Preface: this post is part of the Study Guide: How to Earn 15 Salesforce Certifications series.
In this post, I’m going to share with you my secret technique for passing all Salesforce certifications.
This is the exact technique I personally used to pass 16+ certifications. In many of these areas, I had little to no experience before beginning my studies. I’m calling this The SFDC99 Method.
My method is simple, yet effective. Please do note, it requires you to change the way you think about things, even if it’s uncomfortable for you. It was uncomfortable for me. Approach with an open mind.
There are 5 phases to passing each certification:
Phase #1: Studying for a Certification
There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to studying for a certification.
|School of Thought #1:||Memorize, memorize, memorize!|
|School of Thought #2:||Focus on understanding, not memorization|
The SFDC99 Method focuses on understanding, not memorization. For phase 1, at least!
Why is it better to study understanding, instead of memorizing?
The methodology behind studying for understanding is a big topic, so I’m going to devote the entire next post of this series to it. Let’s leave it at this for now.
Phase #2: Taking the Exam Online
How you take a multiple choice exam is just as important as how you study for it!
I’m talking about what kinds of strategies you use while you’re in the middle of the test.
Follow along with me here: You’re taking a 60 question multiple choice exam. There are 4 possible answers for each question. The passing score is 65%, which means you need 39 questions right.
Say you studied very hard for the exam, but, you only know the right answer to 1 out of 3 questions. That means you’re only sure about 20 out of 60 total questions. Stay with me here!
For each of the remaining 40 questions, you don’t know the right answer. However, you use a specific set of techniques to eliminate half of the possible answers. Now you have a 50% chance of getting each of these 40 questions right.
Do the math: (20 * 100%) + (40 * 50%) = 40 questions right = YOU PASS!
This is just an example of one technique you’ll use during the exam. There are a lot, and each one is aimed at slightly increasing your chances of getting a question right.
I’ll dedicate an entire post in this series to teaching you these techniques.
Wait – so why do you have to take it online? See phase 3…
Phase #3: Failing a Certification
Remember when I said you needed to prepare for failure? I’m taking it a step further. Expect failure.
Expect to see that horrible word: FAIL… because that’s your cue to start taking action.
That’s your cue to take out a piece of paper and write down every single part of the exam that you need to study more. You must do this right away, because, you’ll forget if you don’t.
That’s why you need to take the exam online. Immediately after you finish the exam, you need to note the areas you’re weak in. This is important and you can’t have any distractions.
Sure, Salesforce will give you a breakdown of how you did on each section. But that’s not enough specific information for you to know exactly where you need to focus your studies on.
Now, I’m not saying you must fail. It’d be great if you passed on your first try! I’m just saying to never assume you pass. I’m also saying you should take steps not to fail more than once.
Phase #4: Re-studying for a Certification
Re-studying for a certification is very different than studying for it on your first attempt!
Unlike phase 1, this time we shift our focus more on memorization. Why?
It’s still important to understand topics you were weak in. It’s just more efficient now to memorize!
Don’t wait a long time to re-take an exam. Aim to do it within 2 days, or, a week at most.
Phase #5: Passing a Certification
Pat yourself on the back, enjoy some ice cream, then get ready to start studying for the next cert!
It’s important that you start studying for the next certification immediately. Don’t take a break for more than two weeks. There’s just too much overlap between certifications to do so.
For example, all of these certifications cover similar topics:
If you’re out of the game too long, you’ll end up spending precious time re-studying topics!
…And that’s my strategy in a nutshell!
Really, this post just scratches the surface. For the rest of the series, I’ll be going in depth on all of the points brought up in here and more. There’s lots of good stuff to come!
Special thanks to Michael Drzewiecki, the certification master who was kind enough to teach me his original strategy to amassing certifications. I adapted that strategy into this.