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My thoughts fresh from passing the ACP-200 (Confluence Admin)

Fresh from passing the ACP-200 (Confluence Admin)

So today I pased ACP-200 (thankfully for the first time)!

  • Topic Level Scoring:
  • Power User: 70%
  • Space Administration: 80%
  • Administrative Functions: 75%

Hopefully this helps others in the same boat who are trying to work out whether they should take it or not. So while it's fresh...

My Confluence Experience
Used Confluence for basic documentation (and not much macro usage) for eight years
Been a Confluence Admin for one year, and in this time I've made the instance global as our firm's intranet, so I worked a lot on user directories; site, space and page permission; look and feel (albeit with a plugin)

So I felt I had enough background on the application to give the exam a whirl

Exam Preparation

The Atlassian Prep Course
Sorry Atlassian, as much as I love you, the prep course is really overpriced -- it's good, but it should simply be given for free when you sign up to the exam (it's a 4-hour video). If you provided some sample questions (well, quite a few), it would be more valuable. But as it is, I felt the prep course was weak.

Reading the exam syllabus & sample questions
Essential! I used the syllabus and example case studies to cross-check what I knew (i.e. could I answer all the questions)

The sample questions, while only a handful, give you a really good idea for the tone of the exam

I saved down the PDF export of the Confluence guide (1,008 pages) and read it. About 25%-35% of it I skipped through, as it goes into a level beyond the exam (i.e. where you change config files and go outside of the 'clickable' Confluence UI). For me it was helpful to read through, if a little dry (and you do learn valuable information, so it's not a waste of time)

Getting hands-on
In my preparation I made sure to use every Atlassian-made Macro that comes as part of Confluence. The best bit about that is it has really helped me improve my firm's Confluence site! I hadn't come across the Page Properties and Page Properties Report Macro until I started studying -- now I'm using these everywhere (they're brilliant!). Likewise, I realised that I'd misunderstood the Excerpt macro and several other ones, so the revision has really helped me. You'll probably fail the exam if you don't get a handle on all the macros -- especially the ones that contain labels.

Similarly, I made sure to click everywhere in the Confluence instance and go through all the admin menus, asking myself: why does this exist and how do I understand / change it? Again, it's surprising how much you learn and find out (for instance, our caches were in a bit of a state, which I only found out about through studying).

I also paid attention to Space and Page restrictions, as well as exporting / importing topics (the exam likes bringing these up).

Atlassian Community
I live for the daily updates: I've got a wide net of topics I am interested in, and I do my best to read a few each day (as well as test my own knowledge by trying to provide solutions -- you really test your understanding of something when you try to explain it to others).

The Exam Itself

There is no BS
Atlassian really follows its values. It's so refreshing to take an exam that tests you on your knowledge and not your ability to remember the specific wording. In fact, there was one question where I thought they were being persnickety with wording but when I got back, I realised they weren't.

Three hours is a good amount of time
I had 73 questions and completed a run-through of them in 2 hours -- all the way through I'd written down which ones I thought I knew 100%, which ones were 50/50 and which ones I was clueless on. I then prioritised the next 40 mins first reviewing the 50/50 questions, and then the ones I was clueless on. Wrapped up the exam with 2 hours 40 on the clock.

Labels is where I probably lost my most points
I completely blanked on whether labels were case-sensitive or not, and quite a few questions circled back on what is wrong with macros that use labels. Become an expert in labels and all macros that use labels -- learn by doing.


Kat Marketplace Partner May 15, 2019

Thank you for sharing your experience. Congratulations.

Like Thomas Bowskill likes this

Congratulations and thanks for sharing! I was going to try to go for it before May 15th using the promotion, but like you I felt the prep course was lacking. Instead I have been doing a lot of what you suggested. Becoming more familiar with the macros and the Admin menu. Ultimately, I felt I was not ready to take it. I will continue to study and try it in a few months, even if it will cost me more money then. I would rather wait and hopefully pass in the first try.

Kat Marketplace Partner May 16, 2019

The key thing I learnt about the prep courses is that they are not "exam preparation" but "exam study plan preparation" courses.

They are a great resource and I feel like they get a bad rap due to this misconception/miscommunication.

Like Alexander Bondarev likes this

I agree with you @Kat about the fact they are not preparation courses - when you see the name, you expect more content.


I still struggle with the pricing point of it relative to the value I got back from it. I felt it was just a little too brief to be worth the $150 price tag. It would be worth the cost if the content was bulked-out more; as it stands, it feels better-suited to being part of the exam fee.

Capi _resolution_ Marketplace Partner May 18, 2019

Thanks so much for sharing, @Thomas Bowskill!

Congratulations for passing in first try ! Thanks for sharing your preparation for exam. Sadly I was unable to pass in first try ACP-200 but even taking exam provided great amount knowledge in retake preparation. I've also had trouble  with "Labels"  as some of questions were really complex.


Probably most difficult part of this exam is preparation, as mentioned prep which Atlassian provides 4h videos, which is most questions what to expect from exam. Best practice combine Confluence Admin guide (600 pages) with testing and recreating issue in your own local Confluence. 


I'm planing on taking second shot at ACP-200 in start of June. 

Yes, the curve ball for me with labels was: 

1) Case-sensitivity 

2) Which macros need labels


It's one of those ones where I instinctively always do lower-case labels, so I never have in my mind about casing. And with Macros that require labels, I am not good at remembering them -- when I add macros I focus more on what the purpose of the macro is and all other ways to configure it, and filter it (w or w-out labels), but I didn't consider whether labels were needed.


Best of luck for the June exam!

Like Kat likes this


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