I just cleared the AWS solutions architect associate exam—secured 973 marks in a scale of 100 to 1000—and I want to share my preparation strategy for anyone that might benefit from it.
Before starting my preparation, I looked around forums and subreddits for suggestions, and seemingly a popular suggestion was A Cloud Guru video lectures + Whizlabs practice tests. So I went with the popular vote and bought both of them.
A Cloud Guru Video Lectures
The format of A Cloud Guru lectures is not very captivating, it’s the usual slideshow with narration. Still, it helped me get a overall understanding of how every service works and how everything fits together. Kudos to the instructor Ryan who is a great communicator. There was a few hands-on labs too which helped solidify what I learned. I did not take any notes while going through the lectures, as I thought the summary lectures at the end of each section would be enough for revision.
Whizlabs Practice Tests
After I was done with the video lectures, I started taking the Whizlabs practice tests. After each test, I reviewed the answers and took notes for the questions I had difficulties with. Now, Whizlabs has a lot of questions, so I learned many details about the various AWS services from reviewing them. Answering so many questions—some of which have very similar patterns—kind of lets you build a muscle memory for answering the more trivial questions quickly without hesitation.
AWS re:Invent Videos
In between the Whizlabs tests, I watched some re:Invent videos—the ones on DynamoDB and VPC were super helpful in clearing my understanding. Also, the format of these conference talks were much more interesting and captivating than acloud.guru, that was a huge plus point.
Jon Bonso’s Practice Tests
With the above three, I started scoring consistently in the 80s in the Whizlabs practice tests. That made me confident and I started thinking about booking my exam appointment. And… then I fell sick. After a two-week hiatus I was ready to take the exam, but I was worried that I might have forgotten some stuff and my performance might not turn out to be good. So in order to brush up on my knowledge, I bought the practice tests by Jon Bonso on Udemy.
The first two tests were a hit on my confidence as I couldn’t clear any of them. The questions were much more involved; the MCQ options were very similar and required careful interpretation of the problem statement. I was introduced to some new concepts through the questions too. As usual, I took notes after each test, from the questions I had difficulty with. From the third test onwards, I started scoring in the 80s, and that helped me reaffirm my confidence.
After the amount of preparation I did, the exam seemed of okayish difficulty to me—neither too easy, nor too hard. You get plenty of allotted time, so I went over each question twice and double-checked. Some questions were a bit tricky, but using the method of elimination I was able to arrive at an answer I was satisfied with.
I just want to say that you should not depend entirely upon video lectures; practice tests are crucial to solidify your knowledge and expose you to the question patterns. Also, Whizlabs tests are somewhat easier than the actual exam, so don’t let that give you a false sense of confidence.
Links for Resources
If this write-up was helpful to you in any way and if you want to say thanks, consider buying the study resources through the referral links below.
- A Cloud Guru video lectures — Referral. Non-referral.
- Whizlabs practice tests — Non-referral.
- Jon Bonso’s practice tests — Referral. Non-referral.
- My notes on Github. Free and open source, no referral link here XD.
Best of luck on your AWS journey!!!