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Passed The Test

Passing the Adobe SiteCatalyst Implementation Exam

In September I finally passed the Adobe Certified Expert SiteCatalyst Implementation exam. This was after one failed attempt. I feel I can now share the keys to successfully passing the exam, and becoming an ACE.

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The ground rules: The exam is conducted in a proctored environment. You can’t bring anything with you to the testing station. No notes, no smartphone, not even your wallet. I was given a small whiteboard, marker and eraser. The exam consists of 75 multiple choice questions and 15 essay questions, which are weighted heavier. The scoring breakdown is about 60% multiple choice, 40% essay. You have more than ample time to complete the test, so don’t worry about not completing in time.

Resources: First of all it’s very helpful to download the testing checklist off of the SiteCatalyst website. Additionally you should download the implementation guide. It might also be helpful to view the online video resources that are available I also took the Implementation Class offered by Adobe, which includes a very nice manual with questions and exercises. Please be aware, taking the class alone is not enough to pass. You will certainly need to study the additional resources.

Topics to focus on: The test is without a doubt challenging, but there are areas that you should focus on which comprise the bulk of the test. Here’s a quick bulleted list…

  • The major page tags and when to use them: s.pagename, s.channel, s.hier, s.prop[n], s.eVar[n], s.server, s.event, etc.
  • The character limitations of each tag
  • Correlations & Subrelations
  • All of the commerce tags: s.prodView, s.scAdd, etc. Also know that a prodView is the default event when a product variable is present.
  • What can be done in the interface vs. what you need Adobe Client Care to perform
  • Specifc Adobe tools and when to use them. They include: VISTA, Data Warehouse, Data Sources, Discover, SAINT, Excel Client
  • When to do data classifications
  • Where to place the tracking beacon for optimal performance – after the opening <body> tag
  • There was one question on running multiple sets of code simultaneously (H0, H1, etc.) I don’t know if I got this right, but it’s there. Do some research on version G & version H of the code.
  • Study the s.linkTrackEvents & s.linkTrackVars tags. Know how to use them.
  • Understand how to exlcude internal traffic.
  • Know how to tag a 404 error page.
  • Know how to enable plugins, and how to use the major plugins.
  • Understand how to dynamically capture a URL parameter and pass it into a tag. They use “cid” as an example for a campaign.
  • Most important – The different dimensions in the product string. They run through examples where you have to add the numeric events and the merchandising vars. For reference:

Study methods: Everyone studies in a different way. I personally printed out all of the manuals and study guides, highlighting and writing notes. From there I created flashcards which contained all the essential information. For example, the front of the card said “Product String” and the back listed the 6 dimensions. There is no substitute for writing things down as a way of committing to memory. Whatever your method is, make sure you can write the JavaScript code from scratch.

Test feedback: Non-existent. You get an immediate score on the multiple choice and have to wait about 5 days for the essay to be graded. You will not know what questions you got wrong, nor specific sections to study. With that in mind, it is very helpful to write down areas you know you were weak in right away after the test. If for some reason you do fail, don’t be discouraged. Study the areas you were weak in, and retake within 3 weeks if you can.

Congrats, you passed! Now what? Aside from knowing you are smarter than 90% of the people around you, there are also fabulous prizes. You will get access to an official certificate right away, and you will also have the ability to send your certified credentials to clients. After a few weeks, you get a welcome kit in the mail. The kit includes an Adobe ACE polo t-shirt, a frame for your certificate, a branded business card holder and… wait for it… Adobe breath mints! Seriously. I can’t make this up!

Good luck.

About Nathan Matuska

Nathan Matuska is Director of Product Development at the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and founder of Analytics Nerd. He has nearly 15 years of experience in Ecommerce Strategies, Data Analysis, and Digital Marketing. He has extensive experience in web analytics, previously working as the Manager of Client services for a web analytics start-up and has worked with other tools such as SiteCatalyst, Google Analytics and Webtrends.

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