I’ve earned most of the certifications that Google offers, including the L1 and L2 teacher certification.
Years ago I became a “Google Certified Administrator,” but that program was discontinued a long time ago.
I was excited to hear Google announce a new certification for IT admins who manage Chromebooks.
Sounds perfect for someone like me!
So, I decided to test my skills by taking the ChromeOS administrator exam. I guess we’ll find out how much I actually know about Chromebooks!
Exam Rules & Requirements
The ChromeOS administrator exam aimed at IT professionals with at least 1 year of Chromebook management experience. You must be familiar with the Google admin console, device, and user settings before attempting this exam.
My experience with Chromebook management is exclusively in K-12 school environments. There were a few questions / sections of the exam that were more business-focused and not as familiar to me.
This exam is appropriate for both business and education IT admins, just be prepared for some concepts that might not be common in your IT environment.
Here are the key details that you should know about the ChromeOS administrators exam
- Cost: $200 (FREE through January 2024!)
- Format: multiple choice & lab (two seperate sections)
- Examination Time: 3 hours (90 minutes for each section)
- Passing Score: 80% (you either pass or fail; you won’t know your specific score)
- Language Support: English (Japanese supporting coming in 2023)
- Restrictions: this is a closed book exam. External material (digital or printed) is not allowed. Remotely proctored via web cam eye tracking.
- Length of Certification: 3 years (must re-test to maintain your credential)
You can retake the exam up to three times in one year by re-registering and paying the exam fee. There is a waiting period between each attempt which is outlined here. (Hopefully I won’t need to take this test more than once!)
Note: the multiple choice and lab portion of the exam considered separate tests. If you pass one section, but not the other, you only need to retake the section you did not pass.
Registering for the Chromebook exam exam was a bit tricky, but this is most likely due to the fact that the exam is still in beta.
Registration and test administration is handled by Kryterion, Google’s testing partner. Because this exam is in beta, you must create a NEW Kryterion account to access and register. If you have taken other professional certifications from Google / Kryterion, you can NOT use your old account.
Once you have created a new account, you will see the ChromeOS administrator exam and will have the opportunity to register at no cost through January 2024. The exam fee is normally $200.
You must schedule a time to sit for this exam. Same day examinations are NOT available, so make sure you register in advance.
Want to pass your ChromeOS admin exam the first time? The Chromebook Academy is a LIVE virtual training for IT administrators that will review everything that is tested on this exam.
Registration for my winter cohort will open in early 2023. Join the waitlist below to register!
The ChromeOS administrator exam is a closed-book examination. Referencing external notes or use of a secondary device or browser tabs is NOT allowed.
There is a long list of prohibited activity and behavior outlined on the exam policy page.
I’ve taken nearly all of the exams that Google offers. This one had the tightest security, without question. Much tighter than the L1 and L2 Google Educator exams and the old Google Certified Administrator exam that is no longer offered.
The exam is remotely proctored through your web cam using eye-tracking software. If you look off-camera, you will receive a warning not to access external notes or secondary devices. Repeated warnings can result in being kicked out of the exam.
This happened to me several times. The good news is that you don’t just get kicked off; so there’s no need to panic about looking off-camera for a second and voiding your exam results.
After submitting your exam, your responses will be reviewed by Google / Kryterion for compliance with the stated exam rules. Your exam results will be voided if it is determined that you did not comply with the exam policies.
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t provide any resources to help you prepare for the exam. There is a (very) minimal outline of topics you should be familiar with, but you are on your own to practice.
If you have been managing Chromebooks for several years, you will probably do just fine. But if you are new to the Admin Console, it would be best to get some training and experience before you attempt the exam.
If you are interested in training on the admin console, I have two courses that would be perfect for you:
- Google Admin Bootcamp – this LIVE virtual course reviews the key elements of managing Google Workspace for Education using the admin console. This is NOT Chromebook course, but will give you helpful background on navigating the console.
- Chromebook Academy – this LIVE virtual course is specifically alligned with the ChromeOS admin exam. We’ll cover everything you need to know to manage a fleet of Chromebooks AND pass the exam.
I offer both of these courses several times throughout the year. Head over to gEducator.com to learn more and sign up!
Section 1: Multiple choice (not easy)
The ChromeOS exam is divided into two sections: multiple choice and lab.
The first section consists of 50 multiple choice questions that must be completed in 90 minutes or less.
Most of the questions require the selection of a single correct answer, but a few require the selection of multiple correct choices.
I found this section to be the most challenging. It is essential that you are familiar with the vocabulary of the Google admin console to pass this section.
There were some questions that I found a bit vague or confusing, but that’s pretty standard for this type of test.
If your experience with Chromebook management is primarily in education, there are a few things that might throw you off.
For example, the topic of deploying and configuring a VPN was included on the exam. This isn’t something that I have ever needed to do as the Chromebook admin for a school.
You should be prepared for 5-10 questions that will be challenging if your Chromebook management experience is limited to classroom deployments.
You do have the opportunity to mark questions for later review if you wish. You will have a chance to review these questions before you submit the MC portion of the test.
Once you have submitted the multiple choice section, you will move on to the lab portion of the exam.
Section 2: Lab (a bit easier)
The second section of the test is a lab practical which requires use of the Google Admin Console to solve various administrative scenarios.
I found this section to be easier than the multiple choice section, and much more enjoyable. If you are familiar with the admin console, you will breeze through this section.
When you begin the lab portion of the exam you will receive login credentials to a demo admin console that you will use to complete the tasks that are assigned to you. Most of these tasks are pretty straight forward and involve creating organizational units, applying policies to the OUs, and moving users/devices around within the OUs.
I received 14 scenario questions. Some scenarios contain multiple tasks/parts, so they take varying amounts of time. You have 90 minutes to complete the lab portion of the exam.
The tasks on this portion of the exam are things that I do on a regular basis. I found the scenarios to be very practical and the expectations to be reasonably aligned with the tasks a Chromebook admin should be able to complete.
The key to success on the lab portion of the exam is familiarity with the layout of the admin console. Can you find the setting that deals with pinning OS updates to a specific version? Where do you go to configure a kiosk app for deployment? The scenarios presented require accessing many different sections of the console.
It took me about 2 hours to complete both sections of the Chromebook certification exam.
After submitting my exam, I was told that my results would be emailed in 10-14 days.
I was pleasantly surprised when I received my exam results the next day.
While the email indicated that I PASSED, my test results were being reviewed by Google to ensure “exam compliance.” I’m not sure if they thought I cheated, or if this is what happens to everyone.
It did take more than a week to receive final confirmation of my exam results. This time, I was officially recognized as a ChromeOS certified specialist and invited to view my certificate and badge.
Your certification is held by credential.net which can be used to verify the authenticity of the credential. You can link your credentials to your LinkedIn profile and add the badge to your signature.
I had a very positive experience with the ChromeOS administrator exam. I didn’t experience any technical issues or receive any questions that I felt were unfair or inaccurate.
Google does NOT provide much in the way of training for this exam. There is a (very) minimal list of exam topics, but no real preparation material. This is why I created the Chromebook Academy, so that you can take the exam with confidence!
Running this type of assessment is VERY challenging. I don’t envy the team that is in charge of writing the questions and managing the process.
I’ve completed nearly all of Google’s certification programs and this one was one of the smoothest by far.
With the exam fee being waived until January 2024, there really isn’t any reason NOT to give the exam a try!