Recently I passed my Google AdWords certification exams—and honestly, they were a little daunting.

Why AdWords certification? Because, as Google notes, it’s an important feather to have in your cap as an online advertising professional. It’s a way to show clients that you know what you’re talking about when making recommendations. And it’s one step in helping your agency achieve Google Partner status.

As I dug into the requirements for certification, I found that I’d need to pass two exams and each exam had about 100 questions and only two hours to answer them. It was intimidating but after some studying and planning I was able to pass both the AdWords Fundamentals and Search Advertising exams on the first try. Here are some tips on how I did it:

  1. First and foremost, download the Google study guides. It would be silly not to. Yes, they’re long—over 100 pages long—but they’re full of almost all the information you need to know.
  2. Print the study guides or jot down your own notes from them. It was really helpful to have these by my side to reference as I took the exams. I also went the extra mile and tagged sections with sticky notes to label what each covered. You won’t have time during the exam to flip through every page looking for one answer. Even though you can have the notes at your side, you still need to know the majority of the material without referencing your notes.
  3. When you go through the study guides, walk through each scenario they give you. They’ll tell you where to find certain options and features in the AdWords interface. I found that actually logging into AdWords and going through the steps of each scenario helped me remember where things are.
  4. Have two browsers open when you take the exam. Having the study guides handy is one thing, but I also had one browser open to the exam and a second browser open to my AdWords account. I also used the second browser to Google a few things while I took the exams. Just make sure you DON’T CLOSE THE EXAM BROWSER. That’s an automatic fail—literally and figuratively.
  5. Take a test run of the exam. I didn’t do this, but I would recommend it in retrospect. Take the exam for a test drive before you start studying so you can gauge what you know and what you don’t know. Plus, if you’re super smart you might just pass on your practice run!

My last bit of advice is to relax. You can always retake the exam a week later without any consequences from Google. When it’s all said and done, print out your certificate and hang it proudly at your desk or on mom’s fridge. You’re a certified AdWords pro! Wear that title with pride!

Caroline Bogart is Content Architect at AKHIA, and is now Google AdWords certified! Follow her on Twitter @carolinebogart.