Certifications / Admins / Career

Platform App Builder Certification Guide & Tips

By Christine Marshall

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.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the exam:

  • Entry-level certification
  • 3-6 months of experience required
  • No prerequisites in terms of other qualifications
  • $200 fee

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.

READ MORE: Edit Object Permissions in Profiles

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.

READ MORE: Notes on Changing Custom Field Types

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.

READ MORE: What Is a Cross-Object Formula?

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.

READ MORE: Guide to Page Layouts in Salesforce

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.

READ MORE: What Is a Salesforce Sandbox?

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.



  • Download the Trailhead Exam Guide and use this as your master revision list
  • Ensure you not only revise the features and concepts, but thoroughly test them out in a Developer Org or a Trailhead Playground.
  • Once you feel confident with some of the modules, book your exam to give you a date to aim towards. This will give you the motivation to revise and pass the exam.
  • Download our Top 10 Salesforce Certification Tips eBook

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.

The Author

Christine Marshall

Christine is the Courses Director at Salesforce Ben. She is an 11x certified Salesforce MVP and leads the Bristol Admin User Group.


    January 28, 2016 3:28 pm
    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
    Ben McCarthy
    January 28, 2016 3:38 pm
    Glad I could help! If you already have the background of the dev401, study the links I sent over and you will ace it!
    January 29, 2016 6:00 am
    Thankyou Ben. You have shared very useful information.
    January 29, 2016 11:28 pm
    So detailed and so helpful. Thank you! Do you have articles similar to this on any of the other exams?
    January 31, 2016 11:48 pm
    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
    Ben McCarthy
    February 01, 2016 7:33 am
    Thanks for your insight, Olive!
    February 03, 2016 3:30 am
    Thank you, Olive!
    February 05, 2016 8:59 pm
    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!
    March 15, 2016 9:59 pm
    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! :)
    Joseph Henry
    April 26, 2016 11:55 pm
    I just reviewed your mock exam. Its it still valid for the current exam?
    Ben McCarthy
    April 27, 2016 8:44 am
    All current Joseph. This was only released about a month ago.
    April 27, 2016 11:38 pm
    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.
    Ben McCarthy
    April 28, 2016 9:02 am
    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
    April 28, 2016 10:27 pm
    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
    Anu Garg
    June 04, 2016 1:21 am
    i just flunked my 401 today ! and signed in and these were all the questions there :(
    June 09, 2016 3:31 am
    @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
    June 22, 2016 10:19 am
    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
    Rudy Ornelas
    July 07, 2016 12:32 am
    Hi Ben, First off, big fan your work. Im looking to take my Platform Dev I Cert in September. Do you have any tutorials or experiences you'd like to share?
    JoAnn Theilen
    July 15, 2016 3:58 am
    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!!
    ankita tayade
    August 01, 2016 10:48 am
    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???
    Vignesh Nagarajan
    August 04, 2016 4:15 am
    HelLo Jamuna. Can you share some more question ? I m planning to take the exam.
    Janelle Hunter
    August 08, 2016 4:15 pm
    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.
    Ben McCarthy
    August 08, 2016 4:21 pm
    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.
    September 08, 2016 10:59 am
    September 23, 2016 1:17 pm
    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.
    Rajeev Kumar
    September 25, 2016 8:35 pm
    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
    Pj Hall
    September 29, 2016 5:37 pm
    Melissa Fachner
    September 29, 2016 6:02 pm
    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.
    March 25, 2017 12:58 am
    Glad I've finally found somhietng I agree with!
    March 28, 2017 7:57 pm
    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 Sachin.Chourasiya7@gmail.com
    Sakshi Mehta
    May 02, 2017 2:03 pm
    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.
    Sachin Chourasiya
    May 03, 2017 8:58 am
    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.
    Ranvijay Kumar
    May 06, 2017 7:47 am
    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!!
    June 05, 2017 5:19 am
    Recenlty passed my community exam and Identity and access management exams. please get in touch if you need exam documents. rakesh.sdna@gmail.com
    Brandon Best
    July 24, 2017 8:46 pm
    I'm planning on taking my App Builder Exam next week. Is this material and practice exam still current?
    Ben McCarthy
    July 25, 2017 4:10 pm
    Hi Brandon, This was created last year but is kept up to date with current releases and the latest study guide. Good luck next week!
    November 27, 2017 9:28 am
    Thanks, The content is very helpful
    Sumit M
    July 25, 2018 7:08 am
    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?
    Mark Tough
    September 17, 2018 8:58 am
    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.
    Mark Tough
    September 25, 2018 6:20 am
    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
    April 03, 2019 11:53 pm
    Hey mate, not sure if its helpful - but there is a really good Trailmix on Trailhead that people can use to prepare for the Cert as well. https://trailhead.salesforce.com/users/strailhead/trailmixes/prepare-for-your-salesforce-platform-app-builder-credential
    January 22, 2021 12:44 pm
    hey Olive, Thanks for sharing Platform App Builder Certification Guide & Tips , I really appreciate it. Mobile App Development Services
    May 19, 2021 4:13 am
    Hey Troy, Thanks, just was looking for some recommendations on trailmixex to prepare for the exam.
    Doumit BOURAAD
    June 28, 2021 3:03 pm
    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
    Suzie Dusek
    April 18, 2022 5:33 pm
    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?
    Christine Marshall
    April 21, 2022 12:47 pm
    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!
    Rick Hall
    April 27, 2022 10:53 pm
    Hey Christina, Do you have a link for your practice exams? Thanks!
    Rick Hall
    April 27, 2022 10:55 pm
    Hey Christine, Do you have a link for your practice exams? Thanks!
    Christine Marshall
    April 28, 2022 9:59 am
    Hey Rick - Platform App Builder practice exam will be out in approx 3/4 weeks. Is this what you were looking for or do you need Admin exams?
    Christine Marshall
    April 28, 2022 9:59 am
    Hey Rick - Platform App Builder practice exam will be out in approx 3/4 weeks. Is this what you were looking for or do you need Admin exams?
    May 13, 2022 8:52 am
    Great and thanks, that's what I was looking for! I'm currently in the middle of my exam preparation
    Mary Ann
    June 02, 2022 2:43 pm
    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!!
    June 21, 2022 8:21 pm
    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.
    Christine Marshall
    June 22, 2022 11:08 am
    Hi! The practice exam link is at the bottom of the post in the Resources section!
    July 04, 2022 1:30 pm
    I actually want to sit in Platform App Builder Exam, Kindly guide me Should I take this study material for preparation or not? https://www.certshero.com/salesforce/platform-app-builder
    Christine Marshall
    July 04, 2022 3:44 pm
    Hi Isabel, We cannot advise or vouch for other training materials. We always recommend you use official Salesforce training material or the content on Salesforce Ben. We have a free study guide, as well as a free practice exam. https://www.salesforceben.com/platform-app-builder-certification-guide-tips/ https://www.salesforceben.com/free-salesforce-platform-app-builder-practice-exam-with-answers/
    Antionette Crawford
    July 22, 2022 7:23 pm
    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.
    Christine Marshall
    July 25, 2022 9:23 am
    Hi! Good news - the full pack of 5 practice exams will be available on the 1st August.
    Tania Scott
    August 10, 2022 4:52 am
    Great news. Thanks for sharing
    Antionette Crawford
    August 10, 2022 8:54 pm
    Hi Christine, where can I find the full pack of 5 practice exams? Any updates on a Platform App Builder Course?
    Christine Marshall
    August 12, 2022 1:40 pm
    Hi! We have just launched them and they are 50% off for all of August. Check out the link here: https://courses.salesforceben.com/salesforce-platform-app-builder-practice-exams/
    May 10, 2024 9:30 am
    Feel free to reach out in case any support is needed in passing Salesforce Certs. You can email me on rakesh.sdna@gmail.com

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