The New GAIQ EXAM: What You Need to Know

Google released a new version of the GAIQ last Wednesday. If you didn’t hear about it, you’re not alone. There wasn’t any fanfare, no major discussions in the marketing community. I only noticed because I started studying for the test right after the New Year. When I went to the Analytics IQ Lessons page it said the test would be updated on or around the 15th, and that to study for the new exam you needed to check out the Analytics Academy Digital Analytics Fundamentals course. Curious about the new exam, I waited for its release and (thankfully!) passed.

                               Photo via

Since I’ve come out the other side, I thought it might be useful for all of you to know what the new test entails.

Comparison to the last test:

Similar to the previous version of the test, there are a number of questions about filters, site search, metrics, and dimensions. In these questions, Google tests your understanding of definition nuances as well as your ability to use these features. The new exam differs from its predecessor in that many of the questions focus on Google Tag Manager, demographic reporting, measurement planning, and multichannel funnels. It’s a subtle shift away from focusing largely on how things were calculated, to including more measurement application, metric relationships, and newer features. Google wants to make sure that everyone is up-to-date and knows how to apply features in addition to how Google calculates them.

There are still only 70 questions to answer in the 90 minutes, and you still need an 80% to pass.

What you need to study:

To study for the exam, I read through all of the units (the text version is in the upper right hand corner) and then listened to the audio as I followed along inside of my Google Analytics account. Since Google actually takes exam questions from the unit reviews and practice test, make sure you’re comfortable with all of those questions and answers. (Thanks, Google!) I highly recommend that you read the “additional resources” in the right hand column of each unit; it’ll definitely help you out on a couple of questions.

Lessons from the Digital Analytics Fundamentals Course

If you only studied the units of Google’s Analytics Academy Digital Analytics Fundamentals Course, not the further reading, and practiced the questions I’d say you’d know about 60% of the material you need to pass this exam. Here are some lessons:

  • Know your definitions: There were a couple of questions that were based off the nuances of a definition. For example, an event is not just an interaction like watching a video but something that is tracked independently of a web page.

  • Know how to apply these definitions: One of the easiest questions on the exam was based on your knowledge of ROI. What’s your ROI if you spent X amount and you make back X amount? Applying goal (destination, duration, pages per visit, event) definitions was another popular exam focus.

  • Understand the practice questions: Like I said, a number of questions were very similar, if not word for word, to the practice exam.  If you understand the reasoning behind the practice questions’ answers, you’ll definitely be ahead of the curve.

  • Know the subtle differences between two related but different phrases: Goal and ecommerce tracking is a perfect example of this. When or how does a goal conversion count with either of these forms of tracking?

  • Know feature details: Since many of the questions were the “click all that apply” type, make sure you can list all the parts of a certain feature. For example, know all of the goal, channel, and attribution types and how you’d apply each one.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

While I read all of the units, listened to each one, took obsessive notes, and studied for what seemed like forever, there were a number of questions you couldn’t answer from the units and further reading alone. Some of the questions relied on you having further knowledge — both basic GA as well as a bit of more in-depth stuff. Here’s what else you need to know and study in order to pass the GAIQ exam.

1.     Google Tag Manager

While Google’s Tag Manager only received a passing mention in Analytics Academy, there was a fair amount of emphasis put on this product in the test. Google realizes that you know that it helps you to manage your tags, but they want to make sure you understand all of the perks of using it, how it works, account best practices, and what happens to GA code when you add tag snippets. To be honest, I was surprised about the number of Google Tag Manager questions I received, and wished I had studied up a little more on these two pages:

2.     Ecommerce

What does ecommerce tracking actually allow you to track? Product, transition, and time to purchase information, right? But what do each of those actually entail? If you don’t know, check out this page. The test, in addition to questioning you about ecommerce tracking and reporting, wants to make sure you know what Google allows you to keep tabs on. Remember that no personally identifiable information such as names or social security numbers can ever be sent to Google, while it’s fine to keep an eye on what products are bought, the amount of revenue generated, and tax information.

3.     Real Time

While the name may be self-explanatory, make sure you’re versed in what real time allows you to see on the site as well as how you can use the data. For example, does real time allow you to see how many people are on your site right now? Which goal conversions have occurred? Does it allow you to verify that tracking code is working on your site or app? If you answered yes to all of this then you’re probably all set but just to to be sure check out this page.  

4.     Demographics & Interest Data

The GAIQ exam calls for more extensive knowledge of the demographics and interest sections of the audience report than the additional resources page gives you.  As a result, I recommend you study this “Overview of Demographics and Interests Reports” page to make sure you understand what kind of data you get as well as the various ways you can access it. Don’t forget that you’re privy to this demographic and interest information thanks to DoubleClick third-party cookies, but only when that cookie is associated with a user. As a result, your demographic and interest data information may only represent a subset of your users.

5.     Intelligence

Unless I missed something, and I mean really missed something, there wasn’t anything about intelligence in Analytics Academy though it was definitely on the test. Intelligence reports, according to Google, allow you to “monitor your website’s traffic to detect significant statistical variations, and then automatically generates alerts, or Intelligence Events, when those variations occur.” These alerts can be automatic or custom in that they can be about any large changes Google finds or ones you’ve specified to be notified about. Understanding what situations call for intelligence reports will make the GAIQ test a bit easier; brush up on your intelligence knowledge.  

6.     Site Speed Report

The site speed report measures aspects of latency: page load time for a sample of pageviews, load time for a hit, how quickly information is parsed, and how quickly it’s available for user interaction. While I only had one question about latency, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you’re up to speed on everything site speed related.

7.     Filters & Views

The GAIQ asks a number of questions about how to use filters and views in tandem, and the resource, “about view filters” will be particularly helpful with these questions. Be able to list all of the predefined and custom filters listed in this resource, and study their three examples on how to use filters. Don’t forget that you can track traffic to a specific directory through a filter, and subdirectories through separate views.

8.     Dimension Widening & Measurement Protocol

Dimension widening and measurement protocol were both options to a couple of different exam questions, so they’re definitely worth reviewing. Dimension widening, according to Google’s Justin Cutroni, allows you to import additional metrics and dimensions so you can have better, more representative reporting. Measurement protocol is something entirely different. It’s a part of Universal Analytics that gives developers the ability to see how people interact with their business through a variety of different platforms. You can read more on both topics here:


Good luck, everyone!

While the test may have moved away from focusing largely on how analytics are calculated, it still forces you to practice applying general knowledge. This application, not the memorization of definitions, is the key to passing the GAIQ exam, illustrating that while the questions may have changed the test is still the same at its core. The more things change, the more they stay the same, no?  Good luck, everyone!

Have you taken the new GAIQ exam (launched January 15, 2014)? What were your thoughts? We’d love to hear them, as well as any advice you have for those about to take the new exam.

Morgan Chessman

Morgan Chessman

As a marketing analyst at Distilled, Morgan performs audits and writes marketing strategy reports. She’s particularly interested in how companies build online brand awareness and loyalty. In fact, it’s this fascination with marketing’s influence on...   read more

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  1. Bruce Werdschinski

    Thanks for the info Morgan, I last took the GAIQ test *years* ago and decided recently that it's time to get back up to speed so your post came at a great time :)

    I tend to focus on Ecommerce reports but know that there's so much more information to be gleamed from using the system in it's entirety. Time to hit the books! Thanks again for sharing your experience.

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      I'm so glad that it's coming in handy for you! There were a couple of Ecommerce report questions, but if you do that all day, you won't have any trouble there!

      Once you've taken the exam, I'd love to hear your thoughts about how the the new test compares to the old. Best of luck!

  2. Irina

    Thanks Morgan for the useful tips in the post. I'm currently preparing for the test, and was searching for somebody who will write about the new version :). I'll let you know how it was after the test.

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      Yes, Irina, please do! I'd love to hear your thoughts and see if there's anything else you think people should know! Good luck on the exam -- I'm sure you'll do great! :)

  3. Scott Prince

    Thanks for the heads up. I'm currently studying.

    reply >
  4. samrutha

    Thank you so much for this article! I was looking for articles from the date the pattern has changed.

    I am planning to take up the test within this month end!

    Just a query, does this test too allows us to pause and take the test within 120hrs of taking up the test? I also want to know how many time can we pause like that? I am sure we need more time in analyzing the questions this time.

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      You can definitely pause the test and finish taking it within a certain time frame, though to be honest, I can't remember what that time frame is. It is over several days, but I don't remember the specific number of hours. Sorry about that!

      As far as the number of times we're able to pause the test, Google didn't specify. I paused it a number of times without issue or warning, so perhaps there isn't a limit? If you find out otherwise when you take the test, please let us know!

      Good luck with the test!

  5. This is very comprehensive and I like the big picture "may have moved away from focusing largely on how analytics are calculated, it still forces you to practice applying general knowledge."

    The AdWords certification exams haven't changed at all, even though the certification itself (the new Google Partners Program) recently underwent a complete overhaul. I wonder if this is a sign that either the AdWords tests will also change soon, or if the GAIQ program that the GAIQ test is for will change?

    reply >
    • Hey Keith! I feel like the AdWords exams have definitely changed over the years, but probably in less ways than the GAIQ. The first time I took the AdWords exam I didn't have any questions about the API. When another Distiller took it the same year, they had a more API concentrated Fundamentals test.

      The questions have changed to reflect updates & enhancements within AdWords, but overall the purpose of the platform hasn't changed so the test hasn't undergone massive overhaul.

      However GA's almost repurposing itself to allow room for different conversations from the data of how customers use the site, so the update & move to Partners was probably just coincidental. AdWords is also taking the Partners umbrella but the test (to my knowledge) hasn't changed and will not likely change massively unless the platform's function changes to the same degree.

      For example, if instead of advertising primarily on search, display, and video, AdWords rolled out a content advertising platform like Outbrain & included it as a secondary functionality of AdWords, then that would likely change the test. But "smaller" changes in how we manage accounts (enhanced campaigns) just shift where we find our information.

      Let me know if you have more questions!

    • Morgan Chessman

      Jasmine did a great job of covering your first question about potential changes to AdWords. Thanks, Jasmine! As far as your other questions, about whether or not the GAIQ Program will change, it already has.

      In the past when you studied for the GAIQ, you'd go to the Analytics IQ Lessons page. When I went navigated there in the week or so before the new test was released, the old modules were there but there was also a blurb that told me that in order to study for the new exam, I needed to check out the Analytics Academy Digital Analytics Fundamentals course. Now that they've released the new test, the modules that used to be on the Analytics IQ Lessons page are gone and you're directed to the Fundamentals course.

      I'm really glad that they updated the course materials. They better reflect what's going to be on the exam. I'd love to hear from someone who's gone through both training programs though to see which they prefer and how they feel they differ.

  6. Thanks for the tips Morgan! The last time I took the test must have been at least 2 years ago. I made it a goal at the start of this year to regain that certification so this definitely helps me prepare for it!

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      It was a New Year goal for me as well, Jackson! Best of luck and here's to New Year goals being met!

  7. Thanks for the updated info! I've been wanting to take the exam for awhile but really started hitting the books hard after the New Year. I certainly appreciate you sharing your experience! I am hoping to take it in February.

    reply >
  8. Andy Kordyban

    Hey Morgan, thanks very much for your help and insights for the updated GAIQ Exam!

    I started studying for it in the fall then got sidetracked (one of my faults haha) and was waiting to see what changes the course would take once Universal Analytics was phased in completely. Were there any questions on Universal Analytics whatsoever?

    From what you have written it looks like the 4 areas you need to focus on are 1) The lesson notes, 2) The additional reading, 3) The Google Analytics Help section, and 4) Portions of the Google Analytics Developers Section.

    Great to see an updated post on the course updates... great job!


    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      Hey Andy!

      Thanks for your feedback; it's much appreciated! As far as questions about Universal Analytics, I didn't get any that specifically mentioned Universal Analytics though I did get a few that mentioned it in more abstract terms. For example, a couple of questions gave "Measurement Protocol" as an answer and there was a question about custom dimensions and metrics. If you study the "About Universal Analytics" page, as well as know a little bit about each hyperlink, you should be more than fine. Since Universal Analytics is the new operating standard for Google Analytics, I think they tried to stay away from using the term "Universal Analytics" on the exam.

      As far as what to study, you're spot on! Hope the studying goes well!

  9. Still now I never heard about this. Thanks for sharing with us.

    reply >
  10. Lisa B

    What are the benefits to studying, taking and passing this exam? Besides personal gain/education, does passing the exam give you access to anything or a certificate to promote your knowledge?

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      While some people may care that you've passed the GAIQ, others won't. Taking it has more to do with personal gain/education, though you can get a certificate that proves you've passed.

  11. Gustavo Matto

    Thanks a lot, Morgan! I wrote Justin Cutroni from Twitter and he told me the material will be updated, but he didn't told me that GAIQ test material would be replaced by the Analytics Academy Fundamentals one.
    Other thing I wanted to ask you is the link where you access the GAIQ test, I thougt it was removed.
    Regards from Argentine, and apologize my poor english.

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      Hi Gustavo,

      Great question! I think you're right in that the Analytics Academy Digital Analytics Fundamentals course may be an updated version of the Analytics IQ Lesson. Since the Analytics IQ Lesson isn't around anymore, use the Analytics Academy Digital Analytics Fundamentals course to study.

      You can take the exam here!

      Best of luck to you, Gustavo!

  12. Outi

    Hi Morgan,
    Thanks for the information regarding the new IQ test. When is the closing date for the test? When does it have to bee taken by?

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      Hi Outi,

      There isn't a closing date for the test! You can study for it and take it at your leisure.

      Best of luck with studying!


  13. Nati Lopez

    Hi Morgan! I completed the Analytics Academy course back in October and was wondering if the information that they give out in the course is enough to pass the iQ exam. From reading the comments I gathered that there are more in depth questions and the course seemed to cover general ideas but not necessarily specifics.

    Thanks! great post!

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      Hi Nati,

      If you studied from the Analytics Academy course, did the additional readings they suggested, as well as brushed up on the links I provided in my post you should be all set. Previous to studying I had very limited GA knowledge (I had always worked with Omniture and HubSpot software). Studying for the GAIQ was how I learned GA, and it was enough for me to pass. I think the more specific parts you're seeing in the comments have to do with knowledge application. If you can apply the knowledge in a way similar to how you have to in the practice questions, you're golden.

      Hope that helps! Happy to help if you have any more questions. Best of luck when you do take the exam!

  14. Rebecca Yu

    I did take the GAIQ on Feb 7th, 2014 but failed 78% only. I did notice Google removed the video tutorials but I didn't know they will change GAIQ questions a lot.
    I went through the Google Analytics Academy last October but there's no live event after the assessment test at that time.
    Thank you for listing "What Else Do I Need to Know?". Yes, when I taking the test, there are a lot of new questions like related Tagmanager, Adwords, Intelligence(I never heard of that before I took this test).
    Do I need to go through the help center?

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      Oh man, Rebecca! You were so close! Just two points away! I'm disappointed for you.

      While Google removed the old Analytics IQ Lessons videos, there are videos in the Analytics Academy Digital Analytics Fundamentals course that will help you to learn about 60% or so of the information you need to pass the GAIQ. While the Fundamentals course is no longer run live, it doesn't need to be. All the information is the same, you just go through it at your own pace.

      As far as reading through the Help Center, it's up to you. While there's some great information in there, most of the info you need to know for the exam will be covered in the Fundamentals course + the couple of help pages I provided in the post. There's a lot of good information in the Help Center, you just don't need to know ALL of it to pass the exam.

      Hope this helps! Best of luck as you get ready to take the exam again!

  15. Jamir

    Morgan Morgan Morgan... God Bless your soul ! Gave my GAIQ test today and passed.

    Background: I had no idea what GAIQ was until a few weeks ago...had zero background/experience in this field...basicallyyy... everything was new to me.
    Why i gave it you ask...sheer curiosity at first...or idk it may open a few more doors perhaps....nonetheless definitely good to have for sure.

    Your Blog: Read tons n tons of blogs but the content and info you provided was totally bang on...completely up to date. I couldn't have asked for more.The 7 additional readings are key for anyone who wants to pass the exam. I dont think i would have passed without it.

    Study/Readings: I also took an obsessive amount of notes as well which was a bit overwhelming but they helped throughout i guess it was worth it.

    A)Cheat sheet,
    B) Jens Sorensen notes
    C) the Google Analytics Test Questions (def tough but it gives you a really good understanding of GA)
    D) Google Analytics Help Center (i used this a lot)
    were all very helpful as well.

    Well, thats my 2 cents.. hope it helps the next person how it helped me.
    All in all it was a good experience... interesting course and learned a lot.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us Morgan. Will definitely be recommending this blog to all my friends.
    Gonna take a crack the Adwords certification now.

    Thanks again!



    Sidenote: answers to the Google assessment practice test (why not)

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      Jamir, thanks for your kind words! It's much appreciated. :) Congrats on passing the exam and good luck with your AdWords certification!

  16. Aaron

    Thank you for this! An excellent breakdown of what to prepare for by catergory - very useful.

    I skimmed the previous comments and didn't see anyone who is having the same problem I am...I can't find the test itself. I've gone through the course, got 100% on the practice exam, and have checked the resources page. But I can't find the Google Analytics IQ test page. No link to it from the academy page, not in the resources. I've been Google searching for a link, but all I'm finding are study guides, but no link to the test itself. Was the link removed/changed? Does anyone have a direct link to the test? Not to the academy, but the URL of the start page of the test itself?


    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      Hey Aaron,

      It is strange that Google doesn't have a more obvious link to the exam from the fundamentals course, isn't it? Here's a link to Google's Testing Center. Once you log in, you should be able to select the GAIQ exam. It's not intuitive, that's for sure. :)

      Sounds like you're going to nail this exam! Good luck and definitely let us know if there's anything else people should study before taking the exam!

  17. Monica

    When will they be doing the test again?

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      The test is always up! You can take it whenever you feel ready and have the time.

    • Monica

      Thank you. I think I got confused, so I read in the FAQ that you cannot become certified though after Oct.30. But that they would leave the test up, but you can't get any kind of proof of proficiency until they allow for that again, so then it said Jan.15. But I missed that one. So that's what I mean, are they going to put a date for certification again? Or is that something different? I'm very confused :(

  18. Morgan Chessman

    Hi Monica,

    I believe that you used to be able to get proof that you had passed the Fundamentals Course, but that after a certain date you couldn't. If I remember correctly (and I could definitely be wrong) the fall time frame you mention was when that ended. Maybe that's the documentation you saw? If so, that was referencing the learning course, not the GAIQ exam itself. That exam is always open and doesn't have specific dates.

    If you can find those dates again, I'd love to see them and help you out. :)

    reply >
  19. Neha Trivedi

    Hi Monika,

    I have made payment for the GAIQ test today. I want to take the test on 31.03.2014. After what duration of making the payment does the test expire?

    reply >
    • Morgan Chessman

      Hi Neha,

      I've done a lot of research, but can't actually find the answer to your question. If you find out, please let us know here!



    • Rahul Singh

      Hi Neha,
      " Your test will be available until you are ready to take it. There is no expiration date until the test has become started on your account. Once the test is started you will have 120 hours to complete the test before it expires. "

  20. Kim

    Did you know there is still a watermark on your image of a puzzled mind?

    reply >
  21. Harriet Cummings

    Hi Kim, thanks so much for flagging this up. We're usually very careful with the images we use but this one obviously slipped through the net. I've taken it down now. Thanks.

    reply >

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