I just manage to get a PASS on the AWS Solution Architect Professional Certification Exam! 

On my way home on the train and I’m of course happy and relieved that the over 100+ hours of studies made me accomplish the exam. Now, when everything is in top of my head I like to share my experience and thoughts. Hopefully this can help you in your Cloud certification journey.

My motivator for this effort has been my decision to start as a Cloud-consultant. Beginning at tretton37.com in January. Eventually this can be useful in ny new career but it has also been an exciting, fun and learning experience for me personally.

I have not counted all the hours, but except for my 5 years working att Scania with cloud adoption, I’ve added somewhere between 100-200 hours of studies only for this challenge. 
Here are the sources of knowledge that I used. Ordered by importance for me. 

  1. Practice exams
  2. Online training
  3. Work experience
  4. AWS online documentation
  5. AWS Whitepapers

1. Practice exams

When I earlier this year manage to take the SA Associate cert, I realized that doing practice exams was very valuable. This because:

  1. I got an understanding how the questions are formulated. Reading carefully and understanding exactly what the question is and relate that to keywords in the question body explanation is super important.
  2. It was a good way to measure how close I was to be ready to take the shot.
  3. English is not my native language. Reading long and sometimes complicated questions was valuable.

I used four online sources for practicing examinations. In total I made 13 simulated practice exams with 70-80 questions each. All of them was valuable but the interesting part is my results on respective learning platform.

AWS Practice exam

You can buy (or get for free if you have promotion code from previous exam) 20 questions that are made by AWS. These could possibly be questions that you get on the exam and are very similar to the real exam experience. Time pressure and so on. I got one question that was very similar at least. The drawback with this test is that you, as with the real exam, only get total score afterwards. I made this 2 months before the exam and just got by mail a score of 65%. No Idea of what questions I failed on and explanations on those. This is why I recommend the below three alternatives to exam preparations where you get explanations after the test.

Whizlabs

There are six preparation exams for SA Pro on https://whizlabs.com. The questions on those are with very varying quality. Some (luckily very few) suggested answers are wrong which for me was very frustrating. Luckily there is an ability to post comments, so you can get comfortable that it is not only you that the suggested answer is wrong.
Whizlabs has definitely the hardest questions. I had an average score of only 70% which is actually on average below the required 75%. Do not get scared by all the very, very detailed questions.

Udemy

There are four preparation exams for SA Pro on https://udemy.com. Unlike Whizlabs, Udemy SA Pro questions are similar in the way the questions are formulated on the real exam. Long questions where you need to zoom in to what is actually the important things for the question.
One small drawback with these questions are that the alternatives often are to simple. Even an area where you are not skilled, you can rule out alternatives. I had an average score of 81% on the Udemy tests.

TutorialsDojo

There are four preparation exams for SA Pro on https://portal.tutorialsdojo.com. These practice exams have the same pros and cons as with Udemy. I had an average score of 88%.

A final tip regarding the use of practice exams. The important part is not to do the tests, it is to analyze the results afterwards. This is the point where you increase your learning.

2. Online Training

The online preparation courses are with instructors are mostly of good quality. I used the common ones like:

If there is a single course I recommend you to take, you should go for this one: https://www.udemy.com/course/aws-solutions-architect-professional. Maarek Stephane is so inspiring and point to details you probably have not thought about. And the content was to me very helpful to pass the exam. Thank you Maarek!

…more details regarding these topics will be updated in this post. But not today :-)…