How I Passed the AWS Solutions Architect — Associate June 2019

Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash

Table of Contents

Background

  • Working on AWS for 2 years
  • AWS Cloud Practioner and Developer Certified
  • I took about 6 months to prepare and understand the concepts

Exam Overview

  • Score 855/1000
  • The exam was harder than I expected and practice tests I used surely helped prepare for at least 70% of the exam questions. AWS really grilled on the core services like:

EC2, ECS, Lambda, Elastic Beanstalk, Athena, Kinesis, EBS, S3, Autoscaling, Route53, IAM, DynamoDB, RDS, KMS, SQS, SNS, Developer Tools, API Gateway, VPC, EFS, Glacier and many more.

  • Completed the exam in one hour and used the other hour to review each question again
  • There are only a few questions from each of these services, that’s why you must make sure you know everything about these services; how they can be used (real-life scenarios), how each service can be connected to one another, and hands-on experience tremendously helps.

Resources

Books I have read

Videos I watched

Comments: It was a high-level course, it wasn’t very helpful as much as other video content.

Comments: Just wanted to see what the course entails and just for fun I watched to the whole thing. This guy is the best! They way he explains everything it sticks to your brain and his voice is easy to understand with great scenarios/examples. At the same time, it doesn’t cover everything and this video course is not enough to pass the associate level.

Comments: Now this guy is something. He really took his time to explain end to end on each service that is covered on the blueprint of the exam and covered extra topics which I love. Although I couldn’t complete most of the course I focused on the services that I primarily lacked the knowledge of and wanted to learn more about and it was worth it.

Comments: I would say one of the best courses out there for this exam. He explains concepts so well and does hands-on labs for every service/concept he talks about. The course is neatly organized, the way he approaches his teaching is very clear and easy to understand. Also has a basic practice test included in the course.

Practice Tests

Comments: These tests are really hard and if you can try to get to 80% you are well off for the exam. They cover almost all the services and the right type of scenario-based questions on the exam. What I love about this course is the way they explain your incorrect answers. They took their sweet time to draw diagrams, link external references and a paragraph of the explanation.

Comments: Just like Jon Bonso, Neal Davis is well known for designing his tests. Thoroughly enjoyed failing his tests but learned a ton out of his explanations. He also covers most of the services. This guy basically forces you to pay attention to the keywords of the questions and pick only the choices that are relevant which is a key to passing the exam. Make sure you fully understand what the questions are asking before you divert and pick tempting answers!!!

Cheat Sheets, Documentation, References

https://d1.awsstatic.com/whitepapers/AWS_Cloud_Best_Practices.pdf

https://d1.awsstatic.com/whitepapers/Security/AWS_Security_Best_Practices.pdf

Keep on a lookout for people who took the test, learn from their feedback, and keep yourself updated

Recommendations

Everyone has their own way of studying, I tried to cover all types of medium (no pun intended) to feel comfortable with the AWS Services

If I were to suggest or better recommend on how to study for this exam then I would do the following:

  • First — Watch this video
  • Second — Buy these tests and re-take them until you get (100%)! The more you take them the more you will be prepared.

Neal Davis, Digital Cloud Training

Jon Bonso, Tutorials Dojo

Understand where you are making mistakes, what you need to improve on, focus on learning each service, do hands-on labs or just follow Stephen in his videos

  • Third — If you are a book person, then I highly recommend reading this book

Do read the reviews first, the book is expensive. I really liked it and it did help a lot for the exam.

  • Fourth — Read FAQs for in-depth knowledge and Whitepapers to learn the best practices
  • Fifth— If at this time you are not confident enough or don’t understand anything and don’t mind spending extra money, and would like to take your time to learn end-to-end on the services required then I recommend watching the 73-hour course
  • Sixth — For review before the test go through cheat sheets which basically summarizes each service

Although ACloud guru is well known for their courses I didn’t feel worth for their money and content. Their practice exams weren’t useful as well.

Final Thoughts

  • This is not a memorization game. You cannot pass if you just memorize what each service does.
  • Please do enjoy the process of learning for this certification. Be curious about each service and take the time to play with it using the free AWS trial account
  • Pick the right resources to study as it plays a vital role in how you understand and the amount of time you take to learn.
  • When taking the real exam, understand the question and mentally underline key words or re-read the question twice if you must

Don’t study just to pass the exam (anyone can do that); study to improve the processes of your (current/future) company and to solve real-world problems.

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DevOps Engineer

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Sai Dilip Ponnaganti

Sai Dilip Ponnaganti

DevOps Engineer

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