Taking the Adobe Analytics Certification Exam

First things first: I won’t be covering specifically what’s in this exam, or “dumping” questions here or any of that stuff. There’s some legal stuff you agree to when you take the exam, and most of it surrounds capturing questions and disseminating that information, so not going to do that here.

However, when I was preparing for the exam, I wanted to get a feel for how the online proctored exam worked, and didn’t find much info, so thought I’d share some insights on that, and what I found useful in studying for the exam.

Also worth noting for clarity: I took the Adobe Certified Expert Adobe Analytics Business Practitioner (AD0-E202) Exam, there are also exams for certification in Adobe Analytics in the Architect and Developer roles as well.

Studying for the exam

Honestly: I suck at studying. Always have, and likely always will. That being said, I’ve been working in web analytics for seven years now, though a vast majority of that within the Google Analytics ecosystem, with very small hands-on experience with Adobe Analytics and other CMS-specific tools (Sitecore Analytics, etc.). Foundationally, all web analytics tools are very similar in how they capture data, and if you have any training around how to write analytics requirements, or conduct a measurement strategy workshop, you’ll find the concepts Adobe wants you to have as a Business Practitioner to be similar, so my lack of tool-specific depth wasn’t a huge hinderance to start with.

Adobe Analytics Learner Journey
The Adobe Analytics Business Practitioner Learners Journey

I followed a two-pronged approach to study for this exam, first up: the Solution Partners learner journey. It appears this is only available to employees of Adobe Partners, so if you’re affiliated with an Adobe Partner, this is the route to go. For those of you not working for a partner, the on-demand training this journey covers is:

  • Introduction to Analytics and it’s capabilities
    • The analytics process from implementation all the way to optimization and back around again
  • How to gather and write business requirements and create an SDR (Solution Design Reference)
    • How to approach client stakeholders to get the web objectives out of them, then translate them into analytics requirements
  • How to use Analysis Workspace
    • Lot’s of good stuff here, but covering all of the features of Workspace and how to use segments, creating new metrics, using all the report object types, etc.
  • How to navigate and use the standard Reports & Analytics interface
    • The important stuff here is really around Analytics administration, setting up Report Suites, etc.
  • What the core implementation variables are
    • Conversion Variables (eVars)
    • Page Properties (props)
    • Success Events (events)
    • Products
    • List Vars/ List Props
  • Data import/export features/options/reasons
    • Ad Hoc Analysis (though this is largely being replaced with Workspace, it’d appear)
    • Data Workbench
    • Data Warehouse
    • Report Builder (the Excel plug-in)
    • Data Sources/APIs for importing data

Now, there is so much more to the courses than I summarized up there, and honestly, theres much more to the platform than are even contained in the courses. If you’re like me and struggle to study (or listen to hours and hours of training videos and practice exercises), you may want to re-watch some of the concepts (or try the “Test Out” on the modules), read the help documentation, and brush up on key measurement concepts, as all of this will help you narrow down unlikely answers in the multiple-choice format the exam is in.

Lastly, the practice exam they link to in the Exam Guide is pretty good at showing you the breadth of question types they’ll ask, anything from how to gather business requirements all the way to how to specifically create a segment in Workspace.

The second approach I took to studying before the exam is to get an Analytics Sandbox account, and actually follow all the various configuration steps listed in the Adobe Analytics Implementation Guide. Yeah, if you don’t have a website to install it on, you may only have the demo data to work with, or none at all, but just navigating the tool, exploring all of the configurations and understanding where things live is important.

The Online Proctored Exam Experience

This was one blind area I wish I knew more about going into the exam, the unknown of test-day experience remotely gave me a little anxiety.

So it goes like this: first, you need to register for the certification exam. It costs $180, and you can get a discount code that brings it down to $120-ish if you’re a partner. It appears you need to register at least 48-hours in advance, so make sure you schedule it ahead of time. You pick a time slot to start the exam, and you have up to two hours to complete it.

I picked a 7:30AM start time, and up to 30 mins before your start time you can log in and get set up. When getting ready, make sure you choose a room devoid of, well, everything. There’s no notes/paper allowed to be anywhere on your desk, no headphones allowed, no cell phones, no food or drink (not even water!), if you’re in a fish-bowl type conference room, you need to cover the windows, etc. I was planning on taking the exam in my home office, but with the amount of stuff I have in there, it would have taken longer to prep than it was worth. I ended up bringing a small table into a guest bedroom and took it there.

When you log in to the exam (and I recommend doing it the 30 mins early you’re allowed to) you’ll have to download a lockdown browser, then once that’s up and running and all other apps are shut down, they’ll have you take a picture of your ID/Driver’s License with the webcam on your laptop, then a picture of you for them to compare. Note, technically the latest version of Mac OS (Catalina) was unsupported for the test when I took it. This is simply because of the new permissions structure, and if you install the Lockdown browser, open it, then quit out of it and go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, then Privacy, enable every instance of PSI Secure Browser for every category it appears in, and you should be good to re-open and proceed.

Then, they’ll have you record you panning the camera around the room and all over the desk, even underneath to ensure nothing prohibited is in the room. Once that’s all good and you get assigned a proctor, it’s pretty much just test time from there. Your camera is on and your screen is shared the entire time, no reading of the questions or even mouthing the questions to yourself is allowed. No leaving the room for a bathroom break or anything either.

After you finish the exam and some demographic survey questions, you’ll see if you provisionally passed or failed right away, though you are not allowed to print/screenshot that.

If you provisionally pass, they take up to 72 or so hours to validate your exam’s validity before they send you an email with your official results and a link to your certification. I provisionally passed, at about 9AM local time and about 28 hours later (the next day around 1PM) I received an email congratulating me and telling me I could get my certificate, badge, and score in the portal.

Adobe Analytics certification

And that’s about it! Keep in mind that you have to re-certify every two years now as well, and if you were to fail, there’s a 24hr waiting period before you can retake the second (or third) time.

Good luck!

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