Getting ready for the AWS Solutions Architect certification exam
Cloud Academy has a wealth of material to help you prepare for the Solutions Architect certification exam. But the question often bothering newcomers to AWS is “How will I know when I am ready?”
This is something that probably concerns anyone preparing for any AWS certification but, since the associate level of the Solutions Architect certification is generally the first one you’ll take at AWS, it will require the greatest attention.
So what, exactly, will you need? Amazon recommends that you have at least one year of practical experience with AWS before attempting to achieve Solutions Architect certification. Personally, I’m not sure that this is always necessary, but I do believe that you definitely will need some practical experience.
Of course no two readers will come to this with the same background and understanding of the way things work on AWS, and consequently, there is no one learning path that will work best for everyone. One thing I can say is that a very good measure of whether or not you’re ready is the AWS practice exam. This will cost you USD $20, but in my opinion, it’s money very well spent. Besides being a great way to get a feel for the kind of questions you’ll face in the real thing, the results can give you a really good sense of whether you are ready to take the full exam.
The associate level Solutions Architect certification requires a 65% score, so if you were to take the practice exam and score 55%, you’ll know that you are almost there but need to brush up on areas you are not too sure about. Since you won’t receive “marks” on individual questions from the practice exam (just an overall score), I would suggest you keep track of any questions that come up that you are not sure about. Perhaps you could simply jot down a quick note, like “don’t understand CIDR?” or “need to understand VPC’s better,” etc.
That should give you some sense of what you still need to work on. However, if you were to take the practice and get 20%, you will obviously need a bit more work before you sit for the main exam. The other thing to keep in mind is that the practice exam is only 20 questions but the main exam is 55 so you shouldn’t attribute too much importance to your practice result.
Besides the practice exam, to help you visualize the kinds of questions you’ll encounter, AWS provides a few sample questions for free here.
Cloud Academy Solutions Architect Certification resources
Cloud Academy has lots of resources to help you here as well. Taking the associate level Solutions Architect certification preparation quiz is a great way to test your readiness. One of the really nice things about the Cloud Academy quizzes is that the correct answers and their in-depth explanations are instantly available, allowing you to quickly fill in gaps in your knowledge. But more relevant to our discussion: if you’re able to smoothly sail through the Cloud Academy quiz, then you should be fairly confident that you’re ready to take the Big One. And if you’re still having trouble, just take it again.
Of course, there’s no reason why you should ignore Cloud Academy’s other resources. Here’s a checklist of courses and labs you could use to make sure you haven’t missed anything:
- AWS Solutions Architect Level Certification Course – Part 1 of 3
- AWS Solutions Architect Level Certification Course – Part 2 of 3
- AWS Solutions Architect Level Certification Course – Part 3 of 3
- How to Architect with a Design for Failure Approach
- Load Balancing with ELB
- Introduction to IAM
- Automated data management with EBS, S3, and Glacier
So to answer the question “Am I ready to sit for the AWS Solutions Architect certification?” here’s how I would approach it: take the practice exam to assess your basic level, identify the areas where you’re weak and study up. Then take the full exam when you feel you are ready.
And if you don’t pass the full exam on your first try, don’t be too upset, these are all important steps towards your goal:
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
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