Preloader Image
woman reading

Marketing Cloud Account Engagement 101: The Specialist certification exam

12.20.18 By: Jacqueline Fassett

Is getting your Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (formerly Pardot) Specialist certification one of your 2019 goals? Good idea! Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (MCAE) is an increasingly popular Salesforce product. If your LinkedIn feed looks anything like mine, you’ve seen an uptick in MCAE Specialist Cert announcements.

As an MCAE blogger and certified Consultant, I’m frequently asked for my tips on passing the MCAE Specialist exam. I have a Chrome bookmarks folder with all my study resources, and the list takes up my whole screen!

I have been asked so often for study tips, I finally decided to sit down and put together a comprehensive MCAE Specialist Study Guide. 


Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Specialist Study Guide

First released in my Newsletter, my MCAE Specialist Study Guide is a Google Sheet that allows you to track your study progress as you use it. It’s made up of three tabs.

The first tab is an overview of all the topics on the Specialist exam with a scoring mechanism that allows you to assess your confidence in each topic. It’s inspired by Chris Aldridge’s study guide and uses Salesforce’s official study guide. At the bottom, there’s a formula that tells you if you’re ready to take the exam (it literally says “You’re Ready” or “You’re Not Ready”) based on your confidence level.

The second tab is a list of 53 resources you’ll need to study for each topic on the exam. It includes videos, help articles, blog posts. It’s interactive and as you check off items on the list the sheet will tell you how many items you have left to study.

The third and last tab is a compilation of helpful mock exams, flash cards, and blog posts with advice on the Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Specialist exam.

You’ll need to make a copy of the Study Guide to use it for yourself. You should check it out! Click the button below to view the MCAE (powered by Pardot) Specialist Study Guide.


Get the Pardot Specialist Study Guide


Tips for the Exam

There’s no easy way around this: the MCAE Specialist exam is known to be a difficult test. Personally, I think it was harder than the MCAE Consultant exam. I suggest at least two months of regular studying unless you’re a daily end user of the tool. Then I’d suggest one month.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the exam! If you’re at all interested in MCAE, use it for work, or want to expand your Salesforce certifications, this one is a good one to have. You’ll need to do a few things first, though.

What you need to do before you start studying for the exam:

  • Understand general digital marketing best practices. A good place to start is Trailhead. Most of my resources in the MCAE Specialist Study Guide came from MCAE documentation but Trailhead is a fun prerequisite to diving into the technical side of MCAE.
  • Pick an exam date. So many people ask for my advice on the exam but don’t plan to take it for many months. Let’s change that. Setting a date is a great motivator and will keep you focused on your goal.
  • Consider talking to your boss about this. Are you using MCAE at work? Are you a fellow Salesforce Consultant looking to expand your certs? Talking to your employer about your goal to be MCAE Specialist certified can’t hurt (if it does, you might need to start looking for a new job). It’s a highly marketable and valuable skill for them too. Ask how they can support you (think about exam fees, devoting some of your work time to studying, etc).   

Now let’s get to what you really came here for.


What’s your honest advice on what to study for the Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Specialist exam?

My answer: every feature.

By that, I do not mean everything about MCAE, just every feature. The Specialist exam is made for “those who can demonstrate skills and knowledge in designing, building, and implementing marketing workflows through the MCAE platform.” You’ll want to focus on features a daily end user would need to know about.


What do I do after the MCAE Specialist exam?

Once you pass, you should update your resume and post about your certification on LinkedIn. Really.

This isn’t about you looking for a new job. This is about celebrating your accomplishments. You did it! Let the world know!

Tag me in the post– I’d love to say “Congratulations”.

Next, consider getting your MCAE Consultant certification. Of course, I made a guide for the Consultant exam as well. You can find it, along with more advice on the exam, here


Pardot Specialist Badge


Where else can Marketing Cloud Account Engagement take me?

It’s been an amazing few years for me working in MCAE. I’ve become certified and a bonafide MCAE Consultant. I’ve blogged about MCAE for Salesforce. I’ve manned the Pardot Genius booth at Dreamforce. And I’ve made so many new MCAE (powered by Pardot) friends.

I’ve found something I’m passionate about, and that’s pretty cool. I want to help you find your passion, too! Getting your MCAE Specialist Certification can be a great step in your career, and I’ll be rooting for you.


Want more MCAE tips and tricks?

I have a twice-monthly Pardot Newsletter. It’s where I first shared my MCAE Specialist Study Guide. Sign up for the Newsletter and you’ll get first access to content like this.


Join the Pardot Newsletter


Newsletter Earth

Subscribe to our newsletter

Where progressive organizations get inspired

Join thousands just like you to receive a monthly dose of user adoption tips, innovation, and industry trends.