Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam Tips

How to pass your Salesforce Administrator exam.


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:


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.

Did this post help you?

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.

Sustainability and green marketing

… is about:

  • Ensuring actions do not impact on the biosphere or threaten its long-term viability.
  • Balancing economic, environmental and social goals and consequences.

The diagram on page 21 of the B324 Block 3 course book is a good reminder of the main goals of sustainability, according to Schaltegger, et al., 2003.

Sustainable marketing is arguably an oxymoron because marketing is traditionally about driving consumption.

Some factors driving growth of green marketing:

  • Firms seeing it as an opportunity to differentiate.
  • Firms recognising their obligations to be more environmentally responsible.
  • Government bodies forcing firms to be more so.
  • Competitors adding pressure by being more green.
  • The increased high cost of waste disposal.

A key concept to remember is that of holism in green marketing.

Another interesting concept to remember is the dominant social paradigm and some of its key dimensions:

  • Economic dimension
  • Technological dimension
  • Political dimension

Some challenges for green marketing to be effective:

  • Must be led from the top.
  • Must be integrated.
  • Must be marketing led.
  • Must be backed by actions.

Firms must try to avoid “hitting the green wall”.

We are still very much stuck in the second age of green marketing!