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My Path to AWS Solutions Architect Associate Certification

I prepared for two months with at least one hour prep time each day. Some days, I spent 4 to 5 hours and on weekends I spent 6-8 hours to cover everything. I would recommend people who are willing to do it, to allocate at least 2 months or 3 months for proper preparation if they don’t have a lot of exposure to AWS at work.

I bought A Cloud Guru membership and immediately began listening to their AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam preparation lectures. Ryan Kroonenburg and his team have done good work with their lectures. They are specially good for people who have lesser exposure to the cloud or are completely new to the world of cloud computing and system administration. I followed along with all the labs and it cost me 0.18$ in end of month bill with free tier. So I highly recommend you do the same.

When I finished the course, I was hyped and thought I can book exam now but when I gave final practice tests and used cloud guru’s exam simulator, I was scoring 50% so I was pretty disappointed in myself. That’s when I decided to go in depth and study all resources I can find.

I had heard good things about Jon Bonso’s Udemy Practice Tests so I bought those. Then I made a list of all resources linked to A Cloud Guru lectures, product FAQ pages for S3, SQS, IAM, EC2, EBS, Lambda, DynamoDB, Kinesis, VPC, Route 53 etc and Whitepapers, specially disaster recovery and well architected framework, and all cheatsheets on Tutorials Dojo Website. I organized them in a word document so all resources linked to a particular service would be under one heading. I also found service specific courses such as Introduction to Cloudformation, Application Load Balancer, Introduction to Serverless, S3 Masterclass, DynamoDB Beginner to Pro on Cloud Guru to be of great help so I put their links under service headings in my notes.

Then I started reading all resources for each service one by one and taking notes of important points. I also took ALB, DynamoDB, Cloudformation and Serverless courses to deepen my knowledge for these because I was getting wrong answers for these topics.

Once I was done with all notes of these services, I had a 70 page document with all notes. I then proceeded to give Jon Bonso’s tests on Udemy. I scored 80% in my first attempt on practice 1. Then I read through explanations of all questions and answers and why wrong answers were wrong. For all new information, I kept adding it to my word document containing notes. I revised my notes after each practice test attempt and kept going through all of my notes at least once in 3-4 days. My first scores on Bonso’s tests were 80%, 80%, 91%, 78% and 83%. So I was pretty confident that I covered all of areas comprehensively. I booked my exam after that and scored 924 out of 1000.

If I had to do it all over again, I would probably choose some other course. I have heard good things about Stephane Maarek course on Udemy and Linux Academy course so I would give that a try. My complain with A Cloud Guru course is that it’s misleading and makes you feel you’re ready when you complete it. If you completed that course and associated quiz and gave the exam, you would most certainly fail. You need additional resources to pass. What A Cloud Guru lacks in depth in SAA course, it makes up in other in depth courses you get access to with membership but I would still want everything to be part of one course. I have heard good things about WhizLabs tests as well. I also went in too much depth and knew everything going in exam, If you have less time then go through WhizLabs and Jon Bonso practice tests and tutorials dojo cheatsheets. If you’re like me and want to be absolutely sure that you would pass it, then go through Whitepapers and FAQ pages as well.