Salesforce knowledge is in high demand and there’s no better way to show your knowledge than becoming Salesforce Certified. First up is the entry-level Salesforce Certified Administrator certification, it’s a doozy but totally doable in a few short months time — even if you’re pretty new to Salesforce.

(If that’s the case, this glossary of key Salesforce terms is a great place to start.)

As the first certification in the lineup, the exam tests broad knowledge of Salesforce. It can feel like a mountain of content because it’s so expansive, but there are tons of courses and resources to help you succeed.

Courses can range from a few days of boot camp, which will cost a premium, to online self-guided courses at a significantly discounted rate. If your organization is willing to fund your preparation that’s fantastic! If not, self-guided study has helped many people prepare for — and ace — the exam.

Let’s jump into the details and get you on your way!

About the Exam

Content: 60 multiple choice questions with 5 additional, unscored items randomly placed used to gather data on question performance.

Time allowed for completion: 105 minutes

Passing score: 65% (so 39 correct questions)

Registration fee: $200 plus any taxes required for the first try, $100 for re-takes

Options for taking exam: In-person, proctored exam taken at a testing center or in an online proctored environment. More details on Trailhead Help site about testing options and scheduling. No study materials allowed.

Prerequisites: None required other than familiarity with Salesforce and exam content.

Once you pass, you’ll get an email with your test results, a link to your snazzy new certificate, and a link to the official “Salesforce Certified” badge for adding to your LinkedIn and other brag-worthy spots.

Choosing Your Study Strategy

There are different ways you can prepare for the exam and the best prep is probably going to be a mix of tools and resources tailored to your own style of learning.

It can feel like a mountain of content, but certain topics make up more of the test, so focus on them and your time is well spent.

For instance, the Security & Access topic makes up 14% of exam content, Standard & Custom Objects is 15%, and Sales & Marketing Applications is another 15% of content.

Not only are these good chunks of the exam compared to say AppExchange, which only makes up 1% of exam content so shouldn’t be the highest priority, they’re also interrelated. Getting them rock solid is a great start and will help the other pieces fall into place.

One Salesforce Pro’s Strategy

I recently sat down with Stephen, who’s new to Cloud Giants as of last month, as he’s in the midst of preparing for his first Salesforce certification. Stephen has years of experience working with Salesforce in the nonprofit world and is looking to make that knowledge Salesforce certified.

Hopefully, his strategy can help you too. Feel free to take it, remix it, and make it your own.

Stephen’s Strategy

  • Download the official exam guide.

  • Make use of Trailhead. There’s a Trailmix specifically for people preparing for the Salesforce Administrator credential accessible here, so start at the beginning and work your way through. The Trailmix provides a great overview, with tasks, modules, and projects to guide you through what you need to know for the exam. There’s also a practice exam at the end to benchmark your skills and what needs improvement.   

  • Schedule your exam. Have a specific date to be working toward and figure out what kind of time you’ll need to devote to prep in order to reach it. Making it real will help motivate you to do the heavy lifting. It will also set an ending for any test anxiety.

  • Carve out prep time. Schedule one hour here and one hour there. They add up. Be persistent and allow yourself time to take breaks for life, work, and all that other stuff you still need to be present for.

  • Reward yourself after accomplishments. Badges are great and help show off your Trailhead learning. Sometimes a glass of wine or a break from devices is even better.

  • Grab other materials and practice tests. Trailhead is a fantastic resource and has the most up-to-date release information as well (Hello, Spring ‘19!). Adding other online resources — courses, flashcards, practice tests — is like adding weight lifting to your cardio. It’s a powerful combo that will get the job done.

No matter the strategy you choose or how long it takes, the Ohana is rooting for your success!

You got this!