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5 Tips for Preparing for Your SFMC Certification

As the newly appointed Technical Trainer at Lev, I’ve been trying to gather a technical toolbox for our internal consultants and also, create resources for our clients so they can feel fully enabled in Marketing Cloud. It is my belief that when our clients are empowered to understand and grow within the platform (alongside a Lev consultant, of course) that’s when the real magic of  Marketing Cloud can come alive. I’m hoping this can be the first of many blogs where I can help build your Marketing Cloud prowess.  Below I offer five tips while preparing for your Salesforce Marketing Cloud certification

1. Find your why

When I think about education and professional development, I like to begin with the end in mind.

What are my overall, big-picture goals and how do I get there?
How am I measuring success for myself and how is my company measuring my success?

Once you have a good talk with yourself and your manager about becoming and continuing to be a Salesforce Marketing Cloud bad*ss, it's helpful to consider if you are more interested in becoming an SFMC consultant or a developer. The prerequisites for these advanced exams have changed over the past few years so that could help you decide between the Email Specialist Exam vs the SFMC Admin Exam.

It’s also helpful to look at the topics that are covered in each and play to your strengths. If you are a Campaign Manager at a company, then you may want to go for the Email Specialist exam because you feel pretty confident in email marketing best practices: email building, email sending, and tracking. There’s no reason to try to run before you walk. Get one cert under your belt and go from there.

2. Give yourself a deadline

Once you have decided which certification you are ready to take, schedule it! It sounds simple but it is so easy to kick the can and put it off. If you schedule the test for two months from today, then you have given yourself a clear deadline. You can also break down your next eight weeks and create a training schedule for yourself. There are so many amazing resources out there to help you study that have either been created by Salesforce or by others that have put together some quizzes for your to take.  Focus on feeling good about your knowledge in each section and move on to the next one. There will be questions that are going to stump you and that’s okay.  Utilizing the "save for later" functionality in Webassessor is super helpful in prioritizing your effort, energy, and timing during the test.

3. Do the math and play to your odds

The SFMC Certs can be very intimidating and can bring back a whole SAT vibe that we’d love to block out of our high school memories. 

Here is the breakdown for the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Administrator certification*:

  • 60 multiple-choice/multiple-select questions 
  • Time allotted to complete the exam: 105 minutes
  • Passing score: 67%

*This will vary from test to test so be sure to understand what the factors are for your exam. 

Using the aforementioned “review later” functionality, you can really figure out which questions you are solid on and which ones you are not so much. When you reach the end, you are looking to feel good on at least 41 questions. Giving yourself grace on 19 questions can take a little bit of pressure off. Although, hitting submit exam is still pretty nerve-wracking. The good news is that you know right away how you faired and maybe do a little victory dance when you see “Passed”  show up on your screen.

4. Get Comfortable

Because of the COVID-19, there are now more options to take a proctored exam online from the comfort of your home, in your good luck fuzzy slippers, and without an additional external camera*. There are also options to take an exam in the evenings or over the weekend.  They do ask that you are in a well-lit area, look directly at your computer the whole time, and don’t speak. During my last certification, the proctor stopped my test because I began to look down to think about my life. However, we were able to rectify the situation and I was able to continue.

(*Author’s Note: I know the external camera used to be required first-hand.  In order to work at Salesforce, they required the Salesforce Admin Cert.  At the time, I was testing out the remote-working lifestyle of Salesforce in 2016 by traveling for a year and was in Belgrade, Serbia.)

5. Stay Calm, you know more than you think

It’s easy to psych yourself out or get caught up in the imposter syndrome that is working in technology. If you have been working in Marketing Cloud for a few years, you probably already know more than you are giving yourself credit for. There are so many nuances to Marketing Cloud that marketers are aware of because they have made that mistake before. Working in Marketing Cloud or ExactTarget for almost a decade, I believe it is best taught by rolling up your sleeves, being comfortable with failing/fumbling, and then teaching others your best practices that you learned the hard way. When it comes to your certifications, approach them the same way: Use every resource at your disposal to learn and take the test.  

If you fail, learn from that and take it again, as soon as possible. I’ve followed all of these tips, read the study guides, memorized questions, and have still failed an exam, despite my best efforts. My main tip is to not wallow in it but to schedule your retake as soon as possible. All of those questions will be fresh in your mind and you will undoubtedly, look up any questions that had stumped you before. 

Best of luck to you in your certification success! Once you crush this test, you can show off your certificate proudly on your LinkedIn profile #SFCertified, add it to your email signature,  and print it out to mount on your home office wall.  I’m sure you’re going to kill it!