How to Pass the Adwords Fundamentals Exam

Summary: You need to get 85% of 120 questions correct to pass the exam – you have 120 minutes.  Study the account settings and structure, know the best practices from the learning center – which are often questions on the exam, and be able to identify the value in using AdWords and the technical details on how ads serve.

What to Expect on the AdWords Fundamentals Exam

The Fundamental Exam tests you on the raw basics of AdWords.  The best way to prepare for the exam is to setup a brand new campaign.  Go through the steps of each ad group, explore all of the setting options.  I cannot stress enough that you should actually do what you read about in the learning center.

As someone just starting out in search engine marketing, you probably are trying to be certified to gain expertise in your desired field.  This isn’t college, you need to do more than just skim the textbook before the test.  You don’t even have to spend any money to setup the account.

There are 120 questions on the fundamentals exam and you need to get 102 correct (85%).  You will have 120 minutes to complete the exam.

You should read through the entire learning center for the fundamental exam to get a strong grasp of what Google is asking about.  Pay close attention to these top 3 tips for passing the AdWords Fundamentals Exam

1.Know Account Structure and Settings

The exam will ask you many questions about settings.  Situational questions such as “Bob wants to focus on getting traffic to his website, what bidding option should he use?” come up. You need to decide whether you should bid using CPC, CPM, or use Conversion Optimizer.

Know the various options you can select at the campaign and ad group level. Even something as simple as how to set an alert can be asked.  I had never even heard about setting an alert and I didn’t need to for a $200 campaign for the AdWords Challenge.

2. Know Best Practices

The learning center has a section on best practices for nearly every section of the fundamentals exam study guide.  Know the examples that are provided in the learning center – they are used, almost verbatim, on the exam. I remember specific situational questions about how to structure your campaigns –  if you want to advertise on both the display and search network, setup two campaigns; if you have a large product offering, it would be best organized around product categories.

Google’s AdWords auction is trying to make three parties happy (link to Economists YouTube clip).  Make sure you can think about what’s best for the advertiser - apply the value propositions of AdWords to real business needs.  Know that the display network is good for branding and that Cost-Per-Acquisition is great for direct response.

3. Know What Makes AdWords Unique

AdWords emphasizes its Relevance, ROI, and Reach but you also need to know the technical details of how ads serve. Know technical details such as the calculation of Ad Rank (maximum CPC x Quality Score), how quality score is computed (mostly historical keyword CTR, relevance of ad and landing page, and more), and how does location and language targeting work.

I remember being stumped with language and location targeting.  In short, if you want to serve on German speakers in Switzerland, the user will have to use google.sw or have an IP address in Switzerland and have their account language preferences set to German.

Best Bet to Passing the AdWords Fundamentals Exam

You can only study so much for an exam after finishing school.  Follow this list, step-by-step, and you should do fine.

  1. Study the Learning Center material
  2. Complete all of the examples
  3. Actually setup an account
  4. Go through all of the settings’ options
  5. Take notes on technical differences

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