Thank you for meeting me again, as always grab yourself a drink, get comfortable, and let's talk about our topic of choice today... tips to help you perform to the best of your ability when taking your Salesforce Certification exam.
By now we should be in a fairly solid position ready for our exam, we've taken the time to prepare fully and we have focused our time to really learn and understand the vital knowledge we need to pass the exam. But as we know, we don't all perform to the best of our abilities in exams, we panic, we second guess our answers, or our minds betray us and go completely blank.
I'm afraid there's no magic pill that is going to solve any of those problems however I do have some quick-fire tips that will help you negate them and allow you perform better in the exam, here they are;
The biggest tip that I can give anyone when going into any exam, not just a Salesforce Certification exam, is to go in with a positive mindset. I'm not saying go into the exam convinced that you are going to pass easily and you're going to know all the answers to the questions. I'm suggesting that you take stock of all the work you have done leading up to this moment, the hours you have put in studying, the knowledge you have been building, the hard work you have done. Have faith in yourself, if you enter the exam with a negative mindset you will struggle to understand the questions, think clearly and recall the information required. If you enter the exam full of faith and positivity you will think differently, recall more information, and approach the questions in a different manner.
Calm Yourself & Take Your Time
Take time before your exam to calm yourself, being nervous when taking your exam normal and a lot of people feel that way. A few nerves are good as it increases your alertness and will help you focus, a lot of nerves are bad and will cause distress and panic, limiting your performance. When you start the exam take a minute to collect your thoughts, slow your breathing and mentally prepare for the exam ahead. I've purposely said when you start the exam rather than before the exam as I find that the sight of the first question raises my heartrate dramatically so taking the time after I've seen it allows me to reset myself ready for the task at hand. You want to make sure that you are in the right frame of mind to call on all the knowledge you have stored.
Read The Question At Least Twice
Salesforce Certification exam questions have a habit of being a little vague or unclear. I would always recommend that you read the question at least twice or as many times as needed to ensure that you are 100% sure what the question is asking. There are so many times that I have been back through the exam only to reread a question and realise that I misunderstood it on the first pass and have selected the wrong answer.
Process Of Elimination
Once you understand the question you can now assess the answers, I would suggest that the first thing you do is rule out the answers that you know are wrong. Generally, this will cut the possible correct answers down to two and allow you to focus on the two remaining answers. With only two answers left, you can look at them deeper and compare them, I don't mean this literally I mean from a functional, conceptual point of view. Through your study you will have a really strong understanding of the concepts, processes and best use cases for the vast majority of the Salesforce features you should be asked about. Out of the remaining answers which one makes the most sense to you and would be the best fit.
Another trick I have found really useful is to always work off the most simple solution, sure you could go with an answer that is really fancy and sounds amazing, but remember, the best practice is to go the simple route. If you can solve a problem with a Workflow then you should opt for that rather than a complex Apex solution (I know that times are changing and Workflows and Process Builders are going to eventually be phased out but for the purpose of this example lets go with it).
Give Salesforce Kudos
If in doubt give Salesforce kudos, if you are really unsure of an answer after you have gone over it a few times then go with the answer that makes Salesforce look good. Don't forget that these exams have been created by Salesforce and they are hardly going to write a question that makes Salesforce look anything other than magical.
If you have a gut feeling about a question and answer go with it, you've acquired a huge amount of knowledge while studying and not all of it is going to be in the forefront of your mind while you are sitting this exam. Some of that knowledge will be stored in your unconscious and while you may not be able to recall exactly why you know that answer is the correct one, you know it is.
Mark for Review
Marking a question for review is a fantastic feature of Salesforce Certification exams, if you are unsure of a question or the correct answer simply mark it for review and come back to it later. Don't spend too long going over and over the same question, if you don't know the answer on the first pass mark it for review and move on. Once you have been through a few questions you will have warmed up a little and will likely understand the question better.
This isn't for everyone, I know many people who go with their first answers without any review and are very successful with that process. I personally like to review all my answers before I submit my exam, that way I can pick up any silly mistakes and it also helps with the next step that we will explore next week - the post mortem. I go over the questions that I have marked for review at least once to make sure I am as confident as I can be with my answers, I've also found that as I work my way through the exam some of the questions and answers will assist in early questions
So there we have it, my tips to help you perform to the best of your ability in the exam. As always you may want to use one or two of these tips rather than all of them, it just depends on how you like to approach exams.
Next time we meet we will discuss what you should do immediately after you finish the exam, regardless if you pass or fail. The exam post-mortem is a key element for identifying the holes in your knowledge and preparing you for being more effective in your job.