How to pass the Certified Zendesk Support Admin exam the first time

Written by
Pablo Gonzalez
Business Engineering Architect
June 28, 2022
min read

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A few weeks ago, I passed the exam to become a Certified Zendesk Support Administrator. The learning journey was challenging, and so was the exam.

I wish there had been more resources on what it is like to sit the exam, what gotchas I should be aware of, and what topics I needed to master.

So in this article, I will detail my experience and give you some pointers to ensure you pass on your first attempt.

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Preparing for the exam

The best resource out there is the official Zendesk Certification Guide. It's well written, so I will not repeat any of the content there. Instead, get the guide, read it a few times, and use it to measure how much you know about a specific topic.

That said, I did buy the exam along with a certification prep workshop. This was an 8-hour session with two Zendesk trainers and some other participants. During the 8 hours, they showed us sample questions, we discussed complex topics, and they gave us assignments that we had to resolve together with other participants.

I would say that without this workshop, I would not have passed the exam. I was a little worried that the workshop would be a slow death-by-zoom, but instead, it was fully interactive, not boring at all, and I learned so much about Zendesk Support and the exam itself.

If you can buy the workshop, do it. It'll be your best chance at passing the exam.

The exam itself

Coming from a Salesforce background, I was used to certification exams, so this wasn't new to me.

Still, for those who are new to such exams, this is basically what the experience is like:

You are prompted to open a zoom meeting with an employee of Examity. During the meeting, you must share your screen and camera. You even have to show them your surroundings so they can make sure you are not cheating :)

The exam was 78 questions long, all multiple-choice based. You get a pass or fail message at the end of the exam. You also get a nice breakdown of how you scored against each topic.

The questions

The questions are tough. They are super long and full of unrelated sections to confuse you. Here's a typical question format

John has bought 300 shares of his sister's company, valued at 13 million dollars. He spent $25 per share out of the $10,000 monthly income he gets from his business in Brazil.

John only wants to invest in 2 or 3 businesses at one time. How many more businesses can John invest in?

As you can see, the first paragraph has nothing to do with the question being asked. So it's irrelevant if John's business is in Brazil or Costa Rica or how many shares he bought. These details are simply there to create noise and distract you from what is actually being asked.

I found many of the questions to follow a similar format; simply replace the above with noise about triggers, automations, support settings, etc.

My recommendation: read the question. That is, the sentence that ends with a question mark (?). I'm not saying you should disregard everything else but focus on the final question being asked, not the details surrounding it.

A more concrete example is sometimes you'll get a ton of details about the actions of a trigger, but the question is about the conditions. Some of the available answers are about the actions, but again, if you read the question, you'd know you are looking for answers about the conditions, not the actions.

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Topics to focus on

To end, I want to draw your attention to some topics you should understand well, and when appropriate, I will link some resources with more information.

How to configure email addresses for support

Make sure you know all the settings available here, the different options, and what side effects do they have? For example, make sure you understand what each option here does.

Archived Tickets

Make sure you know when a ticket is archived and what consequences it has on views, reporting, etc.

About ticket archiving

Trigger Order

This is super important. Make you understand everything about when triggers run, in what order, etc.

Here's an excellent article by a Zendesk Community Moderator

How I like to organize Zendesk Triggers

Ticket Restrictions in Multi-brand environments

Make sure you test this recipe in your environment if possible.

Spam Tickets

When are tickets treated as spam? What happens to the end-user of a spam ticket?

Spam Tickets

Ticket History

How do you review the history of old tickets? What are the options? Can you use the API? What if the ticket is archived?

Ticket Audit API

Custom Field Types

I wish I had studied this more—lots of questions on the different properties of a field, when to use each, etc. Make sure you understand the relationship between dropdown fields and tags.

Custom Field Types

You also should know what happens if you delete a custom field

Automations vs. Triggers vs. Macros

Some tricky questions here. Make sure you really know what each automation type can do, for example:

The Ultimate Certification Cheatsheet

I also put together this cheatsheet that consolidates some of the most important concepts you need to master before you can pass the exam. Check it out and share it around!

That's all I have for today. I hope you find this a helpful guide and that it helps you pass the exam on your first try!

Written by
Pablo Gonzalez

Pablo is a Business Engineering Architect at Salto. He is the developer of HappySoup.io and has 11 years of development experience in all things Salesforce.

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