Career / Certifications

Salesforce Exam Secrets: Tips To Make Earning Your Certifications Less Stressful!

By Paul Ginsberg

Salesforce like to innovate, and 2018 was no different – Nonprofit Cloud Consultant Certification and Trailhead-based certification maintenance exams come to mind in particular. But the Trailhead team didn’t stop there. Recently, they’ve made it easier for some to access exam time extensions, maintenance sabbaticals, and resolving issues linking your Webassessor and Trailblazer Community profiles.


In comparison to the new Trailhead-based maintenance exams, the Webassessor certification exams are time-limited and, traditionally, give many opportunities to misunderstand questions. You have 90 minutes and that’s stressful (well, for me at least!). Add in the fact that only 1 in 5 of the world’s population speaks English as a first language, and there’s definitely a group of people getting an (unfair) head start.

Credit: (map in detail)

To make matters worse, did you know that between 5% and 17% suffer from dyslexia? All this means that Salesforce exams are challenging to lots of people, but in ways that don’t stop them from being good at their job. If only there was an easier way?

Well, since you wondered: Salesforce are working to improve matters. If you fit the above criteria, book your exam, then log a case with Salesforce’s Trailhead team and this will grant you an extra 30 minutes of exam time on a typical 105 minutes exam, bringing the total time to 135 minutes (more details on how to do this at the end!).

Health warning: you need to request this at least a week in advance to give Salesforce’s Trailhead team time to process your request.

Maintenance Exams

Last month (December 2018) the goal posts shifted, I would argue, in an even more significant way than the migration of exams to Trailhead. Rather than having 12 months to take a release exam, this time period has shrunk to 4 months. I suspect I know why Salesforce have done this – it’s not to be cruel, but to ensure that those who are proudly “verified by Salesforce” have up to date knowledge.

This is achievable by the majority, but what if something unexpected happens? Perhaps you decide to take the release exam in month 3, but your boss suddenly lands you with an urgent requirement on your desk? Or worse, you’ve been working on a particular project that has gone badly awry and you are drowning in emails. Also let’s not forget those who rightfully choose to take time off for paternity or maternity leave, or have unwanted life challenges (passing away of a loved one, or an unwanted health issue, including those of mental health). Or even… a skiing accident(!) Suddenly that 4-month window seems a bit short and unforgiving. As a more positive example, sabbaticals and honeymoons are a good thing for the soul.

So, can anything be done? Well, this is the Salesforce universe, and they have the concept of Ohana, so I’m delighted to spill some of the beans! (just one more example to go!)

Linking Certifications and Trailblazer (Success) Community Profiles

How many Trailblazer Community Profiles do you have? 4, 14, 400?! Every time you install an AppExchange product in a new org or Trailhead Playground, voomp!, a new profile is created. Perhaps you’ve changed jobs and got a new login; when you originally started you didn’t even know about the free Developer account(s) you can have.

Frankly, it’s a bit annoying. Regardless of the cause, occasionally the link between Webassessor and your (current) Trailhead login can become disassociated. There’s a process that can help, but it’s not 100% perfect. What to do? If only there was a human at Salesforce who could help…

Contacting Salesforce About Exam and Certification Issues

To recap, if this is you…

  • Need more time for an exam
  • A life event happened and you didn’t manage to take the maintenance exam in time
  • Or some other certification verification issue

..all of these will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but here’s how to log that request.

  1. Log into Trailhead as normal; not your production org, otherwise, your request won’t go to the right team!
  2. Click on the question mark in the top right-hand corner of the Trailhead screen (highlighted in green, below). It’s beside your picture and, if space, your number of badges.
  3. Click on “Contact Us” / “Submit a case”
  4. You’ll then get a new screen asking for the category of issue. Choose the most appropriate one and follow your nose.
    n.b. At the time of writing (January 2019), these are your current options:
  • Trailhead/Certification Account (e.g. connecting your Trailhead and Webassessor accounts)
  • Trailhead/Certification Technical Issue
  • Certification Exam Registration (e.g. request for a time extension to an exam, giving the reason why)
  • Certification Exam Results/Verification
  • Certification Maintenance (e.g. time extension on maintenance exams, again given the explanation for the exceptional circumstance)
  • Share Feedback
  1. Done! “Succes” as they say here in the Netherlands – let your reward be because of your hard work!

Stretch goal: If you’re reading this, thinking about the irony of this being an English language post, I share your dry amusement. How about producing an article to share in other languages? Please feel free to borrow as much as you want from this post!

p.s. How do I know these things? Some of it is just through word-of-mouth, but others are because I posted on the Trailhead Trailblazer Community Group, and a Salesforce employee answered 💖 (the moral: if I can do this, so can you!)

The Author

Paul Ginsberg

Paul is a nonprofit specialist and Golden Hoodie.


    Ataullah Khan
    March 25, 2020 12:34 am
    Super helpful regarding the exam time extension. Thanks
    Carlos Ugarte
    November 09, 2020 10:48 am
    Excellent, short, precise and very useful!
    July 07, 2022 10:50 am
    Correct flow to register for extra time should be log a ticket to request ET, if granted, then book exam, otherwise, you will have to cancel previous registration and a handling fee will be deduced from reimbursement.
    Paul Ginsberg
    August 29, 2022 12:49 pm
    Not just extra time. There are other accommodations available. An article about this has just been published:

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