With my immense pleasure, I would like to share that I passed by Force.com Developer (DEV 401) aka Platform App Builder certification Exam one month Back. It took me 50 minutes to go through all the questions and review them before I hit the submit button. After one more click of ‘Continue’ Button, woohoo the screen says
After completion, I thought of sharing some of my experience regarding my preparation for the exam. So here we go >>
Basically, someone who is sitting for the exam should have at least 6 months of experience working as Salesforce Developer. The experience gained from workplace while using the tool is irreplaceable.
The second thing is downloading the Study guide and making sure you know what you are trying to achieve and focus your further study towards the topics given in the study guide.
The starting point for me with any exam is the Study Guide. This gives you details of the purpose and format of the exam, and then a point by point summary of the areas that you will be tested on and how much they count towards the overall mark.
What happens next really depends on how you like to study – if you find videos the best way, the premier online training catalog has great material, including knowledge check questions throughout to see if any of it is sticking. If you don’t have access to that, there’s a huge amount on the Salesforce channel on youtube.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the written word, so I’ll usually head to the online help and go straight to the Printable Tip Sheets and User Guides section. This is a collection of short documents that take you through setting up and using various aspects of the system. It is basically the same information as can be found elsewhere in the help, but each document is standalone and takes you through planning, configuration, rollout and day to day use. I find that reading through these documents while actually setting up and configuring a developer org really helps things stick in my mind. I also tend to scribble my own highly distilled notes at the same time, then write these up into a short ‘pass notes’ style document that I use to refresh my memory in the run-up to the exam.
After all the hard work and studying is done, it’s exam time. I’ve been taking the online proctored versions since they became available, as I much prefer sitting in my own house to traveling to my nearest testing center in Mumbai. The slight downside to this is that the setup is all my problem. Clearing everything out of my study and setting the webcam up always takes longer than I expect, so if you are going this route make sure you allow plenty of time. Also make sure that your webcam and microphone are working well in advance, so that you don’t find yourself rooting through boxes in the attic for your old microphone 10 minutes before the exam is due to start, which is exactly what happened to me the first time!
For most of the exams, the format is similar – a set number of multiple choice questions to be completed within a time limit. The number of questions, time limit and passing grade differs, but all three increase as you move up the certification food chain.
Below are my tips when taking the exam:
- Make sure your webcam is set up exactly as required. I’ve not had any issues with this, but I know people that have and by all accounts, it’s pretty annoying and distracting to have the exam freeze and need to call the US.
- Read the question carefully. Its really easy to miss the “not”, “doesn’t” or “excluding” and thus end up giving the perfect wrong answer.
- If you don’t know the correct answer, try to derive it by excluding the wrong answers. As Sherlock Holmes said: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
- If you don’t know the answer and can’t derive it, mark it for review and move on. A lot of the time it will come to you when you are thinking about another question. Very occasionally a later question will be asked in such a way that it will guide you towards the correct answer for an earlier question.
- If you have access to a pencil and paper, note down how confident you are in the answer. Based on the passing grade for the exam, it gives a good indication of the pass/fail likelihood. If you’ve got a high level of confidence in most of the answers, you don’t need to sweat that there are a couple of guesses in there. Of course, the reverse is also true – if they are all guesses its going to be a bumpy ride.
Finally arriving at the test center before time (unlike me.. ), be confident and sit for the exam.
Wish you all the best if you followed this guide for your exam.