll be up against. As a recent “graduate” myself, I wanted to share some tips about how to best approach the following tests:


Fundamentals Exam: You’ll be tested on the most basic aspects of AdWords and online advertising.  This will include account management and the overall value of search advertising.

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Questions: 90
  • Passing Percentage: 85%

Advanced Search Exam: This exam truly covers the management of AdWords campaigns in all their intricacy. Some may find this test to be intermediate and some may find it to be more advanced, it truly depends on your AdWords campaign management experience.

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Questions: 99
  • Passing Percentage: 80%

Tips for Google AdWords Exam Success 

  1. Use the study guides from Google. Google provides comprehensive study guides for all of the exams they offer. Be sure to set aside ample time to review the information. Or, if you’re fairly well-versed in AdWords, you can still set aside time to brush up!
  2. Know how AdWords Accounts are set up. Both exams will question you on how accounts are set up. For example, on which level is location targeting set up? It’s good to know what you can accomplish from each level.
  3. Know your formulas. How is ROI calculated? What about Ad Rank? Be sure that you know the formulas and understand how they work.
  4. Know your symbols. Ever use AdWords editor? You are going to want to know what the symbols and colors mean. In addition, you will want to know what symbols are associated with what keyword match types.
  5. Brush up on best practices. The tests will present you with situations asking “what should you do?” For example, you may be asked how can a company increase sales during certain hours and which AdWords feature can help? Be ready to provide more thoughtful answers.
  6. Understand conversion optimizer. What are the goals of conversion optimizer? How does it work? You will want to be familiar with this for the advanced exam.
  7. Become familiar with mobile ads. Google knows that mobile is the future of advertising, and they want to make sure you know how to optimize your campaigns for it. What are the best practices? Are there special requirements?
  8. Search or display network? Know your different network options, their capabilities, and which networks are recommended for which purposes.
  9. Take practice tests. There are some online practice tests available for free as well as some that require payment. If anything, you will at least be able to gauge what you need to brush up on as well as how to manage your test taking time.
  10. Don’t stress. The best thing about these exams is that you can retake them if it doesn’t go your way the first time!

Success in passing the exams truly depends on your AdWords campaign management experience. I found that the easiest questions for me to answer were ones that I had real world experience with.

On a final note, when you do take the exams, be prepared to see a tiny clock ticking down your minutes as you answer questions.  In retrospect, I should have put a Post-it on my screen!