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Preparing for a Salesforce Admin Certification Test

How Are You Going to Take Your Certification Test?

There are two options for taking your certification (or cert) test. The first and easiest method is going to a Kryterion testing center that is listed when registering for the exam. The testing center will take care of all the setup needed and will proctor your test for you. The second option is taking the test at home. Usually this requires an external webcam and a quiet, well-lit room. However, due to Covid-19, Salesforce has temporarily allowed the use of an internal webcam making it a bit easier to take exams from home. You can see more about the testing requirements here.

Official Salesforce Study Options

Preparing for a Salesforce cert exam can be daunting. There are so many topics associated with each exam, it can be hard to know where to even start.

First there are the official Salesforce options. Salesforce offers in-person and online classes to review and prep for cert exams, however, these courses come with a hefty price tag of $1,000 to $4,000 per course. If you work for a company that will fully cover—or reimburse you—these costs are likely too high a price to swallow.

Besides the paid classes, Salesforce does provide free study material in the form of Trailhead Trails. These study forums or trails provide an in-depth review and exercises of the topics covered in most exams. These can be great to skim over, but often they can be overwhelming with information overload; additionally, with an estimated time to complete in the 40-hour range, these exercises make you feel like your time could be better spent elsewhere.

The Better Option

A much cheaper and streamlined option is Focus on Force. Focus on Force (FoF) provides practice exams with answers as well as study guides for each topic on the exam. While there are other free exams online outside of FoF, they’re often lacking with incorrect or outdated information.

Focus on Force, on the other hand, has exams and study guides available for every certification and are updated after every Salesforce release, ensuring the questions are up-to-date. The exams are very similar to the questions Salesforce asks and include a timer allowing you to get a real feel for the exam flow and wording. Focus On Force exams with answers will set you back $19 and the study guide an additional $19.

How to use Focus On Force

Before you begin studying for your cert exam, it’s good to get a baseline score to determine your strengths and which areas you need additional focus to improve your score.

Using FoF, take the first exam for the cert of your choosing and opt to see your score at the end. Once you’ve finished the exam, look at the questions you missed, the percentage you got correct overall, the breakdown of topics and the percentage you got correct in each area. It goes without saying that the sections with the lower percentages received reveal areas on which you’ll need to study up.

But wait there’s a catch! Some topics represent a small part of the exam; it may even only be one question! Using the Salesforce-provided breakdown on Trailhead, determine the section that you did poorly in that makes up the highest percentage of the exam and study that material first.

After you’ve studied your material on Trailhead or FoF, you’re ready to test your new knowledge. If you feel prepared for an exam re-do, take your exam again. To be sure you’re ready, use the study guide practice questions prior to your second testing session. Continuing this pattern through the remaining practice exams, you should see your scores improve in your weaker areas; once you’re scoring high enough, you’re ready for the official exam.

Other Useful Resources

A great resource for personal experience or advice is the Salesforce subreddit. Often users post about their experience studying, taking certifications exams, and how the questions compare to FoF. Another great thing about the subreddit is you can find discounts for certification tests or FoF material saving you even more money.

Salesforce also has YouTube videos and webinars that discuss examination prep and what to expect. These are also a valuable online resource which can provide insight. Currently, due to COVID-19, Salesforce has been including promo codes for cert exams in its webinars; this is also a great way to save a few bucks. Now go out there and get those certs!

We Dig Our Devs

Shift3 Technologies is made up of brilliant certified Salesforce admins and developers; we couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments thus far and their continued growth. We would love for them to prove their development prowess on your next project.

Our team uses a consultative approach to help you determine the best strategy to identify your challenges, implement appropriate solutions and enhance your systems. Frustrated with Salesforce? Learn to love it again with our 3-part blog series. For a free consultation, email [email protected] today.

Christian Coelho is a Certified Salesforce Admin and a Salesforce Developer focusing on APEX and API Integrations at Shift3 Technologies. When he’s not streamlining and automating workflows for clients, Christian spends time remembering how much he enjoyed line dancing, going to the movies and being at the beach.