The Salesforce Administrator Certification is intended for Salesforce experts who specialize in managing users, data, and security, maintaining and customizing Sales Cloud and Service Cloud applications, and building reports, dashboards, and workflow.
The Administrator certification, also called ADM201, is the first Salesforce certification you should attempt to take. By passing the Administrator certification, it ensures you have a working knowledge of the Salesforce platform, specifically the sharing model.
As of Summer ’13:
- 60 question, multiple choice exam (includes multi-select questions)
- 65% is the passing score (39 questions correct)
- 90 minutes to answer all questions
- $200 fee with $100 retake fee
- Prerequisite: None
I passed my Salesforce Administrator certification on the Winter ’12 release. By the time I took the exam, I was working with the Salesforce platform for about 4 months. I actually found the exam to be relatively easy, but I had also already passed the Salesforce Developer certification.
From my experience, I found the Salesforce Study Guide to be pretty accurate for all of the exams. Also, if you are a partner, you can find training videos in the Partner Portal which contains all of the videos listed under “Recommended Training and References” in the study guide. Watch these videos. Also, it never hurts to know the Force.com Fundamentals. For this specific exam, I would have a very good understanding of:
- Role Hierarchy
- Reports and Dashboards
- Native CRM functionality – Understand objects like Opportunities, Leads, Accounts, etc.
- Objects – Know the difference between standard and custom
- Capabilities of Chatter
- User Configuration
- Validation Rules
- Data Loader
- Page Layouts
- Record Types
Note: These are just some things to focus on, there will be questions outside of these particular topics. Focus on the Exam outline in the Study guide.
Tips and Tricks
It is important to understand how the Salesforce certification process works and how Salesforce in general works. Salesforce has 3 releases a year, Winter, Spring, and Summer. Each release adds new questions to the exam. From my experience, new features are typically tested more heavily.
Now, while taking the test it is important to do a few things:
- Mark every question you aren’t 100% certain on. Remember, you only need 39 questions correct to pass, so if you only mark 15, you are good to go!
- Eliminate any ridiculous answers from the multi-select options. Remember, you only need to select the specified amount of correct answers.
- Read each question carefully. While I don’t think there are trick questions on the test, the questions do sometimes come in paragraph form and it is crucial to have an understanding of the entire question before you answer.
- Take your time. You have more than enough time to finish this exam. Don’t be surprised if you finish with half of the time left. Utilize that time to review and ensure you selected the answers you intended.
Some aspects of the Salesforce certification process are the same no matter what certification you are attempting:
- All Salesforce exams are on the Webassessor platform
- The only information you get at the end of the exam is Pass or Fail
- If you need to contact Salesforce certification support:
As with all Salesforce certifications, you must maintain the certification upon every release of Salesforce. This means you must pass a maintenance exam three times a year. It costs $100 a year for each path, with Salesforce certifications falling under two paths:
- Advanced Administrator
- Sales Cloud Consultant
- Service Cloud Consultant
- Advanced Developer
As you can see above, the Administrator certification is part of the Administrator tree. This means you must complete 3 Administrator maintenance exams a year to maintain your certification. The maintenance exams are relatively simply, usually 10-15 questions related to the latest release. Your best bet is to read the release notes and watch the release webinar.
If you are thinking of taking the Salesforce Administrator exam, let me be the first to tell you to go for it. If you are already an administrator, it will legitimize your position. If you are looking to branch out into the Salesforce platform, this is a perfect launching platform. Either way, this is the easiest way to get involved with the Salesforce platform. Good luck!