March 14, 2024

  • 5 minutes

Preparing for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate certificate

Blog Team

Preparing for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate certificate

By Elizaveta Risunova

While other options exist in the public cloud market, Amazon Web Services (AWS) associate certifications are highly sought after because AWS dominates the market share. These certifications can be especially beneficial for individuals in technical roles, such as engineers. Including this certification on your resume can be highly advantageous.

I am considering taking this exam for a bunch of reasons:

  • This exam requires comprehensive knowledge of a variety of AWS services, best practices, and architectural patterns. By passing the exams, you validate your understanding of AWS technologies, which is really important in our cloud-centered IT world.
  • The process of preparing for the certification exam can deepen your understanding of AWS services and best practices, making you more effective in your current role.
  • AWS certifications are widely recognized in the IT sector, and holding one can boost professional credibility. Or simply be a really nice addition to your LinkedIn profile 🙂
  • Many employers and organizations value AWS certifications when hiring for roles related to cloud architecture and solutions design, which means that obtaining the certificate can potentially lead to career advancement. Furthermore, organizations that place significance on AWS certifications may assist you in preparing for the certification. They may facilitate study groups, cover the costs of preparation courses, and even fund the examination expenses - that’s a great opportunity that you don’t want to miss.

Preparing for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect exam can certainly cause stress, but implementing some tricks into your learning process can make it more manageable.

Here’s what I do to make sure I will be fully prepared on my exam date:

  1. Get familiar with the exam format and structure. The AWS Solutions Architect certification consists of 65 questions. Some questions have one correct answer, in others you should select 2 or more options. The exam includes 15 unscored questions - this means that only 50 questions from those 65 will affect your score. You will have 130 minutes to complete the exam. You should also know that this is an online proctored exam - which means that this is a timed exam that you take while proctoring software monitors your computer's desktop, webcam video, and audio. You can find the full exam guide on the AWS website: - make sure to spend some time reading it and gathering core information about its format. This will help you prepare yourself mentally.

  2. Consider taking courses. Numerous available courses can help in your exam preparation. A few examples include:

What’s also very useful is taking the tests with questions from the exam. Along with paid options you can easily find websites with the free lists of questions and answers - for example, this one. Make sure to read the discussions under the answers, it may help you gain a better understanding. However, don’t forget that you should use AWS documentation as an ultimate source of truth - sometimes there might be multiple opinions on what the correct answer is, and in case of any doubts, you should refer to the AWS website.

  1. Pay attention to Specific AWS Services. AWS SA Associate exam contains questions about approximately 60 services. But there are a few that will come up on the exam more often than the others. So consider diving deeper on the following topics:

    some text
    2. AMAZON S3

However, keep in mind that chances of getting these topics are high, but not guaranteed. Make sure to prepare for all the services listed in the AWS exam guide.

  1. Get familiar with the answering strategy. Most questions are scenario-based. When answering the question, make sure to determine the key issue. Let's look at the question from the test:

A development team needs to host a website that will be accessed by other teams. The website contents consist of HTML, CSS, client-side JavaScript, and images.

Which method is the MOST cost-effective for hosting the website?

Usually, at least 2 of the provided answer options would fit. However, the key aspect of the question is that this website consists of static content - “client-side JavaScript” is what indicates that, and that's what you should consider when selecting the correct answer. Make sure to read the question carefully, more than once if needed, and identify the keywords. Many of the questions are designed to be confusing, and minor nuances in the wording can change the correct answer. Missing these details is easy if you answer too quickly. Make sure that you’re not just memorizing the correct answer - analyze all options, and understand what’s the difference between them.

  1. Check yourself. One of my favorite learning strategies involves formulating questions after completing a topic and consistently answering them. First of all, while composing the question, you're reviewing the key concepts again. Moreover, it's very important to test yourself after some time. If you're struggling with answering questions you've come up with earlier, that's a good sign that you might need to revise the information. If you're enrolled in a course that includes summary sections in its topics, don't hesitate to revisit them from time to time. One more technique that may sound obvious and trivial but yields great results is to imagine that you need to explain the material to a child (or you can opt for the old-fashioned way and use a rubber duck). Teaching something forces an evaluation of your knowledge from different perspectives, and by explaining something in the simplest terms possible, you will gain a deep understanding of the concepts. In general, that's what's called active learning. You don’t just read the articles or watch the videos; you interact with information in all possible ways, and it really pays off.

One of the biggest keys to passing any test is preparation. So, make sure you study the material thoroughly, keep consistent in learning, stay calm and focused - and remember that the benefits of obtaining the certificate — deepening your knowledge, validating your skills, and gaining professional credibility — are worth it! I wish you success in this challenging yet interesting and extremely helpful journey of preparing for the AWS SA certification, and if you feel like sharing your thoughts on this topic, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.

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