Everything You Need To Pass The Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam

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The first time I was studying for the AdWords Fundamentals exam I was extremely nervous. I had been managing accounts for about 4 months but was still unsure if I knew enough to pass the exam. It didn’t help that we were told by those at Hanapin who had already passed “no one has ever failed the AdWords exam, well except for that one intern and nobody’s really sure what happened to him…”. Needless to say I didn’t want to be the first one to fail.

The first time I took the test I studied for about 2 weeks on and off going through the materials and ended up passing with a 95%. The second time I reviewed only what had changed in the exam lessons and passed with a 100%. If I still lived at home I would have made my mom put the print out of the results on the fridge. I wanted to share my experience with preparing for and taking the AdWords Fundamentals Exam to alleviate any stress you may be feeling and to let you know that even if you only have a few months of PPC experience you can ace the exam.

Fundamentals Exam BasicsAdWords Qualified Individual

Number of Questions: 113

Time Limit: 2 hours

Passing Score: 85%

Cost: $50

Length of Validation: 2 years

Retake Policy: You can retake the exam once every 7 days, paying the $50 fee each time.

How To Study

I used two resources to study for Google’s Fundamentals Exam, one free and one paid option. I can honestly say that I don’t think I would have passed, and definitely not scored 100%, without either one of them. The most important resource is the Google AdWords Learning Center. Here you can access the study materials for the AdWords exams as well as see what information is covered on each test. I prepped by reading through all of the Fundamentals information from beginning to end and went through the elearning presentations for any areas I needed extra review. The process was time consuming, but worth it.

The second study resource I used was the Fundamentals practice exam from iPassExam. The exam costs about $28 for one month of access but it is the most similar practice exam to the actual exam I have found. It offers over 400 questions covering all of the exam lessons and is also revised pretty regularly to reflect updates to the actual Fundamentals exam.

How To Access The Fundamentals Exam

In order to take the Fundamentals Exam you’ll have to create a Google Certification Program profile. Once you log in click on “My Exams.” From this page you can access the Fundamentals and Advanced Exams by selecting “Take this exam.” You’ll also want to make note of your Candidate ID because you’ll need to enter that number when you register for the exam. Click on the image below to enlarge.

Google Certification Program

5 Tips For Taking The Exam

Below are five tips that will help in taking the exam:

Take the exam in a quiet, comfortable location. 113 questions is a lot to read through, so make sure you are taking the exam where you won’t get distracted.

Once you start the exam, you can’t pause the timer. Because of this I recommend you use the restroom beforehand or else it could make for an uncomfortable test taking experience. Also make sure your computer is fully charged or plugged into a power source. If you computer shuts down or your browser closes the time will continue to run. You can reopen the test but you can’t get the lost time back. If you do have any technical difficulties you can email googlesupport@testsys.com where they will review the circumstances.

You cannot open another browser during the exam. The AdWords exam will open up in its own browser page and you cannot access any other part of your computer until the test has ended. This means you can’t look up answers or chat on your computer while taking the exam.

You can mark questions for review and come back to them later. If I didn’t know the answer to a question within about a minute, I marked it for review and moved on to the next. This way I answered all the ones I knew and could spend time going through the more difficult ones without stressing about how many questions I still had left. With the 3 hour exam limit I had more than enough time to go through all of the questions I had marked.

Some questions have many right answers, but only one best answer. Working with PPC you know there are multiple ways to solve a problem and improve performance so there were some questions where I could identify multiple “right” answers. However, Google wants you to choose the “best” answer based on the material from the Learning Center.

If you are taking the Google Fundamentals Exam post any questions you have below and I will share more about my experiences. Also, if you have any other tips please comment!

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  • Marytina18

    Thanks for your tips..For an individual qualification you need to pass fundamentals and either of the advanced exams.  But i am not sure on the procedures. So is there an option to write fundamentals first and then later study for advanced and write it another day.? Or should i write the exams ( fundamentals + advanced) at the same time?

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com Bethany Bey

      Hi Marytina,

      You can take the tests in any order at any time. I would recommend taking them close together, especially if you are taking the search advanced exam because a lot of the material is the same.

  • Sam

    “You cannot open another browser during the exam.”You can if you have two laptops 😉

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com Bethany Bey

      Haha yes that is very true… Although maybe someday Google will be able to control that as well!

    • http://www.facebook.com/raju.paliwaal Raju Paliwal

      also more than ! person can attempt the exam :p

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  • http://twitter.com/PPCNI Jordan McClements

    I second the recommendation of ipassexam.
    If you subscribe to that service for a month, and are still not able to pass the exam, then you definitely need to find another profession! :-)

    • fabriano yu

      it is funny to say that .. make me laugh..

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  • http://www.searchandperch.com Benji Walklet

    I’ve got to say that the most frustrating part about preparing for the exams is waiting for Google Engage to send you exam vouchers. They are unbelievably unresponsive.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10502471 Jon D Harris


  • Kannan

    Is it possible to take the exam from anywhere.

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com Bethany Bey

      Hi Kannan,

      Yes, as long as you have Internet you can take the exam from any location.

  • http://twitter.com/JuanPittau Juan Pittau

    Hello! changed and are now two (2)  hours  Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam

  • Tjcx99

    For the people who have subscribed to and used Ipassexam to help them study for the Google exams, just how close are the test from Ipass compared to the actual exam by google?

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com Bethany Bey

      The test are very similar, the most similar I’ve come across.

      • Tjcx99

        Thank You for the info

  • Shumyla

    hi, could anyone please extend his/her support by allowing me to use their ipassexam account for a day, i have actually prepared for the fundamentals exam and i just thought to test my abilities once before taking the final exam… thanks a lot in advance !!

    • Tjcx99

      Have you had any luck finding someone that will let you use their account? I too am trying to find someone that can help me out, but I may just have to the bullet…

  • Anonymous

    Great timing on this post Bethany. I let my certification lapse and now I’m reviewing to retake the test. It’s amazing how much more complex Adwords has become over the last few years.

  • Sam

    Is there a site or a location where we would get sample questions (Free)?

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com Bethany Bey

      Hi Sam,

      iPassExam has 10 sample questions for free. I don’t know of any other sites though that offer a more substantial amount of free questions. If you find one, be sure to let us know!

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  • Becky

    They do offer a 100 % money back guarantee if your not satisfied.  I
    didnt feel that I needed to use that mind.  I found them very quick to
    help and the sample questions are written in a similar way to the exam.

  • http://www.clickclickmedia.com.au/ Phil

    We all recently had to renew our certs. Its amazing how much time they give you to complete it, but remember to mark the ones you are unsure of, because the wording can make you lean towards an incorrect response.

    Anyone trained well will stroll through the whole thing. The only tricky thing I can see for most smaller Adwords managers are area’s they may not be familiar with are the language targeting questions, API and display especially if you’re not familiar with them.

    Small piece of advice for employee’s, use your personal email on the certification login so you can take it with you if you ever leave your company. Otherwise you will find yourself doing it again haha.

  • http://www.adjuice.co.uk/ Ewan Kennedy

    Hi Bethany,

    I sat my fundamentals exam just this afternoon and passed with 94%. :-)

    I came across your post earlier in the week when trying to find out more about the exam and it was useful to me so I made a note to come back and comment.

    I used only Google’s AdWords learning centre material which I found to be adequate. I have been managing accounts for several years but typically only small accounts as a complimentary service to organic SEO. I hadn’t had practical experience of all parts of the AdWords system so I guess Google’s material was good enough to get me through.

    Having said that, I found it lacking in certain respects. Apart from the fact that is is littered with spelling mistakes, it is also out of date in some parts e.g. it still states that image ads cannot be displayed in the search network.

    Overall, I felt that provided you study the material thoroughly enough and re-readrevise, then most people should be able to get through.

    I couldn’t find any examples of specimen questions online which I can understand since Google will not want to have to re-create the material every few months. However, it would have been useful for me to know even basic stuff about the exam format such as that it is 100% multiple choice.

    Anyway, one down, one to go which I’ll hopefully manage some time in the next few days.



    • Ngo Ngan

      I can help you guys pass these exams to get the Adwords certification fastly

      Drop me a pm to my gmail: nhinquattran

      I can pass Analytics IQ test also

  • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

     Hi Vignesh,
    You would need to obtain a voucher through your agency or team rep. Good luck with your exam!

  • Austin

    If you do fail the test do you have to pay to retake it? How long do you have to wait to retake it ?

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      If you fail the test you can retake after 7 days have passed. And you do have to pay to retake it, so there’s a pretty strong incentive to take this seriously the first time.

      Good luck!

  • Ngo Ngan

    If you guys wanna pass them without risks(100%pass) and time, drop me a pm by my gmail: nhinquattran
    I can take the analytics test also

  • Aidan

    Hi Bethany

    Great post thanks for sharing – I’m just about to start studying for these on an individual basis. Could I ask how long it should take to study for the Fundamentals and Reporting & Analysis modules?

    I have limited experience of Adwords (ran a few small tester campaigns myself over the past year or so), and a fairly good understanding (but limited practical experience) of SEO & search – just curious to know a rough level of time commitment

    Thanks again – this really helps


    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      Hi Aidan,

      Your limited experience will help. Being familiar with the concepts definitely helps. If you read through the AdWords materials and do the exercises that they recommend throughout them it will probably take you 5-10 hours depending on your reading speed.

      Head over to the testing center and get the materials. Then you can see how much reading you’ll have to do.

      Good luck!

  • Cameron Benz

    Hey Thanks for post…..It really helps me a lottt..

    but i have one question Length of Validation: 2 years
    what does it mean???

    Suppose if i give google fundamental exam and then can i took gap and after that can i give advanced exam???
    Is it possible???

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      Hi Cameron,

      You’ll need to have both fundamentals and one advanced exam passed with neither being expired in order to be a certified professional. Fundamentals certifications last for two years, while the advanced last a year. So at any point within those two years of passing the fundamentals you can pass the advanced exam to become certified.

      Thanks for reading!

  • nhinquattran

    I can help you guys pass these exams to get the Adwords
    certification fastly

    Drop me a pm to my gmail: nhinquattran

    I can pass Analytics IQ test also

  • http://twitter.com/SEOPRO4U SEOPRO4U

    Bethany, I’m preparing to take the test soon. During the two hours testing time do you take both the Fundamentals and one other Advanced Exam (Search, Display, Analytics)?

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      You take each of the tests separately, so the time allocated is for only one test. Good luck!

  • Henry

    Hi Bethany,

    First of all thank you for your extremely good help to sharing all these info with us.

    I was just wondering what is the most useful exam to choose from once I am looking for a PPC job.



    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      Hey Henry,

      The thing that will probably make you the most marketable will be becoming an AdWords certified professional, which requires passing the Fundamentals Exam described here, along with one of the three advanced exams (Search Advanced, Display or Analysis/Reporting). Which of those three you should decide to take is probably a matter of personal preference, but Search Advanced relates the most to the core behaviors associated with PPC. That’s what we’d recommend coming out of the gate.

      Good luck in your testing and job hunt!

      • Henry

        Thank! you great blog :)

    • Guest

      Thank you, great blog :)

  • http://www.dariopetkovic.com/ Dario Petkovic

    Great post Bethany. I looked up G testing website and the exam is definitely 2 hours and not 3 – everything else is spot on. I’m going to try and take the test within 3 days, fingers crossed. Cheers again.

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      Good luck on the exam!

      We’ve updated the above to reflect the two hour time limit. Thanks for passing it along.

  • http://www.dariopetkovic.com/ Dario Petkovic

    Fundamental exam was hard. Example: as of May 2012, would an ad show for an phrase match keyword “tennis shoes” if a searcher typed in “tennis shoe brands”.. something like that. I would think not but what’s this from May 2012 bull ..
    All in all, some very easy question and some very annoying/tricky
    I got 82% out of 85% since nobody else seems to be admitting to failing (unless ‘everyone’ passes it which I doubt). No, I did not buy ipassexam .. probably should have..

    • lesley2129

      i thought it was really hard too..and tricky. some of the questions i hadn’t even seen in my reading or in the actual adwords panel

  • Ngo Ngan

    I can help you guys pass these exams to get the Adwords certification fastly with high score

    Drop me a pm to my gmail: nhinquattran

    I can pass Analytics IQ test also

  • disqus_1DSCY58Q6Z

    took this yesterday ( and passed! ) – there are now only 95 questions , not 113 as before :)

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      Thanks for passing along the number of questions.

      And congrats on passing!

  • Shashank

    Im relatively new to Adwords and currently studying for the fundamental exam.
    In the resource center, google has study material for Fundamental exam, search , and display. Where can i Fetch the study material for reporting and analysis ?

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      Hi Shashank,

      Google no longer offers the reporting and analysis exam. This test has been retired, so you’re off the hook for taking it!

  • lesley2129

    if you fail the test and you take it the next time, is it the exact same test? nobody ever talks about failing so I feel alone lol

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      Hi Lesley,

      Don’t feel so alone! We’ve known plenty of people that didn’t get it the first time around.

      It will not be the same exact test. The questions and their order vary from test to test, but a majority of the content is the same (or at least in a very similar vein). It’ll also help to have the experience of using Google’s testing center, so the functionality won’t be new to you.

      Good luck!

      • lesley2129

        Thanks for the reply. I retook it yesterday and barely passed. It was the exact same questions, just the multiple choices were in different spots and questions were in a different order. Now I’m going to study for the Search Advanced, is it really difficult? I haven’t seen much feedback on that one, just on the Fundamentals one.

        • lesley2129

          Hi Ppc hero can you please delete my previous comment and this one, I tried to delete it through disqus but it didn’t work, it’s still here

  • Ashwald

    I can help you get Google Certifications. (Fundamentals, Search, and Display). Please PM me.

  • Tushar Bedi

    I was wondering if it is important to study the 424 page pdf document at the end of the free coursework on google. Can one pass without studying it ?

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      You can definitely pass without studying the entire document, but that depends on how much you work in AdWords on a daily basis. Focus on reviewing the areas that you feel shaky in, which is something you should be able to do online. The entire document is probably overkill, but some people enjoy that type of thing for test prep. Good luck!

  • eifc7

    I’m planning on taking exam and it says you need fundamental plus one advanced test. Is that something new for 2013? Are there any actual old exams to study from like kids do as part of prep for tests like SAT’s and GRE’s?

    • http://www.hanapinmarketing.com PPC Hero

      Hi Eifc7,

      The requirement of one advanced + the fundamental test is not new. It’s been around for years, but it is still weird to have to take two exams for that one certification.

      We don’t know of any old exams floating around to use as practice. Google locks your computer down to prevent any funny business while you’re taking the exam, such as copying the exam. We mention iPassExam above, and that’s the best resource we’ve found.

      • eifc7

        I agree that the basic certification should not include an advanced test, but if it adds value to the basic certification than it’s a good thing, imo. However, It adds more work to the process. :(

  • Sarvajeet Singh

    I’m planning to taking the google adwords certification. Please suggest me and give me study material. And tell me what is best way qualifying exam.

  • Sarvajeet Singh

    Link is not open……….

    • http://www.eatmovehack.com/ John King

      Hi Sarvajeeet, it’s working from this end, can you try again?

      • Sarvajeet Singh

        Thank you for reply to me. If yoy have study material for adwords fundamental then give me. Thanx

  • sandeep

    Hello every one i am sandeep yadav i want to also complete this exam plz share with me any type of material.plzzzzz

    • Sarvajeet Singh

      i am also looking this. If u have any material then give me link or file

  • Malvin Dolotina

    Thanks Bethany . Great Tips.