Tableau Desktop Specialist Pearson Vue Exam Review


I recently passed (on 8th September 2021) the Tableau Desktop Specialist conducted by Pearson Vue. I think I was amongst the first few people to give this exam via Pearson Vue as Tableau recently changed their exam provider.

This blog post is my attempt to write a brief review of this exam. I have divided the Tableau Desktop Specialist Pearson Vue exam review into 3 parts namely Exam Details, Exam Pattern and Exam Topics. 

When I was preparing for this exam, I found all the materials and reviews about their previous exam provider Loyalist. That exam was conducted on a Virtual Machine with Tableau installed on it. It had a mix of Theory and Hands-On questions. For Hands-on questions, datasets would be provided and you had to solve the questions using that. Something like “Use the superstore dataset and find which month had the highest sales in 2019 for the category Furniture”. You were also allowed to use Google, in case you got stuck with Theory and Hands-On questions.

After reading about it, I was confident that it was gonna be easy. If one had Tableau Desktop and Google at their disposal, one should be able to tackle any question. But, Alas! I was wrong. In the new Pearson Vue format of the Tableau Desktop Specialist exam, you are neither provided Tableau Desktop nor allowed to Google. It’s purely MCQ based paper.

Exam Details

  • Exam Length: 60 mins
  • Total Questions: 45
  • Passing Score: 750 / 1000 (This is the Pearson Vue way of scoring, no one knows how many questions does one exactly need to get right in order to pass 😅)

As of writing this post, Tableau has published an Updated Exam Guide for this exam, where it specifies that there are 45 questions but only 40 are graded and 5 are ungraded/dummy. For curious people, here is the Old Exam Guide that I followed. There is hardly any change in content except for the addition of “Relationships under the Connecting to & Preparing Data content.

Exam Pattern

  • MCQs with one correct answer
  • MCQs with two or three correct answers

Multiple Choice Questions(MCQs) have one/two/three answers. You are informed in advance if a question has 1 or 2 or 3 correct answers and if you select more than the mentioned answers, it simply does not allow you. So don’t overthink it 😆😋

Exam Topics

The syllabus or study guide that is shared by Tableau is spot on. The weight-ages for the sections hold more or less true. I have attempted to use that as a guide to list down an approximate number of questions I remember against each.

Domain 1: Connecting to & Preparing Data (25%)

  • Joins, Unions & Relationships –> 2 or 3
  • Live Connection vs Extract, Physical Tables vs Logical Tables and its Properties –> 2 or 3
  • Change data types, Date vs Datetime, Types of Geographical Roles –> 3 or 4
  • Default Properties –> 2 or 3

Domain 2: Exploring & Analyzing Data (35%)

  • Bar / Line / Stacked / Combo / Dual Axis –> 3 to 5
  • Map Visual –> 2 
  • Scatterplot / Density Map (What Marks get disabled here) / Tables –> 2 or 3
  • Analytics Pane (Reference Line types, Reference Band, Totals) –> 2 or 3
  • Filters / Context Filters / Parameters / Sorting –> 3 to 5
  • Table Calculation / Basic Calculated field –> 2 or 3
  • LOD related –> 0
  • Specific Tableau function related –> 0

Domain 3: Sharing Insights (25%)

  • Location of different format options / Where format is applicable –> 4 to 5
  • viz Animation Related –> 0
  • Legends –> 1
  • Dashboard Element Placement related –> 1
  • Dashboard Actions –> 1
  • Story and Story point–> 0
  • Tableau Export Option –> 1 or 2

Domain 4: Understanding Tableau Concepts (15%)

  • Theory on dimensions and measure –> 2 to 3
  • What do blue, red and green pills mean –> 1
  • Aggregation Types available in Tableau –> 2


Words of Wisdom: Now that this exam is purely MCQ based, I am sure it’s just a matter of time that we will have Dumps for this exam available 😋. The exam is quite easy if you are hands-on and use Tableau regularly. 

I hope, you found this post helpful. If you have any queries/comments, reach out to me using the Contact page form or drop me a mail at

If you are Data Visualization Nerd like me and looking for a certification in yet another Viz tool, do check out my post on Microsoft Power BI DA-100 Exam review.

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