The Mechanics of the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam


AWS Solutions Architect

This short course describes the mechanics of the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam.  That is, it is an overview of the exam experience without references to the exam's contents.

It covers the associate level exam format, the style of the questions, and the importance of understanding the AWS exam guide.

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of how the exam was created, the style of language used, and the types of questions to expect.

By learning these mechanics, it should remove some of the fear and related anxiety related to the exam. 

Intended Audience

This short course is ideal for anyone preparing to take the Solutions Architect - Associate exam for the first time and wants to learn what types of questions to expect.




Hello, my name is Stephen Cole and I'm a trainer here at Cloud Academy. I'm here today to talk about the mechanics of the AWS solutions architect associate exam. My contact information is shown on the screen. Alternatively, you can reach out to us at Cloud Academy by using the email address and one of our cloud experts will connect with you.

Again I'm here to talk about the mechanics of the solutions architect associate exam. I've been asked numerous times about the exam what it's like and the types of questions it contains. This is different than its content. This short course is about the mechanics of the exam. When I'm finished, you should have a good understanding of the exam how it is presented and what it measures.

Secondarily and probably just as important, I wanna remove some of the uncertainty you may have about taking the exam. Uncertainty can become fear and eventually paralysis. Personally, I am no stranger to AWS exams. To date I have earned nine different AWS certifications over the years including the solutions architect associate certification. Though if you were to consider both version one and version two of the solutions architect associate exam as separate certifications it could be argued that I've earned 10 AWS certifications. That's probably pushing it just a little bit.

When you pass, you'll get a certificate that looks like this but I'm getting ahead of myself. Again am here to talk about the exam how it's built and what it measures. Before I start, I need to be clear about something. As part of the AWS testing process everyone that takes the exam has to agree to a code of conduct and as part of this agreement we are required to keep the specifics of the exam confidential. Violation of this agreement can result in the loss of certification and its related benefits, and I'm not willing to put this at risk. This means I cannot share detailed information about the exam questions. It would be cheating and devalue the certification. That said, I believe I can share my personal experience and perceptions of the exam as well as the types of content it covers without violating this confidentiality agreement.

There are three associate level exams comparing them is a little unfair. Each exam has a target audience and the questions vary accordingly. This means being easier or harder is subjective. There is an overlap between the three exams. I have no way of knowing exactly how much overlap but based on comments in the exam guide as well as my own experience my feeling is that it is about 40%.

All three exams are challenging. To pass them and become certified you must have a solid understanding of how to create, deploy monitor, and secure applications and data inside the AWS Cloud. Passing any of the associate-level exams requires a fair amount of study. By study, I mean it is important to have mindful hands-on experience with AWS.

That said, I am of the opinion that the developer exam was a little easier than the solutions architect associate exam and that the solutions architect associate exam was a little easier than the SysOps administrator exam. Remember, this is my opinion, and I'm speaking for myself. Your experiences will be different than mine. To me, the solutions architect associate exam and the SysOPs exam both seem to require a slightly deeper understanding of the related AWS services and features.

I am also of the opinion that preparing for the solutions architect associate exam gives users of the AWS Cloud a well-rounded skill set that can be used as a foundation for more specialized work. Again, this is in my opinion. Your mileage may vary. Past performance is not indicative of future success. Terms and conditions may apply. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Package sold by weight not volume. Use only as directed. Are these disclaimers enough? I hope so. Okay, moving on to the exam's inner workings.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Stephen is the AWS Certification Specialist at Cloud Academy. His content focuses heavily on topics related to certification on Amazon Web Services technologies. He loves teaching and believes that there are no shortcuts to certification but it is possible to find the right path and course of study.

Stephen has worked in IT for over 25 years in roles ranging from tech support to systems engineering. At one point, he taught computer network technology at a community college in Washington state.

Before coming to Cloud Academy, Stephen worked as a trainer and curriculum developer at AWS and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in cloud technologies.

In his spare time, Stephen enjoys reading, sudoku, gaming, and modern square dancing.

Covered Topics