How I Passed my Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam in 27 days
The coveted & elusive Salesforce Admin Certification is finally mine! This one badge is proof that I know my shit! Getting here was not easy and my goal is to provide you with a blueprint of how I got my Salesforce Admin Certification.
So let’s begin to learn more about Salesforce Certifications and how you can become a Certified Salesforce Administrator.
Salesforce Admin Certification is a proctored exam from Salesforce.com. The exam is proctored by Kryterion and can be taken either onsite or online. The certification exam is made up of 60 multiple choice/multi-select Questions with 105 Minutes to complete it. Passing score is 65%. Registration fees for the exam are $200 USD and retake is $100 USD. No Hard-copy or online material can be referenced during the exam.
Let’s dive into how I was able to get my Admin Certification!
Day 1 — 11 Learning from Trailhead
Trailhead is the best place to start learning Salesforce. As a CRM company, Salesforce wants us admins to be the cheerleaders of their product. Trailhead makes it super easy to learn the system and play around in your own playground. As mentioned on their homepage, it is:
The fun way to learn Salesforce
If you’re just starting out on your admin career and not sure where to start, I’ve created a Trailmix for you. Once you’re registered on Trailhead; head on over to this link for a customized Trail just for #awesomeadmins
I’d suggest that you also take a look at the official exam guide provided by Salesforce. This guide will show you the exact steps needed to understand how to become a Certified Salesforce Administrator.
Check out the “Recommended Training and References” section to explore all the trails that are important for you to pass your Admin 201 exam.
Here’s what is recommended >
- Trailmix: Prepare for Your Salesforce Administrator Credential
- Trail: Administrator Certification Prep
- Superbadge: Lightning Experience Reports & Dashboards Specialist
- Superbadge: Business Administration Specialist
- Superbadge: Security Specialist
p.s. Signup for a free Dev Org Here > https://developer.salesforce.com/signup
Day 12–20 Mock Tests
You will find that there are a plethora of places where admins can take mock tests. I did a combination of 3 separate places that helped me A LOT! One of them was by far the most comprehensive as far as featuring real questions asked in the admin exam.
- First I signed up for Salesforceben.com If you’ve been around the SFDC block a while then you’ve probably read one of Ben’s articles. He has a great blog about everything related to Salesforce. I signed up for a mock test which is $10 (paid via PayPal). To signup, you can go to salesforceben.com/sign-up. This is what it’ll look like:
Once you sign-up you will be redirected to PayPal to complete the payment. Upon successful completion, users will then be redirected to the members-only area.
This is where you can take the mock exams for Admin 201. There are some other exams listed here as well i.e. Advanced Salesforce Admin, Platform App Builder, Sales Cloud & Marketing Cloud Email Specialist.
Overall, Ben has done a great job of organizing these exams. Some of the questions from the “Administrator Exam 2017” did appear in my Feb 2018 Admin Certification Exam.
2. Webassesor Practice Test
Webassesor is the platform used by Salesforce for proctoring these exams. When registering for an exam you also have the option to register for a mock exam. It will cost you $20 for this mock exam and you can only take it once. The one big problem I found using this method was the lack of clear answers.
Once you go through all 60 questions (65 when taking the real exam), you get a pass/fail grade along with areas where you performed well Vs. where you were lagging.
These are the results of the mock test. As you may notice, you’re only provided with an aggregate percentage in the 12 different categories. You have no clue on what was right or wrong answers.
Another thing to keep in mind when taking the mock exam after you’ve spent your $20, you do not get to retake it.
Lucky for you, I took screenshots of all the questions and have converted them into an online form. You’ll have to google what the correct answers are. The screenshots give you a good idea on how the actual proctored exam would look like.
*Please note that as of November 16, 2017, all Salesforce certification exams will contain five additional, randomly placed, unscored questions to gather data on question performance. The duration of each exam has been evaluated and adjusted to accommodate the inclusion of the unscored questions. These five questions will be in addition to the 60 scored questions on your exam, and will have no impact whatsoever on your score.
3. Online Quiz
The last (and most important) thing that I would attribute towards me successfully getting the Salesforce Administrator Certification has to be the online quiz I created for my own practice purpose.
I had attended a user group meeting recently, where I made friends with another salesforce Developer. He happened to mention that someone he knows may have a few questions related to the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. However, a month later he delivered on his promise and emailed me an excel file with 89 questions.
Update: The 89 question excel file has now been converted into an online test with 135 questions. If you’d like to access it please visit https://sfdcmastery.com
Out of the 89 questions at least 60% were asked in the certification exam. The passing grade is 67%, which meant I only needed to answer another 4.55 questions correctly.
Being that I do know my stuff, this wasn’t hard to do. See my final scorecard below.
That’s a total score of 85% 😁
Day 21–24 Online practice test
The last few days were dedicated entirely towards taking that one test which helped me with over 60% of the answers. Now, I want you to know that I did not just start with the Salesforce.com platform. I’ve been a Salesforce Admin since June 2015. I did not know anything about Salesforce when I first started. However, through trial and error and the awesome trailblazer community of Salesforce experts, I was able to make my way to understanding salesforce and getting my certification.
One thing to note about Salesforce Admin Certification is the cost. The Admin 201 Certification Cost is $200 for the exam and then $100 for the retake. You can retake the exam up to 10 times (I sure do hope you don’t have to retake it at all!). You can now register for all your certifications right from within Trailhead.
I know some folks are tempted to buy Salesforce Admin Certification dumps. However, I would recommend that you do it the right way and learn the basic principles first, instead of regurgitating stuff from memory.
If you don’t understand the basic principles of what a Salesforce Admin does then the Certification might not be the right thing for you right now.
Day 25–27 Relax
3 days before my Salesforce Admin Certification, I actually quit the frantic activity of online test-taking and took some time to just relax. I was still using Salesforce in my full-time job so it’s not like I completely quit Salesforce before the exam. Giving yourself some downtime might be good for the noggin!!!
A final piece of parting advice, after finishing all 65 questions you will have the option to review all. I did go back and review all of the questions and their selected answers. Upon doing this I did find that some of the answers I had selected were incorrect. This of course only applies IF you have extra time to do it.
And there you have it #awesomeadmins the blueprint to cracking the Salesforce certification exam.
Do you have a recommendation or resource that has worked for you? Mention it below in the comments.
Want to practice the mock test questions provided by Kryterion without paying the $20? Simply head on over here and enter your email. You will then be redirected to the question form.