Platform App Builder Certification Guide & Tips

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Table of Contents

Certification Introduction

The Salesforce Platform App Builder certification is ideal for Salesforce professionals that want to demonstrate their knowledge of building custom applications on the Salesforce platform using clicks not code. Candidates will also demonstrate a strong understanding of deployment and when a programmatic solution is more appropriate.   

Who's the Ideal Candidate?

I would recommend any Salesforce professional to take this certification, no matter if you are an Admin, Consultant, or Developer, the skills you pick up while revising for this exam will become invaluable to anyone working on the platforms.

One of the most powerful aspects about Salesforce is the ability to create custom application and processes in rapid time, and this exam covers it all.

Key Topics

1. Salesforce Fundamentals 23%

You may be familiar with many of the concepts in this section as they are also covered in the Admin exam. Refresh your memory on object, record and field access, sharing solutions, reports, dashboards and Chatter

You’ll want to increase your knowledge of the mobile experience and using global or object specific actions and layouts. 

You’ll be expected to know when you’ve reached the boundaries of declarative customization and when programmatic changes are appropriate. This also includes understanding when to enhance and extend your org using the AppExchange. 

If the org-wide default for Opportunities is ‘Public Read/Write’, what feature in Salesforce is needed to restrict access to the object?

A. Profile | B. Role Hierarchy | C. Record Type | D. Page Layout

Answer:

A. Profile
Here's why

2. Data Modeling & Management 22%

This section is all about the Salesforce data model; this includes standard and custom objects, fields and relationships.

Understanding the differences between a lookup and a master-detail relationship, as well as when to use a many-to-many relationship is key.

The schema builder is a great way to not only visualize your data model, but also to extend it, and this exam expects you to understand the capabilities and considerations of this tool. 

You should have a thorough understanding of fields types and when to use them. You will almost definitely be asked a question based about changing field types and the data loss that could incur (or not), so memorize and test these combinations out for a guaranteed mark.

Lastly, you should brush up on importing and exporting data – the tools, considerations and working with external data sources

Currently defined picklist values are retained when you change a picklist to a multi-select picklist?

A. True | B. False

Answer:

A. True
Here's why

3. Business Logic & Process Automation 28%

This chunky section takes up over a quarter of the entire exam, so you better get familiar with all the concepts! In fact, this section will test your knowledge of Formula Fields, Roll-up Summary Fields, Validation Rules, Approval Processes, Workflow, Process Builder and Flow.

The exam mostly contains scenario based questions, and therefore given a certain scenario, you will be expected to put forward the most appropriate solution. All of the features mentioned above are core to the platform, so you should learn these inside out.

What can a cross-object formula reference?

A. Child Only | B. Parent Only | C. Records of the same object | D. Both Parent and Child objects

Answer:

B. Parent Only
Here's why

4. User Interface 17%

As well as diving into the technical point and click aspect of the Salesforce platform, you also should understand the features available to give users a nice experience. With most Salesforce users now on Lightning, this opens up huge possibilities to create slick user interfaces. 

You will be expected to understand how Lightning Components can be used, and where they can be placed, as well as the difference between standard, custom, and AppExchange components.

You will also be tested on how custom buttons, links, and actions can play a part in making users lives easier.

When editing a page layout, what field properties can be applied? (Choose two)

A. Edit-Only | B. Read-Only | C. Required | D. Universally Required

Answer:

B. Read-Only & C. Required
Here's why

5. App Deployment 10%

Although the smallest section in the exam, this topic might be quite a challenge to those newer to Salesforce Administration or that work on a smaller org.

This section expects you to understand how to test and deploy changes from a sandbox. You should have a good understanding of change sets, when you can use them and when they are not appropriate.

You should also understand the use cases and differences between a managed and unmanaged package. 

Your company needs to develop an Apex trigger in a sandbox to work with large amounts of records. The trigger needs to be tested with real records and the sandbox needs to be refreshed once a week. Which sandbox should be used?

A. Developer Sandbox | B. Developer Pro Sandbox | C. Partial Copy Sandbox | D. Full Sandbox

Answer:

C. Partial Copy Sandbox
Here's why

Study Strategy

The Platform App Builder Certification covers a lot of content – but don’t be put off! Many of the topics were also covered in the Admin exam and, if you work as an Admin or Consultant, then the chances are you are already doing a lot of this stuff!

Brush up on the concepts covered in the Admin exam, such as fields, object and record sharing, relationships, data import/export, reports and dashboards. Hopefully, much of this will be familiar to you.

I would then spend time getting to grips with some of the features or concepts you don’t know as well. Especially topics around moving from declarative to programmatic customization. You might want to take a deeper look into Lightning Components, Mobile, custom buttons/links, and everything in the App Deployment section! 

As always, hands on practice is a must, so make sure you complete the Trailmix and have a play in your own developer org.

Exam Strategy

When exam day finally hits, there are a bunch of tips we gathered over the years to give you the best chance of passing with flying colours.

Firstly, if there are any concepts that you are struggling to get to grips with, then print off a cheat sheet and try and memorize any of these before you take the exam so they are fresh in your memory. 

When taking the exam, pay particular attention to the question, and read it through a few times. For the scenario-based questions there will be huge clues in the answer to what the correct answer actually is. If you need to, use the pen and paper provided to draw out a data schema, role hierarchy or any other diagram that will help you visualize the answer.

When deciding on the answer, be sure to use the process of elimination to get rid of the answers that are definitely incorrect. Salesforce likes to throw in answers that are made up of features or just plane incorrect. They also like to throw in curveballs, of features that appear to be correct but aren’t best practice. You can often worm out these by focussing on standard Salesforce features that accomplish a task. For example, you could build a custom approval process with process builder, but why do this when there is a standard feature that is best practice?

You also have a great tool at your disposal, the “Mark for review” feature. On each question, you will have a checkbox that you can mark. This is great if you cannot think of an answer right at that moment, or if you are doubtful about your answer. At the end of the exam, you will have a chance to review these questions. Depending on the amount selected, this will give you a pretty good idea of how likely you are to have passed the test. Regardless of the questions marked for review, I would always recommend to go through every question if time permits. I do this on every exam, and often spot mistakes I made in the answers and change a few.


Resources

Tips

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, the Platform App Builder qualification is almost as important as the Salesforce Admin exam, and is the obvious next step on your certification journey. 

This exam covers many fundamental core platform features and builds your knowledge of Salesforce architecture, design and scalability. However, there is also more emphasis on understanding when you have reached the boundaries of a declarative solution, and a programmatic solution is required. This exam will certainly make sure that you have a greater awareness of the capabilities of the platform and what to do when deploying changes. 

58 thoughts on “Platform App Builder Certification Guide & Tips

  1. Great article Ben.

    Have been looking for something this detailed about the transition exam – has convinced me to put some time aside and smash it out.

    Look forward to seeing the App Builder quiz to test myself

  2. Well I’ve just passed it.
    Frankly I found it more challenging than the administrator exam I passed last month. For example I finished the Adm 45 minutes before the deadline and took my time to review, but this one only 8 minutes before.

    Thanks Ben, your tips and quizz helped again (although I agree the quizz needs a refresh)

    A few tips:
    – Be sure to know most considerations for field update actions, especially whenever the update is triggered by a workflow or a process.
    – Questions about field type change may be different than “will it cause data loss?”, more like “what may you loose (pick two)”
    – I expected more questions on sandboxes, change sets, Salesforce1, actions/buttons/links. Got a couple of each at most.
    – Review the classics: rollup summary fields, record types, report charts, object/record access, relationships etc.

    Good luck everyone

  3. Hi Ben,

    Thanks again for another insightful article. I have until the end of March to pass this exam and was wondering if you have an ETA as to when you’ll get a practice quiz up as I’ve read you plan to make one. All the best!

  4. Hi Ben,
    I’m studying to pass the App Builder exam (Spring ’16). Could you post a mock exam? I’ve already tried your quiz for Developer exam…it was useful! 🙂

  5. Hi Ben, Thanks for the detailed info about the certification, however can you let me know what is the difference between the Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder – Transition Exam and Platform App Builder certification. Is the transition exam just to evaluate ourself before taking up Platform App Builder? And which one is recommendable.
    Awaiting your response.

    1. Hi Kitty,

      Great question. The transition exam is for those that already have the old DEV401 certification. This is now phased out and instead of the people that hold this sitting the entire exam again, they get the chance to just do a quick 20 question exam. If you do not have the old dev401 then you will need to do the full app builder exam.

      Hope this helps!

      Ben

      1. Thank you so much for a quick response, this is so helpful. I do have Dev401 certification and now i know what to do next. Thanks again for all your great help..!! Much appreciated

  6. @Anu : I dont believe that 401 exam is still in effect.

    @Ben: Thanks to your mock quiz and other resources I have successfully completed the Admin exam 🙂
    Next planning to go for App builder Exam. Any tips or guidelines please. From the questions and study guide I have reviewed so far it seems after clearing Admin exam App builder doesnt seem that much of a herculean task

  7. Hi All,

    Can anybody please post answers for these questions:

    1. An organization needs the ability view the value of the Opportunity Stage field on an Opportunity Product related list. Please choose the declarative method of fulfilling the requirement. Choose the Right answer
    a. Create an Apex method to replicate the value on the child object, and set the field level security to read-only and expose the new field on the Opportunity Product related list.
    b. Create a cross object formula field on the Opportunity Product object and expose the formula field on the Opportunity Product related list.
    c. Create a validation rule on the Opportunity Product object.
    d. Create a new pick list field called Stage on the Opportunity Product object, and expose the filed on the Opportunity Product related list.

    2. Invoices in SAP need to be reviewed from Salesforce Account object Home(2).
    A. From SAP config
    B. O-DATA
    C. External object
    D. Data Loader

    3. In order to delete a record smith needs to be approved(1).
    A. Approval with Workflow
    B. Approval with Apex Trigger

    4. What can be branded in SF1?(3)
    A. Loading logo
    B. Loading page color
    C. Header and Search
    D. Action tab bar

    5. UC is importing 1000 records and want to avoid duplicate, how can they do it?(1)
    A. Include a column in the import file that has other record name(SF ID)
    B. Run duplicate check
    C. use “prevent duplicates”
    D. manually merge

    6. What is the capability of the Shema Builder? (2)
    A. Customize settings
    B. Choose object
    C. Open page layout in new window
    D. To update descriptions of standard and custom objects

    7. What of the following can be source of report chart placed in page layout? (2)
    A. Joined
    B. Tabular
    C. Matrix
    D. Summary

    8. What metadata can be made manually in production without deployment? (2)
    A. Visualforce ?
    B. Apex class
    C. Apex trigger
    D. Reports and Dashboards

    9. When moving Tabs using change sets but without profiles what will be the view of tabs in new org? (1)
    A. Hidden
    B. Def off
    C. Def on

    10. Which sandbox is used for performance testing? (1)
    A. Full
    B. Developer
    C. Partial
    D. Developer Pro

    11. What is the type of the invisible chatter group? (1)
    A. Unlisted
    B. Private
    C. Public

    14. Where custom buttons can be placed? (3)
    A. Related object
    B. Personal account
    C. Record page
    D. Web to case

    17. Which type of field cannot be universally required?(2)
    A. Lookup
    B. Text
    C. Email
    D. Summary

    1. Ans 1: not sure.. A
      Ans 2.B,C
      Ans 3.A
      Ans 4.A,B,C
      Ans 5.A
      Ans 6.B,C
      Ans 7 C,D
      Ans 8. A,D
      Ans 9.A
      Ans 10.A
      Ans 11.A
      Ans 14.A,B,C
      Ans 17 A,D

  8. Thank you Ben! After putting the exam off for almost a year, I took the Platform App Builder Transition exam today and passed. Your site was very thorough and helped me understand the areas where I needed to focus my studies. The mock exam was great!!

  9. hii i am fresher in sfdc…i wanna give app builder certification exam because dev 401 is not available now.so please guide me exam point of view..and is it tough to give as a fresher???

  10. Hello! I just took the new 401 App Builder Test Friday and failed. I hate they do not at least give you a percentage of the ones you got right, but any way. I felt I did well but was wondering of what other information would be available to study for this test further. Any insight will help.

    1. Hi Janelle,

      I do have a members section on the blog where you can get access to a Platform App Builder quiz which has 60 questions! You can also download the PDF of the questions to revise offline.

  11. Hi Ben, thank you very much. Your site is very thorough. I have passed App Builder exam.
    For everyone, One think I can point out here, App Builder is much more in-depth & complicated than Dev-401. There is no shortcut to pass App Builder, you need to prepare hard & practice on a sandbox.

  12. Hi Ben,

    I am preparing to take the App Builder Transition test at dreamforce ’16. Do you happen to know the percentages of each section for the 20 questions. I’ve been on the platform for 12 years and have three certs but the darn 20 questions is scaring me. If I can successfully answer the questions on your quizzes should I be good, you think. I took the 401 in 2009 when it first came out.

  13. Thanks Ben for this nice blog.

    By God grace and support of my friends, collegue and mentors, I have cleared Salesforce Platform App builder Certication yesterday. Thanks alot for providing me the outstanding support and motivation. You can reach me at [email protected]

  14. Today I have cleared my Salesforce platform App Builder Exam. I would like to take a moment to thanks each one of you who helped in achieving this success. Special thanks to the guideline documents and question sets provided by Mr Sachin Chourasiya and Jenwlee.

    1. Sachin Chourasiya

      Reply

      Congratulations Sakshi !! I am glad that you have done it. Well its not just my notes, it is truly a result of your dedication and will power.

  15. Ranvijay Kumar

    Reply

    Hi Ben,
    I cleared the transition exam today. The topics compiled on this article were really helpful for revision, the mock test questions were also great help in assessing the prep.
    As with all the SF certification exams, it felt more difficult because of the options on the question. Quick summary of some of the not so obvious questions –
    a. There was one question on Case assignment Rules and one on Opportunity business process definition
    b. As highlighted by someone earlier the field type change question became difficult because of the way it was framed and the options for it, so understanding it properly will help
    c. Quite a few questions on Roll-up summary, but nothing very tricky in that and mostly straight fwd questions
    d. No question on which automation tools to use, but i guess that is a basic which must be clear anyway
    e. A couple on order of execution of WFs (the link in the article above was super for these)

    All in all it was not an easy exam I would say, at least not as easy as I was hoping it to be 😉
    Next – PD1 here I come!!

    All the best to everyone preparing for this!!

  16. I’m planning on taking my App Builder Exam next week. Is this material and practice exam still current?

  17. Hi Ben,

    I am preparing for this certification and already adm. and adv. adm. certified. I am new to Salesforce and intend to be administrator but want to earn more certifications so looking at this one. I am going through current official trailhead at https://trailhead.salesforce.com/users/00550000006yDdKAAU/trailmixes/prepare-for-your-salesforce-platform-app-builder-credential. It specifies 14% weightage for User Interface section. Its lightning Components Basics module talk about importance of knowing reading and writing code inlcuding javascript, Apex etc.My understanding is that this certification includes only declarative development. Any idea if this is recent change or has this always been part of official trailhead and programming knowledge is not tested in certification?

  18. Hi Sumit & Ben,

    This freaked me out as well, I will try and do the Trailhead but we shall see. I can see Ben is getting a bit of SPAM here (Sad) as it’s such a great resource – I’m just setting out on this Certification after Admin and Pardot (last week) thanks in no small part to this great Blog.

    This is a big wide Exam by the looks of it, hopefully some of my 3 and a half years in the Ecosystem will help but I will need to study hard again.

  19. Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the APP Dev quiz and your Sage advice. I think perhaps two questions could be wrong and one superseded by releases.

    Pretty sure What can a Cross-Object formula reference is Child Only (ie Detail) and the Correct Syntax question should be with curly brackets not without.

    The other was what can not be added to a lightning Page and you had Dashboards which now can.

    All good though, time to take the exam in a few weeks – I will book it now 🙂

    Regards

    Mark

  20. Hi Ben,

    Is there any others training concerning APP BUILDER ? Actually there is 60 questions but i’ve already find them on other sites.
    Thanks

  21. Hi Ben, I keep seeming comments on this thread about dumps. I have attempted the exam unsuccessfully and am looking for additional resources. What are these dumps being referred to?

    1. Hi Suzie,

      Whatever you do, please do not use exam dumps! They are cheating at the worst level, and if caught, Salesforce will remove your certification. You can read more about how Salesforce safeguard credentials here: https://www.salesforce.com/blog/safeguarding-salesforce-credentials/

      The phrase “exam dumps” is used to refer to people posting or selling official questions from Salesforce exams.

      I am currently creating both a free Platform App Builder exam plus a pack of 5 exams (paid for). The free exam should be ready in 2-3 weeks with the paid pack not long after that. These practice exams are 100% original and will help you prepare for the exam without cheating (using dumps).

      I promise you can do this with exam dumps!

      1. Hey Christine,
        I am preparing for Salesforce App builder certification. It would be a great help if you can share your Platform App Builder practice exam if it is available now.

  22. Great and thanks, that’s what I was looking for! I’m currently in the middle of my exam preparation

  23. Finally passed this one. Failed it not once, but TWICE before. Could not use the same exam strategies I used before – definitely know your code syntax ( not my particular strong suit) and READ READ READ the question to filter out irrelevant information!! Needing to use process of elimination when choosing answers is HUGE with this one. I used several online courses, guidance/advice blogs on Salesforce Ben, Trailheads and Salesforce Documentation (Reading the documentation may have been the big differentiator on my 3rd try.) Good Luck to those taking it!!

  24. Antionette Crawford

    Reply

    I took the practice exam and my areas of study are now focused on App Deployment and Business Logic & process Automation. I’m waiting for the paid course to be available as I used the paid Admin course and passed after 2 attempts on the older exam. Any updates on when this will be available. I’m scheduling a September exam.

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