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A Pocket Guide to Earning the Salesforce Associate Certification

A Pocket Guide to Earning the Salesforce Associate Certification

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Passing the Salesforce Associate Certification exam is a great way to show initiative when you’re looking to break into the Salesforce ecosystem or prove to your employer that you’re ready to dive deeper into Salesforce. And, whether you’re a fresh graduate looking to establish a career in the world of technology or you’re an experienced professional seeking a career change, Salesforce is always a smart option. 

For far too long, the Salesforce Administrator Certification, which was traditionally the first level of credential to validate your Salesforce knowledge, has daunted beginners due to the wide depth of topics to cover. Studying the 68-hour long trailhead has indeed been a big barrier for beginners, as well as some experienced folks looking to get certified.

salesforce certified associate

Salesforce Entry Level Certification

Well, here’s great news! In September 2022, Salesforce launched its new entry level certification known as Salesforce Certified Associate

This entry-level credential is designed to test your understanding of the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform and the ecosystem, and thereby giving your Salesforce career a kickstart.

How is the Salesforce Associate Exam Conducted?

  • You can take the exam online from the comfort of your home. This is where a proctor monitors your exam through a webcam. Or, you can take the exam onsite at an authorized testing center.
  • The exam consists of 40 questions, which need to be answered in 70 minutes (that is A LOT of time when compared to some other Salesforce certification exams).
  • Each question has only one correct answer. And unlike some other Salesforce certification exams, you have only 3 options to choose from. So if you’re good at the process of elimination, this exam makes life easier for you.
  • You need to secure 62% correct answers to pass the certification examination, which roughly counts to getting 25 correct answers.

Salesforce Associate Certification Exam Outline

Below are the four sections that constitute the exam, and the weightage of each section is mentioned in percentage of number of questions:

  • Salesforce Ecosystem: 32%
  • Navigation: 28% 
  • Data Model: 25 %
  • Reports and Dashboard: 15%

Section 1 – Salesforce Ecosystem

This section has the most weight in the exam (i.e. 32%), which roughly accounts to 13 questions of the 40. It primarily deals with the areas of: 

  • Salesforce and its Values
  • Trailheads and the Trailblazer Community
  • Trailhead Playground Management
  • Understanding Salesforce Customer 360
  • Salesforce for Nonprofits / Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP)
  • Types of Salesforce instances
  • Salesforce architecture and Multitenant environment
  • Career paths in the Salesforce ecosystem

Section 2 – Navigation

This section has the second most weightage in the exam i.e. 28% which roughly accounts to 11 questions of the 40. It primarily deals with the basics of the following areas, with situation based questions mainly focused on how to Navigate to these.

  • Understanding Account, Contacts and their Relationships
  • Understanding the Salesforce AppExchange
  • Scrum and Kanban Workflows
  • Search Solution Basics
  • Company-Wide Org Settings
  • Data Organization
  • User Management
  • List Views
  • Lightning App Builder
  • Personalizing Salesforce experience

Section 3 – Data Modeling

This section has a weightage of 25%, which roughly accounts to 10 questions of the 40.

This section primarily tests your understanding of the Standard Objects, its Relationships and managing data access levels within the organization. It focuses on the following areas:

  • Custom & Standard Objects, Object Customization and Relationships
  • Working with Schema Builder
  • Managing Leads & Opportunities
  • Data Security
  • Using Formulas and Validations
  • Understanding Permission Set Groups
  • Lightning Setup and Customization
  • Picklist Administration
  • Custom fields

Section 4 – Reports & Dashboards

This section has the lowest weightage of 15%, which roughly accounts to 6 questions of the 40. But this section has some of the most interesting and crucial areas such as Salesforce reporting

Here’s what this section covers:

  • Basics of creating Reports and Dashboards
  • Reports & Dashboards for Lightning Experience
  • Report Types and Report Formats
  • Joined Reports
  • Managing Report Filters

Who can take this exam?

This exam is designed for anyone with 0-6 months of Salesforce experience.

However, we believe it can also be taken by candidates who fall in these categories:

  • If you are the Salesforce Admin at your organization, and need to get validation of your knowledge for a promotion or general acknowledgement.
  • If you want to get into Salesforce consulting in your next job
  • If you have had no Salesforce experience, but want to make a second career in Salesforce and are willing to learn the Trailheads.

Fees and Retakes

  • The cost of taking this exam is USD $75 
  • The exam retake is free of cost

Resources and Takeaways

After having read this pocket guide, we recommend you to complete the trailheads for this certification exam (links provided below). 

If you have a high-level understanding of the Salesforce functionalities and have completed most if not all of the Trailheads, then you are on a great path to pass this entry-level certification exam and take a leap in building your Salesforce career. 


Work toward more Salesforce certifications

Looking to skill up beyond the basics of the Salesforce platform? The Salesforce Basics for Marketers course may be perfect for you. Or, you can see the full roster of Sercante Training courses and offerings here

Other Sercante Salesforce Certification Exam Guides:

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  • Joy is a Marketing Automation Strategist at Sercante. With over five years of experience as a digital marketing specialist across several industries and an MBA in marketing, he sought a new challenge in the world of technology. Now, with two Salesforce certifications, including Pardot Consultant, he delights clients by bringing his knowledge of marketing best practices to each engagement. When he’s not working, you’ll find him watching or playing Cricket and travelling with his friends. He wakes up everyday with a mission to make clients successful with their marketing processes. But his primary motivation is to provide peace of mind to clients when it comes to running marketing campaigns in Pardot.

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