Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder Exam Tips

How to pass your Salesforce Platform App Builder exam.

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I finally got around to sitting the Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder exam. I have previously said that the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam was one of the toughest I’ve taken, but I will now add that the App Builder exam comes a close second.

Having the Administrator and Sales Cloud Consultant certs under my belt, together with lots of practical Salesforce implementation experience, I felt confident going into this exam and expected it to be a breeze. I was completely taken by surprise. There was a lot of ground covered, and while the breadth wasn’t as wide as the Administrator exam, the App Builder questions did go into a lot of detail, so you need to have experience and will also need to revise in order to pass.

First step: find your weak spots

As always, the best approach is to start with the official study guide from the Salesforce Certification Website. This study guide contains the familiar exam outline, which breaks down the exam into sections like this one:

AppBuilderExamSection

It is very important that you look at each of these sections and spend some time honestly trying to work out where your strengths and weaknesses are. Don’t make the mistake of telling yourself you already know this stuff. This is a tricky exam and you will need to put in some study in order to pass it.

As usual, methodically work your way through the exam outline, highlighting sections where your knowledge is limited or perhaps out-of-date. Scoring yourself out of ten for each item is a good strategy, as it will reveal where you need to focus your study/revision. Being totally honest with yourself is crucial!

As with all Salesforce exams, each section is weighted according to its importance, and so the higher weighted sections will have correspondingly more questions in the exam.

Make use of Trailhead

Trailhead is a brilliant learning resource, and we are lucky to have it. There is a complete Trailmix for the App Builder credential, which you can use to improve on your weak areas. Don’t just spend time reading or scrolling through the material – invest some time in doing the exercises too. It will pay off.

Of particular importance are trails that have been updated to cover Lightning Experience. When I did my Administrator exam, Lightning was only just starting to creep into Trailhead, but now it’s everywhere, and lots of content has been revised accordingly. The App Builder exam is very heavy on Lightning, so you will need to know it well.

Many of my questions were around Business Logic and Process Automation, which is understandable considering it’s weighting of 27% in the exam. These questions covered things like Record Types, Roll-up Summary Fields, Approval Processes, Process Builder, Visual Workflow and Workflow Rules/Actions. You absolutely need to know the differences between these.

There were also lots of questions around User Interface, with a particular focus on the Salesforce Mobile App, Quick Actions, and the Lightning App Builder.

Salesforce Connect was an area I wasn’t particularly familiar with, but I’m glad I took the time to study/revise it. It featured quite heavily in the exam I sat, and there were several questions around the types of relationships that apply to external objects.

The capabilities/uses of the different types of sandboxes also featured quite heavily.

Beware of mock exams!

Once again, be very careful about judging your readiness by some of the mock exams that are available. I think this is very important, as some of them will lead you into thinking you’ve got it nailed when in reality you may not quite be there.

There are some good mock exams and some bad ones that include wrong answers! Universally, I have found they are all way too easy. The questions you will face on the actual exam are much more in-depth and will require a lot more thinking through.

So, use mock exams with caution!

Be confident and try to ‘feel’ when you are ready

I don’t know if you’re the same as me, but I get a kind of instinctive feel when I know I’ve done enough study. I suddenly get a surge of confidence and am keen to just sit down and get through the exam as soon as possible.

In order to get there, I make sure I put in the hours of working through the study guide, evaluating my strengths and weaknesses, and focusing my learning where I’m weakest. If you take the same approach, you should pass this exam.

As usual, I had a problem mid-way through, which seems to be traditional for me! The WebAssessor site seemed to go down and I was faced with an HTTP/500 error that wouldn’t go away. If something like this happens to you, don’t panic … just click the little Help icon and wait for someone to come to you. Worst case, they will be able to suspend and immediately reschedule the exam for you, and you can just pick up with the questions where you left off.

I don’t think there’s a lot more I can add here except to wish you luck.

If I can do it, so can you!

Did this post help you prepare?

If these tips helped you prepare for the Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder exam, please share the love by leaving a comment and/or sharing with your Salesforce Ohana!

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam Tips

How to pass your Salesforce Administrator exam.

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So far, I have found the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam to be one on the toughest I have ever taken. Maybe there’s something about the pressure of knowing a stranger somewhere in the world is watching you closely through your webcam while you sweat over sixty multiple-choice questions?

One thing’s for sure – you have to know Salesforce pretty well in order to get through this exam. It goes into a lot of detail and involves thinking through some tricky scenarios, so even if you’ve been working with Salesforce for a number of years, you will need to do some study and revision in order to pass.

First step: honestly assess your own ability

Your first step should be to download the study guide from the Salesforce Certification website. This contains an exam outline which breaks down the exam into sections like this one:

AdminExamSection

You should have knowledge and hands-on experience of each of the features and functions covered in each of the sections before you attempt the exam. Don’t try to fluff it, or you will end up failing and having to pay to resit. As with many things in life, preparation is absolutely key here.

Methodically work your way through this exam outline and highlight any sections you feel you may be weak in. A good approach might be to score yourself out of ten for each item, so you know where to focus your study/revision. It’s very important to be honest with yourself.

Each section is weighted according to its importance, and for the higher weighted sections you can expect correspondingly more questions in the exam. So for example, there will be more questions around Security & Access features than there are about the AppExchange.

Fill in knowledge gaps using Trailhead

So you’ve now mapped out where your strengths and weaknesses are in terms of the exam content. What’s the next step?

Trailhead is Salesforce’s very own online learning resource, and it’s fantastic. Salesforce staff use it internally, which should give you an idea of the quality of its content. On Trailhead you can search for individual topics and work your way through detailed modules which explain the concepts, give you hands-on practice, then test your knowledge as you go along.

Update: there’s now a dedicated ‘Trailmix’ for those preparing for their Certified Salesforce Administrator exam.

Mock exams and flashcards

There are many mock exams and flashcards available on sites like Quizlet and Cram. While these are good for testing yourself and gaining a bit of confidence, the quality is variable and you shouldn’t totally rely on them because they may not cover everything you need to know in order to pass the exam.

Salesforce Ben and some of the other Salesforce superstars provide great mock exams for many of the Salesforce certifications. The quality of these is higher, and I recommend them for testing your knowledge, but I urge you not to be lulled into a false sense of security.

On mock exams, I was getting close to 100% and was totally confident I was going to ace the real exam. The truth is the official Salesforce Certified Administrator credential is a killer, with much longer/trickier scenario-based questions than any of the mock exams I have seen. Many other Salesforce Certified Professionals agree this is the toughest exam they have done so far because it is so broad.

You can do it!

Don’t let this post put you off aiming for this credential. If I can do it, so can you. However, don’t waste your money sitting the exam if you’re not ready. It costs $200 for the first attempt and $100 for every attempt thereafter.

The first step described in this post is crucial – identify your strengths and weaknesses, and focus your learning. If you take this approach and cover everything in the exam outline in the study guide, you will pass.

I find Salesforce exams really nerve-wracking. Doing them from home also makes them prone to things going wrong. I have had Internet connections drop mid-way through exams, cats jump on the table and walk across my keyboard, and window cleaners try to chat to me through the glass, all while the timer was ticking and that little webcam was silently watching my every move!

Despite these challenges, I survived the experience and have now passed several Salesforce exams. You can do the same.

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If these tips helped you, please share the love by leaving a comment and/or sharing with your Salesforce Ohana!

Image credit: photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash.

Unethical marketing of services

Several writers have highlighted the fact that there is greater potential for unethical behaviour in the marketing of services due to the intangible nature of services, and also the deregulation of many service sectors.

The intangible nature of services and the high level of competition among service providers means it can be very difficult for consumers to evaluate service offerings, which leaves them highly vulnerable to influence by sales people and marketing promotions.

It is arguable that ethical behaviour is more crucial to services marketing in order to combat skepticism and gain the trust and confidence of consumers.

Kotler’s classification of products

Kotler (1972) identified four classes of product along two dimensions: immediate satisfaction and long-term consumer welfare.

There is diagram on page 60 of the B324 Block 2 course book.

Deficient products are those that offer no immediate satisfaction and have no long-term benefit to consumer welfare. Pleasing products have no long-term benefit to consumer welfare but are immediately satisfying (e.g. cigarettes). Salutary products are those which are beneficial to consumers in the long-term, but offer no immediate satisfaction. Desirable products are those which are both immediately satisfying and beneficial to consumer welfare in the long-run.

Fair trade marketing

Fair trade marketing is about making sure small producers are paid enough to cover their costs and have enough to live on.

The argument against fair trade is that it distorts the market and encourages oversupply, resulting in further price falls. The advantageous price paid to producers could result in dependency.

There are two basic components:

  • Providing a working model of international trade that makes a difference to producers and consumers.
  • Challenging business practice by modifying the dominant economic model.

The labelling/certification scheme is important in brand differentiation.

Fair trade works well with the idea of an ‘alternative high street’ – towns like Garstang and Hebden Bridge.

Mainstreaming can result in growth in what still remains a niche. However, mainstreaming could also result in dilution of the message.

Firms could attempt to enter the market and redefine it to better suit the marketing strategies.