Tips For Acing Your Salesforce Certification Exams

 

certsOMG

Last Update: January 2016

I’ve taken 6 Salesforce Exams (passed 4 & failed 2), so I’d like to share exam tips & strategy that work well for me.  Everyone learns differently though, so I encourage you to do some research and find what works best for you.

 

Scheduling The Exam

  • By scheduling the exam, you’re committing yourself.  This is important.
  • Give yourself about 6 weeks to study.
    • I prefer taking the exam on Fridays around 10am.  This allows me to ease into my day and review my notes I start the test.
    • Why Friday?  Whether you Pass or Fail, it’s the weekend baby!
  •  You should be doing Admin, Developer, Adv Admin, and Sales Cloud consultant as close together as possible, as they have a lot of overlapping information.  I did Developer, Adv Admin, and Sales Consultant in only 9 weeks.
  • I recommend taking the exams in this order:1. Administrator
    2. Platform App Builder (formerly Developer)
    3. Advanced Administrator
    4. Sales Cloud Consultant
    5. Service Cloud Consultant

 

What’s on the test?

Study material

A great thing about Salesforce is that there’s a ton of info available.  For exam prep, I’ve been sticking to help.salesforce.com and guides.

  • help.salesforce.com  Each topic usually has related articles for considerations and limitations.

  • Salesforce Guides

  • Trailhead:  Trailhead is awesome because while it provides great info to help with the “knowing” part, it also walks you through the “doing” part.

 

Taking Notes & Studying

You need to commit to exam prep & study time. I usually block out 30-60 mins during my workday, plus time at home in the evenings.

  • I retain information better when writing notes.  For each feature/topic, I focus on:

         1. What is it?  What does it do?  What are the benefits?
         2. Considerations
         3. Limitations

  • After feeling pretty confident that I’ve taken notes on all the topics the test will cover, I start studying them everyday.   I’m not big on flash cards, for me just reading my notes has been working.
    • I’ve read that studying in different places helps you retain the information better, so I try to mix it up.  I can recall some questions on an exam where I’ll actually remember the room I was in when I studied that topic.   I guess it works.
  • When I start feeling confident that I know my notes, it’s time to test myself.
    • I will set out a notebook and pen, then find the flash cards on Cram and practice tests on ProProfs
      • Here’s the key, I’m not really paying attention to the answers.  What I care about are the questions.   If I can’t answer confidently, or more importantly, I don’t even recognize the topic,  I’m writing them down on a list.
      • Once complete, I go back to the start and research those items and retake notes.

 

Exam Day

  • I like to go into a test rested and not feeling stressed or rushed.

  • I give myself about an hour to review my notes before heading to the testing facility.

 

Taking The Test

  • Step 1:  scratch paper
    • I write down 1-60, with 2 columns.
    • For each question, I indicate my confidence level. Either a “ √   for 100% knew it or a ”   for a need to review later.
    • After the first pass, I add up all my checkmarks.  If I have more than 43, I’m doing pretty good. If less, then I need to really think hard on the questions I marked for further review.
  • Your 90 minutes can go faster than  you think, try not to spend too much time on questions that stump you.  Just mark those as review later and come back to them at the end.  Sometimes another question later in the test can actually help you when reviewing at the end.

 

Before You Hit Submit

Relax, take a deep breath, and remember that whatever the result is, you gave it your best.  Failing only means that you have to study a little more and retake it.  Like I said above, I’ve failed twice, and while frustrating, it’s not so bad.  

 

I Failed!  Now what?

  • If you fail the exam, immediately write down all the topics you can remember that stumped you, as you will not be allowed to take any scratch paper with you from the testing facility.
  • You should book the retake in a week or two, do not put it off much longer than that.

I Passed! Now what?

  • Reward yourself!   This is a big accomplishment that you worked hard for.

  • I recommend booking the next exam immediately.

  • Take a week off and then get back to studying for the next one. 

 

Looks like Brent Rambo just passed his exam. Great job, Brent.

BrentRambo

 

 

2 thoughts on “Tips For Acing Your Salesforce Certification Exams

  1. Great suggestion. Looking forward to more info. on ADM201. I am working on becoming certified. Will dig into your site further.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *