SFDC Penguin Advanced Administrator - Cover

Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator: Tips And Resources

If you have completed the Salesforce Administrator Certification, you may wonder what to do next. One option is the ‘Advanced Administrator’ certification. Recently, a colleague of mine, Chris Sheppard, did just that. In this post, we share our experiences to help you gauge:

  • The difference between Administrator and Advanced Administrator
  • Exam format and structure
  • Is the Advanced Administrator certification worth it?
  • Resources and tips available to pass the exam

About the exam

The Advanced Administrator certification seeks to test:

The breadth of applications, the features and functions available to an end-user, and the advanced configuration, management, and application extending options available to an Administrator across the Salesforce platform... The candidate should be capable of performing administration functions at an expert level

Administrator vs Advanced Administrator

There are two certifications within the Salesforce Certified Administrator program….Salesforce Certified Administrator… focuses on the features and functionality used to maintain a Salesforce implementation.

Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator… is targeted toward the Salesforce Certified Administrator who has become proficient in Salesforce configuration maintenance, can demonstrate an understanding of administration best practices, and is able to use the advanced features and functionality to solve a variety of business problems.

The Administrator and Advanced Administrator certifications differ in several ways:

  • Experience: Candidates taking the Advanced Administrator Certification should be ‘experienced admins’. Hands-on experience is highly advisable. As a general guide, you will ideally have at least 1 to 2 years’ experience. You can take (and pass) the exam with less.
  • Content: Arguably, the content of the Advanced Administrator is not as broad as Administrator. However, there are new topics to explore, as well as additional depth in others.
As an Advanced Administrator, Salesforce expects you to have a greater understanding of the platform. You need to understand additional features and how to handle more complex scenarios. The exam will also test your understanding of best practice. Put another way, understanding the ‘why’ behind key choices.

"I’d been a certified admin for a number of years and it felt like the most natural next step to sit the Advanced Admin exam...

[Advanced Administrator]...rounds off all the basics... it covers specialist areas such as Knowledge, Territory Management and Omni-Channel that any other cert wouldn’t touch upon but are vital aspects of Salesforce basic functionality. Digital Engagement is the future and Salesforce are producing some brilliant bits of functionality in this area so it’s a must know area."

In short, Advanced Administrator is a natural progression from Administrator. It draws upon the experience and knowledge you gain from working on the platform, addressing more complex business challenges. 

Exam Format

In the current release (Winter ’23), the exam consists of:

  • 60 multi-choice questions
  • 5 additional, non-scored questions
  • 65% pass mark (39 out of 60)
  • Duration: 105 minutes
  • Closed book (no resources can be used)
  • Exam is proctored. Taken at a test centre or online, via webcam

Exam Structure

As with the Administrator exam, the Advanced Administrator consists of 7 sections with varying weightings:

SFDC Penguin Advanced Administrator - Exam Weightings
Winter '23: Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator section weightings

Three sections account for 59% of the marks: Process Automation (20%), Security and Access (20%) and Objects and Applications (19%). Each section is heavily ‘scenario’ based. You will need to apply your understanding to particular business challenges. For example, the Administrator certification expects you to know the capabilities of automation tools. In Advanced Administrator you should understand how automation can be used in complex scenarios, any trade-offs and how to troubleshoot issues which arise.

“It's all about Security, Automation and Object Relationships, so if you know your role hierarchy from your sharing rules, your master-details from your lookups and understand all the elements of a flow, you should be fine”

The remaining 41% cover a variety of other topics. Whilst not as heavily weighted, they provide extremely valuable knowledge as a professional. For example, ‘Auditing and Monitoring’ is only 10%, but covers valuable areas such as debug logs and setup audit trail. Equally, ‘Environment Management and Deployment’ is 7%, but invaluable for real-world org management, as well as providing a useful background for other certifications. 

Check out the ‘outline’ in the exam guide for more information. Pay attention to the command words. For example, the Administrator certification uses ‘Describe’ frequently. Advanced Administrator uses ‘Explain’, ‘Given a scenario’ and ‘Understand’ more often. This reflects the additional depth of knowledge expected. 


The only official pre-requisite is that you hold an active Salesforce Administrator Certification. to give yourself the best chance of experience, hands-on experience is highly advisable. 

Resources and Tips

Let’s now explore some resources and tips to help you pass the Advanced Administrator Exam.

Resources for the Advanced Administrator Exam

As with the Administrator exam, there are various resources available. However, there are slightly fewer options, particularly in relation to ‘free’ practice questions from Salesforce. 

Check out these resources (in no particular order):

  • Blogs (free/paid). Various blogs provide guidance on the Advanced Administrator certification
  • Focus on Force (FOF) (Paid). Provides cost-effective study and exam guides. 
  • Online courses. There are various online courses for the certification. Check out platforms, such as Udemy and Pluralsight, etc to find the one which is right for you 
  • Salesforce: fewer resources available than for the administrator certification:
  • Training Programmes (paid). There are also third-parties who provide training. As always, be sure to do your homework and ensure the course matches your expectations

"[I used] all recommended Trailhead modules, projects and Focus on Force practice exam questions, of which I ran through every available section twice"

For more help on choosing the right resources for you, click here

Tips for the exam

Here are some final tips to help you pass the exam. 

Hands-on experience

It is not uncommon for people to say this exam is ‘easier’ than Administrator. That said, do not under-estimate it. There may be less breadth, but there is depth in certain areas. Hands-on experience is highly recommended. If you give yourself plenty of hands-on experience (ideally in real-world scenarios), it’ll make this exam much simpler. 

Consider Platform App Builder

Taking the ‘Platform App Builder’ certification in-between Administrator and Advanced Administrator certifications can be helpful. Both Chris and I had done this and from our experiences, found this invaluable. This is because knowledge gained from Platform App Builder directly helped with concepts needed for Advanced Administrator.

"I actually obtained Platform App builder prior to the Advanced Admin as that felt more relevant for the work I was doing at the time... I’d had a lot of exposure to process automation and other cloud applications after the Platform App Builder exam so I was kind of set to pass the Advanced Admin through sheer experience."

SFDC Penguin - Platform App Builder

Exam tactics

As with most Salesforce multi-choice exams, there are certain techniques which can help:

  • Read questions carefully. Treat scenario-based questions with care. As in the real-world, the context will determine what is the best fit for your use case
  • Process of elimination. Identify the answers which are clearly ‘wrong’ and focus your efforts on remaining choices
  • Mark questions for review. Unsure of an answer? Mark it for review and come back to it later. This helps you use your time wisely and pick up marks elsewhere, before revisiting trickier questions
You can also adopt other strategies when selecting options. For example, Chris finds the following helpful when selecting answers to the questions:

I found reading the answers first and marking an initial 'gut feeling' as my first answer helpful. Then reading the end of the question to ensure what exactly is being asked and if that matches with my first gut feeling. Then finally reading the rest of the question. As often the first line or two are just setting the scene and not providing a whole lot of context or testing your knowledge

Where possible, it is advisable to practice answering questions. This is where authoritative and accurate practice questions / answers can be helpful to fine-tune your technique. See resources for more information. 

Pace yourself and don't give up

Unless you are experienced and familiar with the content, it is better to view the certification as a marathon than a sprint. Whilst it is possible to pass certifications quickly, remember that you are learning a skill. Give yourself time to learn, reflect and grow. 

Most importantly, if things don’t go to plan, give yourself time, but don’t give up!

How do I register?

The exam currently costs $200 USD, with retakes costing a further $100 USD. This can be taken either at a test centre, or online. Refer to the exam guide for more information. 


In this post, we’ve explored the Certified Advanced Administrator’s exam format, structure and pre-requisites. We have also looked at resources and tips to help you prepare. Hopefully, this will help you earn the credential!

A big thank you to Chris Sheppard for your contributions to this post!

If you found this blog post useful, be sure to follow SFDC Penguin on Twitter or LinkedIn for future updates.

Until next time, thanks for reading! 🐧

Bonus Penguin Fact

Penguins are found all over the southern hemisphere. For example, the Snares Penguin is commonly found on the Snares Islands, off the coast of New Zealand, as well as in Australia, and Argentina. Click here for more information. 

Want More?

Found this article useful? Why not share!


Or check out some of our other articles:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.