You've Failed Your Salesforce Certification Test. Now What?
I looked at the last question on the test and thought, “Okay, I’m done now.” I clicked the Finish button and then the Submit button. As the next screen loaded, I thought I would feel elation or devastation. I see the words Fail.
Stop! Grab a Pen and Paper
Jot down any questions that stuck out as being difficult or ones you know you got wrong.
Try to remember 3-5 things that baffled/befuddled you.
3 or more correct answers could be the difference for you passing next time
Write down any topics that seemed to appear throughout the test that you can remember.
Now Move on
We Have All Been There
At this point, most of us have been there. We just failed, and we feel horrible. We look around and see people 10x certified and wonder how they did that. Well, it's no secret most of them also failed a few times. I failed my Administrator certification multiple times. The thing is, failing your cert is really not a failure; it is your starting point. Salesforce sends feedback on how you did - where you were weak and where you need to concentrate. Now relax for a day or two.
Failure is normal
Most people have experienced failure
Failure will create anxiety
Failure can be overcome
Understanding that not passing is common and then reinvigorating your efforts to pass will help reduce the anxiety and pressure we put on ourselves for our next attempt. Relax, Refocus, Schedule, and Study. Life is too short to worry about the failure. The joy of passing will erase it all and last longer.
Rescheduling Your Test
Hopefully, by now, you have relaxed the anxiety away. It’s time to think about rescheduling. Based on the feedback Salesforce gave you, you know if you were close to passing or not. If you are close, reschedule it in a week and take that week to improve on your weak points. If you think you are far off, give yourself 2-3 weeks or more depending on the test to study, but put that test on the calendar. Scheduling the test will provide you with a goal to focus on and a deadline. It also prevents study procrastination because you now have a firm plan. I find if I don’t have a test scheduled, there is always something that takes precedence over my studying. When I have a test scheduled, I tend to prioritize study time.
Before Jumping into Studying
When it is time to jump back into studying, grab the report from your last test and review the study guide and look and look at that paper that you wrote up immediately after the test. You know what you need to concentrate on, but each test section has subtopics. Make sure you understand what each category is looking for. You may not have done well in a category, but you know you nailed a few of the subtopics. Adjust your focus and study plan to maximize making your weak points strong points. Leverage Trailhead, people in the community, and 3rd party training such as Focus On Force, Udemy, and other learning platforms. You may want to consider paying for Salesforce’s training or seminars for your specific test. They can be expensive but are quite well-reviewed and thorough.
Study, Study, Study….. Take a moment to understand how you learn best. And use it to your advantage. I actually do best with instructional videos, a classroom setting, or hands-on. For me, trying to study purely on a Trailmix or a text document is nearly impossible. If flashcards are your thing, make them and use them. If you need to reread something five times, do it. No one can tell you how best to study. Do it your way and do it well.
Taking the test
Read the entire question.
Reread the entire question if you need to.
Read all the answers.
Mark questions for review.
Having a few minutes at the end to review troubling questions can be the difference between a pass and a fail.
You WILL pass
This is not meant to be a how-to pass your exam or best study practices FAQ. I just want you to know I have failed and kept going. You can too. Do not be frustrated; understand that this is sometimes part of the process, and you will pass when you take the test and pass. Please keep trying.