What I Learned From Failing the Google Certified Educator Level 1 Online Test by Angela Ferraris


I woke up extra early today so I would not feel rushed as I made a medium-sized breakfast without coffee.  I thought the coffee would make me jittery or have to go to the bathroom. This was the day I was taking the three-hour long Google Certified Educator Level 1 Online Test.

Test Preparation study

Weeks before, I searched online for advice from other educators who took the test; noticing that several  people had failed and were surprised they failed.  That concerned me.   I had been studying the online training classes for three weeks now at the training center.    I knew that I had to make sure I knew everything that was taught in those fundamentals training courses, so I looked further online for more advice.

I had gone over the skill checklist that Eric Curts had put together. I read Sylvia Duckworth’s blog How to pass the Google Certification Exams.  I viewed several of Brett Petrillo’s prep sessions  on Youtube when I wasn’t sure about an app.  I checked through the topics on the Google for Education Help Forum and even made a set of study flashcards on Quizlet. 

I have been using some of the apps for years. The others, I practiced being sure to explore all of the features.  I was confident this morning. I put in the hours. I felt like I knew those apps inside and out; even the new updates.

Equipment and Room Preparation 

I had done my hair and makeup for the camera that was going to watch me during the test to make sure I was not letting someone else take the test for me.  I had a backup Chromebook all updated and ready to go just in case something happened to the first one.  The cats were fed and sleeping. My husband had the TV on mute. I had my notes beside me. I  had gum, cookies, and water nearby. The fan was on across the room just in case it got warm. I went to the bathroom beforehand. I had my mindset in positive mode and ready to pass this test somewhere in the 90s percentile.

I logged in with the special website, username and password. My camera came on showing my smiling face with the closed blinds behind me and all the lights on in the room to prevent the glare that happened yesterday during the trial run. I took a deep yoga breath. I wiped my hands on my skort, and  I clicked to start the exam.

Taking the Test  

I began the test checking each multiple choice question and answers twice. I went on to the tasks.  I had no idea that I was being a snail. I just went along at my normal speed. I was not aware of the time passing until my husband sneaked up the steps and waved that he was leaving. That was when I realized that two hours had gone by.  I was never going to make it! I remained calm not really sure just how much of the test I had to go. “Just focus on what is on hand. Stay calm. You know this,” I told myself. The cat jumped up on the table and startled me. I gently pushed him down.

I continued and after a while I  noticed for the first time that there was a clock on above my camera image. Had it always been there?  I was down to my last fifteen minutes. I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I watched in defeat as the clock’s last few seconds ran out, and the screen changed.

The Results      

I think I was 3/4ths of the way finished. I waited for verification. I failed. All the air was released from my body. My shoulders slumped.  I felt a kick in the gut. I had not failed a test in many decades. I forgot that feeling.  The sudden blow of mixed emotions. I felt like screaming and crying. I know this stuff!  I was just too slow. Too slow. I closed the Chromebook and went downstairs to make lunch. I was so depressed that I did not want to eat.

The test results e-mail listed three topics that it thought I should work on. I smiled at that e-mail, because I was just starting to do those when the time ran out. It wasn’t that I did not know them. I knew them. I was just too slow. I felt old. I felt frustrated. I knew my short attention span had something to do with it.  I realized then just how much emotion my students must have felt when they had to take long tests. I can barely remember having this feeling of defeat before when taking a test. I was the student who worked really hard and got the A. Not this time.

Acknowledging and Self-Talk 

What would I have told a student if this happened to her or him? Growth mindset. “Okay. Yes, you failed this test, but you are not a failure.  It’s going to be okay. Let’s move past the failure.  What do you know? What do you not know? What can  you do to pass in two weeks? You can do this.” I started to make a to-do list and realized that I had to practice getting faster. Faster with the apps that I had already been using for years. I would just have to become so familiar with them that I would not need to think where a feature was located. I would just move the cursor right to it in a second.  I could do this. I am not too old for technology. I use it all the time. I use these apps at work and in my personal life. I just need to move faster. I can adapt. I’ll set off a timer every half hour. I got myself back on track. I had a plan.

Moving Past It  

I then heard my husband’s car coming up the drive. I knew he would ask. I had to tell him that I failed. I did not finish. I was too slow.  That was the hard part. He. My friends. Family. Knew how much I had studied. My choice was to acknowledge failure, figure out what I learned from it, and come up with a way to not let it happen again. Failing has taught me that I had to self-reflect with blatant honesty and learn how to succeed next time. Well, I sure hope I succeed next time. I can do this! I have two weeks to move from a technology sloth to a savvy, technology tiger.

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