How to Pass Salesforce Certified Associate Certification Exam

How to Pass Salesforce Certified Associate Certification Exam

Last Updated on April 25, 2023 by Rakesh Gupta

As a newly minted Salesforce Certified Associate, I am sharing my study experiences with you and want you to be the next one to ace it! So, get ready and dive in!

👉 As you are here, you may want to check out the How to Pass Salesforce Business Analyst Certification Exam article.

A New Credential for Beginner Trailblazers

This certification is designed to validate the knowledge of anyone who has started learning Salesforce or has a few months of experience. I strongly recommend this certification for anyone who aims to pass the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam. 

While preparing for the certification exam, trailblazers will go through the key topics which will help them to achieve their goals even faster: 

  1. What is Trailhead and Trailblazer Community? 
  2. How to create and manage the Trailhead playground? 
  3. Quick overview of the Salesforce platform & Salesforce Ecosystem
  4. Discover two workflows (Scrum or Kanban) that Salesforce teams use for agile development.
  5. Understand the data model and object relationship
  6. And much more

So, Who is an Ideal Candidate for the Exam?

Salesforce Certified Associate candidates may have up to 6 months of Salesforce user experience. Additionally, candidates should have a foundational knowledge of Salesforce’s core capabilities and should be able to navigate Salesforce. The Salesforce Certified Associate exam is for individuals who want to demonstrate knowledge, skills, or experience in the following areas:

  • How the CRM platform solves the challenge of connecting departments and customer data
  • Types of business challenges that can be solved by Salesforce Customer 360
  • Key Salesforce platform terms
  • Fundamental functionality in the current version of Salesforce at a foundational level, such as requirements gathering, reporting, security, sharing, customization, and data management.

How to prepare for the exam?

Learning styles differ widely – so there is no magic formula that one can follow to clear an exam. The best practice is to study for a few hours daily – rain or shine! Below are some details about the exam and study materials:

  • 40 multiple-choice/multiple-select questions – 70 mins
  • 62% is the passing score
  • Exam Sections and Weighting
    • Salesforce Ecosystem: 32%
    • Navigation: 28%
    • Data Model: 25%
    • Reports & Dashboards: 15%
  • The exam Fee is $75 plus applicable taxes
  • Retake fee: Free
  • Schedule your certification exam here

The following list is not exhaustive; so check it out and use it as a starting point:

  1. Salesforce Certified Associate Exam Guide
  2. Discover the Salesforce Associate Certification: An Entry-Level Credential for New Trailblazers
  3. Trailmix: Prepare for Your Salesforce Associate Credential
  4. Module: Salesforce Associate Certification Prep
  5. What is CRM? | Salesforce Essentials 101
  6. Salesforce Fundamentals Lite

What you Need to Know to Smoothen your Journey

On a very high level, you have to understand the following topics to clear the exam. All credit goes to the Salesforce Trailhead team and their respective owners.

  1. Salesforce Ecosystem (32%)
    1. What is Salesforce?
    2. What Is Salesforce Customer 360?
    3. What Customers Want and Expect from Companies in a Digital-First World
    4. Customer Experience 101: How to Build a Great Customer Experience
    5. What is CRM, and How Does it Work?
    6. Salesforce Core values
      1. Trust
      2. Customer Success
      3. Innovation
      4. Equality
      5. Sustainability 
    7. Salesforce 1-1-1 model
      1. Salesforce commits 1 percent of our employees’ time, 1 percent of our equity, and 1 percent of our product to nonprofits. Since Salesforce’s founding in 1999, Salesforce has given back millions of volunteer hours and millions of dollars in grants, and tens of thousands of nonprofits and education institutions have received Salesforce products.
    8. The Salesforce ecosystem is made up of:
      1. Salesforce: That’s us!
      2. Customers: Companies of all sizes that use our products.
      3. Partners: Salesforce-certified experts who work with customers across products and industries.
    9. Salesforce partners help customers:
      1. Get the most out of Salesforce.
      2. Tailor Salesforce to their business needs.
      3. Grow into new opportunities and industries.
    10. A trailblazer is:
      1. A pioneer, an innovator; a lifelong learner; a mover, and a shaker.
      2. A leader who leaves a path for others to follow.
      3. Most importantly, a person who builds a better world for others.
    11. Salesforce Trailblazer Community Tutorial
    12. How To Use Trailhead To Become A Salesforce Developer
    13. The Trailblazer Community helps you learn relevant skills, connect with other Trailblazers, and give back
    14. Trailhead content blends a variety of content types and approaches to cater to all types of learners, including:
      1. Videos
      2. Code samples
      3. Walkthroughs
      4. Screenshots
      5. Images
      6. Tables and charts
      7. Step-by-step instructions
    15. A hands-on challenge is more involved than a quiz and, as a result, earns you more points. To complete a hands-on challenge, you have to look at a set of requirements and do something in a Salesforce org to meet those requirements.
    16. A Trailhead Playground is an org that you can use for hands-on challenges, learning new features, and testing customizations.
    17. Start Here: Learn Salesforce With Trailhead
    18. Trailhead Playground Management
    19. Salesforce Platform Overview
    20. An Introduction to Salesforce org Nonprofit Cloud
    21. Nonprofit Salesforce How-To-Series: NPSP Health Check
    22. EXPERT CLASS: How To Use Sandboxes
    23. Salesforce Customer 360 is an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) platform that helps companies transform their businesses by uniting their marketing, sales, commerce, service, and IT teams with a single, shared customer view.
      1. It encompasses the full breadth of the Salesforce portfolio—including our core applications, platform, services, and connected ecosystem.
    24. Ways each department benefits from shared customer insight and the right tools.
      1. Improve lead generation, customer acquisition, and upselling opportunities by tailoring your marketing messages to the right person at the right time on the right channel.
      2. Arm your sales organization with the tools and data it needs to develop and implement a precise, repeatable sales process, so sales reps spend less time doing data entry and more time thoughtfully connecting with customers.
      3. Build simple, seamless digital commerce experiences that help grow revenue, exceed customers’ expectations, and connect commerce to the rest of your business.
      4. Deliver consistent, personalized support experiences across every interaction—from the contact center to the field, and from service automation to chatbots.
      5. Build modern apps to meet every employee, partner, and customer need. Increase productivity by automating key business processes.
    25. Salesforce solutions that make Customer 360 and the Customer 360 Platform trusted, smart, flexible, and sustainable.
      Salesforce Customer 360 Solutions It Helps You:
      Sales Manage every step of the sales journey, from the first contact through the win, accelerating sales processes with the flexibility of Sales Cloud.
      Service Deliver exceptional experiences with Service Cloud, an easy-to-use, intelligent, and personalized customer service platform.
      Marketing Reach audiences across multiple touchpoints—digital advertising, email, mobile, and more—with personalized messages using Marketing Cloud.  
      Commerce Grow online business and develop meaningful customer relationships with seamless experiences using Commerce Cloud.
      Analytics Access Tableau to bring enterprise-wide data together and Einstein Analytics for actionable insights on data within Salesforce.
      Integration Create smarter, connected experiences with MuleSoft, our most trusted integration platform.
      Platform Develop engaging, smarter apps for customers, employees, and partners on one trusted, flexible platform with the Customer 360 Platform.
      Industries Work with platforms designed for their specific industry like Financial Services Cloud, Health Cloud, Consumer Goods Cloud, and more.
      Safety With Health Cloud, manage testing, health, and entry protocols to create safer in-person experiences at events and in the workplace.
      Sustainability Use Net Zero Cloud to easily track, analyze, and report on carbon emissions and waste management data across your business ecosystem, including suppliers.
      Partners Extend the power of Salesforce with partner-built solutions and consultants on AppExchange, the world’s leading enterprise cloud marketplace.
      Success Get customers the resources and guidance they need to achieve long-term success with Salesforce through always-on resources like adoption and professional services.
    26. Salesforce Customer 360 is powered by the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform. This platform is the underlying set of services—including application boosters like artificial intelligence (AI), mobile, voice, and more—that are available in Salesforce and custom applications connected to Salesforce.
      Customer 360 Platform Services It Helps You:
      Mobile Build engaging mobile apps with clicks or code using Salesforce data, both internal and external.
      Blockchain Share valuable data in a secure, tamper-proof, and transparent way, creating visibility with partners.
      AI Discover insights, predict outcomes, and recommend actions with a layer of intelligence that’s embedded in every application. This includes out-of-the-box features for sales, service, marketing, and commerce, with AI services for admins and developers.
      Vision Classify images at scale, detect objects within images, and extract text from documents using image recognition and deep learning models of their brands, products, and more.
      Voice Communicate with Salesforce on any device using speech recognition and natural language processing to log meeting notes, get daily briefings on smart speakers, drive analytics dashboards, and create Einstein voice assistants for smart speakers.
      Security Add our trusted service suite to your applications for assistance with compliance, industry regulations, internal policies, insights, and controls.
      Privacy and Identity Collect and respect data use and privacy preferences, and transform CRM contacts into digital identities that can manage their own data.
      Communities Quickly launch prebuilt, use-case-specific or industry-specific solutions and components for customers and partners.
      Builder Build mobile apps, customize pages, and create communities using our low-code and no-code service, which includes drag-and-drop components and visually automated workflows that deliver modern user experiences on any device.
      Flow Assemble workflows quickly, easily, and intuitively.
    27. It is important to understand what a database is in the context of Salesforce. When we talk about the database, think of a giant spreadsheet. When you put information into Salesforce, it gets stored in the database so you can access it again later. It’s stored in a very specific way so you’re always accessing the information you need.
    28. Few use cases of Salesforce for different department
      For employees who work in Customize the platform for
      • Budget management
      • Contract management
      • Pricing
      • Warranty management
      • Preproduction testing
      • Product ideas and innovation
      Supply Chain
      • Procurement
      • Vendor management
      • Logistics
      • Asset and facilities management
      • Merger and acquisition enablement
      • Business agility
    29. Multitenancy is a great word for making you sound smart at dinner parties, but really all it means is that you’re sharing resources. Salesforce provides a core set of services to all our customers in the multitenant cloud. No matter the size of your business, you get access to the same computing power, data storage, and core features.
    30. All of these standard and custom configurations, functionality, and code in your org are metadata. Part of the reason you can move so fast on the platform is that Salesforce knows how to store and serve you that metadata immediately after you create it.
    31. Fundamentally, APIs allow different pieces of software to connect to each other and exchange information.
    32. You can get to Setup from any page in your Salesforce org. From the gear menu at the top of the screen, click Setup. Let’s get familiar with the Setup area.
      1. Object Manager: Object Manager is where you can view and customize standard and custom objects in your org.
      2. Setup Menu: The menu gives you quick links to a collection of pages that let you do everything from managing your users to modifying security settings.
      3. Main Window: We’re showing you the Setup home page, but this is where you can see whatever it is you’re trying to work on.
    33. List of top five Setup pages to know about.
      # Item Why it’s a must-see
      1 Company Information
      • At-a-glance view of your org
      • Find your org ID
      • See your licensing information
      • Monitor important limits like data and file usage
      2 Users
      • Reset passwords
      • Create new users and deactivate or freeze existing users
      • View information about your users
      3 Profiles
      • Manage who can see what with user profiles
      • Create custom profiles
      4 View Setup Audit Trail
      • See 6 months of change history in your org
      • Find out who made changes and when
      • Tool for troubleshooting org configuration issues
      5 Login History
      • See 6 months of login history for your org
      • View date, time, user, IP address, and more login data
      • Use for security tracking and adoption monitoring
    34. There are three main categories in the Setup menu: Administration, Platform Tools, and Settings. Let’s take a look at what’s available.
      1. Administration: The Administration category is where you manage your users and data. You can do things like add users, change permissions, import and export data, and create email templates.
      2. Platform Tools: You do most of your customization in Platform Tools. You can view and manage your data model, create apps, modify the user interface, and deploy new features to your users. If you decide to try your hand at programmatic development, Platform Tools is where you manage your code as well.
      3. Settings: Finally, Settings is where you manage your company information and org security. You can do things like add business hours, change your locale, and view your org’s history.
    35. Salesforce has a community of partners that use the flexibility of the Salesforce platform to build amazing apps and other solutions that anyone can use. These offerings are available (some for free, some at a cost) for installation on AppExchange.
    36. is a social impact center within Salesforce focused on partnering with the global community to tackle the world’s biggest problems.
    37. Power of Us Program gives eligible nonprofits donated access to Salesforce and deep discounts on additional subscriptions, products, and services.
    38. Nonprofit Cloud is a complete set of nonprofit technology solutions built to connect your nonprofit with the people who care about your cause. Put it into action to unlock the knowledge you need to make an impact using the power of Salesforce and CRM technology to better track your supporters and programs, and find new, more efficient ways of working to achieve your mission.
    39. Advantages of using Salesforce and Nonprofit Cloud.
      1. Better management of relationships that support your mission
      2. Secure, usable, and impactful data that provides the insights needed to deliver impact
      3. Flexibility to adapt to continuing change
    40. NPSP also includes a Gift Entry tool with flexible templates to record payments right in Salesforce. NPSP’s Recurring Donations features help you manage sustainer revenue, upgrades, and changes. NPSP’s data analysis features—like reports, dashboards, and rollup summary fields—give you a quick view of your revenue and a donor’s giving history.
    41. Elevate’s Payment Servicesconnect with your payment providers and give you the tools to process payments right from NPSP, in Gift Entry, or online. You can also collect gifts on your website or social media campaigns through Elevate’s Giving Pages: donor-friendly and mobile-ready donation forms that don’t require a web developer. Your data flows directly to your Salesforce org, giving you a more complete view of your donors. (Note: Elevate is currently available only for U.S.-based organizations.)
    42. Experience Cloud templates help you create a donor portal and allow your donors to manage their own information.
    43. Tableau Accelerator for Nonprofit Fundraising is an analytics platform designed to help people see and understand data. The Tableau Accelerators help you connect Salesforce to Tableau and see your data in ready-to-use dashboards for insights on revenue, donor acquisition and retention, and campaign performance.
    44. Marketing Cloud Engagement for Nonprofits helps organizations of any size personalize their donor and supporter experiences through email campaigns that can grow with you and with insights from your data in Salesforce. Its out-of-the box tools and message templates help you engage with your current supporters quickly and evolve your strategy.
    45. If you pair that with Insights Platform Data Integrity and Einstein for Nonprofits features, you can deliver the right content, to the right contacts, on the right channel, at exactly the right time.
    46. Program Management Module (PMM), a data model and app that helps you track and manage any program and service regardless of complexity or volume. No matter your mission, you get a head start tracking your programs and services, connect clients to those mission areas, and use out-of-the-box reports that help you when it’s time to evaluate performance or report to a donor.
    47. Nonprofit Cloud Case Management (NCCM) uses PMM as its foundation, and adds tools and features to help human service organizations provide high-quality, hands-on services to clients. NCCM provides everything you need to track intakes, referrals, clients, client notes, case plans, and assessments. You can also put your clients in the driver’s seat by adding Experience Cloud to NCCM, which provides online tools for clients to access their case plans and communicate with case managers through a self-service web portal.
    48. Volunteers for Salesforce (V4S), a Salesforce app for volunteer management that gives you tools to effectively manage and track your volunteers.
    49. To find insights in your data, you can add the Tableau Accelerators for Program Management and Case Management. Like for fundraising, these ready-made dashboards easily connect to your data and provide you with actionable intelligence on key metrics such as service delivery, intake, staff capacity, and client enrollment and participation.
    50. Outbound Funds Module (OFM)—a free, open-source Salesforce data model originally created by community members as part of the Open Source Commons program—is the core of Nonprofit Cloud’s grantmaking products and features.
    51. Salesforce Grants Management builds on OFM by adding tools to streamline processes, increase efficiency, and improve communication inside and outside your organization.
    52. Nonprofit Cloud’s curated set of core capabilities includes:
      1. Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud
      2. Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP)
      3. Program Management Module (PMM)
      4. Outbound Funds Module (OFM)
      5. Accounting Subledger
      6. Insights Platform Data Integrity
      7. Einstein for Nonprofits
    53. NPSP Health Check, a tool that scans your org for data and configuration inconsistencies and errors and reports back with descriptions of what seems to be wrong.
    54. With new feature releases follows this checklist, a best practice for any admin.
      1. Review the release notes in detail.
      2. Use a sandbox to test the new features before enabling them in production. Any new fields and objects included in a release are by default not visible to anyone, including system administrators, so they have to be enabled—even in your sandbox.
      3. Connect with key users to determine how the organization can take advantage of new features.
      4. Evaluate whether any new features conflict with customizations already in the org.
      5. Evaluate whether any new features necessitate an update to security settings.
      6. If you decide to implement a new feature, develop a communication and training plan for staff to learn about the new features.
    55. Using the Lighting Platform, you can:
      1. Personalize and build apps with a multitude of configurable components, allowing you to create pages and responsive, custom apps with simple drag-and-drop functions
      2. Drive the productivity of your business and transform complex processes into apps with Process Builder and Lightning Flow, including point-and-click workflow and process tools
      3. Use the Lightning Design System to save development time and create complex apps with design patterns, components, and the best user experience, maintaining consistency with new styles without manually updating your code
      4. Build apps faster and quickly scale development with Lightning Components
    56. The status sites provide transparency around service availability and performance for Salesforce products
  2. Navigation (28%)
    1. Considerations for Accounts and Contacts in Sales Cloud
    2. AppExchange Overview
    3. Scrum vs Kanban – What’s the Difference?
    4. Manage Users and Profiles 
    5. Customize: Add Colors and Visuals
    6. EXPERT CLASS: Custom Fields and Page Layouts
    7. Custom Field Not Showing Up Even Though it’s In the Page Layout
    8. How to Visualize Data w/ List Views
    9. How to Configure and Customize Salesforce Lightning
    10. In Salesforce, you store information about your customers using accounts and contacts. Accounts are companies that you’re doing business with, and contacts are the people who work for them.
    11. If you’re doing business with a single person, like a solo contractor or an individual consumer, you use a special account type called a person account. Person accounts are similar to business accounts, but because they’re meant to record information about an individual person, person accounts don’t have their own contacts.
    12. There are three types of relationships between people and the accounts that you’re tracking. Each type of relationship offers a different view into your business.
      1. Relationships between companies (accounts) and the people who work at them (contacts). Relationships between your customers (accounts) and other customers (other accounts).
      2. By relating a contact to more than one account (called Contacts to Multiple Accounts), you can track relationships between people and the companies they work with. Knowing whether a contact has an indirect relationship with Get Cloudy can help move the deal forward.
      3. Relationships between customers (accounts) and coworkers who deal with them (other Salesforce users). Finally, account teams show which sales reps are working on the Get Cloudy deal. Using account teams can help you coordinate better with your sales reps.
    13. When you relate a single contact to multiple accounts, you can easily track the relationships between people and businesses without creating duplicate records. The relationship rules are still simple. Every contact needs to be directly associated with an account. This is the account that appears in Account Name and is usually the company the contact is most closely associated with.
    14. You have two basic choices when you’re deciding how to establish accounts for businesses with multiple locations.
      1. Global Enterprise Account
      2. Location-Specific Accounts
    15. AppExchange has something for every Salesforce cloud and product, but in general, you can see two kinds of listings: solutions and consultants. A solution is something that plugs into Salesforce and extends its core functionality. For example, an app that integrates an external survey tool with Service Cloud.
    16. To develop an AppExchange strategy, ask yourself these questions.
      1. Solution type: Are you looking for something that plugs into Salesforce without much fuss? If yes, a solution, such as a Lightning component, is probably your best bet. Or do you want help building a custom solution for a complex business problem? In that case, a consultant is the better fit.
      2. Functionality: What does the solution need to do? Which of these features are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves?
      3. Budget: Are you open to paying for the right solution, or does it need to be free? For paid listings, what is your preferred pricing model? AppExchange supports both one-time payments and subscriptions.
      4. Stakeholder needs: Who is using the solution? Make sure that you meet with these stakeholders to understand their needs, expectations, and timelines.
      5. Testing: Do you have somewhere you can test everything first? Before installing a solution in a production org, we always recommend testing in a Developer Edition org or a sandbox.
      6. Technical considerations: Does the solution need to be compatible with a specific Salesforce edition or feature? Think about what’s unique to your org, and take note of those items.
    17. AppExchange solutions are installed in your org in packages, which are containers for apps, tabs, and objects. Packages come in two flavors: managed and unmanaged. The solution provider decides which package type to use to distribute the solution, which in turn influences how the solution behaves in your org. Let’s review the most important differences between package types.
      Attribute Managed Packages Unmanaged Packages
      Customization You can’t view or change the solution’s code or metadata. You can customize code and metadata, if desired.
      Upgrades The provider can automatically upgrade the solution. To receive an upgrade, you must uninstall the package from your org and then reinstall a new version from AppExchange.
      Org limits The contents of the package don’t count against the app, tab, and object limits in your org. The contents of the package count against the app, tab, and object limits in your org.
    18. Scrum has five core values. Let’s have a look at those.
      1. Focus
      2. Courage
      3. Openness
      4. Commitment
      5. Respect
    19. In a nutshell, Scrum drives us to:
      1. Deliver or demo something every sprint, so that the team can gather feedback frequently about deliverables. (This keeps us constantly innovating!)
      2. Continuously improve ourselves, the team, and the outcome, every day in every sprint.
      3. Assemble a competent team and let the team make all decisions.
      4. Appoint one person to remove the barriers, so that someone is accountable.
      5. Appoint one person to set work agendas and prioritize projects for teams, so that the team is focused on what is important.
    20. Scrum team structure involves these distinct roles.
      1. Scrum Master – Scrum Master is the person who is responsible for facilitating/coaching the Development Team and the Product Owner to work on the day-to-day development activities.
      2. Product Owner – The product owner is the voice of the customer /stakeholders and hence is responsible for bridging the gap between the development team and stakeholders
      3. Development Team – The Development Team comprises developers proficient in their area of expertise. The development team works on implementing the potentially deliverable software/increment, which will be delivered at the end of each Sprint.
      4. Subject Matter Experts – Subject matter experts, also called SMEs, are professionals with advanced knowledge in a specific field. As an authority in a particular area or topic, they are uniquely qualified to provide guidance and strategy.
      5. Technical Program Manager – They focus on the work of program managers from a technical standpoint, often playing a more hands-on role than traditional Program Managers –
      6. Functional Manager – The functional manager is the person who has management authority within a business unit/department with direct supervision over one or more resources on the project/program team and/or direct responsibility for the functions affected by or that affect the project/program deliverable(s)
    21. Scrum uses three artifacts to help manage work. All three are defined and described below.
      1. Product Backlog – The product backlog is an ordered list of everything that is known to be needed in a product based on the product goal. It is constantly evolving and is never complete.
      2. Sprint Backlog – The sprint backlog is a list of everything the team commits to achieve in a given sprint. Once created, no one can add to the sprint backlog except the development team.
      3. Potentially Shippable Work – At the end of every sprint, the team delivers a product increment that is potentially releasable, meaning that it meets their agreed-upon definition of done.
    22. Different Agile Methodologies – Check out YouTube video to better understand scrum and kanban.
      1. Scrum
      2. Kanban
    23. Types of Scrum meetings
      1. Scrum meetings are an integral component of a work environment that adopts the Scrum methodology. They are an invaluable source of information and feedback from the development team and help keep the team aligned with the Sprint goals.
      2. Look at the types of Scrum meetings
        1. Planning Meeting
          1. Release Planning Every 4 Months
          2. Backlog Refinement Planning Happens Every 2 Weeks
          3. Sprint Planning Happens Every 2 Weeks
          4. Daily Stand-Up Happens (Almost!) Every Day
        2. Inspect and adapt meetings
          1. Retrospective: A Look Back at the End of Every Sprint
          2. Sprint Demo Happens Each Sprint
    24. Benefits of Kanban – A good Kanban system goes a long way in helping teams understand how their time is being spent.
      1. Visualize workflow
      2. Limit work in progress (WIP)
      3. Kanban Embraces Last-Minute Change
      4. Measure Success
        1. Lead time: Average time to complete one item, sometimes called cycle time
        2. Throughput: Amount of work completed in a single period
      5. Improve Collaboratively
    25. Key differences between the Scrum and Kanban
      Scrum Kanban
      Who prioritizes it? The product owner prioritizes the product backlog The product owner prioritizes the product backlog
      Where does it go? The product backlog is reordered for the next sprint. The product backlog is continuously reordered for the next available person with capacity.
      When does the work start? During sprint planning, the team commits to the work in the next sprint. As soon as there is the capacity to work on it.
      Why is there a delay? Scrum focuses on the team delivering on their sprint commitments, and interruptions mid-sprint are discouraged. Kanban focuses on efficient workflow, so the top of the backlog is always the next thing to be worked on.
      How long does it take to deliver? It can be 2 weeks or more, depending on sprint status. As soon as it is completed.
    26. THis how this whole search thing actually works.
      1. All records are stored as data fields in the org’s database. When you update or create a record, the search engine comes along, makes a copy of the data, and breaks up the content into smaller pieces called tokens. We store these tokens in the search index, along with a link back to the original record.
      2. From the user’s perspective, the search process is similar to when a record is created. When users enter a term in the search field (1), the search engine breaks up the search term into tokens (2). It matches those tokens to the record information stored in the search index (3), ranks the associated records by relevance (4), and returns the results that users have access to (5).
    27. Use SOQL when you know in which objects or fields the data resides and you want to:

      1. Retrieve data from a single object or from multiple objects that are related to one another.
      2. Count the number of records that meet specified criteria.
      3. Sort results as part of the query.
      4. Retrieve data from number, date, or checkbox fields.
    28. Use SOSL when you don’t know in which object or field the data resides and you want to:

      1. Retrieve data for a specific term that you know exists within a field. Because SOSL can tokenize multiple terms within a field and build a search index from this, SOSL searches are faster and can return more relevant results.
      2. Retrieve multiple objects and fields efficiently, and the objects might or might not be related to one another.
      3. Retrieve data for a particular division in an organization using the divisions feature, and you want to find it in the most efficient way possible.
    29. Query (REST) and query() (SOAP)—Executes a SOQL query against the specified object and returns data that matches the specified criteria.
    30. Search (REST) and search() (SOAP)—Executes a SOSL text string search against your org’s data.
    31. Tricks to Optimize Search Results
      1. Limit which data you’re searching through
      2. Limit which data you’re returning
    32. How Salesforce Organizes Your Data
      1. Salesforce organizes your data into objects and records. You can think of objects like a tab on a spreadsheet, and a record like a single row of data.
        When we say We mean this
        Record An item you are tracking in your database; if your data is like a spreadsheet, then a record is a row on the spreadsheet
        Field A place where you store a value, like a name or address; using our spreadsheet example, a field would be a column on the spreadsheet
        Object A table in the database; in that spreadsheet example, an object is a tab on the spreadsheet
        Org Short for “organization,” the place where all your data, configuration, and customization lives. You and your users log in to access it. You might also hear this called “your instance of Salesforce”
        App A set of fields, objects, permissions, and functionality to support a business process
    33. List views allow you to see records that are important to you. Using filters, you and your sales reps can create customized lists of accounts, contacts, opportunities, or other records in Salesforce.
      1. But with Lightning Experience, list views are more than just columns of text. Power up your sales rep productivity with list view charts, allowing them to visualize their data graphically with a handy chart, all created on the fly without an admin’s help.
        1. Visualize data in seconds with list view charts
        2. Quickly create filters to slice your data how you want
        3. Use type-ahead search to find a favorite list view fast
    34. Home is a modern, intelligent home page, featuring a number of tools to help your sales team start their day fast. From Home, sales reps can monitor their performance to goal and get insights on key accounts. They can also access the Assistant, a list of things to do and places to be.
      1. Use the Performance Chart to monitor how close you are to crushing your number
      2. Get insights fast with News and social highlights
      3. Use the Assistant to identify exactly what you need to be doing today
      4. Focus your selling activities on your Top Deals
    35. Sales reps can use the Opportunity Kanban, a visualization tool for opportunities, to review deals organized by each stage in the pipeline. With drag-and-drop functionality, sales reps can move deals from one stage to another, and get personalized alerts on key deals in flight.
      1. Visualize your deals at each stage in the sales cycle
      2. Move deals between stages using drag-and-drop functionality
      3. Set up alerts to notify you when action is needed on a key deal
      4. Quickly create filters to slice your data how you want
    36. Using Lightning Experience Report, sales reps will love the ability to create their own filters on reports, and admins will appreciate the dashboard editor, with spanning columns and a flexible layout, allowing you to place more dashboard components (charts) in different sizes on a single dashboard.
      1. Create filters for reports
      2. Make visually awesome dashboards using flexible layout and spanning columns
      3. Access important information easily, with auto-hidden details on matrix reports and the ability to hide totals and subgroups on the report run page
    37. Your company settings are the collection of information about your organization. This collection is mostly captured when you purchase a Salesforce product, but you can update the settings if your company moves operations or expands globally. It’s essentially a snapshot of your company’s identity.
      1. Let’s break down what the company settings consist of:
        Key details For example
        Company Information Name and Address Used for billing and support Mom & Pop’s Spy Shop
        7 Wink Nudge Drive
        Frisco, CA 94101
        Primary Contact Also for billing and support Mother Intrigue
        Default Locale Updating this one setting determines the way a ton of information is displayed within Salesforce (We cover this separately later) English (United States)
        Default Currency Currency applied to records English (United States) USD
        Currencies List of all currencies used in the org USD only
        Storage Used Those cat pics pile up fast! 27.3 GB (11%)
        Licenses Available Includes Salesforce and feature licenses Salesforce Platform: 14 of 15 used
        Fiscal Year Information Fiscal Year Used in reporting and forecasting Standard, starting January
        Support Information Business Hours These are used when escalation rules do their escalating Mon to Fri, 8AM to 8PM
        Holidays Days that cases skip escalation June 27 (International Day of Mystery)
    38. Displaying information to your users in a familiar way improves users’ Salesforce experience and makes them more efficient secret agents. The Salesforce locale settings determine the display formats for date and time, user names, addresses, and commas and periods in numbers.
      Locale Settings include For example
      Locale Date and Time Format mm/dd/yyyy or dd/mm/yyyy
      Number Format 1,000 or 1.000 for one thousand
      Name Order Last, First or First Last
      Address Format Country, Zip Code, State, then Street
      Phone Number Format (123) 456-7890 or +12 2345 67-0
      Language All Text Standard tabs and fields
      Online Help Text language in Help
      Time Zone Event Start/End Time Calendar entries and events
      Date or Time Fields
    39. By default, Salesforce organizations use a single currency. Once you set the required currency locale in your company settings, all currency values on records display in that currency.
    40. A user is anyone who logs in to Salesforce. Users are employees at your company, such as sales reps, managers, and IT specialists, who need access to the company’s records.
    41. To view and manage the users in your organization, from Setup, enter Users in the Quick Find box, then select Users. The user list shows all the users in your organization. From the list, you can:
      1. Create one or more users.
      2. Reset passwords for selected users.
      3. View a user’s detail page by clicking the name, alias, or username.
      4. Edit a user’s details.
      5. Log in as any user if the system permission is enabled or if the user has granted you system administrator login access.
    42. Guidelines for Adding Users
      1. Username: Each user must have a username that is unique across all Salesforce organizations (not just yours).
      2. Username Format: Users must have a username in the format of an email address (that is,, but they don’t have to use a real email address. (They can use their email address if they wish as long as their email address is unique across all Salesforce orgs.)
      3. Email: Users can have the same email address across organizations.
      4. Passwords: Users must change their password the first time they log in.
      5. Login Link: Users can only use the login link in the sign–up email once. If a user follows the link and does not set a password, you (the admin) have to reset their password before they can log in.
    43. Every user in Salesforce has a user account. The user account identifies the user, and the user account settings determine what features and records the user can access. Each user account contains at least the following:
      1. Username
      2. Email Address
      3. User’s First and Last Name
      4. License
      5. Profile
      6. Role (optional)
    44. Organization-Wide Sharing Defaults
      Field Description
      Private Only the record owner, and users above that role in the hierarchy, can view, edit, and report on those records.
      Public Read Only All users can view and report on records but not edit them. Only the owner, and users above that role in the hierarchy, can edit those records.
      Public Read/Write All users can view, edit, and report on all records.
      Controlled by Parent A user can perform an action (such as view, edit, or delete) on a contact based on whether he or she can perform that same action on the record associated with it.
  3. Data Model (25%)
    1. Salesforce Data Modeling 101
    2. Master Class: Intro to Lead Management
    3. How to Set Up and Keep Track of Opportunities in Sales Cloud
    4. Getting Started With Formulas in Lightning Experience
    5. How to Solve Issues with Error Code Validation
    6. An Admin’s Guide to Profiles and Permissions
    7. Who Sees What: Organization Access
    8. Who Sees What: Object Access
    9. Who Sees What: Permission Sets
    10. Who Sees What: Record Access Via Roles
    11. Who Sees What: Field Level Security
    12. Permission Set Group
    13. How to Set Up Salesforce Knowledge in Service Cloud
    14. How to Create Custom Fields to Capture Your Business Data
    15. Salesforce supports several different types of objects. There are standard objects, custom objects, external objects, platform events, and BigObjects. In this module, we focus on the two most common types of objects: standard and custom.
      1. Standard objects are objects that are included with Salesforce. Common business objects like Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity are all standard objects.
      2. Custom objects are objects you create to store information specific to your company or industry. For DreamHouse, D’Angelo wants to build a custom Property object that stores information about the homes his company sells.
    16. Every standard and custom object has fields attached to it. Let’s get familiar with the different types of fields.
      Field Type What is it? Can I get an example?
      Identity A 15-character, case-sensitive field that’s automatically generated for every record. You can find a record’s ID in its URL. An account ID looks like 0015000000Gv7qJ.
      System Read-only fields that provide information about a record from the system, like when the record was created or when it was last changed. CreatedDate, LastModifiedById, and LastModifiedDate.
      Name All records need names so you can distinguish between them. You can use text names or auto-numbered names that automatically increment every time you create a record. A contact’s name can be Julie Bean. A support case’s name can be CA-1024.
      Custom Fields you create on standard or custom objects are called custom fields. You can create a custom field on the Contact object to store your contacts’ birthdays.
    17. There are two main types of object relationships: lookup and master-detail.
      1. Lookup relationships can be one-to-one or one-to-many. The Account to Contact relationship is one-to-many because a single account can have many related contacts. For our DreamHouse scenario, you could create a one-to-one relationship between the Property object and a Home Seller object.
      2. While lookup relationships are fairly casual, master-detail relationships are a bit tighter. In this relationship, one object is the master, and another is the detail. The master object controls certain behaviors of the detail object, like who can view the detail’s data.
    18. Schema Builder is a tool that lets you visualize and edit your data model. It’s useful for designing and understanding complex data models.
    19. Leads are people and companies that you’ve identified as potential customers. You find leads in several ways. Many of your leads can be referred to you by other happy customers. You can also gather leads when customers contact you on your website, stop by your booth at a conference, or through information exchanges with partner companies. In Salesforce, information about leads is stored in Lead records.
      1. Some big advantages to using leads. You can better track, report on, and target marketing campaigns to prospective customers. Leads can help you concentrate on the potential deals most likely to close. 
    20. Use the workspace to track interactions with leads, check campaign history, and plan future activities.
      1. If the lead is involved in any marketing campaigns, they are listed in the Campaign History for the lead.
      2. Review the lead’s Details tab to find and update information about the lead.
      3. Use the lead’s Activity tab to log your calls and emails to help you remember what you talked about and how the lead responded—plan for the future by creating Tasks or Events.
      4. Use the lead’s News tab to check the latest news for the lead’s industry. Sign in with your Twitter account to find and follow the lead’s Twitter feed.
      5. Connect with your coworkers to ask questions, seek advice, or provide information on the lead’s Chatter tab. The Chatter feed for the record also shows when you create activities.
    21. You can convert the lead record into an opportunity when you qualify a lead. You then work your opportunity until you close the deal either by completing it or canceling it.
      1. When you convert a lead, Salesforce uses the information stored in the lead record to create a business account, a contact, and an opportunity. If you’ve enabled person accounts and the lead record didn’t include a company name, the lead is converted into a person account and an opportunity.
    22. You can enable opportunity splits to give opportunity team members incentive to complete a deal by letting the opportunity owner share credit.
    23. The utility bar is a fixed footer where you can quickly access handy utilities and common productivity tools, such as Notes, Quip, a flow launcher, telephony features… even custom options that your admin whips up.
    24. Salesforce provides several standard fields in each record. Standard fields, like company name, contact, account number, status, date, and amount, are common to most CRM businesses. But every business is unique, and you may want to capture important info that’s not covered by a standard field.
    25. Custom fields are the way to do this. You can create custom fields on standard Salesforce objects or on custom objects. When you create a custom field, you decide where it appears, what info it contains (1), what format it should be (such as number, text, date, or picklist) (2), and who sees it and who can change the field value.
  4. Reports & Dashboards (15%)
    1. Reports and Dashboards
    2. How to Build a Report in Lightning Experience 
    3. How to Use Cross Filters
    4. Add Filter Logic
    5. EXPERT CLASS: Reports & Dashboards
    6. Salesforce: Joined Reports
    7. How to Build a Dashboard in Lightning Experience
    8. Build Awesome Dashboards with Master Source Reports & Dashboard Filters
    9. The report is a group of data that meets a set of criteria, for example, a group of accounts or opportunities. To get the exact data you need, you can filter, group, and do the math on the data in the report. You can view the data in a graph or chart if visuals work better for you. 
    10. Dashboards offer a powerful visual display of your data around a common theme. For example, you can create a Sales Dashboard that shows your company’s sales performance charts and graphs with supporting metrics about your top accounts, top opportunities, win rates, and which account types perform the best.
    11. Who can access reports and dashboards?
      1. Reports and dashboards are stored in folders. You can make the folders public, private, shared with specific users, or shared with your entire organization. If you give users access to a folder, they can access the reports or dashboards in that folder. But that doesn’t mean they get to see all the data. You can put security controls on the data in different ways.
      2. A report type is like a template that makes reporting easier. The report type determines which fields and records are available for use when creating a report. This is based on the relationships between a primary object and its related objects.
      3. For reports: You can control who has access to the folder’s contents based on roles, permissions, and more.
      4. For dashboards: Each dashboard has a running user whose security settings determine which data to display to the dashboard’s viewers. If you select an admin as your dashboard’s running user, for example, viewers of your dashboard can access a lot of data. 
      5. With dynamic dashboards, the running user is always the logged-in user, which means that viewers only see the dashboard data according to their access level.
    12. You can filter the data in a report using the following filter options.
      Filter Type Description
      Standard Filter Standard filters are applied by default to most objects. Different objects have different standard filters, but most objects include the standard filters Show Me and Date Field . Show Me filters the object around common groupings (like “My accounts” or “All accounts”). Date Field filters by a field (such as Created Date or Last Activity ) and a date range (such as “All Time” or “Last Month”).
      Field Filter Field filters are available for reports, list views, workflow rules, and other areas of the application. For each filter, set the field, operator, and value. With tabular, summary, and matrix reports, you can drag a field from the Fields pane to the Filters pane to add a report filter.
      Filter Logic Add Boolean conditions to control how field filters are evaluated. You must add at least 1 field filter before applying filter logic.
      Cross Filter Filter a report by the child object using WITH or WITHOUT conditions. Add subfilters to further filter by fields on the child object. For example, if you have a cross filter of Accounts with Opportunities, click Add Opportunity Filter and create the Opportunity Name equals ACME subfilter to only include those opportunities.
      Row Limit or tabular reports, select the maximum number of rows to display, then choose a field to sort by and the sort order. You can use a tabular report as the source report for a dashboard table or chart component, if you limit the number of rows it returns.
    13. There are three report formats available: Tabular, Summary, and Matrix. Tabular is the default format.
      Report Format Primary Use Case Supported in Dashboards Report Charts Supported Bucket Fields** Formulas** Cross-Object Formulas**
      Tabular Make a list Check icon indicating true* Check icon indicating true
      Summary Group and summarize Check icon indicating true Check icon indicating true Check icon indicating true Check icon indicating true
      Matrix Group and summarize, by row and column Check icon indicating true Check icon indicating true Check icon indicating true Check icon indicating true
      1. **Bucket fields and formulas are not covered in this module.
    14. If you’re looking for a broad view across different Salesforce objects or a side-by-side comparison of data under different conditions, joined reports are the answer.
      1. Joined reports can use a mix of standard and custom report types.
      2. You can add report types to a joined report if they have relationships with the same objects. For example, Opportunities and Cases both have fields in common with Accounts, so you can create a joined report with them.

Additional Resources

A few blogs help you prepare for the Salesforce Certified Associate exam.

  1. Salesforce Announce New Entry Level Certification


If you have basic experience with all the above topics, passing the exam will be a cinch, and you will be able to earn the much-coveted Salesforce Certified Associate certification exam! However, if you do not have enough experience (3-5 months) with the Salesforce platform and plan to become a Certified Associate. I suggest you draw a 3-4 weeks plan (finish the above Trailhead to prepare for it).

I hope that you find these tips and resources useful. If you put the time and effort in, you will succeed. Happy studying and good luck!

Formative Assessment:

I want to hear from you!

Have you taken the Salesforce Certified Associate exam? Are you preparing for the exam now? Share your tips in the comments!

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17 thoughts on “How to Pass Salesforce Certified Associate Certification Exam

  1. Very well put together, you really break down each section with links. Very detailed, but not lengthy. I can skip the topics already know and focus on ones I need to review.

  2. Thanks Rakesh for the wonderful blog which simplifies many of the terms. I started studying about two weeks ago, and I intend to give myself four more weeks before I take the test. I’ll let you know when I pass.

  3. Hey Sir Rakesh! Thank you for this wonderful blog. i have studied most of the topics, but still need some time to finish all the required topics for this exam. It will take like 3 to 4 weeks. i will let you know as i am done with it. THANKS AGAIN.

  4. Thank you Sir. Passed my exams, some questions are really tricky, giving my review, if you have not exp of 4 to 6months with eco system, you must go through this blog and read all the topics thoroughly to pass the certification.

  5. Thank you Rakesh for this wonderful blog. i go through it and now giving my exam in next 2hours, i will let you know the results. Thanks.

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