Passing the Tableau Certification Exams

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Last year, I took and passed both the Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate and the Tableau Desktop Certified Professional exams. While I have been using Tableau Desktop for two years at my job, I was a little nervous about the exam – primarily because I didn’t want to ask my work to pay for it again! Fortunately I passed both the first time around, and I wanted to discuss my experience with each.

Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate

The Tableau Desktop Qualified Associate exam is a 2 hour multiple choice open Internet exam covering Tableau Desktop. There are 36 questions – and I took the full 2 hours to answer them. The Qualified Associate exam contains both multiple choice and multiple answer questions, and you receive your score immediately upon hitting submit.

To take the exam, you log-in to a virtual machine on your computer that only has Tableau Desktop, files to use on the exam, and the internet. You are required to have a webcam on, and you get to actually video chat with the proctor who monitors you during the exam. To make sure you are not cheating, you have to rotate the webcam around the room so the proctor can exam your surroundings, and you have to leave the webcam on the entire time you take the test.

To prepare, I took the practice exam and read the exam manual from Tableau’s website. Using the “Skills Measured” list, I googled terms that I was unfamiliar with. I watched the Tableau learning videos on their website on features I did not often use.

I don’t mind sharing my results, because I am extremely proud of my 98%. You are given the breakdowns of your results based on the different categories:


I am incredibly curious about the chart question I must have missed, but you do not get to see the questions after you submit.

Tableau Desktop Certified Professional

This one was a roller coaster! I am known at work for my quick turnarounds, and I consider myself pretty efficient with Tableau. However, I did take the full 3 hours with the Tableau Desktop Certified Professional Exam, and I did not complete every question. Again, you have to have your webcam on with a proctor, and you are given Internet access. With this exam, you submit a Tableau workbook which is graded based on a rubric.

The exam had 10 questions with 3 different styles. The first few questions gave a chart that was already created, and you are expected to recreate it to better tell a story. This is followed by questions that ask you to answer a specific question, and you have to create the worksheet from scratch. The final few questions involve creating a Tableau story, which I personally had little experience in.

To prepare, I re-watched the Tableau videos of skills I was not familiar with, and I also read Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic’s Storytelling with Data. Cole had also recommended The Big Book of Dashboards, which I skimmed through but did not finish before taking the exam. My biggest regret was not spending enough time practicing Level of Detail calculations – while having the internet was helpful, I did not complete some questions where LOD calculations would have come in handy.

I submitted my workbook with 3 minutes remaining, and unfortunately it takes a few weeks for your exam to be graded. Fortunately for me, I was eventually told that I had passed the exam! I did not get a breakdown similar to the Qualified Associate exam – I only received the word ‘PASS’.

The Certified Professional exam was much more challenging than I expected, so I am impressed by those who have passed it. Having months of experience using Tableau is extremely useful, though more experience making stories would have certainly helped!

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