Taking the ADM 301 and Sales Cloud Consultant exam

I’m not too sure why I thought it would be a good idea, other than saving me a trip to the exam center, but I scheduled two Salesforce Certification exams back to back yesterday. I knew this was a bit chancy, as if I had failed the first I wouldn’t have been in a great mood to take the second, but happily I passed both.

This means it’s also time to go back to Inkscape and add my certifications to my business card! We designed our business cards so people could stack up their certifications under their name. The funny thing is that last week I met, for the very first time ever, someone who actually asked me about my level of certification. I think it’s one of those things that consultants know about but the average small client doesn’t.

Business Card showing Salesforce ADM 301 and Sales Cloud Exam certification

Anyway, for those looking for a few tips on passing the test, read on. I’ll discuss both of these together, as there was a bit of overlap, and because I can’t quite remember which question came from which test.

The standard advice aplies – know your stuff. The Salesforce-produced exam guides are the best place you can start, and the six prep questions are a great indication of what you’ll see.

You’ll find that you also have to know a bit of Apex stuff, which interestingly enough I wasn’t asked about on the Dev 401 exam. Clarity on where workflow functionality ends and where Apex triggers begin will be handy.

Salesforce also did something funny in their exam – they threw in features that you wish existed but were fairly sure didn’t. The question would go something like this:

The accounts object in your Salesforce org has too many blah blah blah. How do you fix it?
A) Clearly wrong answer
B) So-so answer, probably not the right choice
C) Clearly wrong answer
D) Mentions a checkbox in Customize > Accounts that would solve the issue, but you don’t ever remember seeing it.

And that was the problem – you’d stare at it, trying to decide if D) was just some made-up feature that they invented for the exam and you should chose B), or if you had a gap in your knowledge and D) did in fact exist and was the right answer.

I remember one question where I deliberated, and finally chose the B) option, confident in the fact that I couldn’t have lived and breathed Salesforce for two years and not heard about this feature. When I got home, I googled, and D) did in fact exist, but it was one of those things that you have to make a request with support to enable.

The point is, good test taking skills will help only so far. Particularly for the Americans raised on the fill-in-the-bubble SAT and Kaplan/Princeton Review, you will probably be able to intelligently cross off one or two choices. But there is no way you can get around the need to know the product and know it very well. Salesforce has written their exam in such a way that you can’t fake product knowledge.

But you can review it – one particularly useful place is ShellBlack. They have great walkthroughs of functionality that only take a minute to read, but give you enough knowledge that if you ever need to use that feature, you’ll be able to figure out your way through it.

Incidentally, I did the same thing other test takers suggested – I wrote down the numbers 1 through 60 and as I was going through the test, ranked my answer into one of three categories of how certain I was. In both I had about 30-32 answers I was certain about (or, rather, 98% certain). The rest were a mix of Maybe’s and WTF’s.

Best of luck to everyone about to take the test!

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