Google has retired the old certification program - Google advertising Professional - and in its place has come the new Google Certified Partner/Adwords Qualified Individual.
They have also retired the Qualified Company Program. No minimum spent is required to become a Qualified Individual and only $10,000 spent in 90 days is required to become GCP.
Since, there will be no Qualified company, so everybody will be on the same plane. Because, privileges that were given to QGAP, will be available to GCP, in that way, Google has actually raised the bar.
For becoming Qualified company, minimum requisite was at least 2 GAPs taking exam for the same MCC, however, for becoming GCP, there is no such requirement. I personally feel this was done for guys like me, who are managing big spent individually, so I welcome this move.
Another change was awarding of certificate in pdf format, which I have attached above. It also has a numerical code in the bottom (which I have removed in the snap).
Last but not the least, it was a two tier Exam 120 minutes each, which I finished in 5 hours, including all the formalities attached to it.
First bummer was, You require to take this exam in Chrome browser and download a so called test browser Which cannot be installed on a Linux OS.
I had to shift to windows, though I love Ubuntu Linux. It freezes your screen, so that you cannot look into any other file on your computer - a nice move to at least discourage people who may cheat the system.
Google had also sent me Free voucher to take this exam. However, I could take only two exam through this voucher, Google Adwords Fundamentals Exam(GAFE) and Search Advertising Exam.
There are two more exams which I want to take - Display advertising & Reporting and Analysis, and this is not something I would appreciate, because you can take only two exams with one voucher.
I wish Google would have sent me at least two vouchers.
Some of the big accounts I manage runs on Display network only, and this was not something I had expected!
About the difficulty level of the exam, I would say, GAFE looked similar to old GAP.
Last year I had scored 94% and this year it was 95%, not much of difference.
Search Advertising had too many questions from Adwords Editor and Adwords API. I don't use API, and very infrequently use Editor, so some of the questions seemed awkward, like color of the splash when you try to save a wrong figure in editor.
I think I should have once revised the entire Learning Center before taking this exam, here I could score a modest 88%.
I don't exactly remember the pass marks required for search, perhaps it is 80%, and every exam has its own pass marks. Questions this year were more of practical nature, and anybody taking exam should keep this in mind.