Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification Guide & Tips

This post will guide you through some of the resources and assets I used to pass the Email Specialist exam, including some syllabus areas to pay extra attention to.


I became transfixed with the idea of getting Marketing Cloud certified when I stumbled across the world of Salesforce Marketing Automation back in June. It was actually Ben that encouraged me to book my Pardot exam on a whim, and that was when my eyes were opened to Salesforce’s marketing side! Since then, I’ve made a move to the Polish market last month to ramp up as a Marketing Automation Consultant. I work with Pardot at the moment, but I’m hardly a Marketing Automation expert – but as Marketing Cloud is a persistently hot topic, I thought I would check out the cert path. 

First things first – to become fully Marketing Cloud certified, there are three exams to complete.

– Marketing Cloud: Email Specialist
– Marketing Cloud: Social Specialist
– Marketing Cloud Consultant

(NB: I want to point out that this guide is referring to the Email Specialist exam, in case you glossed over the title of this post).


Fundamental – the official certification guide. I think that’s a given. Download here.

My technique from there is to cover the topics, one at a time (keep it focused and manageable!). As I progress through multiple topics, I make intrinsic links in my mind as I go. An observation I made about quite a few of the questions in this exam is they dragged in elements from more than one topic into a single question, for example Automation Studio functionality in relation to different subscriber list scenarios.  

Finding the knowledge material is easy – it’s as simple as doing a Google search, there’s a wealth of knowledge on the knowledge base.

(NB: Salesforce Marketing Cloud was formerly known as Exacttarget, and they’ve been phasing out the name since the acquisition, so don’t be phased by the interchangeable name).

Alternatively, if you’re in a rush like I was, there’s a shortcut to sifting through years of documentation. I cannot recommend Ben Edwards’ study guide enough – Ben, if you ever read this post, you’re a lifesaver. His summary notes collate the straight facts, so this, coupled with common sense, should see you through.  

But, I need organisation, I need to drum it into my mind. Every Salesforce exam I do, I draw out mind maps, tonnes of them, make wallpaper from them! I also make a glossary, arranged alphabetically, and not by topic; this is where I also throw in broader industry or IT infrastructure terms, terms that are good-to-know. By this point, I’ve collected over 1000 terms & definitions, 500 of those from the ADM 201 alone!    

Personally, I use Cram for revising. You can chose to create a set for each topic, or bung them all in one set. My cram cards follow a format like:

Side 1:

___ ___ ___ is considered the master list of records for the account.

If status is changed to unsubscribed from here, will be changed to unsubscribed on all ___ & ___

Did you get it?

Side 2:

All subscribers list

Lists & groups

Do a seach on Quizlet also. There’s a few mock questions on there, but mock questions for this exam are like gold dust – far and few between!

Key Topics

  1. Data extensions: subscriber key & primary key

My least favourite topic. Know what a subscriber key, primary key, send relationship is and how they relate to each other, and how they relate with regard to the All Subscribers list. Know this like the words to your favourite song.

  1. Importing/Filtering

Don’t just learn the topic in isolation, keep applying importing & filtering to different scenarios that could occur in Marketing Cloud – use your imagination!

  1. Deliverability

Most of this is common sense, but tread carefully on the multi-select questions on this topic.

  1. Compliance

Once you know it, you know it – but still a key topic I want to highlight.

Question Format

Multiple choice, but I noticed a greater proportion of multi-select questions (by noticed, I mean wept over), particularly ones where you have to select 3 out of 5 or 6 options. A good way for Salesforce University to really test your knowledge, but it’s always an episode of self-doubt!

As I said before, mock questions for this exam are like gold dust – far and few between! I’m in the process of writing some mock questions for Salesforce Ben members – watch this space!


I hope that this post has pointed you in the right direction to making a start towards passing your Email Specialist exam. I want to reiterate that I’m no expert on the subject (this probably shows somewhat), but being pragmatic and logical with study will get you there.

Good Luck!

>> Looking for more Marketing Cloud and Marketing Automation Content? 

Visit The DRIP – the Salesforce Marketing Automation blog that’s part of On there you will find plenty of feature overviews, tips & tricks, and deeper dives to help you towards becoming a real Email Marketing specialist. Click the banner below >>


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19 thoughts on “Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification Guide & Tips

  1. I would give a warning on Quizlet. I’ve found the questions on there are only as good as when they were created and some haven’t been updated for YEARS. I’ve found quite a few questions with wrong answers because the platform has just evolved since they were written. Also some answers that have never been correct. So when I use quizlet and if I don’t know the answer looking at the question I look the answer up myself.

  2. Thanks Lucy for the informative blog. Thanks for sharing Ben Edward’s guide… it is a treasure!

    Any chance you would like to share your Cram flashcards?

  3. Can any one share some question dumps for exact target email specialist certification apart from Ben’s notes or are they sufficient for exam?
    Also can any one please share their exam experience?

  4. Pingback: Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification Preparation – Demystifying the cloud

  5. Pingback: Preparing for the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification – My Salesforce Journey

  6. Pingback: Certificación Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist - Blog de Daniel García Gurtubay

  7. Pingback: Certificaciones de Salesforce -

  8. Sharing my experience with the Exam (on site) :
    – Several questions have similar answers, Proof Read each one
    – In some cases choose 3 of 5 options to pass 1 question
    – Real case scenarios used on some questions, required some experience using SFMC
    – Use your provided blank paper to understand and layout the questions in case the redaction is too deep or hard to understand
    – They check everything, glasses, pocket contents, and watch or cellphones are being stored in a locker before entering.
    Good Luck

  9. Pingback: Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist - Exam preparation guide - Atilla Wohllebe

  10. I attempted the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Exam on 14th May 2018. Sadly I was not able to clear by some 2-3 marks. There were some random 5 unscored questions also which may be the correct ones got picked up. The questions were very tricky. Please can you clear some of my doubts.
    1. A new employee is using Salesforce Marketing cloud and wants to send emails without any mistakes. he has no prior knowledge of SQL. Which tool he would use:
    1. Scheduled Send Emails
    2. Predictive Email
    3. Journey Builder
    4. Automation Studio

  11. Hello,

    I would like to know what do you use for testing purposes when you do not have any marketing cloud org/license? I am a Pardot specialist and I am very keen on obtaining Email Specialist as well, but I am not sure if this is possible only by studying without any hands-on practice. Also, could you please share once again Ben Edwards` notes. It seems the shared file is broken. Thanks

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