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  • Marcel Kintscher

#1 How I prepared for the Tableau Server Certified Associate Exam

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

This is a 5-minutes read.


Jump to the end of this article to see all my tips summarised in one place.


Finding a job in the data space isn’t that easy anymore these days. If you haven’t got a lot of work experience and various testimonials to show, certifications are a super useful way to show that you have the skills needed to perform. Tableau, as one of the leading BI software, is offering several certifications that anyone who passes an exam can call their own. One of these certifications is the Tableau Server Certified Associate Exam.

Talking briefly about Tableau Server: Tableau Server is Tableau’s server solution that allows users to organize, edit, share, and collaborate on Tableau dashboards inside a web-hosted or on-premise environment. Even though Tableau is doing extremely well in making setting things up easier, it still requires a significant amount of knowledge and skills to set up and especially maintain a server. Therefore, experts in this area are always needed to support companies getting started with Tableau.


If you are currently preparing for this exam or if you’re thinking about taking it soon, read this article carefully. It takes only five minutes, and you are going to be introduced to the main tips and tricks as well as to a fun learning tool that will save you a lot of time on your way to get passed the exam.


First of all, be aware that the Tableau Server CA Exam is only a starter level type of certification. That doesn’t mean that the questions won’t be tricky sometimes, but what you don’t need to get passed it is to have years of experience using Tableau Server. However, don’t underestimate this exam and be sure to be best prepared so you won’t have to spend another 250$ on it.


Facts (no guarantee about 100% correctness, I took the exam in 07/2021)

To pass the exam you have to achieve a passing score of 75% out of 80 questions (for those who are calculating this in their own heads: go ahead!, for the rest: this means you have to have a minimum of 60 right answers). You have 90 minutes to answer all the questions. The types of questions you will see are: multiple choice (select one answer out of 4), multiple response (select several answers out of 4) and true/false (whether a statement is true or false). During the exam you can use the internet with the exception of any sites that require login or chatting with others.


Quick tip #1: Your main enemy in this exam is time. 90 minutes for 80 questions means a little over a minute per question. My tip for you is to try and go through all 90 questions as fast as possible and flag those that you are not sure about and aim to check them diligently in the end. Remember you’re allowed to use the internet as well for this.


Environment


The exam is hosted by a proctor, hired by Tableau to guide you through the setup and make sure you’re following the rules. When you start the exam through the proctor’s platform you will have to click your way through to connect with the proctor via a meeting app. After the proctor has checked your internet connectivity status, you will log into a virtual machine (VM) where you will take the test. From there you have access to the exam questions, an instance of Tableau Server and Tableau Services Manager (TSM). The access credentials will be provided to you before the 90 minutes timer starts (actually, you get an additional 5 minutes time to read through the exam instructions inside the VM).


Quick tip #2: Even though the exam is scheduled for 90 minutes, connecting to the proctor and setting up the VM can take about 30 additional minutes. I absolutely recommend planning in a minimum of 120 minutes for the exam, maybe even more so you don’t feel any pressure during the exam to get finished.


Quick tip #3: As said, there is an instance of Tableau Server and TSM on the VM which you’ll be given the access credentials to in the beginning. I am going to be honest with you, I did not use either one of them during the exam. However, I recommend you login to both applications before the start of the 90 minutes so you don’t have to take care of that later.


Preparation


Now, how are you going to pass the exam? Besides knowing about the environment you’ll find yourself in during the exam, it is important that you can answer a majority of the questions as fast as possible. This requires that you can answer them with your own acquired knowledge.


Tableau’s official Tableau Server CA Exam Guide gives you a very clear overview about the topics of the exam. Each topic has a percentage attached to it which you can interpret as an equivalent to the number of questions on this topic in the exam. Someone, who has been with Tableau for over a decade, told me that the best way to prepare for these exams is to go through every single of these topics and sub-topics and gather as much information on it as possible. Where can you find all this information? The answer is simple - Tableau’s Documentation on Tableau Server


Quick tip #4: You can either use Tableau’s online documentation about Tableau Server or the offline version in the form of a pdf. In order to be best prepared for the exam, I recommend using Tableau’s online documentation because it will allow you to look more flexibly for information as opposed to the in-browser pdf version, as you can have multiple tabs with different topics open and switch between them quickly.


Final tip: If your goal is to save time and have an efficient way to prepare for the exam, I do recommend to check out this brilliant Tableau Server CA Prep Tool on Tableau Public. All questions, answers and links to the Tableau Server Documentation are already in there and you’ll have a fun tool to practice your knowledge as well as track your learning progress. Instructions on how to set this up for yourself can be found directly in the tool. To get started, hit the ‘Start Learning’ button in the top right corner.



That’s it! Good luck to all you Tableau gurus! #CertifiablyTableau #TableauPublic #TableauServer

Author: Marcel Kintscher

I'd love to connect with you via Twitter or LinkedIn

All my tips summarised in one place:


Best tip: If your goal is to save time and have an efficient way to prepare for the exam, I do recommend to check out this brilliant Tableau Server CA Prep Tool on Tableau Public. All questions, answers and links to the Tableau Server Documentation are already in there and you’ll have a fun tool to practice your knowledge as well as to track your learning progress. Instructions on how to set this up for yourself can be found directly in the tool. To get started, hit the ‘Start Learning’ button in the top right corner.

Quick tip #1: Your main enemy in this exam is time. 90 minutes for 80 questions means a little over a minute per question. My tip for you is to try and go through all 90 questions as fast as possible and flag those that you are not sure about and aim to check them diligently in the end. Remember you’re allowed to use the internet as well for this.


Quick tip #2: Even though the exam is scheduled for 90 minutes, connecting to the proctor and setting up the VM can take about 30 additional minutes. I absolutely recommend planning in a minimum of 120 minutes for the exam, maybe even more so you don’t feel any pressure during the exam to get finished.


Quick tip #3: As said, there is an instance of Tableau Server and TSM on the VM which you’ll be given the access credentials to in the beginning. I am going to be honest with you, I did not use either one of them during the exam. However, I recommend you login to both applications before the start of the 90 minutes so you don’t have to take care of that later.


Quick tip #4: You can either use Tableau’s online documentation about Tableau Server or the offline version in the form of a pdf. In order to be best prepared for the exam, I recommend using Tableau’s online documentation because it will allow you to look more flexibly for information as opposed to the in-browser pdf version, as you can have multiple tabs with different topics open and switch between them quickly.

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