November 25, 2018

Preparing for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Exam

For the past two months, I have been studying for my AWS certified solutions architect associate exam. This was the first AWS certification that I had done, and so I didn’t have any prior experience in terms of what to study, or what the exam format would be like. I thought it would be useful to summarize the resources that I used to prepeare, and what kind of things to expect when it comes to the certification exam.

The number one thing that I recommend is to take the solutions architect associate course. The course goes over most of the common topics on the exam, has hands-on labs where they show you how to use AWS technologies, and has practice quizzes to test yourself on. The course has over 20 hours of content and you can enroll for only $15 on I would say 90% of the exam material was covered directly in this course. The smaller quizzes at the end of each chapter were not as similar to the format of the actual exam, but the mega quizzes at the end of the course were VERY similar to the type of questions that you can expect to see.

After taking the course I read the AWS FAQs for the following services:

  • EC2
  • Lambda
  • API gateway
  • S3
  • Route 53
  • DynamoDB
  • RDS
  • Aurora
  • EBS

I also found that the AWS well architected framework whitepapers were good to read in order to understand what types of AWS services you should be using in particular situations. Many of the exam questions will test you on situational scenarios, so having a deep understanding of how to create well designed architectures is a must.

In the week up to the exam, I studied the “exam tips” sections from the course, and did a lot of practice exams online. If you just do a google search for free AWS solutions architect associate practice quizzes, there are many sites that have some, although not all of them are the best quality. The best one that I found, that has a format that’s very similar to the actual exam is this course on udemy (free coupon codes can be found online for two of the tests). Doing these tests, as well as the mega quizzes the day before the exam helped get me to get in the right mindset before taking the exam.

The last tip that I have is to flag any questions that you’re uncertain about during the exam. It allows you to visually see approximately how well you are doing during the exam, and you can return to those questions if you have time at any point during the exam. Remember that it’s probably good to aim for at least a 75% on the exam to pass, so if you see that less than 14 of your answers are flagged, then you are probably doing well!