Updated on 19 February 2015 

Last year two of us here at Bootcamp Media gained Individual Google AdWords Qualifications. In this post we’ll share our experiences and show you what to expect when you take the AdWords exams. We have updated the post to reflect the recent changes in the certification process.

What is Google AdWords certification

Google AdWords Certification Program is a globally recognised certificate which showcases the knowledge and proficiency in AdWords advertising.

Is it worth it? – Benefits of getting certified.

Being certified by Google themselves is a great thing. It’s a great certification to prove your Pay Per Click skills and it will come in very useful regardless of your role – be it PPC agency, freelance or inhouse. Your Individual Qualification can be put on your CV or it can be used as a way of marketing your skills as an account manager.

If you are looking for a job, this will certainly help you more than any other qualifications. Using tools such as Google AdWords, Analytics and DoubleClick, the Adwords certification covers the fundamental aspects of online advertising and campaign management.

AdWords is also a great opportunity to test your skills even if you are a seasoned PPC advertiser like ourselves. Tom and Luke have been working with AdWords for a number of years. They are also ex members of the Google AdWords Engage for Agencies programme (now Google Partners) but until last year, they never had time to take the exams.

how to pass google adwords certification exam

Getting Started

Okay, so firsty you have to start with joining the Google Certification Program. Get started here https://www.google.com/partners/

You will need to sign up to Google Partners https://support.google.com/partners/answer/3125774?hl=en&ref_topic=3125860 in order to take the exams and get certified. Once you have completed your profile you’ll be able to get on with studying for the exams.

Preparing for the exams

How to prepare for your exams using the exam study guides

In order to get your certification you’ll have to pass two exams. The Fundamentals exam plus one of two Advanced exams. You have a choice of two, Search Advertising and Display Advertising. Each exam and the training is now completely FREE.

The best way to prepare is by learning through the GCP study guides, there are available in the partner help centre https://support.google.com/partners/topic/3204437?hl=en&ref_topic=3111012. By joining Google Partners you will have free access to these study guides and the latest product training. These tools offer comprehensive training lessons providing you with all the information you need to know about the AdWords program.

The training sessions cover a variety of AdWord topics offering extremely valuable information on becoming an Adwords professional.  All the information you need to know about the exams is here https://support.google.com/partners/answer/3153810?hl=en&ref_topic=3203989

The Fundamentals exam

The Fundamentals exams covers the very basic aspects of AdWords and online advertising. Topics that you will study are online advertising, including account management and the value of search advertising. This is the first exam you’ll have to take, it’s a multiple choice test. There are 100 questions and a time limit of 120 minutes (two hours). To pass this exam you will need to achieve a score of 85% or above. The new Google Advertising Fundamentals exam covers a broader range of topics to better showcase the expertise of our Google certified partners.

Download the Fundamentals PDF https://support.google.com/partners/answer/3045820?hl=en&ref_topic=2799680

The modules covered in this exam are:

  • Introduction to AdWords
  • Account management
  • Campaign and ad group management
  • Keyword targeting
  • Language & location targeting
  • Ad formats
  • Budgets and bidding
  • Measurement and optimisation
  • Performance, profitability and growth
  • Managing multiple accounts

The Advanced Exam.

When you have completed the Fundamentals exam you will then be required to take the Advanced Exam where you can either chose to sit the Display Advanced or Search Advanced exam.

The Search Advertising Advanced Exam and Display Exam each allow you to show specialised knowledge within AdWords, which can help you if you offer particular services in addition to basic account management. Again, you will have 120 minutes to complete each exam.

Search Advanced –

The Search Advanced exam covers intermediate to advanced best practices for managing AdWords campaigns.

Download the Search Advanced PDF https://support.google.com/partners/answer/3045822?hl=en&ref_topic=2792638

Modules covered in this exam

  • Search fundamentals review
  • Ad formats
  • Ad & site quality
  • AdWord tools
  • Performance monitoring and reporting
  • Optimizing performance
  • Performance, profitability and growth
  • AdWords API

Display Advanced –

The Display Advanced Exam covers intermediate-to-advanced best practices for advertising on YouTube and the Google Display Network.

Download the Display Advanced PDF https://support.google.com/partners/answer/3045849?hl=en&ref_topic=20317

Modules covered in this exam

  • Display ads and the Google Display Network
  • Display ads on Youtube
  • Display ads on mobile devices

Be warned – It ain’t easy. The questions are all multiple choice but you will only have a limited amount of time to answer them. Cheating is impossible due to the tight restrictions on time limit.

Once you begin the exam you can’t pause the timer, it is highly important that you take the exam in a location where you won’t be disturbed.

Unfortunately if your computer shuts down or browser closes the clock keeps ticking and you will not be able to regain the time you’ve lost. If this should happen, you can email [email protected] who will ask you to describe your situation and then it will be reviewed.

The passing score for the Fundamentals exam is 85%

The passing score for the Advanced Search Advertising  exam is 80%

The passing score for the Advanced Display Advertising exam is 70%

What if I fail?

If you fail the test it’s not a problem, you can retake the test every seven days, however you will have to pay the registration fee each time so you are encouraged to make use of the study guides to prepare yourself fully.

After the Exam

In order to stay certified you will have to retake the exams, for the Fundamentals exams it will be every 2 years and for both Advanced Exams will be every year.
With the program’s unique qualification system, marketing and training materials, you can gain AdWords knowledge, receive Google recognition, and increase your chances to make more money
Passing the exam can bring you many benefits with regards to your career, if you’re currently looking for a job this could be the perfect qualification to have.


This guide is also available in French.