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Computer Applications | Google Apps

What Is the GSuite Certification and How Do You Prepare Your Students?

August 6th, 2020 | 13 min. read

Bri Stauffer

Bri Stauffer

For nearly 10 years, Bri has focused on creating content to address the questions and concerns educators have about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the AES curriculum system.

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The G Suite certification measures a student’s proficiency with Google applications to create professional-looking content and collaborate with others.

Previously this certification was only available to adult professionals. With the increase in classes focused on Google applications, it’s now available for students as well!

This availability has led teachers across the country to include the G Suite certification as part of their Google Apps curriculum.

But how do you know you’re teaching the right skills to help students become G Suite certified?

On this page, you’ll learn the details of what’s on the exam and a few tips to prepare your students for test day.

With that, let’s get into how the G Suite certification exam is structured!

NOTE: The GSuite Certification will be retired by Google on December 31, 2020. After the retirement of the GSuite certification, individuals may become certified in Google Workspace. Learn more about the Google Workspace certification here.

How Is the G Suite Certification Exam Structured?


The G Suite certification exam is made up of two parts. First, students must complete a multiple choice exam. Then, they move onto the performance-based assessment.

Overall, the exam includes six sections that are each related to a specific application within G Suite:

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

Each section includes subsections that contain concepts and skills students will need to know when using the G Suite applications.


Section 1: Using Drive

The Using Drive section is made up of five subsections about working with files and folders in Google Drive:

1.1 Managing Files

  • Copying files
  • Moving files to the trash
  • Downloading files to the hard drive

1.2 Creating and Managing Folders

  • Moving folders
  • Renaming folders
  • Moving folders to the trash
  • Uploading folders from the hard drive

1.3 Locating Files

  • Finding files with the search feature
  • Looking at recently opened files

1.4 Changing Display and Settings

  • Using grid or list view
  • Allowing offline accessibility
  • Changing notification settings

1.5 Sharing Files and Folders

  • Assigning file or folder owners
  • Changing permission settings for who can view or edit files
  • Publishing files to the 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

  • Setting the vacation responder
  • Allowing desktop notifications
  • Changing language preferences

2.2 Managing Your Inbox

  • Applying filters
  • Archiving email messages
  • Working with multiple inboxes

2.3 Managing and Communicating with Contacts

  • Composing and replying to email messages
  • Sharing files in email messages
  • Launching a video call

2.4 Locating Messages

  • Searching for messages in the inbox
  • Looking at sent messages
  • Viewing draft emails

2.5 Using Gmail Offline

  • Understanding what offline email is
  • Enabling offline email

With Gmail becoming more common in companies throughout the world, it’s essential for anyone to know!

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

  • Understanding how Google Hangouts work
  • Using Google Calendar to schedule a Hangout meeting

3.2 Launching a Hangout

  • Launching a meeting via Hangouts
  • Joining a Hangout

3.3 Presenting Your Screen in a Hangout

  • Sharing your screen during a meeting
  • Sharing a specific window during a meeting

3.4 Managing Sound, Video, and Bandwidth

  • Muting the microphone
  • Turning the camera off
  • Reducing bandwidth

3.5 Managing Meetings with Hangouts

  • Inviting others to a meeting
  • Using Hangouts chat
  • Muting other users

Overall, knowing how to create and join a Hangout meeting will help your students be more effective when working collaboratively with other people in the workplace.

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

  • Adjusting page size and orientation
  • Adding footers, headers, and page numbers
  • Inserting a Table of Contents

4.2 Inserting Non-Text Elements

  • Inserting images
  • Including external links
  • Creating bookmarks

4.3 Changing Text Attributes

  • Adjusting font and font size
  • Changing text color
  • Formatting text by bolding and italicizing

4.4 Formatting Text Blocks

  • Changing text alignment
  • Adjusting line and paragraph spacing
  • Inserting columns
  • Using numbered and bulleted lists

4.5 Using Content Management Tools

  • Using the spelling and grammar tool
  • Using the personal dictionary

4.6 Inserting and Editing Tables

  • Creating tables in a Doc
  • Adding and deleting rows and columns
  • Managing table properties, such as borders and alignment

4.7 Collaborating and Sharing in Docs

  • Adding comments
  • Editing a document
  • Making suggestions
  • Viewing the revision history

4.8 Download a File

  • Choosing a file format
  • Downloading a document

Learning the basics of Google Docs is a must for any student who needs to create a professional-looking document.

On top of that, learning the more advanced features of Google Docs will ensure they’re 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

  • Adding and deleting rows, cells, and columns
  • Freezing rows and columns
  • Inserting new rows, cells, and columns

5.2 Formatting Sheets and Cells

  • Bolding and italicizing cell data
  • Merging cells
  • Adjusting fill color and borders
  • Using date and currency formats

5.3 Inserting Non-Text Elements

  • Adding charts to a spreadsheet
  • Inserting images and drawings
  • Adding links to a spreadsheet

5.4 Using Functions

  • Understanding functions in Google Sheets
  • Using functions such as SUM, AVERAGE, and COUNT

5.5 Managing and Transforming Data

  • Setting conditional formatting
  • Creating filters and filter views
  • Creating and modifying charts
  • Naming and sorting ranges

5.6 Collaborating and Sharing in Sheets

  • Adding comments
  • Viewing revision history
  • Downloading a Google Sheet

5.7 Importing and Converting from Other File Types

  • Working with .csv files
  • Working with .xls files

Overall, these tasks will teach students to organize, analyze, and manage data 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

  • Adding and deleting slides
  • Applying slide layouts and themes
  • Using presenter notes
  • Creating animations

6.2 Working with Text

  • Inserting text blocks
  • Changing font and font size
  • Bolding and italicizing text
  • Setting capitalization

6.3 Working with Non-Text Elements

  • Inserting images
  • Working with charts and diagrams
  • Inserting lines and shapes
  • Adding slide numbers
  • Inserting videos

6.4 Arranging Objects

  • Sending objects forward and backward
  • Grouping and ungrouping objects
  • Adjusting alignment
  • Changing rotation and size

6.5 Sharing a Presentation

  • Using presenter view
  • Adjusting print settings
  • Publishing a presentation to the 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!

Summary: The G Suite Certificationg-suite-certification-badge

On test day, students have two hours to complete both portions of the GSuite certification exam.

Students must take the exam in a group setting at your school, typically in your classroom or the school computer lab.

When a student passes the exam, they receive an email within seven days from Google that contains a digital certification and badge!

So now that you know the details of the G Suite certification, how do you prepare your students for exam day?

How Do You Prep Students for GSuite Certification?


Getting students ready for the GSuite certification exam may seem straightforward.

Most teachers head straight for Google’s test prep materials, and you may be tempted to follow suit.

However, study guides and practice tests only show if your students are ready for the exam. They don’t actually help you teach the material!

In addition, if you strictly teach to the test, you could negatively impact your students’ long-term retention of information.

Plus, you could accidentally skip important information and skills the exam doesn’t include!

That’s why it’s best to take a two-step approach when preparing students for the G Suite certification exam:

  • Teach a Google applications curriculum
  • Incorporate test prep materials as a supplement

This approach helps you teach the overarching information and skills your students need for success both on the exam and in their futures!

Start by teaching the foundational skills your students need to know when working with Google applications.

This can include concepts as simple as understanding when students should use each application.

These fundamental details aren’t found on the GSuite certification exam, but your students will need to know them to start using the applications in the first place!

After the introductory lessons, you can transition to the more detailed information found on the exam outline above.

To do this, you’ll need a curriculum that includes both the basics and more detailed information on each application.

Once you’re most of the way through the semester, it’s time to break out the test prep materials.

Google has a resource dedicated to prepare students for the exam, but it won’t teach your students how to use Google applications from start to finish.

Instead, it only helps students with what’s on the exam.

Overall, you’ll need to balance teaching the material and preparing students for the GSuite certification exam to help your students get certified.

That’s why so many teachers have implemented a digital curriculum system to help bridge the gap!

Teach the Basics of Google Apps with Business&ITCenter21

Thousands of computer teachers across the US use the Business&ITCenter21 digital curriculum system to teach students how to use the most common Google Applications.

Business&ITCenter21 is designed to help middle school students go from zero to certified by providing age-appropriate lessons, hands-on activities, scenario-based projects, and automatically-graded assessments.

Want to learn more?

Click below to read about the Google Apps curriculum within Business&ITCenter21!

Learn More about Digital Curriculum for Google Apps