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Tips to Pass the Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam

The exam content keeps on changing, but one thing has remained the same: you need to pass a 90-minute multiple-choice exam to become certified. In this ‘Tips to Pass the Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam”-article, I’m sharing up-to-date resources to help you get you your very first Salesforce certification! So exciting !!! It’s easy, really.

Photo credit: Nick Morrison

Who is the Exam for?

If you have used Salesforce for a while, you’re an ideal candidate to take the Salesforce Admin Exam. When you prep working through the Trailhead trails that are specifically for this Salesforce Admin exam, you’ll learn a thing or two that you otherwise would not have known about by just working in your day job. That’s because every company uses Salesforce differently, and not all companies are embracing Salesforce latest and greatest new features when they first come out at the New Releases, 3x per year. Then, all you’ll need is to develop test-taking skills and you’re all set.

Let’s work through what’s required in detail for the Salesforce Certified Admin exam.

Some people say it’s a tough exam to pass, but then again, some people have a hard time passing high school too. So, how hard it is, depends on your experience, knowledge, capacity to learn and capacity to deliver under pressure.

The first one of everything is always hardest. Now with 7 certs and an accreditation under my belt,… and an MBA, it’s no big deal to sit for another exam. The only Salesforce exam I have ever been nervous about is the Salesforce Marketing Cloud exam. And that’s simply because access to learning tools previously was really limited. And until a few years ago, that exam was really tough. Now, Salesforce made even that exam simpler.

Steps and Tips to Pass the Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam

So, back to our Salesforce Admin Exam, these are the steps I’d take to pass the exam.

  1. Book a date to take the exam, 3-4 weeks away is good. And commit yourself to seriously prepare yourself for the exam.
  2. Get a Dev org and play around. Mandatory. You can get a free org by doing the trailhead modules and then launch a trailhead org. Then, go poke around in that org. Yes, seriously, go look at what’s under the hood and click on on tabs and icons to see what happens.
  3. Work through this Salesforce Admin Certification Exam preparation trail on Trailhead: prep trail with interactive tools.
  4. Do practice exams / review areas you’re weak on.
  5. Take the exam, and rock it!

Particularly in today’s world, most of Salesforce is done on Lightning, although there are a few bitty bits that still require Salesforce classic.

Why don’t you work through a setup wizard or flow in your new Salesforce dev org, to get the hang of how the various components/processes of Salesforce fit together.

Exam Content Topics

In terms of actual content, these are the specific areas of Salesforce certified administrator exam.

  • Organizational setup: 3%
  • User setup: 7%
  • Security and access: 13%
  • Standard and custom objects: 14%
  • Sales and marketing applications: 14%
  • Service and support applications: 13%
  • Activity management and collaboration: 3%
  • Data management: 10%
  • Analytics—reports and dashboards: 10%
  • Workflow/process automation: 8%
  • Desktop and mobile administration: 3%
  • AppExchange: 2%.

So another one of my tips to pass the Salesforce certified administrator exam is to focus your study on the sections that are 10% or more.

Further Resources / Tips to Prepare for the Salesforce Admin Certification Exam

Once you have worked through the exam prep trail there might be areas that you feel you are still not sure about. If you want to learn more, simply google these technical topics. Exam topics and ‘best resources’ do vary over time, but overall good resources are:

  • You want to bookmark https://help.salesforce.com/ and https://developer.salesforce.com/ There you can find the references you’ll need to answer your technical questions, now for the exam and long term.
  • Do a search on Salesforce on YouTube, if you are an audio/visual learner.
  • Build yourself a set of reference tabs, for your particular chosen Salesforce niche as there are very specific and different resources that are useful for those who are interested in becoming a developer.
  • E.g. you might find the Object Reference for Salesforce, Salesforce downloadable 2958-page long PDF. It’s basically an encyclopedia. No need to study this by heart for the Salesforce Admin exam!! It sure is more of a long-term technical reference.
  • Now, if you are interested in starting with Marketing Cloud or Pardot however, this reference is not as useful. Instead, peruse our site: Our CloudAnalysts.com blog has tons of resources on Marketing Cloud, Pardot and Sales Cloud as well as Service Cloud, and have a look around, as you will be asked a few questions about technology other than Salesforce core.

Build your Test Taking Skills

There are a gazillion other resources out there to help you study. But really, if you have worked through the entire Salesforce Admin Exam Prep trail on trailhead (link above) and played in a dev org as suggested above (i.e. not the one of your office), then the last bit for you is to focus on training yourself on test-taking skills and to learn to think ‘like Salesforce’.

How to ‘Think like Salesforce’

Often on exams, you’ll find that 1 or 2 of the multiple choice questions are clearly wrong so you’ll left with 2 to choose from. You’ll often find that you need the exact name of what a wizard or tool is called. Or know the exact name of a label or a path of where to find key pieces of information. Nothing that cannot be learned by heart. And chances are, if you have worked with Salesforce in your job, then you’ll know a lot of things already from memory. You will be fine. It will be easy.

Practice, Practice, Practice

After you have worked through these areas, all you’re left to do is to build your test taking skills. Find yourself some old practice exams questions, set yourself a time and see how you are fairing. I find that practice exams are also useful to help you identify quickly which areas you are still a bit weak.

OK. Well, once you have worked through all of this, simply bite the bullet and set the exam. Chances are that you’ll pass the first time, if you have done all this homework.

(It seems that in the pandemic Salesforce has made all the exams dramatically easier and secretly also is giving people an extra 15 min of time).

And if you don’t pass the first time, do not worry. The sky will not fall from heaven. Just look at that feedback sheet you’ll receive from Kriterion and beef up on those areas where you missed out on points.

And this is how you pass your Salesforce Admin Certification the first time. Good luck.

Some Exam Prep FAQ’s

  1. How difficult is the Salesforce Admin exam? Quite easy, actually.
  2. What is the easiest Salesforce certification? This initial Salesforce Admin exam was by far my easiest exam to pass.
  3. How long should you study for Salesforce admin certification? 4 weeks. Be focused and getting it done – that’s my preference. If you are very busy at work, then either postpone the endeavour, or double your time frame. If you find yourself in unforeseen circumstances, simply reschedule the exam and give yourself a couple of weeks extra. There is no cost to doing this (if you take your exam online).
  4. What score do you need to pass Salesforce Admin exam? Only 65%, or 39 out of 60 questions. Breezer!

And that is it. I hope you enjoyed these tips to pass the Salesforce certified administrator exam.

Bonus Benefits

What’s go great about having passed this exam, is that besides being able to call yourself a certified Salesforce Admin and be taken seriously by the Salesforce Ohana, is that being certified helps your chances on either hanging on to your current job in this pandemic or acing a new one.

In some companies or industries, you can expect a raise (although during this pandemic might not be the best time to ask for one). We once offered a new consultant a £1000 /raise for every cert he would get, as a special encouragement. We don’t do this anymore, as we only hire highly certified and experienced consultants and developers. But it was a fun gesture nonetheless.

The last benefit I want to mention, that if you are a perpetual learner, like I am, is that passing this Salesforce Certified Administrator exam will open the doors for you to get access to many other Salesforce certifications. It’s worth it!

Joining CloudAnalysts

If you’re considering taking Salesforce certification exams, there’s a chance you already have many of the skills we’re looking for.

So, have a look around, to see who we are , if we have any openings right this minute. If you believe your next step could be joining us, we look forward to hearing from you.

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