Administrator

Salesforce Certified Administrator Certification Logo

This article will cover how to pass the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam.

Because the admin test is the first exam, and a prerequisite to a few other exams, it’s likely that if you’re going for this cert you’re newer to Salesforce. That’s perfectly ok. To start, you’ll need to build a solid foundation of experience.

The best way to start getting experience with Salesforce is via Trailhead. Why is it the best? Firstly, because it’s free. Second, because hands-on experiential learning is the fastest route to knowledge. This means by reading and clicking around in an actual Salesforce environment, to complete the Trailhead challenges, you’ll learn faster than if you were to read pages and pages of documentation alone.

  1. Complete the “Prepare for Your Salesforce Administrator Credential” Trailmix.
  2. To do this, simply sign up for a free Trailhead account by using the “Sign Up” button and follow the path laid out in the Trailmix. You will be able to create a free Trailhead “Playground”, which is a Salesforce test environment (that includes some fake data), for you to play with.

If you looked at the Trailmix you’ll see the estimated time of completion is 49 hours!! Woah!! Don’t worry. I’ve done a lot of Trailhead and the estimates are typically overdone. I’ve found that for most modules, they are completable in about half the time… if you do end up struggling on one of the modules DON’T WORRY. That is the golden learning that will lead to you passing the exam.

You now have THE resource to provide you with a solid foundation of REAL WORLD experience in Salesforce administration. This is absolutely critical to passing and will pay dividends for a long time. With this in place, let’s move on to exam prep.

Salesforce Certified Administrator Test Prep

The most important thing to keep in mind about the exam is just that – it’s an exam. You could have 5 years experience and possibly fail it, or you could study for 2 months and pass. It’s all about prepping for the exam.

Quizlet

Why is this the best resource? Well it’s free… but also, there are flash card sets with 100’s of sample exam questions. I don’t know for sure but I believe many of these questions come from people who took the exam at home, recorded their screens, and then posted the exam questions and their guesses at the answers on the internet.

Salesforce Certified Administrator Flashcard Set 1

Salesforce Certified Administrator Flashcard Set 2

Salesforce Certified Administrator Flashcard Set 3

The above three flashcard sets are good examples of what you want to study. Now don’t count on a single set to give you all the right answers because, fair warning, as many as 1/3 of the answers could be wrong. But we will use multiple flashcard sets to address this problem.

The technique is simple. Go through the sets repeatedly until you know the answers to everything. Repeat for all 3 flash card sets. You will find discrepancies in some of the answers to the questions between flash card sets – THAT’S OK. For many of the questions, the answers ARE the same across sets – so you know that material is solid. By noticing that certain questions across sets have different answers YOU ARE LEARNING. Take those discrepancies and look up the answers in the Salesforce Documentation to be sure you have the right info.

Boom, you’ve now reviewed upwards of 250 real life exam questions, cross referenced the material, and used the documentation to resolve conflicts. You’ve also been working through Trailhead to ground this knowledge in real world understanding. Perfect.

Side note: Salesforce certifications are worth less as indicators of knowledge over time for particularly this reason. This is known as “Certification Inflation”. You may or may not see the exact questions you studied on the actual exam, but I guarantee you the concepts they are testing for will be present.

Salesforce combats this problem by periodically updating exams to be tougher, with new questions, and I strongly support this. I want certifications to be meaningful representations of hard-earned knowledge, and if you intend to use them to further your Salesforce Career so should you. However, I’m endeavoring to teach you the fastest way to get Certified and to my knowledge this is it.

Between Quizlet and Trailhead you can pass the exam, if you’re diligent in your study. But for the overachievers out there I’ll post a few more resources you can use.

Focus on Force

By far and away the best “paid” resources available are on Focus on Force. The Admin Study Guide is a compilation of everything you need to know to pass the exam – complete with the most concise and well-documented (links to actual documentation) text and images – broken down by Exam Section. Cost is $19.

The Admin Practice Exams are a goldmine of exam-like questions, with the bonus of every answer being correct – AND they are 100% generated by the Focus on Force team, meaning no ethical gray lines to worry about. Be warned, the exams are TOUGH. Don’t be afraid though, that’s what you want. You want to study a TOUGH exam, that you can check the answers on, so when you sit for the actual exam you pass easily. Cost $19.

If you’re on the fence about getting both then just get the Practice Exams. Repeat them over and over until you know all the questions like the back of your hand and you will pass.

Mike Wheeler’s Admin Course

Fair warning, Mike Wheeler’s admin course will put you to sleep. I think this is one of his first courses, and while I’m glad he put it out, he hadn’t yet mastered vocal tonality. That’s ok though because what it lacks in enthusiasm it makes up for with knowledge.

The best way to do this course is with dual monitors. On one monitor you watch the course and on the second you follow along with Mike and click through all the same screens he does. This is called imitative learning and it is so incredibly helpful. If you’re a more visual and/or hands-on learner this could be a great approach for you. Cost $9.99 – $14.99 depending on Udemy sales promotions.

Note: Mike also put out a Lightning Admin course. I haven’t watch this personally but saw it when linking to his Classic Version. By now he has likely mastered tonality, and Lightning is the future of Salesforce so it might be worth picking this one up instead. I’ll leave that choice to you.

That’s a wrap!

You now have all the resources you need. To recap:

  1. Go through the Admin Trailmix. This is the solid foundation of real world experience you will need to pass.
  2. Use real world, exam like, questions to repeatedly test yourself on your knowledge. Reference Salesforce Documentation as needed to clear up knowledge gaps.
  3. Consider a paid resource like Focus on Force or Mike Wheeler to drive home the missing pieces.
  4. Study for a little bit every single day

Best of luck and let me know if you pass!

Nick

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