January 9, 2016

How to Prepare for Tableau Desktop 9 Qualified Associate Exam


Last week I passed the Tableau Desktop Qualified Exam, so I decided to give back to the Tableau community about my studying experience. I studied about 1-2 weeks for the exam, average about 2 hours per day, even though I had about 2 years user experience with Tableau. 

The purpose of the exam is to test how much a candidate is familiar with the software instead of how good a candidate's visualization skills are. A post named 'Rumor has it...' in the community discussed about the fact that some candidates with few years working experience in Tableau failed the exam. If you are wondering if you should invest time and money in the exam (as it's quite expensive), I recommend to read my other post Why Do You Want to Take the Tableau Certificate Exam



1. Determine Level of Skills

The 14 sample questions on the Tableau official preparation guide (Link) can be a place to measure a candidate’s Tableau skills. A candidate’s Tableau skills are: 

a. Advanced level 
if a candidate can answer all questions correctly within 30 minutes . 
b. Medium level 
if a candidate can answer all questions correctly within 1 hour.
c. Beginner level 
if a candidate answer fewer than 10 out of 14 questions correctly. 

Strategy for Beginner and Advanced Level
1) Beginner Level 
I strongly recommend to go over the Tableau On-Demand videos (Link) first and went through the sample workbooks embedded(see below) on Tableau Desktop before getting in depth into complex customized calculations. 














2) Advanced Level
I suggest to search the new features of Tableau Desktop 9 before taking the exam as Desktop 9 provides quite a lot of innovative new features that allow complex calculations. 




2. Make a Plan

After the skills level is determined, it helps a candidate to make a plan that improve knowledge of Tableau. I am going to use a candidate with medium level skills in Tableau as an example to make a study plan. The candidate with medium level skill in Tableau should be familiar with connecting the data, sorting the data, and creating simple calculation field. 


1)Top 15 Level of Details (Link)
I followed the steps written on the article to build the visualization. On the day before the exam, I built the visualization again without checking the methods written on it so I can make sure that I will be familiar to use level of details.

2) Sort the data within one  category: (Link)

3)  Filtering Top N and Top N : (Link)

4) How to use Set in Tableau: (Link)

5) How to create a Paretos Chart: (Link)

6) How to use Ad-hoc Analytics and save it: (Link)

7) How to use secondary calculation of ‘Edit table calculation'

8) Trouble shooting of mixing aggregation functions and non-aggregation together:(Link)

9) Automatic split and custom split: (Link)

10) Tableau On-Demand Training: (Link)
If you have more times to prepare for the exam, I strongly recommend the videos listed on the Tableau official page.



3. Exam Days

I strongly recommend people who use Mac version of Tableau to practice building dashboard on Windows as the virtual machine at the exam is Windows.

1) Expose to real environment of the exam

Watch this YouTube tutorial to see what a candidate expect to see during the exam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5V83ms7yr4

2) Get a mouse and a big monitor
a. Even the Internet I had for the exam is 64MB/s download and upload speed, the virtual machine is still very hanging.
b. I used my MacPro to finish the exam without a monitor, which reduced my speed in reading the questions and editing the calculation.
c. The multi touch gesture of MacPro is not available in the virtual machine.
d. Excel was not installed in the virtual machine so a candidate won’t be able to do the calculation outside of Tableau. 
e. Paper was not allowed to bring in the room.


Please feel free to comment below and share the article on LinkedIn. 

64 comments:

  1. wow, fabulous! I love this article.!

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome. Good luck on your exam :)

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  2. Thank you so much!!! Clear plan to follow and clear the certification exam!!!

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome. Good luck on your exam.

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  3. Thanks, this is very useful.
    One note, the failures you mention were actually for Tableau Desktop 8 Professional Certification, I believe, not QA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. The article 'Rumor has it..' was a legacy discussion about Tableau Desktop 8, 7, or even 6 on the Tableau community. I took both Desktop 8 and 9 exams. There were quite a lot of common questions across these two exams.

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  4. Hi , I want to know For Tableau 9.0 professional only Q&A are there. Is it that all Questions are necessary to attempt.
    Thank you

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    Replies
    1. To take the Professional exam, I need to pass the Qualified exam first. As I just finished the Qualified exam, I didn't take the Tableau 9.0 Professional exam yet.

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  5. Hi Eva interesting article for exam takers!, so what's the most difficult part in the exam ? .Are the 2 hours sufficient to answer all of the questions?

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    Replies
    1. I finished the exam in 1 hour 50 minutes. The most difficult part was the calculation with Tableau. It requires a candidate to be familiar with the features of set, group, secondary calculation, and others.

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  6. Just took the exam, the virtual machine sucks, the lag makes you loose a lot of time
    Thanks for the tips Eva

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you the virtual machine really sucks... it's worst than Windows 95...

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  7. Thanks for your suggestions. Unfortunately they did not help as I didn't pass. I have been working with Tableau for a year and completed all the PET and web videos. Very disappointed in the exam. Tableau should offer much better. Don't take it on a laptop as you will need to go back and forth between the virtual workbook and questions. You spend too much time connecting to different data sources. Poorly worded or "frankly stupid" questions regarding the layout of Tableau that don't really address your knowledge of how the product works (which is what I think the Qualified exam should really address).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was planning to give. Can you give your email id so that I can get some ideas of difficulties. Thanks

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. I agree with that the virtual machine did not work very smoothly. I really hope they can improve the user experience of the exam in the future too.

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    4. Please give me the Guidance of Tableau Qualify Associative
      pullaguravinod@gmail.com

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  8. Hi Eva,

    Nice Article.

    In the practical section of the exam, how many datasets are given to use and answer the questions?

    Is it that in the exam, same dataset (Superstore) is used or are there different datasets.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi,

    Can anyone please help me with the above query?

    Thanks

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  10. Thanks for putting this together! Hope i will get thru the Certification

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    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Hi Sri,

    Have you given the exam. Kindly share your experience if you attempted the exam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I took the exam and passed it.

      Delete
    2. Please give me the Guidance of Tableau Qualify Associative
      pullaguravinod@gmail.com

      Delete
  12. Has anyone given the exam quite recently? Would appreciate the pointers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Rishabh, Did you end up taking the exam? What was your experience?

      Delete
  13. Just wish to say your article is as surprising.

    The clarity to your post is simply great and that i could
    suppose you’re a professional on this subject.
    Well with your permission let me to clutch your feed to stay up to date with approaching post.

    Thank you a million and please continue the rewarding
    work.
    Tableau Guru
    www.sqiar.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. I wrote some practice questions, which you can find here: www.learningtableau.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is awesome! You should share with the Tableau community. I already passed the exam so I don't need that.

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    2. This level of practice is enough to pass the exam, thanks for the practice questions...
      Plz share u r thoughts

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    3. Lukas, I see a book on Amazon for Tableau Exam prep but no reviews. Does this book have only questions for exam prep ? Is the book enough for exam prep ?

      Delete
  15. I wrote some practice questions, which you can find here: www.learningtableau.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This level of practice is enough to pass the exam,thanks for your effort ...plz share u r thoughts

      Delete
  16. Good job! The Author had done great work. It will really helpful, who are Preparing for Tableau Desktop 9 Qualified Associate Exam. If you’re interested to learn more about Tableau, I will share you a link: https://goo.gl/EIBtQ1 just have looks. I hope it will help who are looking for Tableau. Thank you.

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  17. thank you for the details in your blog.

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  18. thank you for the details in your blog.

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  19. Thanks Eva - all excellent pointers. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with the rest of us.

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  20. Are the questions multiple choice?

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  21. Is Supestore data set the only Dataset provided for the exam to answer all hands on questions? Or is there any other data set that is provided?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, There was 5,6 datasets and 1 dashboard

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  22. Is Supestore data set the only Dataset provided for the exam to answer all hands on questions? Or is there any other data set that is provided?

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    Replies
    1. I don't remember but I remember I worked on at least 3 different types of data sources in the exam.

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  23. Great article, thank you! Were you able to answer questions out of order, so that you could return later to the more time consuming/difficult questions?

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  24. Is it possible to get job by knowing only Tableau Software ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess yes.. There is a lot of BI positions in the market.

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  25. Just want to know where we can find the dashboard while giving the exam.

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. How much is the fees for this exam ?
    How long and how much score you need to pass exam?
    Can anyone let me know where I can give exam , is there any specified Centers for this exams ?

    will appreciate reply,

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. $250. I studied for 1 hour per day for about a week.

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  28. Hi Eva

    Thanks for the information. Any sample questions you can provide other than mentioned in tableau website.

    ReplyDelete
  29. 250 USD....for tableau desktop certification

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  30. Hi Eva, thank you for aggregating most of the learning resources here, plus tips and tricks. I just passed my Qualified exam today. I don't think the test is hard or tricky, as long as you are well prepared according to the official preparation guide. Table calculation is so important, you must familiar how to tweak and apply correctly. Not so much of LOD expression. Good luck to those who looking to take one soon.

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  31. Hi Eva, I took my Qualified Associate exam this morning and passed! In addition to using Tableau's recommended study guide, I found your guide very useful in terms of required study time and topics covered. Thank you again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, would you mind sharing how you prepared and how much time it took to get ready for the exam, any links or references would be helpful

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  32. I have read your blog and I gathered some needful information from your blog. Keep update your blog. Awaiting for your next update.
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    ReplyDelete
  33. Really very nice blog . Thanks for sharing I gather lot of information in this blog.Thanks for sharing.keep sharing more blogs.


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  34. I am preparing for Tableau Desktop Certification and I am not having any work experience. Am i eligible to attend the exam? Please guide me to prepare for the exam since i am new to the technology. Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete