Entering into the Salesforce world there are several choices of various career paths, along with a multitude of certifications for each path. For many the certified administrator is a good place to start. I thought it was a great idea to write a guest blog on how to study and pass the Salesforce admin exam this week. Surprisingly, as you become immersed in the Salesforce culture, many describe this test as the most daunting and difficult. I have recently taken this journey and would like to share a few tips in my methodology in preparing for the exam. To start, I’d like to mention a few assumptions:
First Three Tips
- This is how I learn! Know yourself and what works well for you, this is not a blanket guide that will work for everyone. My hope is that you can take all or none of this and apply it to your situation.
- Take the ADM-201. This was an invaluable learning experience. Use Salesforce University to find a course. I was extremely fortunate to be involved with the Merivis Foundation who provided this class as they supports veterans preparing for Salesforce careers.
- Have a test date! If you are serious about taking and studying for the exam, go sign up for the test. Give yourself a deadline, personally I am always more productive knowing there is a ‘due date.’ Schedule all your exams through Webassessor
Preparing for the Exam
As I really start preparing for the exam, my main focus was to study from the exam outline found on the Study Guide. Salesforce is telling us exactly what the test covers! 7/15 of the topics equate to over 80% of the exam. I realistically spent 95% of my time on these topics. Beginning with the questions on Salesforce Trailhead, then wrote flow diagrams for each of the main topics, (example flow diagram below) while using the ADM-201 book. I used a whiteboard to copy and re-write the flow diagrams till I could do them all completely by memory. These should be the basic outline of each main topic, and trigger a chain of associated thoughts. Read the exam outline and use flow diagrams to ensure you can sit there and talk through every single bullet point. If there is a word or bullet you are not familiar with, use the Salesforce User Guide. Granted it’s over 5000 pages, but this is an amazing document, and will be used continuously throughout your Salesforce career. This document contains two extremely helpful things for studying, an index and glossary with hyperlinks. For objectives weighing only 1-2% look up and read through these topics. It is not necessary to spend significant time on these, but definitely familiarize yourself with these and any other topics you deem necessary.
Lastly, every table and chart in the ADM-201 book, just commit to memory. Remember you are randomly assigned 60 questions from a pool of thousands. A massive range of questions can be formulated from a table or chart. Using the exam outline, writing out and memorizing flow charts via Trailhead and the ADM-201 book, and using the user guide as a finally resource were the three keys to my success of the exam. There are many other resources out there and I would advise you take advantage of as many as you can. For more tips on the Salesforce admin exam, check out Hector’s other blog post on this subject.
Taking the Exam
An additional note for when I do take the Salesforce admin exam. Firstly, I would read the question, and even if I had to hold my hand on the screen, I don’t look at the answers! Turn to your paper and write everything associated with the question down (as you did on your flow chart) even if you think you already know the answer, this can help you in future questions. Only then turn back to the question and deduce the answer. If there is a question that you don’t know (topic/word) just skip it, again without reading the answer (will make you check an answer, just don’t read them), write the number down, then at the end of the test go back to it, and use all your knowledge that you have written down to try your best to use process of elimination.