Getting industry certifications is a great way to learn more about marketing tactics, add credibility to your agency, and spruce up your bio page. That being said, getting certified is a significant time and money investment, and it can be next to impossible if you’ve got a healthy amount of client work.
That’s why we’re putting together this multi-part study guide. We want to share some tips for how to pass some of the leading inbound marketing certification courses. This is not, however, a cheat sheet. We won’t be sharing specific questions or answers to any tests. Instead, we’re going to explain everything from how to take notes for different tests to what topics are the most important.
Today’s study guide is for the Optimizely certification.
What is Optimizely?
As the leading website optimization platform, Optimizely enables marketers to build and execute their own A/B and multivariate tests across their sites. Before this platform was available, agencies relied on developers to make even minimal changes to their websites. With Optimizely, you simply place a specific code on your website and you can create endless versions of your web pages to test against each other to find the most effective versions.
Optimizely currently offers two certification courses, Optimizely Platform and Developer, and will soon offer a third course for Strategy. This study guide is for the Optimizely Platform certification.
This test is comprised of 60 multiple-choice questions that cover several categories, ranging from working with the Optimizely platform to understanding the differences between tests to knowing how to analyze and learn from your reports. You have 60 minutes to complete the exam, and you must score 80 percent or higher to pass. The certification is valid for one year, and then you have to take mini reviews annually to retain your status. The test costs $100, and the retake fee is $65.
Optimizely offers extensive study materials on its site, including:
- A knowledge base, a collection of articles explaining different aspects of Optimizely and A/B testing
- Optimizely Academy, a guided set of study materials, including articles and videos, that outline material based on skill level
- The Optimizely Community, an online forum where users can ask and answer each other’s questions
- A 6-page online study guide outlining key topics to understand with links to relevant information
Clearly, this is a lot of information. One note, though: Much of the information in the knowledge base articles and Optimizely Academy are the same, but it’s important to read both because one could have an important piece of information that the other doesn’t. I know, it’s a lot of reading. When I was studying, I spent probably close to 40 hours just reading all of the material, but I had never used Optimizely so I had to start from scratch.
It’s also a good idea to take ridiculously detailed notes as you go. I suggest writing, because it’s proven that you learn better if you write, but also because your notes are going to get a little jumbled with the two sets of similar articles. I used a specific note pad and then typed everything once I read all the materials. This allowed me to sort information more clearly and get rid of any duplicate info.
Make sure to use the study guide. Aside from my master set of notes, I also went through and found answers to each concept in the study guide to ensure I was as prepared as possible. After that, you just have to study until you feel comfortable enough to pass. (Full disclosure: I never really felt comfortable. There’s a TON of information, and the lack of practice questions made it difficult to feel confident. You’ve just got to go with your gut.)
Taking the Test
This thing is hard. I’m generally a good test taker, and it took me until the last minute. Some of the questions were simple vocabulary or asked about basic Optimizely platform knowledge, but many gave you case study examples and asked you to answer based on the given information. I actually failed by three points and had to retake it – not my finest moment.
The good news if you have to retake it, however, is that the questions don’t change. I didn’t know this before the exam, but after seeing the difficulty level the first time, I knew what areas to focus on my second time around. Moral of the story: Study, study, study, and actually use the platform to get more acquainted with it. If I had done this more during my first round of studying, it would have been easier to answer some of the more practicum-based questions. But, man, that Optimizely badge sure does look nice.