Pardot Specialist Certification Guide & Tips

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Since its release with 8 other certifications in 2015, the Pardot Specialist has been on my radar to complete due to my never ending quest to get as certified as possible! Since starting my blog just over 2 years ago, I’ve also got quite a taste for learning more about marketing in general, as well as some of the automation platforms out there like Pardot. So with some time freed up and the creation of a study group at EMPAUA, myself and my colleagues set a date of Friday the 13th (Why?!) to take the Pardot Specialist exam.

If you are brand new to Pardot, let me give you a quick summary:

Pardot was acquired through Salesforce’s acquistion of ExactTarget in June 2013 (Who acquired Pardot 9 months earlier). Pardot is a B2B marketing automation platform that deals with, email marketing, tracking visitors and prospects to your website and subsequently turning them into Leads/Opportunities in the Salesforce platform. This of is course a perfect match for any business that wants to ensure the quality of their leads funnelling into Salesforce. Pardot does this with a number of techniques, including scoring prospects based on how they interact with your website and emails.

The Pardot Specialist Certification focuses on ensuring you are qualified to run the platform for your organisation, including integrating it with various other vendors, including Salesforce Sales Cloud. This differs from the Pardot Consultant Certification, as this focuses on being able to implement Pardot for clients using best practises.


Before starting to organise my revision and plan for the weeks leading up to the certification, I had no prior experience in using Pardot or marketing automation platforms. Luckily, all the material you need to pass the exam is available online for free.

As always, the first place to start is with the exams home page. Here you will find the basic information around the exam, registration information and of course the study guide. One of the stand out elements about this exam is that ALL certification study material is available online for free. Yup that’s right! No restriction due to not having premium support. The main place to find the structured revision content is on the user certification page. Here you will find revision modules that mirror that of the study guide, each section includes E-Learning modules (the formal training), knowledge base articles (supporting information) and Videos (mini videos to support learning). The E-learning modules are definitely a prerequisite to taking the exam and cover pretty much everything, the videos and knowledge base articles are great for clarifying anything that you didn’t understand. I would also highly recommend writing notes while watching these videos to refer to later.

In addition to this material, I found and read a couple of blog posts by Hamza AbibMayank Srivastava who give a great overview of the certification and where to go for the revision material. I’d really recommend reading as many opinion blog posts like these before taking any Salesforce exam, I find it extremely helpful reading different angled blog posts that all have unique information.

Also I have to give a shout out to Ben Edwards for putting together a comprehensive training guide based entirely on the Pardot study guide. Don’t take the exam without reading through this at least a couple of times, I missed out a few key bits of information that Ben filled in for me.

Developer Org

As well as the fantastic amount of material available to us, Pardot are offering training environments to existing clients studying for their certification upon request. There are a number of restrictions on these Orgs that you can read in the FAQ linked here, but if you are brand new like I was, It’s great to familiarise yourself and get used to some of the features.


I’m not going to talk too much around the specific content in this post, as Pardot have done a fantastic job of this. What I do want to highlight is how much the exam focuses on automation (Marketing automation – makes sense right?!). There is a HUGE amount of focus on the different features available to you, when to use them and in what combination. As I didn’t have much hands on experience, learning the foundations of each tool is imperative to passing. If you know exactly how each of these features work, then you can work out exactly which feature is best to use for a given scenario. The below image provided by Pardot is a perfect visual representation of some of the features. There is also a number of videos on the Pardot Website titled similarly to Automation Rules & Completion Actions, giving you a comparison of when it’s appropriate to use one over the other.



  • Don’t be put off by not knowing what or how the Pardot platform works
  • Eliminating the wrong answers first was key to me making sure that I was confident with my answer
  • Go through all of the Pardot modules whilst making notes
  • Read through other blog posts to get a feel of what to expect
  • Read through Ben Edwards’ training guide

>> Looking for more Pardot and Marketing Automation Content? 

Visit The DRIP – the Salesforce Marketing Automation blog that’s part of On there you will find plenty of feature overviews, tips & tricks, and deeper dives to help you towards becoming a real Pardot specialist. Click the banner below >>



12 thoughts on “Pardot Specialist Certification Guide & Tips

  1. Avatar

    Hi Ben,

    This is a FANTASTIC resource! Thank you for putting this together.

    I have several questions about the study group you organised and the exam preparation:
    1. How often did you meet?
    2. How many sessions did you run before the exam?
    3. How many hours on average did you and others dedicate to the exam preparation?
    4. What was the success rate of passing the exam?

    Thank you and regards,

    1. Ben McCarthy

      My pleasure!

      We constantly shared resources on our Slack channel group. We only met about twice to go through some features that some of us didn’t understand. In terms of hours I would maybe say 20? I couldn’t give you an average success rate as not everyone has taken it yet.

      Hope this helps,


  2. Avatar

    Ben thanks for the great overview how to get pardot certified. Would you recommend to pass the pardot specialist certification before the pardot consultant?

    By the way it’s not possible to subscribe you newsletter any more… 😉

    1. Ben McCarthy

      Hi Thorsten,

      Definitely. This is the approach that I am taking and have been advised by others to take it as well. The specialist is more getting certified on using the platform, and the consultant is based around implementing the platform.

      Hope this helps!

      By the way did you receive an error for the newsletter when you posted the comment?

  3. Avatar

    HI Ben,

    Is there a completed third party Study Guide, like what Ben Edwards created for the Pardot Specialist?


    P.S. You are going to Dreamforce 16 next week, yes? If so, maybe we’ll bump into one another.

  4. Pingback: Preparing for the Pardot Specialist Certification Exam – Site Title

  5. Pingback: Salesforce Certified Pardot Specialist notes: Scoring

  6. Avatar

    I’m trying to decide whether or not to pursue this certification. Our organization has used Pardot for 4 years, mostly for email and web forms. We’ve hired a consultant for most of the automation features. We might want to learn these ourselves. How many hours would you estimate for going through the study guides and other resources to prepare for this exam?

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