How to prepare for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam

Time does fly… It has been a couple of weeks since I took and passed the AWS Certified Solution Architect exam. But it was such a good experience and that’s why I want to share how I prepared and sat the exam.

AWS Certified

The Exam

Having done all different kind of VMware exams, the whole AWS exam was refreshing! Instead of asking really specific questions what certain products could do, this AWS exam goes into more detail about how you would solve an issue for a customer. That is just a completely different approach and was quite interesting to say the least.

For the exam itself you can follow the basic exam rules:

  • Read the question in full, no really read them in full!
  • For multiple choice use the eliminate process
  • Flag the question when in doubt and move on
  • Don’t stress, I’m serious just try keep your calm and take a deep breath you’ll be OK!
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    Study Resources

    Exam Guide

    Download the latest version of the Exam Guide here and read it carefully. At the time of writing there are two options for the exam:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (Released February 2018)
  • Please do read the Exam Guides carefully because the exams are quite different!

    AWS Free Tier

    When you don’t have a lot of real life experience under your belt with AWS, where do you get started then? Well my advice is that your first step is to sign up for the AWS Free Tier. The AWS Free Tier gives you free, hands-on experience with the AWS platform, products, and services!

    So what are you doing still here? Go sign up!

    A Cloud Guru

    And then? What to do next? I went for the video course approach and watched the whole A Cloud Guru – AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate course within a week (luckily I had to travel a lot that week 😉 ). It is one of the best video courses I’ve done and I have the uttermost respect for all the work Ryan Kroonenburg and his team put in to it!

    AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide

    What about a good old trustworthy book? I’m personally not a real fan of books (sorry I would rather see the movie 😉 ) but I did borrowed the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide from my colleague Jeffrey Kusters (thanks again Jeff for your help, otherwise it would have been a train wreck!). It contains some good practice questions that have a similar style as the questions in the exam.

    AWS FAQs

    Amazon has some superb FAQs containing tons and tons of information and also contains essential information for the exam!

    STUDY TIP: Focus on the following FAQs *wink wink nudge nudge*

  • Amazon EC2
  • Amazon S3
  • Amazon VPC
  • Amazon Route 53
  • Amazon RDS
  • Amazon SQS
  • So what’s next?

    For me the whole AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate exam was just an awesome experience! It gave me a new boost in pursuing new and different kind of exams. At this moment I just want to get some more hands on experience first, with al the spiffy AWS services before sitting the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam. So next up I think it is the Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching exam, an exam I’ve been pushing back for years… To be continued!

    Marco van Baggum

    Marco van Baggum

    Works as a Virtualization Consultant for ITQ. More details can be found on the About page

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