A-Z of Passing the Google Adwords Exam

This guide covers the complete process on passing your Google Adwords exam, from how to sign up for a Partners account, through preparation, taking the exam, and post exam tips.

You can sit the Google AdWords exams at any point in time but you must meet the criteria to be eligible for the certificate. The requirements vary depending on whether you want to become Individually Qualified, or a Google Certified Partner.

About individual qualification.

There is a process to follow if you are a new candidate wishing to join Google Partners and study to take the exams.


The golden rule in this process is, make sure that you use the same log in details right across the full process!

First things first: what do we need to prepare for the exam?

  • Sign up for a Gmail account
  • Sign up for a MCC account
  • Sign up for a Partners account

Are you ready? Here we go!

  1. Go to Gmail sign up page; click 'New to Gmail? Create an account'
  2. On the 'Create a new Google account' page, fill in all required fields. Enter the captcha data, and click to continue to your Gmail account.
  3. You will be presented with a screen asking if you would like to add a phone number or extra data to secure your account, after completing this, click continue and you will see your new Gmail account.
  1. In a new tab, go to MCC login page, click sign up now
  2. Under the heading "Which best describes you?" Choose option 1 "I have an email address and password I already use with Google services like AdSense, Gmail, YouTube or Google+"
  3. Under the heading "Do you want to use this as your MCC login", choose option 1, "Yes, I want to use my current Google account"
  4. Add the same sign in details used for your Gmail account to the appropriate fields and click 'Sign in'
  5. Set all general information that is requested including your time zone, currency and your MCC name as it will appear to your clients, click continue
  6. Accept the terms of use set out by Google and click continue
  7. You will see "Congratulations! Your email address has been verified", click the link 'Proceed to your MCC account'
  1. In a new tab, go to the Google Partners home page, click 'I'm an agency' (this is what you click even if you're an individual)
  2. On the next page, click 'Become a Partner' on the top right of the screen
  3. Agree to terms on 'First a few words from our friendly lawyers' page
  4. You will be taken to the 'Complete my Profile' page

Complete Profile information

Google Partners complete my profile screenshot

You will need to populate the fields with the requested information, such as your job function, the markets and industry you work within etc. You can also set your email notifications from this page. There is no 'Save' button, but your information is stored when you navigate away from the page regardless.

Linking of MCC with Partners account:
There is an automatic linking process between the different platforms due to the same account details being used throughout; one thing less to link is good news!

What about adding a company?

If your an individual you don't need to add company information to be able to take the exams. You can skip this step, and it will not cause any issues.

And Finally!

After completing all of these steps, you will be able to see the heading 'Certifications' within the left hand navigation panel. From here, you can click to select AdWords, and you will be able to take the exams for free. Hooray!

You will need to take the 'Advertising Fundamentals Exam' plus one of the 'Advanced Exams' to become qualified.

You may wish to read our blog post Big changes for AdWords Partners Exam prior to taking the Advertising Fundamentals exam. It contains all the information that you need to know about the exam specifics and interface behaviour.

Thorough preparation is essential in order to succeed with the AdWords exams. Putting in the time and effort will truly pay off when you know that you have studied and you achieve your desired grade.

Give yourself the best chance of passing and a smooth and stress free revision experience by following these tips -

Allow yourself a quiet, clear and well lit space to study
There’s nothing worse than that feeling of frustration or overwhelmingness that can come from noise and distraction. It will cause your learning process to become drawn out and unpleasant. Also, a clear space can make it easier to concentrate. Good lighting will aid in better concentration too and prevent tired eyes and headaches.

Plan to revise in a realistic way that works for you
Locking yourself in a room and trying to tackle it all in a single day is going to cause a headache and possibly disappointment too. Plan your revision whether you schedule an hour or two per day into your work plan, or an hour in the evening at home. Take some time to think about your own revision style and focus on maintaining a steady pace. Remember to make sure that you take regular breaks with time to relax so that your mind stays fresh and interested.

You can sit the Google AdWords exams online, whenever you want. There is no scheduled exam date upon signing up for the programme; you just sit it when you’re ready. The flexibility is very convenient. However, it’s important to remain focused with the study material. We recommend deciding on a study schedule and sticking to it.

Note making is essential
We are all individual, we all absorb information at different rates and through different methods. Take some time to think about how you best absorb information, whether you make notes, draw diagrams or flowcharts to remember layout and processes or stick post it notes around your home/office etc. These prompts are going to be a valuable aid in learning and taking the exam. Some people like to use memory techniques such as mind mapping. Others may find that they learn more visually for example and highlighting key points of information with a marker may help to digest it more easily.

Make use of the learning material, time and technology available
There’s a wealth of learning material available within the AdWords Certification centre pages. It is important to thoroughly read all of this material, as the exams are based on it. Make sure you click all of the links within each category and thoroughly digest the information written. Break it down into ‘bite size chunks’, as in, don’t try to digest multiple chapters in one sitting. There are no extra points awarded for speed reading pages of information! Also, as the information is so readily available online, you could be anywhere with a laptop or portable device and still able to get an hours worth of study done.

Use different learning resources to keep you engaged during the learning process Listening to a Google AdWords webinar, using the AdWords online classroom or watching the Google AdWords business channel on YouTube for example can be a great way to pick up additional information if you find that your learning style is auditory. However, many of the webinars and Learning video’s contain slides and account demonstrations, these really are valuable if you feel that you are lacking in understanding on certain elements of navigation.

Having an AdWords account is vital
It’s important to comprehend the inner workings of AdWords. If you haven’t got access to a working account (and this is by far the best way that I would recommend), at least sign up for one and create a campaign, ads groups, ads and keywords etc, explore and make sure you are familiar with the layout and various tabs, that you understand various settings, report types and billing etc. Whilst the exam is based on Learning Center material, some questions will test your knowledge with certain “what if?” scenarios. Applying your knowledge to an account will help the information to stay fresh in your mind, further your abilities with navigation, and deepen your understanding of the inner workings of the account that are essential when taking the exam.

Communication can be an important factor in learning
If others around you are preparing for the exams at the same time, schedule a study group or meeting. This way you can all help each other with strengths and weaknesses. You could test each other on common terms and best practices and discuss what you are learning to make sure that you have a correct understanding of the information.

Get a feel for the exam
We also strongly encourage exam candidates to prepare using our revision questions. Our questions are written in a similar style and theme as the exam, so they can be a very useful guide of what to expect, and also of how ready you actually are to take the real test. Our questions also enable candidates to benchmark their performance, allowing users to learn about any areas of possible weakness that could be improved upon. Practice what you have learned, lots of our users say that using practice questions has given them the edge on taking the exam. Knowing you have taken the appropriate amount of time to prepare and also having a good idea of what to expect can take all of the stress out of the whole process.

TIP: Don’t take the test before you are ready! There’s nothing worse than an exam fail to fill you with self-doubt!

So you’ve done all the preparation. What’s next?

Here's What You Need to Know
When you feel ready to take the exams, you will need to log into your Google Partners account.

Here are the steps to navigate to the exam:

  1. Once logged in, click ‘AdWords’ under ‘Certifications’ within the left-hand navigation panel. You will be presented with a page displaying each of the AdWords exams.
  2. Hover your mouse cursor over the appropriate exam and click the ‘Exam Details’ button. This takes you to the information page for the specific exam you gave chosen, and details such as number of questions, duration, passing score and validity are given. The study materials for the chosen exam are also displayed on this page, they are the same study materials as shown in the AdWords Certification Center.
  3. Click ‘Take Exam’, and a new window will open in your browser. Within the new window you will see the following instructions displayed- “Once you confirm your answer to any question, you will not be able to change your answer or review the question. If you choose to end the exam early or close your browser window, your progress will not be saved and your exam will not be scored.”
  4. Make sure you are completely ready at this point, because once you click the ‘Start Exam’ button, you will be looking at the first question on the exam, and the clock with begin counting down.

Exam Tips

  • You cannot pause the exam. Make sure you have taken a “bio break”, have your coffee or cold drink prepared and your notes by your side.
  • Each of the exams has a two-hour time limit, and a two-hour countdown is provided in the bottom right corner of your screen. You will see a status bar in the bottom left of the screen showing your percentage of questions completed.
  • The exam is multi-choice. Read the answer options thoroughly; some of them can be rather tricky. Choose your answer carefully, once you have clicked ‘Confirm Answer’ you cannot change it.
  • After clicking to submit all of your answers for marking, you will be immediately presented with your score.

Each of the exams has a different number of questions and passmark
Fundamentals: 90 questions and 85% pass mark required
Search Advanced: 99 questions and 80% pass mark required
Display Advanced: 90 questions and 70% pass mark required

If you pass the exam on your first attempt, well done!

Where is my Certification Status Displayed?

Upon viewing your final score, you can click the ‘Close Exam’ button. This closes the window in which you took the exam, so you will be back in the original Partners account tab again. Although you have just seen your score in the previous window, it can take up to 48 hours to show that you have passed or failed the exam within your partners Certifications/AdWords tab. Before you can become individually qualified, you will need to successfully pass both the Advertising Fundamentals and one of the Advanced exams.

How Can I Display My Certification Status To Others?

Once you have passed the Advertising Fundamentals exam plus one of the Advanced exams, you will be able to print a certificate and set your partners profile to 'public' so you can share your certification status with others.

To View And Print Your Certificate:

  1. Sign in to your Google Partners account, and click the ‘My profile’ link in the ‘Overview’ section.
  2. Click the ‘AdWords Certified’ link, this will open your printable certificate.
  3. As well as printing the certificate, you can also save it to your desktop to share with potential clients.

To Make Your Profile Page Public:

  1. Select the ‘My Profile’ page link from the menu.
  2. Visit the ‘Public Profile’ section of this page (The default setting for your profile ensures that your public profile page is visible only to you).
  3. To make your profile visible to others, click the ‘Share with’ drop-down menu and select ‘Public.’
  4. You can now click the ‘View Profile’ link and begin sharing your page with others.
  5. If you’re signed in to your Partners account, your profile’s visibility status is shown at the top of the page. You can change it from public back to private whenever you wish.

Once your page is visible, a viewer can click the AdWords link under certifications and your certificate will pop up on screen too.

If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, fear not! You will be allowed to resit the exam after seven days have passed.

Certification Duration

The Advertising Fundamentals exam certificate will remain valid for two years, whilst the Search Advanced and the Display Advanced certificates must be renewed every year.

TIP: Don’t leave too much of a time gap between taking the Advertising Fundamentals and Search Advanced Exams. There is an overlap in the learning material, and it pays to study Search whilst Fundamentals learning is still fresh in your mind.

Further Reading
For further information about the New Google Partners Platform, please see “About Google Partners”.

To view articles from exam candidates who wish to share information and tips about their exam experience, please see the following links:

  1. How To Pass The Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam - by John King
  2. Three AdWords Exam Studying Tools - By Soo Dawson

We hope this article will help you prepare and study for your Google AdWords exams.

Good Luck!