Founded in 1999, Salesforce is one of the largest and most prolific technology companies in the world. Regardless of your career path or industry, there’s a very good chance that you can advance your career with a Salesforce certification.
But Salesforce exams are notoriously difficult, and it often takes professionals multiple tries before they pass. Consult this list of the 50 best Salesforce certification tips and resources to improve your chances of passing the Salesforce exam—the first time.
Salesforce Certification Tips
1. Take practice exams. Salesforce exams are multiple-choice, but the wording of certain questions throws test-takers for a loop. Take high-quality, paid practice exams to prepare for Salesforce’s unique exam style.
2. Know the exam objectives. What will this Salesforce exam test? Every examination lists objectives, so check the Salesforce exam overview to ensure you study the right material.
3. Create a study schedule. Don’t let the Salesforce certification exam catch you by surprise. Set a testing date and create a study schedule so you faithfully prepare for the exam.
4. Attend prep classes. Unlike practice exams, prep classes give you a structured walkthrough of the Salesforce certification exam. If you want additional structure to your study schedule—or just want to hear Salesforce information from experts—take a paid prep class.
5. Explain the concepts to someone else. The easiest way to absorb a new concept is to explain it to someone else in very simple terms. If you’re having trouble explaining certain Salesforce concepts, that should tell you which areas you need to study.
6. Schedule the exam. Deadlines are very motivating. If you need extra motivation to pursue a Salesforce certification, book your exam first and then make a study plan. Be sure to give yourself enough time to prepare, though!
7. Know your testing style. Like it or not, Salesforce certifications rely on exams to test your prowess. To ace the exam, it’s good to know your test-taking style, so you can come up with unique strategies that help you ace the test.
8. Relax before the test. Don’t cram before your Salesforce certification exam. Before test day, give yourself a day to unwind and relax so your mind is fresh.
9. Use mnemonic devices. Some Salesforce exam questions require knowing the specific order of a process. This is tough to memorize outright, which is why many professionals create their own mnemonic devices to aid their memory.
10. Get hands-on experience with Salesforce. Theory will only get you so far. Make sure you have enough hands-on experience in your particular Salesforce specialization before taking the exam. Every certification lists a minimum number of hours, so ensure that your experience matches the exam level.
11. Consult official Salesforce study guides. It’s a good idea to make your own study guide, but official Salesforce guides are valuable, too. Be sure to study official Salesforce documentation to ensure you don’t overlook important concepts.
12. Study with a group. Do you need accountability? Or just help with understanding certain Salesforce concepts? If you’re taking the same certification exam as your coworkers, consider creating a study group.
13. Read the questions several times. Salesforce phrases its questions in a very specific way. Unfortunately, phrasing does confuse test-takers. Be sure to read the exam questions several times to ensure you understand them.
14. Select the correct exam for your certification. If you’re an associate-level Salesforce user, double-check that you signed up for the right exam. You don’t want to accidentally pay for a higher-level exam that’s out of your depth!
15. Time yourself. Every Salesforce certification exam is timed. During your practice tests, be sure to time yourself so you have practice performing under pressure.
16. Get the right equipment ahead of time. Depending on how you’re taking the exam, you’ll need the right equipment to succeed. In-person exams require a pencil or pen, while remote exams require a computer and a reliable internet connection. Make sure you check with your proctor before the test so you have the right materials.
17. Create your own study materials. Study groups, practice tests, and official Salesforce documentation are helpful, but they aren’t designed for the way you learn. It’s a good idea to create your own study materials, formatted in the specific way that your brain likes to process information.
18. Jot your ideas down on paper. Not sure about the right answer? You can work through the questions by crossing out options and jotting down notes.
19. Talk to other people who have taken the exam. This isn’t about asking for the answers, but getting a feel for the exam-taking experience. You can learn from professionals who took the exam before you, hopefully avoiding any mistakes they made when they took the test.
20. Attend instructor-led training. Ask your employer to bring in a professional Salesforce instructor for your group. Instructor-led training tends to be more engaging than webinar-style learning and it also gives you the chance to ask questions.
21. Prepare your space for remote exams. You might already have a remote workspace at this point, but if not, make sure your space is equipped for the online exam. Ensure that you have peace and quiet, and that you follow the proctor’s requirements to a tee.
22. Go through the test several times. Fortunately, Salesforce certifications are multiple-choice. To make the most of your time, answer the questions that you’re sure about first. Then, go through the test a second time to give more thought to the tougher questions.
23. Connect with the online Salesforce community. Salesforce offers a popular suite of solutions, so the online community is a great resource for test-takers.
24. Look up tutorials on YouTube. Sometimes it’s easier to learn by watching a video. If you’re having a tough time understanding a particular area, look it up on YouTube for a lot of free resources.
25. Don’t let a failing grade discourage you. Many professionals have to take their Salesforce exam 2-3 times before they pass. If you don’t pass on the first try, know that you’re in the majority!
Salesforce Certification Resources
Salesforce Certification Guides
This guide from Roycon helps you quickly pull up a list of Salesforce resources based on your certification path. Since it’s difficult finding these resources on your own, it’s nice to consult everything in one place for your specific certification.
Three key resources from The Ultimate Salesforce Resource Guide:
- Links to exam guides and exam prep
- Links to practice tests and questions
- Videos explaining each Salesforce certification path
Need help understanding the basics of the Salesforce certification process? This guide from Mason Frank International explains why you should get a certification, the available certifications, and valuable resources for preparing for the test.
Three key points from Certified success: Salesforce Admin Certification guide:
- 77% of Salesforce professionals have at least one certification
- You can take the test with an onsite or online proctored exam
- Break questions down into flashcards for easier studying
Whether you want to know your earning potential after certification or how much time Salesforce training will take, this resource from Inspire Planner will put you on the right path. This compilation of free Salesforce training tools is perfect for professionals on a budget.
Three key points from Best Resources for Salesforce Training:
- Learn the basics of Salesforce with Salesforce Trailhead
- Salesforce professionals can often earn more than $95,000 a year
- It takes 3-6 months to train for the Salesforce certification exam
DJM Salesforce Consultants put together this comprehensive guide on passing any Salesforce certification exam. It includes exam prep tips, study resources, and test-taking techniques to increase your chances of passing.
Three key points from How To Pass Any Salesforce Exam:
- Look at the official exam guides from Salesforce
- Compile a collection of visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic study resources to boost your memory
- Try the Pomodoro technique to manage your study time
Are you ready to take the Salesforce certification exam? For some professionals, the answer isn’t always clear. Simplilearn provides a five-question guide to help you determine whether now’s the right time to pursue a certification.
Three key points from 5 Prerequisite Questions to Get a Salesforce Certificate:
- Consult the Salesforce community to help with any questions you have—they want to help!
- Salesforce certification requires both time and money
- Be prepared to take Maintenance Exams for certain specialties
Are you studying for the Salesforce exam on short notice? This guide from InsiderPro is designed to help you prepare for a Salesforce admin exam in five days.
Three key points from Get Salesforce admin certification on the first try:
- Test retakes cost 50% of the initial exam cost
- Start studying by taking a practice test; this will reveal what you need to study
- Take another practice exam on Day 5 to ensure you addressed your blind spots
Geckoboard compiled a guide chock-full of Salesforce resources, including instructor-led classes and self-paced courses. Consult their guide to bulk up your own study plan and ensure you have a well-rounded study guide.
Three key points from The 11 best Salesforce training resources for 2021:
- Instructor-led classes are more expensive, but they allow you to ask more questions
- Learn by learning with Salesforce’s in-app guidance
- Download Salesforce’s official tip sheets to prepare for your exam
If you’re just starting out with your Salesforce certification, check out this guide from Lipstick and Tech. It includes a list of valuable Salesforce tools, as well as access to a mailing list and insider community to help you get exam-ready.
Three key points from Salesforce Resources:
- The Trailblazer community allows for Q&A forums
- Remember to update your LinkedIn once you’re successfully Salesforce certified
- Purchase non-proctored Salesforce practice exams through Webassessor
Salesforce Certification Checklists
Salesforce certification is an essential step in your career, but how do you actually register for the exam? Follow Saasguru’s checklist to ensure you’re signed up for the correct exam.
Three key points from How to Register for Salesforce Admin Certification?:
- You need a Webassessor account to register for a Salesforce exam
- Double-check exam codes before paying for an exam
- You must pay for the exam with a debit or credit card
WeLearnSalesforce has a helpful checklist for each type of Salesforce certification. They offer both free and paid checklists, which can help you prepare for all knowledge areas covered in your exam.
Three key points from Salesforce Study Checklists:
- Official Salesforce Trainers prepare these checklists
- You can take free Salesforce quizzes and challenges with WeLearnSalesforce’s newsletter
- Review knowledge areas from these checklists with videos to ensure you understand the concepts
How ready are you to take the Salesforce certification exam? Don’t sign up for an expensive exam you aren’t ready for—run through this checklist to ensure you’re exam-ready.
Three key points from Salesforce Self-Assessment Checklist:
- Identify your weak areas to create a custom study schedule
- If you aren’t ready for the exam, get hands-on experience using Salesforce in the meantime
- Find out what you don’t know to ensure you don’t have any blind spots in your studies
This checklist from SF99 is essential for evaluating whether you’re prepared to pursue a lot of Salesforce certifications. Their guide shows professionals how to earn 15+ certifications from Salesforce in a more manageable way.
Three key points from What to do before attempting 15 certifications:
- It’s possible to get several Salesforce certifications in a short period of time, but it requires a lot of work
- Set goals to ensure you stay on track
- Create a budget for all of the tests ahead of time
What do Salesforce users need to know to be successful on the platform? This free checklist from Whatfix will show you how to train an in-office team on the ins and outs of Salesforce.
Three key points from The Ultimate Salesforce® End User Training Checklist:
- Customize learning paths for your entire team
- Offer self-support to team members who are pursuing a Salesforce certification
- Create a group training to get all of your team up to speed at the same time
FocusOnForce created this checklist to share every step you need to take to get Salesforce certified. From finding the right exam to testing day, consult this checklist to make sure you’re ready.
Three key points from Salesforce Certifications – How to become Salesforce Certified:
- Salesforce certifications prove you’re specialized in a certain area
- Salesforce exams cost anywhere from $200 – $400 per attempt
- Even if you’ve used Salesforce for a while, you should still look at the study guide, because it could cover features you aren’t currently using
Salesforce Ben is a go-to resource for Salesforce professionals. In this checklist, Salesforce Ben provides a list of all 40+ certifications, as well as essential resources for each exam.
Three key points from Complete List of Salesforce Certifications 2021:
- Even entry-level exams require 6-12 months of experience in Salesforce
- Advanced certifications require 1-2 years of experience
- Check to see if your desired exam has prerequisites before signing up
Salesforce Certification Tools
Looking for a list of free places to practice your Salesforce skills? This guide from Toonimo will direct you to resources like Lynda and Trailhead, as well as equip you with resources for building your own internal Salesforce training, too.
Sometimes official Salesforce study guides might not be enough. Whether you want supplemental learning or can’t afford high-cost training elsewhere, Udemy is a great resource. It offers over 1,000 low-cost and free Salesforce courses suited for all experience levels.
If you need Salesforce exam study material, why not consult Salesforce directly? It’s often easier to learn about concepts directly from Salesforce in an engaging video format. Consult their YouTube channel for free product demos, feature releases, and more.
Salesforce’s YouTube channel is helpful, but it does feature a lot of marketing content. Apex Hours’ YouTube channel is another useful way to learn directly from Salesforce experts. If you’re confused about a certain product or feature, consult these free videos for expert guidance.
Pathfinder is an official tool offered directly by Salesforce. Its goal is to invite diverse talent into the workforce with Salesforce skills. If you qualify, Pathfinder will provide 200+ hours of free live and asynchronous learning to kick off your Salesforce journey.
21. Salesforce Ben
Looking for a high-quality Salesforce prep course? Salesforce Ben is a trusted option for certification exam prep, offering both free and paid options for a variety of certifications.
WeLearnSalesforce put together this paid (but reasonably priced) study workbook to help you prepare for the Salesforce Administrator certification in particular. This 600-page workbook covers every section of the exam and also includes a study checklist.
Did you know that LinkedIn offers a valuable platform for upskilling your Salesforce prowess? Many courses are available for free, while others offer limited access on a trial basis. We recommend trying a few out to see which options are best for your test-taking style.
If you ask any professional how they prepared for the Salesforce exam, they’ll likely list Trailhead as an essential resource. In particular, its free Salesforce Certification Days events are incredibly valuable. Sign up for a free half-day webinar to prepare for your certification with confidence.
If you’re looking exclusively for free Salesforce exam prep resources, this guide on Medium.com is incredibly comprehensive. These tools are perfect for any IT professional who wants to boost their skills without busting the budget.
Preparing for a Salesforce certification exam isn’t something to take lightly. These exams challenge test-takers to ensure that those who earn certifications are highly knowledgeable and capable of providing their expertise in their area of focus. Whether you’re thinking about pursuing a Salesforce certification or you’re already committed and looking for success strategies, these resources will be valuable tools to supplement your knowledge.