How to pass the Certified Zendesk Guide Specialist exam the first time

Written by
Pablo Gonzalez
Business Engineering Architect
December 1, 2022
min read

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A few days ago, I passed the Zendesk Guide Specialist certification exam, which was tough! This was my second Zendesk certification exam; I had taken the Certified Support Admin one earlier this year.

Unlike the Certified Admin one, I found fewer resources available to tackle this one, and I found the exam much more challenging. 

But I’m here to help you pass this exam on your first attempt, so read on if you want to add this certification to your bucket!

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About the exam

As the official exam guide suggests, the exam is for those who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to create, manage, organize, and deliver Zendesk Guide for content creation and delivery throughout the content lifecycle.

In short, it’s for those who want to certify their hands-on knowledge and experience implementing Zendesk Guide.

The exam was very short, with only 30 questions and 45 min to answer them. I found the questions much simpler than the ones in the Support Admin certification. If you take the official practice test (which you should), you’ll find the questions quite similar. 

How did I study

I took the Zendesk Guide Specialist Certification Path, referenced in the exam guide. The videos were good, but I realized (while taking the exam!) that they were missing a lot of content. 

Luckily, I had also gone through the exam guide. I went topic by topic and looked up the documentation online, and that’s exactly what I’m going to give you here: my study notes, broken down by sections of the exam.

I found this to be the most efficient way to make sense of the topics and to decide how much time to allocate for each section. 

So with that said, let’s go over the exam guide


Describe how to manage themes in the workbench.

This is what you can do on the workbench:

  • Download code from any theme
  • Duplicate a theme
  • Edit a theme directly in the browser
  • By editing the settings (color, images, etc.), or
  • Editing the code itself in the code editor
  • Add a theme from the marketplace or GitHub

Understand available tools for working with developers on themes (GitHub, ZAT, API

docs, curly bars, code editor).

You can download the theme to work on it locally in a code editor. You can use ZAT to create a local web server to view your changes in real time.

Curly bars are used to access information from Zendesk, for example, to display a list of articles, a list of categories, etc. 

You can also load a theme from a public GitHub repository.

Manifest.json is where you can edit which settings are available for a theme. 

Apply theme configuration and customization to brand your Help Center.

Remember that you can change the following aspects of your theme:

  • Font family
  • Hero image
  • Favicon
  • Text color
  • Other settings specific to articles 

You can preview your theme as:

  • Anonymous
  • End-user
  • Agent
  • Admin

You cannot preview as a specific agent or end-user.

Identify the customization available to represent your content structure.

You have categories > sections, and sections can contain other sections too. Articles are then grouped into sections. 

Remember that comments can be disabled at an article level. 

Section 2: PERMISSIONS (25%)

Explain user segments to enable content permissioning.

User segments are used to define who can access a specific article. There are 2 types of user segments:

  • Staff:

               - You can qualify staff by tags and support groups

  • End-Users:

                - You can qualify end-users by tags and companies

Remember there are 2 built-in user segments: Signed-in Users, Agents and Admins.

Apply appropriate permissions to view and manage articles securely.

Anyone in Guide can create articles, but to modify and publish an existing one, a user must be part of a management permission (and that permission must be referenced in articles).

Also, Guide Admins are agents with the “Manage Guide” permission enabled in the Zendesk Support role:

Describe end-user access to protect your Help Center.

By default, anyone can access your help center. You can change this under Guide > Settings > Require Sign in:

From there, you can limit access to signed-in users, and you can then further limit access to specific user segments. 

Also, Zendesk agents can log into guide with Zendesk, Google, or Microsoft (known as Single Sign-On)


Determine content creation workflow for your content management team.

Create an article template using the KCTemplate tag. You can create multiple templates for different languages, different sections of the knowledge base, different labels, etc.

The idea is to use them to enforce some level of consistency. 

You can also ask users to subscribe to a specific section of the KB so that they are notified when new articles are created under that section. 

Here’s a really good article on different workflows that can be used: Workflows for created articles using the Knowledge Capture app

Demonstrate content review and auditing practices to keep your content up-to-date and accurate. 

Articles can be flagged directly from Support using the Knowledge Capture app. Use the knowledge_capture_flagged_article tag to create triggers when tickets are created from flagged articles. 

The “Manage Articles” section is where you can see articles in their stages:

  • Draft
  • In Progress
  • Awaiting Review
  • Ready to publish
  • Published

At a high level, the article's lifecycle looks like this:

  • Created and saved as Draft
  • Draft articles show up under the “In progress” list
  • From there, you can use the “Assign” button to assign the article for someone to review
  • You can also click “Submit for review.” The article will now show up under the “Awaiting review” list
  • Once someone approves the article, its status changes to “Ready to publish” and shows up under that list
  • Finally, the article can be published

The above process is manual. To automatically review articles for validity, accuracy, etc, use article verification

Define content localization workflows to provide support in multiple languages.

Very important to keep in mind that your help center languages are independent of any languages you have enabled in Zendesk Support.

I found this article super useful: Configuring your help center to support multiple languages

Also, the language that a user sees in your help center is based on defaulting to the following, in order of preference:

  • The language specified in the URL of the page the user is currently on (if present)
  • The language set for the user's current active session
  • The language preference set in the user's user profile
  • The preferred language of the user's browser
  • Other compatible languages specified by the user's browser

For the exam, you must know how to translate sections and categories. Categories can be translated on the “Edit” page, same with sections

I didn’t get any questions about dynamic content but it’s still relevant to Zendesk Guide translations. Dynamic content is a feature of Zendesk Support that allows for snippets. Snippets can also be translated into different languages

The dynamic content placeholder can also be used in the code of the Guide pages, as it’s just another curly bar. 

Understand tools for content use and flagging to drive agent efficiency

There are 2 ways to flag articles from within Support:

If you have Agent Workspace enabled, you can use Knowledge to create articles from tickets. If you do not have Agent Workspace enabled then use the Knowledge Capture app.

The processes are very similar

Flagging articles with Knowledge

Flagging articles with the Knowledge Capture App

In both cases, flagging an article creates a ticket. The ticket contains

  • A link to the article that needs the update
  • A link to the ticket that is the source of the update
  • The user name of the agent who flagged the ticket
  • The inline comments added by the agent

Identify ways to create content to build a more effective knowledge base.

Users can create articles directly from a case comment. 

Identify agent activity within your knowledge base to report on business goals.

Use the Team Publishing dashboard to report on the following metrics

  • Articles created
  • Articles edited
  • Articles published
  • Articles submitted for review
  • Articles approved
  • Articles assigned
  • Articles verified
  • Articles unverified

You can also report on the knowledge capture app, how many articles were created, articles clicked, outdated articles, etc.

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Section 4: CONTENT DISCOVERY (21%)

Define the content structure for your Help Center.

An image speaks a thousand words. Make sure you understand this diagram very well!

Prepare content to improve Help Center search relevancy.

When you search in the HelpCenter, you’ll find articles and community posts from all help centers enabled in your application if the search has been configured to include results from those other help centers. 

You can also create search filters:

The following attributes of an article are used to determine its relevancy (how likely it is to show up on search results):

  • Title
  • Details (Body of a community post)
  • Body
  • Labels
  • Comment
  • Section Title

Determine the optimal multibrand approach to meet your business goals.

You can create multiple help centers, one per brand. Brands are created in Zendesk Support.

Section 5: USER ENGAGEMENT (9%)

You can activate a Community within your Help Center.

Settings you can control:

  • Whether users can @mention other users
  • Allow users to use an Alias
  • Enable user badges to recognize important members of the community
  • Allow all users to add content tags to their posts

User badges can be titles (Super User) or achievements (Great Answers). You can create your own as well.

You can also create Moderator Groups to allow users to moderate the community. This is done by specifying a User Segment. Among the permissions you can grant are

  • Mark post as answered
  • Pin post to top
  • Feature post
  • Move post
  • Hide for moderation
  • Approve pending content

Agents can create a ticket from a community comment. Moderators cannot do this since they are not internal users. 

Good luck

And that’s it! That’s what I found to be the most relevant for the exam. I’m confident that if you practice and memorize the points above, you’ll pass on your first attempt!

If you haven’t already, check out our Ultimate Zendesk Support Admin cheatsheet

Written by
Pablo Gonzalez

Pablo is a Business Engineering Architect at Salto. He is the developer of HappySoup.io and has 11 years of development experience in all things Salesforce.

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