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Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam Tips & Tricks

Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam Tips & Tricks

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So, you’ve decided to take the next steps in your career and earn your Salesforce Administrator Certification. Yay!

This might be your first journey into the Salesforce platform or maybe you’ve been an Accidental Admin for years and are finally going to make it official. Either way, we hope this guide provides the extra boost you need to get started and pass! We asked our fellow #AwesomeAdmins and Sercante Dragons for their feedback on the exam, what they wish they had done differently, and what study strategies worked best for them.

Here are our favorite tips and tricks to passing the Salesforce Administrator Certification exam. Grab your go-to brain boosting beverage and let’s get started!

Step 1. Review the Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam Guide

You probably have already looked at the exam guide a couple times, but do it just once more. Salesforce occasionally updates the exam guide and the test itself so it is always a good idea to review the most recent version (the last test update was June 2021).

Plus, Salesforce recently released a new certification for those looking to break into the Salesforce ecosystem and aren’t quite experienced enough for the Administrator exam. The Salesforce Associate certification is a great place to begin and you can get started here with our blog ‘A Pocket Guide to Earning the Salesforce Associate Certification’.

salesforce administrator certification exam

Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam Outline

  • Configuration and Setup: 20%
  • Object Manager and Lightning App Builder: 20%
  • Sales and Marketing Applications: 12%
  • Service and Support Applications: 11%
  • Productivity and Collaboration: 7%
  • Data and Analytics Management: 14%
  • Workflow/Process Automation: 16%

Here is a quick link to bookmark the Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam Guide, which includes the exam overview, resources they recommend (free and paid), and a detailed breakdown of the topics you will see.

Bookmark these too! Both of these resources are the best  go-to study guides as they are Salesforce created and kept up to date. If you are overwhelmed by the amount of resources out there, just focus on studying and working through these. 

Step 2. Schedule Your Salesforce Admin Cert Exam

Nothing makes studying more productive (aka panic-studying-becasue-it-is-actually-happening-and-you-can’t-ignore-it) when you have a real date to prepare for. Yes, it will be scary to hit that schedule button. But it would be even worse to do all this work and never actually take the test. 

I promise that you are smart and capable, even if you are super worried! Once you get this out of the way, you can truly focus on the content without that hanging out in the back of your mind.

Choose your testing location 

One thing to consider is what type of test taker you are. Salesforce gives us the option of taking a test in person at a local testing center or remotely from the comfort of your or someone else’s home. 

Think about what makes you your best test-taking you. I prefer taking the certifications remotely online because I like being at my desk with my favorite chair in my comfy clothes and I don’t have to worry about traffic or a strange new place. Other team members prefer the testing center because it gets them out of their loud house of children and pets and helps their brain activate test mode.

Ready to schedule your Salesforce Admin certification date? Good! Do that here. Step two = complete!

Step 3. Organize Your Resources

The Sercante team are certification masters, and we all agreed that organizing your resources, study guides, prep decks, practice tests, etc., beforehand saves a lot of time later down your study road. Plus, they can act as a sort of to-do checklist of study tasks.

Here are some of our favorite resources that we’ve relied on.

Free Study Day

This is my favorite resource for all Salesforce certifications. You can sign up multiple times as well so I would recommend once at the beginning of your study schedule and then again close to your exam date. 

  • Salesforce Certification Days
    • Free, half-day webinars to help you prepare for your certification
    • About 1x every two months
    • Not recorded, no taking screenshots
    • Get a $40 test voucher code, can be used for retakes



Trailheads & Trailmixes


Topic Problem Area Resources

Step 4. Take a Practice Test & Understand Where You’re At

You are smart! You know things! How else would you convince yourself to take the Salesforce Administrator Certification? 

So, this also means you probably know a good portion of the topics the exam will cover. Instead of deep diving into EVERYTHING, let’s focus on the medium confidence and low to no confidence topic areas. Remember to refer to the exam outline above to understand what will be on the test.

You can use this simple Google Sheet calculator for a quick confidence check: 

When you are ready, just jump in and take a practice test. Try to remember which one so this can be your truth beacon as your work through your study materials. By having this baseline score, you will be able to identify confident and if-y topic areas, plus get into the test-taking, Salesforce-speak brain space. 

Practice Tests

Be careful with relying too heavily on the questions and answers from these paid and free practice test resources outside of Salesforce. As the test and Salesforce ecosystem continue to evolve, some of these tests don’t update with it. Trust your gut and Google if you think something isn’t quite right. You can always ask the Salesforce Trailhead community to double-check, as well. 

Step 5. The Actual Study Step

Ok! Time to study!

Pace yourself and try to avoid last-minute week of the test full studying sessions. Yes, reviewing some key topics right before your certification might be helpful, but working through the Trailheads the month or two leading up to the test is probably easier on your brain and work/life schedule. 

I like to study one or two hours a day before and after my work day so it tends to take me more time to prep compared to teammates who schedule a couple of full study days the month of their exam. Try out different study schedules and find what works best for you! 

Keep in mind that you could prefer video courses to the text-based Trailheads or maybe you like creating your own flash cards with a study friend. The knowledge is out there, you just need to figure out the best way for you to unlock it.

Step 6. Rinse & Repeat

Once you feel like you have absorbed some more information or completed a couple of topic-specific Trailheads, give the practice test a shot again. This will confirm if you are focusing on the right or not quite right topic areas.

Remember, Salesforce certifications are difficult and are worded in Salesforce ways. Taking these practice tests and working through the Trailhead courses will help you understand how they phase scenarios, what they consider best practices for a standard organization, how they refer to their ecosystem, and hopefully, see which answers you can eliminate to reduce your answer options. 

Some Study & Test Taking Tips

  • Find keywords in questions that indicate the answer or what you can eliminate as an answer.
  • Keep in mind the names of Salesforce products, features, and functionality as they will try to trick you with similar-sounding answers.
  • Answers can put the Salesforce platform in a good light meaning the answer wouldn’t be something they don’t support or is outside of the standard packages (in most cases).
    • Example: How many records are saved in the recycle bin? The highest option was the answer.
  • Always refer back to the full question when you are starting to second guess yourself, there might be something key you missed when you first read it. 

Step 7. Go Eat A Snack & Take A Nap

There is only so much studying and memorization a human brain can handle. Especially with these Salesforce-style wordy technical questions and answers. We fully recommend taking breaks throughout your study journey and at least a couple of days leading up to your Salesforce Admin exam date. 

Remember to relax and breathe! You being overly stressed out is not going to help you pass the test.

Step 8. Pass The Salesforce Administration Certification Exam!

Trust us, you’ve got this!

The Day of Your Exam Tips

  • Make sure you read the requirements for your in-person exam or the online proctored exam.
    • For in-person tests, remember to arrive 15 minutes early with your ID, another form of identification, and your authorization code.
    • For online tests, double-check that your camera and microphone are working, that you have downloaded the correct software, and that your desk area and background are clean and without distractions.
  • Consider the amount of time you have as you go through the test.
    • Answering every question is more important than not finishing.
  • Mark questions you are hesitant about for review.
    • Salesforce has a built-in checkbox for this within the test – take advantage of it.
    • As you have time at the end, go through your marked questions.
    • If you start noticing that you are changing more than a handful of answers, you are probably in your head too much and overthinking things. It is best to go with your gut and your first answer unless you know for sure that it is incorrect.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail! You can always retake the Salesforce admin certification exam – trust me, I did. We recommend scheduling your retake within two months of your previous exam date so the information is fresh and you are still in testing mode.

Good luck taking your Salesforce admin certification exam!

Don’t forget to come back here and brag about your accomplishment and share any other Salesforce Administrator Certification exam tips and tricks for the next round of admins!

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  • Kelly Ryan is based out of Denver, Colorado and is 3x Salesforce Pardot certified. She has been using marketing automation technology since 2012 and is excited to help clients develop strong marketing and sales strategies while connecting the dots to make the magic happen behind the scenes. She has a passion for multi-channel campaign strategies, digital marketing tactics, account-based marketing, analytics and data understanding, website development, ad and landing page design, and any cool new tools as they appear. With a background in advertising, anthropology, and film, she still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up, so she can be found reading and watching documentaries to learn even more while eating sourdough and drinking red wine.

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