What's new with the Marketo Certified Expert exam?

Level 4 - Champion Alumni
Level 4 - Champion Alumni

Like many here, I renew my Marketo certification every 2 years to keep my credential valid. This November was my 3rd time taking the expert exam and my second time renewing.

In 2021 the Marketo expert exam got completely upgraded and this time around the champions and power users were involved in writing the test. Neat! 


I heard that around 60 hours of time from each participant went into planning and writing this exam. Crazy if you think about how much work is required for a project like this. 


Knowing this, my first gut reaction was: What has changed since the last time I took the exam?


Well….quite a few things. 9 to be more specific. Here’s what I could surface:


  1. The name. Since moving under Adobe, the certifications got renamed to match the tiers in Adobe. The MCE is now called ACE-MEBP which stands for Adobe Certified Expert - Adobe Marketo Engage Business Practitioner. 


  1. The test booking process. The whole thing is managed via the Adobe Credential Management. This is actually nice - to have it all under the same umbrella. You have to create an Adobe account if you don't have one (not to be confused with your instance login). The username can be different than your Marketo login user. 


  1. The test options. In 2021 there were 2 Marketo expert exams being offered. Both would grant the ACE-MEPB certificate, which is good for 2 years.
    1. AD0-E552 - this is the old exam, retired Dec 31st, 2021
    2. AD0-E554* - this is the updated exam, the one I took

*Update: in January 2022, AD0-E554 was renamed AD0-E558. No changes apart from the name. For the rest of this blog post, I will refer to AD0-E558 as the new exam.





  1. The test provider. Adobe has partnered with PSI and Examity for the proctored exam. You will have to register with your preferred platform, via Adobe Credential Management. I went with Examity and my test experience went quite smoothly. I did not have to install any external software. My proctor was using Go-to-meeting which I already had installed. My champ mentor, for example, took her certification with PSI on Zoom. 


  1. The practice test. Adobe has actually released a practice test for each of the expert exams, which means double the chances to practice! I would advise everyone taking the test to try both, since they are different. The experience is quite similar to the real exam.





 AD0-E552 - 30 question and 1 hour time limit to complete it

 AD0-E558 - 50 questions, no time boundary 


  1. The duration, number of questions and passing mark. A few things are different and what makes me happy is that there are way less questions. The passing mark is lower, but that does not mean the test is easier - quite the opposite, I found it harder than the previous one.


AD0-E558 (new exam)

AD0-E552 (old exam)

Launch year



Number of Questions



Duration (minutes)



Passing mark



Passing mark %




  1. The exam objectives. First off, the old exam has 6 objectives while the new one has 5. This does not mean that any major area was taken out of the exam but rather consolidated and/or renamed. For example, what was called lead management and data management before, now falls under lead management. 

AD0-E558 (new exam)

AD0-E552 (old exam)

Administration and Maintenance (12%)

Implementation and Operations (18%)

Marketing Activities/Campaign Management (46%)

Targeting and Personalization (16%)

Reporting (4%) 

Analytics and Reporting (16%)

Lead Management (12%)

Lead Management (20%)

Data Management (10%)

Program Fundamentals (30%)


Best Practices (16%)


What stands out to me is the reporting section is weighting way less than before (went from 16% to only 4%). In all honesty, I applaud this because I am one of the people who does not use much of the reporting functionality in Marketo, since all the reporting for my company lives in another tool.




An addition to AD0-E558 is the best practices objective. I am happy to see this since best practices are so fundamental to a Marketo instance (think naming convention, folder structure, QA, etc)


  1. The results. This one got me happy (because I passed!) and a bit sad - as I was used to receiving the breakdown of my results by objective right away. I found that to be super interesting and as you read earlier, this is how I know reporting was the area where I scored the least. 


In the new exam there is no breakdown. I received the number of questions I got right out of the total. Also, the results were not delivered immediately, but I did get a provisional pass. A few days later I got a confirmation email that my test results are final and I can see it in my Adobe Portal.


  1. The credential. Adobe also changed the platform where credentials are managed & verified. I created an account with Credly to see my certificate and share it. It’s a fairly easy process and I could see the history of the previous exams I took in Credly. I think there was a data transfer at some point from Adobe.





That’s the scoop I have on the new certification. I’m writing this right after taking the test, while it’s all fresh in my mind. I’m curious - if you renewed recently,  what stood out to you? 


I’m leaving here the links to the study guides where you can find out more information.


  1. AD0-E552
  2. AD0-E558

If you are preparing to take the exam soon, Amy Goldfine wrote a champ blog post about her experience taking the test + tips & tricks. I highly recommend it!

Interested in the other Marketo exam offerings? please check the official Adobe Certification Program guide .