Preparing for a Salesforce Certification

Salesforce certification prep

I passed the App builder exam and I want to take you through the method I used to prepare for this Salesforce certification. I also used this process to prepare for the Administrator Cert so they can be applied to other exams.

Tip 1.

My first tip is to always book the exam before I start studying, this way I have a deadline and it keeps me focused but by also opting to take the exam online, I can put the date back if I need to as long as I provide 24 hours notice. More information about online proctoring is here.

If you haven’t taken the exam online before it can feel daunting but once you have the laptop and camera setup as required it is a lot less intimidating than going to a test centre so it is always my preferred choice.

Step 1.

Once I have registered for the exam, I use the trailmix for the cert I’m studying for (in this case App builder) to complete the below table, so that I can see which areas I need to focus on. 

SubjectWeightQuestionsLinked DocsConfidence LevelDate to Complete
Business Logic and process automation27% 16 OK18th July
Data modelling and management20%12 Good Complete
User interface14%8 OK16th July
Security 10%6 OK20th July
Salesforce fundamentals8%5 GoodComplete
App development 8%5 Bad20th July
Reporting5%3 Good Complete
Mobile5%3 GoodComplete
Social3%2 Good Complete 
Totals 100%60  

I add in each of the modules that are covered in the test with the correct weighting as a % and then I use a basic formula to work out how many questions each section will be made up of. I start off by adding in a confidence level on each section and sorting by the highest weighting. This then gives me the above table which is what I work from every day that I am studying.

Tip 2. 

There are so many great resources out there to prepare and I would always recommend starting with Trailhead but it is only by learning the ins and outs of Salesforce, you can expect to pass the exam.

Step 2.

In addition to working your way through the Trailhead tutorials and earning the badges for the recommended trailmix, you should setup at least one developer org to use as a playground that you can continue to build on as you work your way through the modules. Although trailhead is a good foundation, the test is focused on depth of understanding and intelligent conclusions about the data model and the platform. The certification questions are designed to test for real-world understanding, and Salesforce recommends that the best way to prepare for the tests is to actually build some systems. This isn’t exactly a quick route, but is essential to understanding the system and not just learning the answer to the questions.

Step 3.

Once you have made progress through the study material, it’s great to try some practice exams. I normally wait until my confidence level is at least ‘ok’ on all of the sections in the table above before considering this step as otherwise it can be a bit disheartening. 

There are some third-party certification prep sites that help improve your chances of passing and my favourite is FocusOnForce, which for £19 will give you 12 months access to training material and practice exams for your chosen cert.  These extra materials don’t hurt, but they aren’t free and you have to be careful using any free tools as quite often the questions do not have the correct answers or relevant to your exam. 

Tip 3.

Focus on What Matters. The reason I break down the exam material and sort it by heaviest weighting is so that I can focus on the most important sections without getting overwhelmed.

So that’s it in a nutshell! It’s much easier to write down the process than it is to study and pass the exam but this is my most trusted method for preparing for certs and I hope you find it useful.

Takeaway – Salesforce provides certification study guides and sample exams for free, and you definitely want to start there. You’ll also want to take advantage of Trailheads for any topics where your knowledge is limited. And of course, you’ll want to set up your own free developer org as it’s the ultimate free resource from SFDC.

Good Luck! 

Ellie is a Project Lead at BrightGen – see her previous blog post about what it’s like to join a new consultancy.