Passing the AWS Associate Exam

Looking for advice on passing an AWS Architecture Associate Exam? I had been looking for that advice very recently. Fortunately, there are plenty of good resources out there to help. (And yes, I did pass the exam recently.)

Advice isn’t in the form of exam answers. Well, it is if you’re willing to dig in.

I followed four tiers of study. You don’t need all four. You could do only Tier 1 and likely do great on the exam provided you dig into the tests as recommended.

Tier 1

  • — after each module, take the quizzes. Once you’ve worked through everything,  take the exam either timed or not. The questions are NOT the questions on the AWS Exam, but they are really helpful. The most important thing you can do is dig into all the answers, right or wrong. Two answers are often reasonably good with the detail of one being incorrect with the detail of another being correct. Those details are important for the actual exam! Understand why the wrong answers are wrong. You may not see the question on the actual exam, but digging into understanding why a certain solution for a problem is not right can help you understand when it is the appropriate choice. Lastly, there is no substitute for taking the timed exams — even in the comfort of your home, you feel a little pressure — that’s a good thing to do.

Tier 2

  • — they also have an exam simulator. I found their courses to be just as good as Linux Academy’s course. The exams were good too. I used their course a little less than Linux Academy.
  • (Elias Khnaser’s courses)

Tier 3

Two excellent free videos about VPC from re:Invent. (Yes, you can see a LOT from re:Invent without going.)

Both presentations are really insightful. In both cases, the presenters build your knowledge from the ground up. You could watch either one and walk away with a good understanding. I really do like both, and they are well worth your time. I listened to both several times during commutes — not ideal, but helpful nonetheless.

  • Amazon does guide you, to a great extent, in their book AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide available at Amazon.Before purchasing the Official Study Guide, read Casey Hendley’s review of the book on Amazon’s site. The book is a little dated given, as Casey says, that “Amazon changes things on AWS at a frightening pace”. I would not use this book alone to pass the exam.

Tier 4 – Immersion

If you can afford it, attend re:Invent or a Summit. I’ve done both multiple times. Immersing yourself in the domain is worthwhile, and if you’re a working professional, hard to do on your own. I burn a week of vacation for re:Invent, spend the money and immerse!

Amazon offered a free HA course in NYC. So, I went and took it. Had a great time both with the course and in the city.

I live in Chicago, so I attended the Chicago Summits in 2016 and 2017.

Washington, DC is awesome, so I went to the Public Sector Summit. Don’t work in the public sector — didn’t care.

Went to re:Invent in Vegas twice. Those are more expensive efforts, but for me, well worth it.


(Feature Photo by Ben White on Unsplash)


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