My First Time Failing a Salesforce Exam

I took the Sharing and Visibility Designer Exam in January and it was my first time to fail one.  I was shocked, this sort of thing wasn’t supposed to happen to me. I’d passed 7 ( RIP force.com developer) other exams on the first try, why was this one different? I decided to stop feeling like a victim and learn the things I didn’t know. It was as simple as that. When I walked out of the test centre, I wrote down all of the terms that I didn’t understand. I had no idea what an external sharing model was, and there were a lot of programmatic sharing concepts I had never learned about.

When I took the exam there was a resource guide, but now there’s Trailmix. I made the mistake of only reviewing the required resources, but not the optional ones. Since the exam covers pretty much every area of Sharing and Visibility, you truly need to understand everything, there’s no shortcuts. There’s no faking it on this one. The area I didn’t fully understand was programmatic sharing, since it was new to me as someone with an admin background.

I sometimes struggle to write tips for these exams because I think that Salesforce tells you exactly what to study, and it’s sort of up to you to make sure you understand everything in the study guide and resources. If I don’t understand a particular concept, I google it and pretty much read everything I can about it. I also keep a google doc of the text of all the articles I’ve read so that I can highlight the text and have all the articles in one place. It can be sort of tedious to do this much copying and pasting, but it helps me to actively take in information when I highlight. I then print out the google doc with all the articles so that I can read it during my commute. It’s definitely a waste of paper, but it’s one of the few things I print.

My colleague who also failed this exam on the first try told me to take the exam just a few days later. He’d done the same thing and didn’t want to lose his momentum. So I did that, even though it seemed a little bit reckless. I knew that I was really close to passing and just needed to better understand the new concepts. On the second try, I passed!

I read somewhere on Twitter that fail really means “First Attempt in Learning.” As hippieish as that sounds (can you tell I grew up in San Francisco in the 80s?), it’s really true. Most of us are our own worst critics. To be honest, no one really cares if you fail an exam on the first try, and lots of really smart people have failed exams. I read Matt Morris and Gemma Emmett’s blogs about failing and realised it happens to all of us. So pick yourself up and keep going, that’s what’s all the cool kids are doing.

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