ExamYou’ve started looking into taking the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam. It can be a little overwhelming with 60 multiple choice questions with multiple answers to be completed in 90 minutes. The good news is that there is a wealth of resources and choices available to you to help you prepare.  From online study guides to classroom training courses, Salesforce has got you covered. At exam end, you only get one single message of pass or fail.  Approximately 40% of test takers pass their 1st time underscoring just how important it is to be prepared.

Cervello’s team of experienced and trusted certified administrators were asked to share what helped them conquer the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam. The consensus was that it really depends on what level you are at with Salesforce.  It’s a powerful and complex tool. At the end of the day, you need to have a deep understanding of the platform to pass this exam.

An administrator class offered by Salesforce is necessary for a less experienced user.  We’ve found the “Administration Essentials for New Admins” class  extremely helpful in providing the foundation needed before diving into the study materials which can be fairly dry.  The Salesforce Admin class gets potential test takers engaged with exercises and problem solving in a classroom setting.  Even Cervello’s experienced Salesforce consultants found the class helpful to fill in some blanks.

For clarification, the class is NOT geared towards passing the exam, but rather is a beginning for obtaining a solid foundation of the  platform.  After completing the class, it’s time to start working on passing the exam. We caution potential test takers to expect to need approximately two months of consistent studying and playing in a Salesforce sandbox environment to fully comprehend modules prior to taking the exam.

If you are a consultant who has been working with Salesforce for some time and you feel confident navigating  the system and  answering the hard hitting questions you may want  to go straight to the books!

So, what are you studying?

For a broad overview of the application we recommend “Salesforce CRM: The Definitive Handbook” and “Salesforce for Dummies“. These texts have modules that can be played within the sandbox.

Thankfully, Salesforce provides an up to date study guide for the exam which can be found here. You can research the topics within the guide thoroughly through a variety of resources including the Salesforce Help & Training portal. Take notes on each section and use a sandbox environment as needed.

You may be tempted to begin studying by doing an online search for video tutorials. This seems like a good start. Right?



This is a huge waste of time!

From experience, we can tell you that you will spend precious time searching and sorting through extensive videos that may only have tidbits of what you will need.  If you insist on watching online videos, check out those in the Help & Training specific areas of Salesforce where you are studying.

What you should look for online is sample questions and practice tests which are posted by test takers themselves. These are  excellent resources because they show the type of problem solving questions and answers that are crucial for passing the exam. You should familiarize yourself with these types of questions and question patterns. The online community often posts questions directly from the exam (to the best of their memory) but don’t take their answers at face value.  Read the question, re-read the question, look it up and confirm it yourself.  This will ensure that you are studying the right answers.

Now for the fun part, taking the exam!

Salesforce offers two options for exam completion; in person at a testing center and online via a webcam.  We recommend the test center as one of our consultants opted for the webcam route and was stopped five times for things such as back ground noise and accidentally moving the camera.  Additionally, a pencil and paper are only allowed in   the testing center which is helpful to some people during tests.

If you walk away from this post with one take away  it should be to read and re-read each question before selecting your answer!   This is of the utmost importance. The questions are confusing, indirect and complicated.  And the possible answers can be very similar with often times there being more than one correct answer. If and when you get stuck, mark questions and revisit them as time permits.

Once you have completed the exam you may have some extra time so don’t rush to click that submit button. Use your time wisely! Go over all of the questions that stumped you and memorize anything you can. Once you submit your exam (or run out of time) your fate will be revealed (you need a 65% to pass). Pass or fail, keep the questions on the top of your mind so you can write them down once you leave the testing center.

If you pass…CONGRATULATIONS!! But for any questions that you think you missed and can remember,  be sure to research the correct answer so that you can truly say you are a Salesforce Administrator extraordinaire.

If you fail you are in good company among others in the Salesforce community.. Writing down as much as you can remember upon completing the exam will help you focus on what you need to study for the next time. The silver lining – the retake only costs $100.

This is not an exam you can cram for the night before (remember college?) but with  commitment and focus you can conquer the Salesforce Administrator Exam and get certified!

Good luck!

If you have any questions or just want to reach out to one of our amazingly talented Salesforce Administrators drop us a note here: [email protected]

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One comment on “Conquering the Certified Administrator Exam

  1. This page about Salesforce is really useful. Any beginners who got lack of knowledge about the exam process and tips on learning before the exam can benefit from reading this information on Salesforce. Thanks for posting it.