How to Survive the Google AdWords Advanced Search Exam


So you just passed the Google AdWords Fundamentals Exam with flying colors, and all you want to do is pop some champagne and break into an embarrassing celebratory dance …

AdWords Advanced Exam

NOT SO FAST! You are only half way to becoming fully Google AdWords certified.

If you’re reading this article you likely already know the value of becoming Google AdWords certified, but, as a quick refresher, this certification is truly valuable for those in the PPC consulting industry to help legitimize their skills when working with clients, find new PPC gigs, and gain a high level of knowledge on one of the most powerful platforms in online marketing today.

As someone who recently went through the certification process, I was a bit intimidated when searching through the wide scope of preparation material provided by Google’s Learning Center. At first the material looked digestible, until I started clicking through the links, only to see them leading to more and more pages of material that needed to be reviewed. For example, the “Performance Monitoring and Reporting” link takes you to three more sections that are broken down into 20 more links of material…YIKES!

Some reassuring news is that a lot of the advanced material reviews what you’ve already learned in the fundamentals, so truthfully there is no reason to panic. With that said, preparation is still needed if you want to pass on your first try. Follow these five tips to take in the information without inheriting a huge migraine.

MORE: Complete Guide to the NEW AdWords Certification Test

5 Tips for Passing the Google AdWords Advanced Search Exam

1.    Don’t feel like you have to read EVERYTHING: If you’re like me, reading through pages upon pages of online content will sink you into a very deep sleep (no offense, Google!). When I looked into printing the study guides, I saw that the amount of paper it would take would kill a small forest. So I came up with a new strategy – skimming. As I said above, a lot of the material is review, so skim over the stuff you most likely already know, and read the other information in small chunks of time so you don’t overwhelm yourself with a screen-induced headache.

2.    PRATICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE with iPassExam or other online testing tools: iPassExam, a platform that helps professionals study for online certifications, was a saving grace for me when preparing for the Google Advanced Search Exam. Their questions are consistently updated to replicate the questions on the actual test, and are asked in a very similar format. You can either take a timed trial test, or mock exams by section, in which you find out if you got the answer right or wrong after each individual question. This really helped me to learn which areas I needed to work more on, and which areas I had a higher level of expertise in and could put off to the side.

3.    Write down formulas: There are some situational questions that ask you to calculate things like value-per-conversion, incorporating percentage of word-of-mouth purchases. These aren’t always the easiest things to remember especially if, like me, you’re not a mathematician. But seriously, they can be tricky so when reviewing different formulas, like on the “How to estimate conversion value” page, take note of the stuff you’re likely to forget come test time.

4.    Remember, more than one answer may be correct: The trick is to choose the BEST answer. I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done! But I’m just giving you a heads up, Google WILL try to trick you so DO NOT just check the first correct answer you see and move on to the next one. Read each option carefully because certain answers might be correct, but not what the question is specifically looking for. If you read your options carefully though, your instincts will likely (hopefully) point you to the one that is “most accurate,” as ridiculous as that sounds.

5.    RELAX: If you do the leg work you will be fine. Google gives you plenty of time to work through the 99 multiple choice questions, and even though you are no longer able to skip and return to the question, if you prepare you will be fine. Breathe, concentrate, and trust your instincts – before you know it you’ll be certifiably ready to take on the PPC world!

So there you have it. Passing the Advanced Search part of the Google AdWords certification does not need to turn your world upside down. It can be accomplished easily with a touch of studying, a sprinkle of practice, and some deep Yogi breaths.

Happy Holidays & PPCing to all! 


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Dec 10, 2013

Thanks for the advice Margot. I have passed the fundementals with a score of 81. Not sure I am ready for the advanced exam just yet.

Ricky Potts
Dec 10, 2013

I passed the Fundamentals the first time I took it. I did study quite a bit, but it seemed relatively easy. I took that before they changed the interface, but have found the Advanced Search exam much harder. You cannot go back and change your answer, which helped on the Fundamentals. Also, it doesn't tell you what questions you missed so you don't know what to study for in the future. Not sure why they are making it so tough, but it carries a lot of weight to those that have passed it.

Margot da Cunha
Dec 10, 2013

Anytime Alan! Best of luck on the Advanced Exam - I'm sure you'll do great.

Steve Fort
Dec 11, 2013

Hey Margot, I am new for Google adword, at beginner stage. I want to know about how can I apply for its exam?

Margot da Cunha
Dec 11, 2013

Hi Steve,I would recommend reading this post for more details on becoming Google AdWords Certified: of luck!

Helen Brown
Dec 11, 2013

HI MargotCongratulations on passing your exams :-)My name is Helen, I am the PPC E-Learning Community Manager at'm glad that you found our questions useful, I wanted to thank you for mentioning us in your tips forpassing the Search Advanced exam.These are all great tips. Since the exam interface has changed and you cannot skip or review questions, itis indeed as important as ever to be thoroughly prepared.Anyone wishing to purchase a Revision Bundle which includes all three of our AdWords study question bankscan use the discount code 'Fun2Bundle' to receive a six month bundle for the price of a three monthbundle.Good luck!

Margot da Cunha
Dec 11, 2013

Hi Helen,Anytime! iPassExam has been an extremely useful tool for several of my coworkers, including myself, here at WordStream. Also thank you for sharing this deal. Happy Holidays!Margot

David Black
Dec 16, 2013

Thanks for the advice - reading many pages may send you into a deep sleep - it sends me into deep depression!At school I relied on a quick 'flick through' the night before to get the exam done - looks like I'm going to have to do a bit more studying to get my adword's stripes.

David Black
Dec 16, 2013

Thanks for the advice - reading many pages may send you into a deep sleep - it sends me into deep depression!At school I relied on a quick 'flick through' the night before to get the exam done - looks like I'm going to have to do a bit more studying to get my adword's stripes.

Dec 30, 2013

I will be taking the exam in January so thanks for the tips Margot.

Nathan Brook
Jan 01, 2014

Thanks. I am always looking for info on adwords! Very helpful. This post gave me a good insight about how to use Google adwords.

Richard McGowan
Feb 08, 2014

Very helpful article - thanks Margot! iPassExam has been an invaluable resource for me as well, and I strongly recommend it for anyone looking to take these exams. I signed up a month ago and have since passed the Fundamentals and Advanced Search exams - now on to Display!

Elisa Gabbert
Feb 10, 2014

Hi Richard, you'r ein luck! We just published a study guide for the Advanced Display exam:!

Andre Hospidales
Feb 17, 2014

Thanks for sharing. I passed both the display (93) and search (86) exams. What I found interesting was that you need a score of 70 to pass the display exam and a score of 80 to pass the search. But I found the display much easier, probably because of the AdWords API questions in the search exam. There were much more of them than I expected. The best thing about ipassexams is that they show you important areas of Adwords to focus on. I believe I saw at least 15 questions that were very similar to the ipassexam mock exam.  

Mar 17, 2014

Great article. I just passed the Fundamentals exam with a 94% this evening and I am thrilled, but I wish I was already certified!I realize I have a lot of work ahead of me and I am doing it without ipassexam so I'll be cramming all week for the Search exam.I'll be adding Display in the very near future.Thanks again for the article. I appreciate your wisdom!

David W.
Aug 17, 2014

I passed the Fundamentals exam by taking my time - study the material Google provides, used to practice. I also purchased the booklet, "Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam Prep Guide for AdWords Certification". It was helpful to get me in the right frame of mind but does not really give it away... you still have to read the material.

Riyaz Alam
Sep 05, 2014

Hello Margor,Thanks for such a great post on Advanced Search exam tips. I was indeed searching for it. the tips you share are really helpful and I enjoyed reading it.I also have just passed the fundamentals one and now i am preparing for the next one. glad to read you post thank again

Feb 20, 2015

Thanks for a useful guide. Today, there are 98 questions (not 99). The Fundamentals test is also changed so you cannot go back and change your answers there either.

Apr 29, 2015

Excellent article! I scored 82% in my Adwords fundamental exam and preparing for advanced exam. Your tips are amazing!!

Kunal Shah
Jul 06, 2016

Hi, thanks for your tips. I have just passed by adwords fundamentals exam with 89%... and i am preparing to give advanced search exam...

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