Platform Developer I

This article will cover how to pass the Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I Exam.

I wrote about my general certification study process in the Salesforce Administrator Certification guide, but will cover it in-depth here as well.

A brief overview of the resources you’ll want to use:

  1. Trailhead
  2. Quizlet
  3. Focus On Force
  4. Plural Sight


I highly recommend completing the Prepare For Your Platform Developer I Credential Trailmix available on Trailhead. Don’t be scared by the 63 hours time estimate. Many badges can be completed in half the time.

The reason for doing the Trailhead is to get hands-on experience. Hands-on experience is critical for exam prep because it’s the only way to get the absolutely essential Experiential Learning we need to pass the exam.

When we’re studying flashcards and going through exam courses, we need to be able to hang the material on a latticework of real-life examples – and the best versions of those examples can be found in Trailhead.

Quizlet and ProProfs

Quizlet and ProProfs is an excellent way to prep for the Exam. Look for exam-like questions and run through about 250 of them (roughly 4 sets of 60 questions) repeatedly.

I have a theory that people who take Exams from home sometimes record their screens and put the questions they saw in their Exam on the internet, which find their way to Quizlet or ProProfs.

Clearly, this is NOT what Salesforce intended and massively contributes to Certification Inflation. Salesforce combats this inflation by periodically reviewing the exams and making the questions more difficult. which I fully endorse (and if you value your Certifications, you should too). If you study only one set of Flashcards with the desire to memorize 60 questions and pass the test, you will definitely fail.

The approach I took was slightly more holistic, though it is intense. Go through the sets repeatedly until you know the answers to everything. 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.

Now, even if Salesforce has changed the exam questions, which I know for a fact they have, the concepts will be pounded in better. Since you were hanging this theoretical knowledge on the experience you got from the Trailmix, you’re guaranteed a deep, robust knowledge.

Here are links to a few examples Flashcard sets:

Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I Flashcard Set 1

Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I Flashcard Set 2

Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I Flashcard Set 3

There are roughly 330 questions here and that is more than enough. The last Flashcard set is for and in my estimation has the most up to date examples of questions you might find on the exam. If you can only study one of the sets, study those.

Focus on Force

By far and away the best “paid” resources available are on Focus on Force. The Platform Developer 1 Study Guide is a compilation of everything you need to know to pass the exam – complete with the most concise and well-documented (links included) text and images – broken down by Exam Section. Cost is $19.

The Salesforce Platform Developer I Certification 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.

Plural Sight

Plural Sight isn’t a requirement for passing the exam, but the Apex Academy by David Liu is worth picking up a subscription for. He takes you from zero to hero with Apex in under 10 hours. Through his courses, David is responsible for more than doubling my income in under two years. Don’t miss out!

Apex Academy: Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Coding in Salesforce by David Liu

Apex Academy: Fundamental Salesforce Coding Techniques by David Liu

Apex Academy: The Power of SOQL by David Liu and Apex Fundamentals for Developers by Dan Appleman

Salesforce Sharing and Security Fundamentals by Scott Lee

Play by Play: Adopting Trigger Design Patterns in Existing Salesforce Orgs by Dan Appleman and Don Robbins

Tough Topics

I remember when taking the exam there were a few concepts that I could’ve used more practice on. Just throwing them out there for you.

  1. Heroku
  2. DescribeSObjectResult Class
  3. VisualForce Extensions and Controllers

Closing Thoughts

You now have a plan and you’re ready to go! Let’s recap:

  1. Go through Trailhead to build the foundation of real world experience needed to grasp all the concepts.
  2. Run through Quizlet repeatedly to get a feel for exam-like questions.
  3. Purchase Focus on Force study guide or practice exams for extra help.
  4. Watch videos on Plural Sight.

If you’re still curious, feel free to check out my post about the Six Principles of Learning and work them into your study plan.

My final thought would be this: follow the study plan that works for you. You know best how you learn so do that!

Best of luck, and let me know in the comments if you pass!


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