Recently, Carrie Albright, Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing, wrote the post Putting “Fun” Back In The AdWords Fundamentals Exam. Since then there’s been some pretty major changes in both the exam and learning material. All of the advice that Carrie gave still stands, but the exam and training information is now different.

So put your feet up, grab yourself a cuppa and get yourself genned up.I’ve done all the research so you don’t have to.

The Study Guide

Firstly, the AdWords Fundamentals: Exam study guide has had a major overhaul. It seems the good people at Google have listened to their community advocates and made the much needed changes we’ve been looking for. No longer will we be tested on the location of the keyword diagnosis tool or other features and reports. This exam tests your understanding of best practices and insists on a good working knowledge of account management.

The previous 10 categories have been whittled down to just 3 modules. The exam material has been drastically cut from 150 pages to a total of 15. There’s now an average of 5 sections to each module that break down as follows:

Module 1: Understanding the value of online advertising

1.1 Benefits of online advertising and AdWords
1.2 Google’s advertising networks
1.3 Where your ads can appear
1.4 The quality of your ads
1.5 What you pay

Module 2: Setting up an AdWords campaign

2.1 Choosing a campaign type
2.2 Structuring your campaign
2.3 Targeting your audience
2.4 Setting bids and budgets
2.5 Creating ad groups
2.6 Tools to plan a campaign

Module 3: Measuring and optimizing performance

3.1 Measure your results
3.2 Tools to measure your performance
3.3 Evaluate metrics relevant to your goals
3.4 Optimize your campaign

Google attempts to tame the old style study guide by simplifying the layout. Convenient accordion style sections now mean that information is easily digestible. The previous format whereby additional links were scattered throughout the text (making it easy to lose your place) have been replaced by a collection of links as an Additional Study Materials section allowing you to work systematically through all of the material. However, I do feel the use of the word ‘Additional’ is slightly misleading, as it suggests the material may be above and beyond what you are expected to know for the exam. This is not the case though, and I do suggest you read all of the additional material as these topics will definitely arise in the exam.

The Exam

Despite the seemingly fewer learning pages the exam question numbers have stayed the same, as well as the exam time allotment. The pass rate has however been dropped to 80% and you can retake after 7 days if you need to. The recertification period is now only 12 months, which should really keep us on our toes!

Time: 2 hour exam
Pass mark: 80%
Failure retake period: 7 days
Recertification period: 12 months

Previously, a lot of information in the study guide simply wasn’t covered in the exam. This has now changed, you can almost guarantee there will be a question covering everything that you have read. This improvement means no one will be left wondering what will come up in the exam. If it’s in the study guide then it’s in the exam!


As Carrie kindly mentioned in her post, at iPassExam, we do indeed help prepare professionals for any of the Google Partner Program exams. We always encourage our customers to use our exam prep in conjunction with the AdWords study guide, but to be fully prepared and totally ready for exam success you may wish to try our exam style prep questions and practice exams. All PPCHero readers can benefit from a 25% discount by entering PPCHeroRocks at the checkout.