How to pass the Google Certification Exams


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(This is a cross-post from the EdTechTeam blog.)

The new Google Certified Educator Certifications were established to give teachers official recognition of their mastery and understanding of Google Apps for Education. The exams consist of multiple choice questions and practical scenarios that require you to demonstrate hands-on knowledge of various Google tools.  The modules in the Training Centre cover topics such as basic Google docs, Google Classroom, Blogger, Google Earth, Google groups, Gmail, Google Play for Education, and much more. The exams are designed to be finished in 3 hours and cost $10 for Level 1 and $25 for Level 2.

“To get certified or not get certified?” that is the question!

When the Google Certification program launched a few months ago, I debated taking the exams.

“Why do I need to get certified? I’m managing fine with Google Apps and I’m doing interesting things with my students. What’s the point?” I said to myself.

Life gets busy and it’s easy to put something aside that is optional. But then I began to notice that teachers in my network who I admire were getting their certifications. I started to feel like I was missing out on something and before I knew it, I signed up to do the Level 2 exam (I decided to skip Level 1). “How hard could it be?” I thought.

Prior to the exam, I perused the Level 2 Training modules, tried some of the unit quizzes, and felt like I was ready to go. I clicked “Start the exam” and 3 hours later, I clicked “Finish”.

Within minutes I received this email:

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 7.02.24 PM

I was crushed. Despite my confidence with Google Apps, my level of expertise was obviously not what I believed it to be. And then the real self-debate began: To re-try the exam, or just accept defeat? Exam rules stipulate that you must wait two weeks before re-taking an exam so I had 14 days to get ready. I decided to go for it. This is what I did to prepare for the retake of the Level 2 exam:

  1. I reviewed the modules for Level 1, took the Level 1 exam and passed (much easier!)
  2. I revisited the modules for Level 2, reviewing every section in finer detail. I did all of the lesson checks and all of the unit review quizzes. I took screenshots of the review questions I didn’t answer correctly, and went back and reviewed the material. Then I did all the lesson checks and quizzes again. And again. Until I got every answer right.
  3. I created a folder on my Bookmarks bar and loaded it up with links to topics that I wasn’t feeling confident about for quick and easy reference during the exam (all the links are from the Training Centre.) Tip: put these bookmarks in alphabetical order for easy retrieval.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 7.02.34 PM

NOTE: When you take the exam you have to sign out of your Google account (they will give you a temporary account for the exam), so your bookmarks might not be available, especially if you’re on a Chromebook. So I recommend that you have two computers open during the exam: one for the exam itself, the other to access your bookmarks.

Hardest part of the exam? The multiple choice questions. They were tricky; some questions were confusing and appeared to have several answers. Some questions were difficult to understand. There’s definitely a skill involved in doing multiple choice questions, a skill you can hone by doing (and re-doing) all of the lesson checks and unit review quizzes in the Training Centre.

The practical part of the exam was fun. I can’t divulge specific information, but be prepared to demonstrate your working knowledge of everything GAFE (Docs, Sheets, Forms, Add-ons, Sites, Blogger, Classroom, Google Scholar, Google Play for Education, etc.) The best way to prepare for this part of the exam is simply to use GAFE (in every aspect!) on a regular basis. If you’re not, you’re going to find this section very challenging. Reviewing the tools that you don’t use often in the Training Centre is highly recommended.

I am happy to report that minutes after I pressed “End Exam”, I received this notification:

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 7.02.42 PM

Bottom line: these exams are definitely worth while taking. You will learn so much about GAFE, even if you feel like you already know a lot. The process will help you see what areas you have a good working knowledge of and what areas you have more learning to do. BONUS: if you pass, you get to proudly display your badges wherever you want. And who doesn’t love badges?!

If you prefer to have support while preparing for the exams, the EdTechTeam offers Bootcamps across the USA and Canada. Or, you can contact them to come to your school/board to provide a personalized, in-house Bootcamp.

Do you have any more tips for passing the Google Certification exams? Please leave your ideas in the comments below!


NOTE: I found this great resource after: Take a look at the checklists that Eric Curts put together: fabulous!


54 thoughts on “How to pass the Google Certification Exams

  1. Great advice. Your experience was almost identical to mine. Another reason to put in all the time and effort on this certification is how much you learn and refine as you go. I thought I knew it all and was so excited each time I found something new. I grueling exam, but a great learning experience


  2. Thank you for your post – it’s great.
    I just retook the level 2 exam, and was very confident with all the application questions, and honestly believed “I nailed it.” I say this after studying for weeks and knowing how to complete all the tasks that I was assigned. Then, a notice saying I did not pass.
    I contacted support who would only tell me ‘if you name a task even one letter different than told, then it will not be scored’ and to pay attention to every letter.
    I know questions cannot be discussed. However, what I’m wondering is, – I named some files with describing terms if a name was not prompted, thinking that would make the files easier to locate for scoring. I also opened some apps by typing in the url rather than going through drive. Does anyone know that would cause test items to not be scored?
    I’m so confused why I scored so low, and don’t want to retake and make the same mistake.
    Thanks for any insight anyone can give.


    • Hi there,
      I know how discouraged you must feel. If support gave you that message, it must mean that you named some files wrong. I don’t remember having the option to name them otherwise. I think I was told every time how to specifically name a file. Good question about how to open apps. So long as you saved the files in your drive though, I don’t think it would have been a problem. You did log out of your real Google account before the start of the exam, right? My only other advice would be to maybe try to attend an EdTechTeam boot camp. The trainers might be able to give you some extra good tips. Were you very close to pass? Don’t give up, it’s a credential that’s really great to have!


  3. Hi, Sylvia,
    Thanks for your tips. I failed the Calendar test with a 78%! I was crushed! Was the retest the same as the first test you took? Or did it have different questions?


  4. I do really well on the practice training page, then when it comes to to the real test, it was horrible. Like Jen, I was pretty confident. I’m a terrible test taker and feel that Google likes to trick you. Isn’t the point to verify knowledge not to be tricky? Argh


  5. I’m so glad I found this! My first test was a 78 and I am still crushed and doubting myself. I’ve been studying and will take it again soon…


  6. Thank you for this post ! I am not an educator but I am willing to take the tests to fulfill my quest for best use of google apps with a goal to promote digital classrooms in schools. But I am confused if I will be able to emulate teacher’s work.


  7. I also only scored a 78 and was so confident! Why wont they tell us exactly what we are doing wrong? I did great on every practice exam and studied for weeks! Took it a second time and got a worse score. I do not understand!


  8. I am confused about having a second computer open. Isn’t that cheating? I thought yo had to have a webcam on the device you used and they could watch you? Was I thinking of another exam?


  9. Hi Sylvia,
    Congratulations on your passing of level two! I just failed level one with a 70% and I am planning on retaking it. However, when you had multiple computers open did you not find that that slowed you down since you only have 180 minutes to complete the exam? And also, what part did you need to use the other computer? was it the first section or the practical section?


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  13. I passed level 1 last month on my first go which I was really pleased with since I studied non-stop in the weeks leading up to it. I do wish they would share the percentage of the pass rate however and areas that weren’t necessarily perfect. I felt very uneasy with sheets and although everything worked out and I could do it, I would like confirmation that was the case – the lowest pass being 80% means there still could be 20% of Level 1 that I need to get right before looking at Level 2. I also think they need to address the calendar issue – it was a right nuisance.


    • Oh my heck! I had the same issue with the calendaring…really ridiculous! I completely agree that it would be useful to share our percentages…how are we suppose to know what we need to work on? (#2 in the infographic.)


  14. I was crushed yesterday when I did not pass my level 2 exam. Than you for this post. I am already making my plans to study and practice so I can retake the exam in 2 weeks!


  15. what is the difference between level 1 google play account and level (25 for exam) google play accounts? My account is level 6 and i don’t see any difference from level 1… ;/


  16. I took the Google Level 1 Test for the 2nd time today. I got a 76 on the first attempt. Then today, I could not get exam materials to open in the exam’s Google Drive to answer questions. After skipping a few questions due to this problem, I realized that it was pointless to continue and just submitted the incomplete exam. Has anybody else had difficulty opening exam materials? I sent a complaint to Google Support Team but will now need to wait a few days since it’s the weekend.


  17. Is is possible to pass the level 1 certification if you skip a scenario in the test? I accidentally clicked student in classroom instead of teacher when signing into classroom during the test.


  18. Would you be willing to share your bookmarks for the Level 1 Exam?
    I am very nervous and could lose the grant that I wrote up for Google Chromebooks in my classroom if I do not pass. I am hopeful, but a horrible test taker! I overthink too much and always am very slow in taking a test.


  19. If I ran out of time just as I was completing the 10th task (so I didn’t get to #11 at all), what are my odds of passing? I’m worried that because I didn’t do one task, I will surely fail:(


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