I recently took the new Tableau certification exam – Certified Data Analyst Beta version. The exam is replacing the old one: Tableau Desktop Certified Associate Exam. I decided to give it a try because a free retake is included now if I fail. The exam result will only be available 90 days after the beta exam period ends. More information about the exam can be checked here.

I’ve never done the previous version before, so I couldn’t really compare the difference. But here I’m sharing my experience of taking this new version, and hopefully can give you an idea about what it’s look like.


Exam Setup

You will be asked to check-in the exam 30 minutes before the start time. During this period you’ll be testing your internet connection, microphone, audio, and camera. You’ll also need to take photos of yourself, your photo ID, and your test environment. Then after queueing (there were 66 people waiting before me) a proctor will talk to you (and see you through the camera). I was asked to show her my desk. Only the computer, mouse, charger, and a cup of drink are allowed. I was worried about my test environment since I was in my living room with shelfs and carboard making up kind of “partition”. But it turned out they didn’t give me a hard time on this.


Exam Format

The length of Tableau Certified Data Analyst Beta Exam is 2.5 hours with 70 questions in my case. There were three parts. The first part contains 30 questions and most of them are multiple choice and multiple response. For multiple response questions it will tell you how many answer should be selected.

The second part is hands-on lab. You’ll be using Tableau on a remote / virtual desktop. The workbook was already built with data source connected. You’ll be asked with different tasks in different worksheets, and save them for review. I’ve got 11 questions in this part.

The final part includes question 42 to 70. Some of them are similar to the format in the first part, but I felt there are more “ordering” questions here. This type of questions give you a scenario or a result it wants to achieve, and ask you to select the correct steps and put them in order.


My Reflection

Before the exam, I knew that I’d be able to mark the questions that I’m not sure with and come back later. But I only know that each section are separated when I was taking the exam. That means if you decide to go to the next section, you won’t be able to go back to the previous section. I wasn’t sure about one hands-on question, but I didn’t spend more time on it because I was afraid I’d be rushing in the last part. But it turned out that I had more than enough time left when I finished all questions. However I couldn’t go back to the previous parts anymore. How to allocate time properly to different sections was a bit challenging for me.

By the way, in the previous exam Google is allowed. But I didn’t see anywhere I can use Google during the first and last part of this exam. You can probably use it in the hands-on lab section, but I was too focused on the workbook itself and didn’t pay much attention on anything else on that remote desktop.

Though it’s a different version of exam, I felt those preparing resources for the old version are still very helpful. I recommend to at least go through the exam prep guide and identify the topics that you’re less confident with. Tableau official help documents are really useful. And I also found this blog by Christopher Marland from The Data School UK very comprehensive.

Good luck!


Ming-Hsuan Lee
Author: Ming-Hsuan Lee