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Alex Mahrou
Alex Mahrou is a weblog covering hot topics, trends, product reviews, and lifestyle in the Geospatial industry written from the viewpoint of a working Geospatial Professional, Alex Mahrou.

How I’m preparing for the ArcGIS Desktop Associate Exam

January 27th, 2011 by Alex Mahrou

I plan on taking the ArcGIS Desktop Associate Exam in early February 2011.  Until then, I’ve devised a plan to prepare for it.  I’m sticking to this strict schedule.  If everything works out according to plan and I pass, I’ll change the title to this post “How to pass the ArcGIS Desktop Associate Exam” :-).

First things first, I examined the “Training Resources” tab on the ESRI Technical Certification | ArcGIS Desktop Associate webpage.

Under the “Web Training” and “Training Seminars” sections, ‘Editing in ArcGIS Desktop 10‘ and ‘Using ArcMap in ArcGIS 10‘, ‘Geocoding in ArcGIS 10‘, and ‘Introduction to ArcGIS Explorer Online‘ are all FREE of CHARGE.  Then, upon some more digging I found some more free seminars and virtual campus courses. Now take heed here, there are 100’s of hours of free training online, so try to prioritize your selection.

My next step was to download a 60 day evaluation copy of ArcGIS along with the tutorial data DVD.  The install includes an ArcEditor license, as well as an evaluation to 10 popular extensions.

Third, my ultimate insurance policy, take an online training.  I looked around for anyone offering an online training on ArcGIS desktop exam preparation, and I found the Keck & Wood ArcGIS Desktop Exam Prep class.

Why do I call this an insurance policy?  Well if you read my blog post comparing GIS certifications, you would learn that if you fail an ESRI Certification Course, you can take it up to three times.  However, you will be charged for each subsequent test.

The Keck & Wood class is led by Trip Corbin, who is a certified ArcGIS Desktop Associate, GISP, and an award-winning ESRI instructor.  The cost of signing up for the online training is worth the extra confidence that I will have to pass the test the first time, and get this sought after cert as soon as possible.


  1. Scour the ESRI website for free virtual campus courses and seminars
  2. Download a 60 Day evaluation of ArcGIS desktop
  3. Sign up for some online training
Please leave comments on how you are preparing or how you have passed any of the ESRI certification tests.  Check back with me mid February, and I’ll let you know how my plan went!

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2 Responses to “How I’m preparing for the ArcGIS Desktop Associate Exam”

  1. Adam says:

    As a thrifty recent graduate, I can’t help but notice that by paying 600 dollars for the course, you are investing more (exam cost:225 + 600 = 825) than it would cost to simply take the course the three allowable times that you mention (225 x 3 =675). Not having the money for such a course, I am piecing together my own preparation for this exam as cheaply as possible. Lotsa ESRI seminars, whitepapers, practice with the program… hoping I can prepare well enough. So, any free, or cheap resources that anyone knows of would be helpful. Thanks!

  2. Alex Mahrou Alex Mahrou says:

    Hi Adam, thanks for your comment. I thought about attempting the scenario that you posed. I figured that my time was way to valuable to use on taking the exam three times. I also believe that if you plan on taking an exam multiple times to pass it, your gaming the system in a way and the exam is only testing your ability to remember what you got wrong– whereas preparing for the exam, and knocking it out of the park the first time around, is much more valuable.

    Honestly, the help section for ARCGIS and all of the free virtual campus courses will give you more than enough preparation if you can’t afford a prep class.

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