Certification Tip #2 – Understand the Salesforce Study Guides

Salesforce provides a study guide for every certification. You can download these from the Salesforce certification website. These Salesforce study guides are the key to understanding the certification exams and getting adequately prepared to pass. There are a few areas to review within the study guides.

Study Guide Sections

Recommended Training & References

This section links to training libraries, trailhead modules, or knowledge articles. These references are a good overview of the types of material that will be covered on the exam. If you are unfamiliar with anything in the material, make sure to dedicate some self study to understand the topic.

A Trailhead trailmix is available on the study guide for each certification. In the study guide you will see a link to the official certification trailmix. Look over the entire path and decide which modules would be best for you. Spend some time working on sections with which you are unfamiliar.

Exam Outline

This section outlines the individual graded sections, and their relative weight. If there is a particular section with a very high weight, make sure you have dedicated a good amount of study time to that section. Don’t ignore a section with low weight, because all of the areas have cross over, so you need to be well rounded. But the weighting of the sections is a direct correlation to the number of questions on that topic.

Also in this section, each section has bullet points. Specific wording is common around ‘Given a scenario, determine…’. Those specific questions are around best practices. So for those, make sure you not only understand what the options are, but why one is a good fit for a given scenario.

Sample Questions

These 5 questions are a good indicator of the types of questions you will see. I review these prior to the test to gauge if I feel prepared. If I can confidently answer 4 of them, I know that I am reasonably prepared.

For the Salesforce designer certifications (part of the architect journey), you can also get a resource guide. These are a deeper and more complete dive into the certification. These link to trailhead modules, instructional videos, help articles, documentation, and more.

The designer certifications are my favorite of the Salesforce ecosystem because they are narrow in scope, but go very deep. These certifications let me dive much deeper into areas of the platform that I wouldn’t have necessarily been able to experience otherwise. If you haven’t taken one of those certifications yet, I highly recommend downloading a resource guide and diving in to a new topic. It is a great way to challenge yourself to learn something new.


If you are preparing for your next certification, understanding the Salesforce study guides is crucial for your preparation. If you are struggling, or need any advice, please feel free to comment or email me.

I am a 24x Salesforce certified consultant. I am passionate about Salesforce, and I enjoy the friendly ecosystem that is filled with talented, intelligent professionals.
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