If you’re looking to validate your Tableau skills and enhance your career prospects, the Tableau Desktop Specialist exam is your gateway to success. I just passed it a week ago, which is why I wanted to share my tips and tricks to help you prepare effectively and pass the exam with flying colours.

Understanding the Exam Format

The exam spans 60 minutes and comprises 45 multiple-choice and multi-select questions. The questions are purely knowledge-based, which means you are not using the Tableau application during the exam, and at least a 750/1000 score is needed for a pass. More information on the format of the exam can also be found in this Tableau Exam Guide.

Solidify the Fundamentals

The questions assess your knowledge of Tableau terminology, basic features, calculations, and functionalities, so start by building a strong foundation. I personally took The Information Lab’s Desktop 1 training and Tableau’s E-learning Fundamentals course to prepare, but there are numerous other online resources (YouTube, Skillshare, Udemy, Tableau materials) at your disposal. 

Embracing the Tableau Interface

Mastering the Tableau interface is essential. Even though the questions are all theoretical and there’s technically no need for hands-on experience in Tableau, I strongly advise you to take a look into the application to familiarise yourself with the core features. Many questions include describing the steps to achieve a specific outcome or knowing various methods to do so. For instance:

  • A worksheet has a line graph showing sales by month. How could this be modified to show total sales to date for each month?
  • How would you change the font color of the tooltip? (Select all that apply)

This means you have to know on top of your head where the functions of different toolbars, menus and panes are located in the application. So definitely practice navigating the interface and learn all the ways of achieving tasks in Tableau. 

Practice, Practice, Practice!

The one thing that really helped me pass is making use of practice / mock exams and sample questions. It’s important to note that the Tableau Desktop Specialist exam format changed mid-2021. Before that, the exam featured hands-on questions that allowed for access to Tableau and Google. So do be aware of the year these sample questions come from, as questions dating before 2021 won’t be representative of the current exam. 

While certain mock exams and practice questions require a fee, there are freely available options online. Here and here are some I discovered. 

Stay Calm and Confident

On exam day, remember to stay calm and confident. The examination process is very strict and it is easy to get stressed out before you’ve even read your first question, especially when taking the exam online at home. But there is enough time to prepare. Here is a list of what you should do before taking the exam.

The exam requires a good amount of knowledge in Tableau. By understanding the exam format, mastering core concepts, practicing extensively, and utilising available resources, you can confidently step into the exam room and emerge victorious. 

Want to gain more in-depth knowledge in Tableau? The Information Lab offers many different trainings to make you a true Tableau expert. Find them here.