This week’s been quite a milestone: I became a Google Adwords certified individual.
While it may not be such a big deal to most people, it is significant to me. You see, while I’ve been in the search industry for a few years now, I didn’t dabble with actual paid search till the 4th quarter of 2011. Before that, everything about it was a blur to me. And then I was given a chance to pick up paid search management and I found out that it was actually quite interesting – and learned more and more about it on the job, with every new campaign that I had to handle.
So coming from a purely SEO (Search Engine Optimization) background, I’ve certainly come a long way with this certification.
Let me get to the exam details. First of all, to get certified, you need to pass 2 exams:
1) Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam &
2) Advanced Advertising Exam (which comes in 3 specialization – you just need to choose one).
It was all about expectations vs reality, especially for the Fundamentals exam. I expected something simpler and less tricky. Also, I expected myself to breeze through the test as I do use Adwords on a daily basis. But alas, that was my main fatal error – just because you use Adwords frequently and is fairly familiar with it, does not automatically help you ace the test. It was a culture shock for me, and I failed. By 2%. (I got an 83% when the passing mark is 85%). Actually, my two other colleagues who took the test with me also flunked it and we were sorely disappointed.
So we waited a week (you can only retake the exam after 7 days), and this time we took the test in the morning (instead of late afternoon like the first time) – when our minds are still fresh. Because we knew exactly what to expect, it was a more relaxed experience and all of us made it through! And I did better than expected (seriously).
So this week we did our Advanced Exam – all of us chose to do the Search Advertising one. This time, it was 109 questions in 2 hours. And this was the most challenging and stressful 2 hours ever! Not only were the questions still tricky, it was also wordier – which makes it extra difficult. I almost didn’t have time to finish it, and panicked halfway through. At question 53, I only had 50 minutes left on the clock. Panicked to the max, and then I made myself calm down. I managed to (somehow) finish 15 minutes before time was up, and had a bit of time to double check my answers.
But it was still scary how fast time went by!
Thankfully, all 3 of us passed the test – tho this time I didn’t quite ace it. The passing mark was 80%, and I was darn lucky to have gotten 83%!
And today, in my inbox, came a link to my certificate. Yup, you won’t get a physical certificate – but you can print out the PDF version of it if you need to. Stay digital, save the earth you know?