Getting ready for your Alteryx Designer Advanced Certification Exam: tips and resources

by Anna Prosvetova

When the Christmas dinner is over and all the presents are opened, what else is there to do? “Time to give the Alteryx Advanced exam a try,” I thought and sat the test without much preparation. My goal was to understand how much I already know after 3 months at the Data School and which skills I should work further on.

Alteryx exams are created to be a part of the learning journey rather than a simple test. I was planning to take the Advanced exam anyway, so I decided to prepare for the exam by attempting it. I didn’t pass it this time, but now I have an understanding of the exam’s structure and the areas where I need to focus on to pass it next time. In this post I’ve listed materials that can be useful for the exam preparation as well as tips based on my experience of taking the Advanced exam.

Exam format

You can take the Alteryx Designer Advanced exam once you’ve passed the Core Designer exam. Both of them are free and available on-demand from the Alteryx Certification page. The Advanced exam takes 2 hours and you are allowed to use online and offline resources during the test.

There are 44 questions out of which 40 are multiple choice (worth 1 point each) and 4 are practical questions (worth 10 points each). The passing score is 80%, and you can retake the exam every 7 days, similar to the Core exam.

Alteryx tools covered

The Advanced exam focuses on several groups of tools, in addition to the ones that are covered in the Core exam:

  • Advanced Preparation
  • Advanced Join & Parse
  • Spatial Analytics
  • Reporting
  • Data Investigation

To be successful in this exam, you also need to know how to build different types of macros and analytical applications in Alteryx.

For a detailed overview of the tools covered in the test, I recommend reading the Advanced Certification exam prep guide.

In my first attempt at the exam, spatial and reporting tools represented the majority of questions, so it’s worth focusing on these areas in your preparation. In particular, two out of the four practical questions were focused on the use of spatial tools.

Study resources

  • A good place to start is the official prep guide for the exam, which has a comprehensive list of documents, recorded trainings, and weekly challenges for each section of the test. Also, the Advanced Certification Prep session video is a good intro to the exam’s structure and the tools covered in it.
  • Next, the weekly challenges on the Alteryx Community page are a great way to develop your skills. It’s a great resource to prepare for the exam because it allows you to select challenges that are focused on a particular subject such as macros, apps, or spatial.
  • I would also recommend going through the interactive lessons in Alteryx Academy. These bite-size lessons cover the basics of many tools included in both Core and Advanced exams as well as general overview of data types, principles of formatting and shaping data in Alteryx, and much more.
  • Another great resource is a 6-part video series on preparing for the Advanced exam. Each video is dedicated to a certain topic covered in the exam and includes a quick overview of the tools as well as their practical application. There is also a short quiz in each video that allows you to test your knowledge as well as some suggestions on which weekly challenges you should take to practice. 

Before and during the exam

  • If it’s possible, have a dual screen setup for the exam. It was helpful for me to have one screen with only Alteryx open, and the second screen with two separate browser windows open side by side: one for displaying the test itself and another for Alteryx’s help pages, Google, etc. That saves time during the exam as you don’t need to switch between windows. 
  • Before the exam, open Alteryx’s help & documentation page to make it easier for you to find information about the tools and their features during the exam. Another useful page to have open is the Tool Categories section in the Alteryx Documentation portal. 
  • Have the prep guide open before the exam as some of the sample questions from the guide might come up during the test.
  • Before starting the exam, create a new Alteryx workflow with several empty Text Input tools. I found it helpful to actually test possible answers for some of the multiple choice questions in Alteryx, and having the Text Input tool ready saved me some time during the exam.  
  • In my case, all four practical questions (worth 10 points each) were at the very end of the test, so if your strategy is to start with these high-value questions, go to question 41 first.
  • As with other exams, a good strategy is not to spend too much time on a single question. If you don’t know the answer – move on. You can always return to that question later. Also, if you are running out of time and are still struggling with some of the questions – make a guess. It’s always better to guess than to not try to answer the question at all.  
  • Remember to use shortcuts when building workflows in Alteryx. It can save you a couple of precious minutes. 
  • Questions on the Spatial Match tool seem to be quite frequent in the Advanced exam, so have the summary of the Spatial Match’s types ready for reference during the exam. 

If taking the Alteryx Advanced exam is one of your New Year’s resolutions, I hope you find this post helpful. Good luck!

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