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Computer Applications | Google Apps

What is the Google Workspace Certification and How Do You Prepare Your Students?

November 12th, 2020 | 9 min. read

Katie Schneider

Katie Schneider

As an account manager at AES, Katie works with teachers and administrators every day to better understand how she can help them meet their goals.

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NOTE: The Google Workspace exam (formerly the GSuite Certification) was retired by Google on January 1, 2021. Learn more about the exam retirement here.

Many schools and teachers across the US are looking to expand their technology and computer curriculum to include certification options for their students.

As a computer applications curriculum developer, teachers often ask us what certifications are available, so that they can decide what to offer and how to plan their curriculum accordingly.

While many educators are aware of the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications, we have found that there is a growing interest in the Google Applications certification as well.

In this article, we’ll explore the Google Workplace certification (previously the GSuite certification), and answer the most common questions that educators ask us:

  1. What skills and knowledge are required for the Google Workspace certification?
  2. What’s the Google Workspace certification process?
  3. How do I prepare students for the Google Workplace certification exam?

Understanding these elements will help you decide whether or not the Google Workspace certification is something that will complement your computer applications courses.

What Skills and Knowledge are Required for the Google Workspace Certification?

The Google Workspace certification is a comprehensive dive into the digital skills required to work collaboratively and productively in a professional role. It provides proof of competency in common workplace tasks, including the use of Google Applications to create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and files.

Overall the certification requires knowledge and understanding of six sections, which each relate to a specific Google Application:

  1. Using Google Drive
  2. Using Gmail
  3. Using Hangouts Meet
  4. Using Google Docs
  5. Using Google Sheets
  6. Using Google Slides

Each section includes subsections that contain concepts and skills students will need to know when using these Google Applications.


Below we’ll dive into the specifics of each section, listed by Google as of 11/10/20.

Section 1: Using Drive

This Using Drive section is made up of five subsections, and covers working with files and folders in Google Drive.

1.1 Managing files. Considerations include:

  • Copying
  • Moving to trash
  • Downloading to hard drive
  • Uploading from hard drive

1.2 Creating and managing folders. Considerations include:

  • Moving
  • Renaming
  • Removing (moving to trash)
  • Uploading folders from hard drive

1.3 Locating files. Methods include:

  • Search
  • Recent
  • Shared with me
  • Computer and device sync settings

1.4 Changing display settings. Settings include:

  • Grid of list view
  • File or folder details
  • Offline accessibility
  • Notifications (adding content, delete a file)
  • Folder activity (for example, last modified date)

1.5 Sharing files and folders. Options include:

  • Add to my Drive
  • Assign or remove ownership
  • Permissions settings (Off, Folders: organize, add, edit; view only; Docs: edit, comment, view)
  • Sharing notifications
  • Publish to web

Understanding the basics of working in Google Drive will set your students up for success when collaborating with others, both in school and their future careers!

Section 2: Using Gmail

The Using Gmail section includes five subsections that help students understand how to use Gmail as an email provider:

2.1 Personalizing settings

  • Set vacation responder
  • Desktop notifications
  • Language and display preferences

2.2 Managing your inbox. Considerations include:

  • Applying filters and blocking addresses
  • Archiving messages
  • Mute
  • Multiple inboxes

2.3 Managing and communication with contacts. Considerations include:

  • Composing, replying/reply all, forwarding email messages, CCing, BCCing
  • Launching a text chat
  • Launching a video call
  • Sharing files (attaching or linking)
  • Inserting image

2.4 Locating messages

  • Searching and sorting your inbox
  • Sent messages
  • Drafts

2.5 Using Gmail offline

Gmail is becoming increasingly popular, so these are great skills for anyone to have for their professional and personal lives.

Section 3: Using Hangouts Meet

The Using Hangouts Meet section has five subsections that help students effectively use the Google Hangouts application:

3.1 Scheduling a hangout

3.2 Launching a hangout

3.3 Presenting your screen in a hangout

3.4 Managing sound, video and bandwidth. Actions include

  • Muting microphone
  • Turning camera off
  • Reducing bandwidth

3.5 Managing meetings with hangouts. Features include:

  • Dialing in
  • Inviting users
  • Hangouts chat
  • Muting other users
  • Ejecting users

Overall, knowing how to use Hangouts will help your students more effectively collaborate with other students and in their future professions.

Section 4: Working in Docs

The Working in Docs section includes eight subsections that help students create professional-looking documents within Google Docs:

4.1 Setting up pages. Factors include:

  • Page size, orientation, and color
  • Adding footers, headers, and page numbers
  • Adding Table of Contents

4.2 Inserting non-text elements. Elements include:

  • Images
  • Tables
  • External links
  • In Doc linking
  • Bookmarks

4.3 Changing text attributes. Attributes include:

  • Font
  • Font size
  • Text and highlight color
  • Bold, italic, underline

4.4 Formatting text blocks. Attributes include:

  • Paragraph styles
  • Alignment
  • Line and paragraph spacing
  • Columns
  • Numbering and bullets

4.5 Using content management tools

  • Spelling
  • Dictionary

4.6 Inserting and editing tables. Actions include:

  • Creating/deleting tables
  • Inserting/deleting rows and columns
  • Managing table properties, such as color, border, dimensions, and alignment

4.7 Collaborating and sharing in Docs. Considerations include:

  • Comments
  • Editing
  • Suggesting
  • Revision history

4.8 Download as

  • Choosing a file format
  • Downloading a document

Learning the fundamentals of Google Docs is a must for any student, so they can create a professional-looking document. Plus, learning the more advanced features, will ensure they are ready to collaborate with others in academic and career settings.

Section 5: Working in Sheets

The Working in Sheets section includes seven subsections that help students create spreadsheets and view data within Google Sheets:

5.1 Managing values, rows, cells or columns. Considerations include:

  • Adding
  • Deleting
  • Freezing
  • Inserting

5.2 Formatting sheets and cells. Considerations include:

  • Bolding and italicizing
  • Merging cells
  • Text wrapping
  • Fill color
  • Borders
  • Data validation
  • Alignment
  • Fonts
  • Font size
  • Date formats
  • Currency
  • Adding, deleting, copying, copy to…, and renaming sheets

5.3 Inserting non-text elements. Elements include:

  • Charts
  • Images
  • Links
  • Forms
  • Drawings

5.4 Using functions. Basic tools and functions include:

  • Function list
  • SUM
  • MIN
  • MAX

5.5 Managing and transforming data. Considerations include:

  • Conditional formatting
  • Naming, sorting, and protecting sheets and ranges
  • Creating filters and filter views
  • Validating data
  • Protecting sheets
  • Creating and modifying charts

5.6 Collaborating and sharing in sheets. Considerations include:

  • Comments
  • Revision history
  • Download as

5.7 Importing and converting from other file types. File types include:

  • .csv
  • .xls

Learning the fundamentals of Google Sheets will help students organize, analyze, and manage data effectively within a Google Sheet.

Section 6: Working in Slides

The Working in Slides section has five subsections that help students learn how to create a presentation in Google Slides:

6.1 Building a presentation. Considerations include:

  • Adding, copying, deleting slides
  • Apply layouts and themes
  • Presenter notes
  • Creating animations
  • Copy and paste slides and adjust to destination formatting
  • Linking slides

6.2 Working with text. Factors include:

  • Inserting text blocks
  • Font
  • Font size
  • Text and highlight color
  • Bold, italic, underline
  • Setting capitalization

6.3 Working with non-text elements. Actions include inserting and working with:

  • Images
  • Charts
  • Diagrams
  • Lines
  • Shapes
  • Tables
  • Slide numbers
  • Videos

6.4 Arranging objects. Actions include:

  • Sending to front or back
  • Group/ungroup
  • Alignment
  • Rotation
  • Distribute
  • Snap-to guiding lines
  • Resizing

6.5 Sharing a presentation. Considerations include:

  • Presenter view
  • Print settings and preview
  • Publish to web

Learning these details of using Google Slides will help students create and deliver professional-looking presentations, both in school and in their future careers!

The Google Workspace Certification Process

Once you have prepared your students for the certification, it’s time for them to sit the Google Workspace exam.

The exam registration fee is $75, although discounted academic pricing is available to students and educators, including administrators.

When registering your students, you can choose from two different testing options:

  • Remote Testing: Students take the exam from their home or school
  • Public Testing Centers: Students go to a test center to take the exam

On exam day, students will be given two hours to complete the exam, which consists of both multiple choice and performance based questions.

How to Prepare Your Students for the Google Workspace Exam

Now that you know what’s on the exam and what to expect from the certification, you probably have one last question: How do I prepare students to become Google certified?

There are a number of test prep resources available to help teach your lessons on Google Apps. These can be great resources to add to your existing computer curriculum.

However, if you’re starting a new program, using test prep materials won’t help you build a comprehensive computer applications curriculum that includes other technology topics such as keyboarding, digital citizenship, digital responsibility, and emailing.

That’s why so many teachers use a combination of exam-related resources from Google along with a more robust computer applications curriculum, like our Business&ITCenter21 system.

Business&ITCenter21 is used by thousands of teachers to save time with planning and grading while maximizing student understanding and engagement.

It contains more than 600 hours of curriculum content to help you teach technology skills and concepts along with overarching career skills like communication, professionalism, and critical thinking.

Wondering what exactly Business&ITCenter21 is and if it’s right for your needs? Watch the demo video to find out more:

Watch Your Demo