aws-certified-solutions-architect-associate

Are you looking to enhance your career in cloud computing? Are you eager to demonstrate your expertise in architecting solutions on Amazon Web Services (AWS)? If so, then the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate (SAA-C03) exam might just be the step you take in your professional journey.

In this blog, I'll share practical information to help you prepare effectively for the AWS SAA-C03 exam

Benefits of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate Exam

Before exploring the journey of passing the AWS SAA-C03 exam, it's crucial to understand the benefits it brings:

  1. Recognition: Achieving AWS certification showcases your proficiency in designing and deploying scalable, highly available, and fault-tolerant systems on AWS.
  2. Career Advancement: AWS certifications are highly valued in the industry, opening up opportunities for career advancement and higher-paying roles.
  3. Expertise Validation: Passing the AWS SAA-C03 exam validates your expertise in utilizing AWS services to solve real-world problems, boosting your credibility among peers and employers.

Exam Guide

The exam guide available on the AWS website provides a comprehensive overview of the exam content, serving as a valuable resource for those preparing to take the test.

Preparation Steps

1. Motivation

Discovering your motivation is crucial as you prepare for the AWS SAA-C03 exam, particularly if you've been deeply involved with AWS technologies for an extended period. It's common to begin feeling complacent and lose your enthusiasm for exam preparation.

Best is to allocate a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of dedicated time on a daily basis. By committing to regular study sessions, you can steadily build your knowledge and skills, increasing your confidence and readiness for the exam.

2. Setting Up an AWS Free Tier Account

The journey begins with practical hands-on experience. Setting up an AWS Free Tier account provides you with access to a wide range of AWS services without incurring any costs. This allows you to experiment, build, and test architectures in a real-world AWS environment. Most, but not all, of the hands-on exercises can be carried out using an AWS Free Tier account.

Here, you can learn how to set up a free tier AWS account.

3. Reading Materials

There's a lot of stuff online about the AWS SAA-C03 exam, which can get overwhelming fast. Therefore, it's essential to stay focused and channel your energy in the right productive direction.

Udemy have a bunch of AWS Solution Architect Associate courses made for different ways of learning. Just check for the ones with good ratings and reviews to make sure you're getting good stuff to learn from.

I recommend any of the following courses.
Ultimate AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate SAA-C03 by Stephane Maarek
AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate (SAA-C03) Course by Neal Davis

Personally, I enrolled in Stephane Maarek's course, but I have also read good reviews about Nael Davis couse.

Additionally, I suggest creating an account on the AWS Training website. It's a comprehensive platform that contains nearly all the necessary training materials and information related to certification exams.

AWS Training also has a tab to Skill Builder, which provides several learning materials for free.

https://explore.skillbuilder.aws/learn/course/external/view/elearning/14760/exam-prep-aws-certified-solutions-architect-associate-saa-c03

4. Mock Tests

Practice makes perfect, and this holds true for the AWS SAA-C03 exam. Mock tests simulate the exam environment, allowing you to assess your knowledge, identify areas of improvement, and familiarize yourself with the exam format and question types.

Several online platforms offer AWS practice exams, including official AWS practice tests and third-party resources. Dedicate good time to solving practice questions and aim for consistent improvement in your scores.


I recommend that you avoid from taking the exam until you consistently achieve an 80% or higher score on practice tests.

Mock Test Package # 1:

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Practice Exams by Neal Davis

Pros: Addresses a wide array of subjects.

Cons: Each test focuses heavily on certain topics, sometimes overlooking other areas. The actual exam covers a wide range of topics in a single test. However, completing all tests in this package can still be greatly beneficial.

Mock Test Package # 2:

Practice Exams | AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate by Stephane Maarek

Pros: Cover good range of topics.

Cons: Some questions are excessively long, making it challenging to complete the test within the allotted time.

5. AWS Well-Architected

The reading materials discussed earlier cover various AWS technologies. The exam is comprised of multiple-choice questions, many of which have two very similar options out of four or five, leading to potential confusion.

In many questions, there might be more than one option that seems "logically" correct. It's crucial to concentrate on the specific ask or wording in each question. For instance, some questions may seek the "Most cost-effective solution" while others demand a solution with the "least operational overhead" This is where the AWS Well-Architected framework documentation proves invaluable in understanding the purpose of using any service in a given scenario.

"The AWS Well-Architected Framework describes key concepts, design principles, and architectural best practices for designing and running workloads in the cloud."

6. Preparation Sequence

People often discover various methods that suit their exam preparation style. Personally, I found the following sequence to be highly effective.

  1. Watched all the video lessons on Udemy course
  2. Read the well architected framework
  3. Taking mock tests was crucial for assessing my preparation. Mock tests provided a clear indication of question formats and areas needing improvement.
  4. I had to go back to step 1, to watch video lesson again, but this time lesson focused only on selected topics.

7. Key Areas

I may not remember every detail, but my actual exam primarily covered the following areas:

  • IAM Roles and Policies
  • AWS Cognito
  • JSON Policy Selection
  • EC2 Instance Types and Purchase Options
  • AMI Replication Across Regions
  • Load Balancer Types and Differences
  • Auto Scaling and Policies
  • Storage Classes: S3, Instance Store, EBS, EFS
  • S3 Lifecycle Policies, Especially in Disaster Recovery Context
  • S3 Transfer Acceleration
  • Database Technologies: RDS, Aurora, In-Memory Databases
  • Provisioning Databases on EC2 Instances
  • Serverless Aurora Database
  • In-Memory Databases like Memcached and Redis
  • Database Replication Across Regions
  • Database Encryption
  • Route53: A Records vs AAAA Records
  • Alias vs CNAME
  • Routing Policies: Latency-Based, Failover for Disaster Recovery
  • Route53 Health Checks with Load Balancer
  • CloudFormation for Automation
  • CloudFront
  • WAF Rules: Rate-Based Adaptation, SQL Injection
  • CloudFront with API Gateway
  • AWS Global Accelerators
  • AWS ECS (Elastic Container Service)
  • EKS
  • Serverless Launch Type with Fargate
  • Managing Multiple Accounts in AWS Organizations
  • AWS Control Tower
  • AWS GuardDuty, AWS Inspector, Macie
  • AWS Direct Connect, Site-to-Site VPN Connections
  • Storage Gateways: File, Volume, Tape
  • Machine Learning technologies, Comprehand, Textract, Rekognition etc
  • Kinesis Data Firehose, Kinesis Streams
  • SQS (FIFO and Standard), SNS Topics
  • CloudWatch, CloudTrail, EventBridge
  • AWS Lambda Functions, Including Lambda@Edge
  • AWS Snow Family
  • VPCs: EC2 Accessing S3 in Private Subnets
  • NAT Gateway, NAT Instances

8. Sample Questions

You may find some sample question here,

https://d1.awsstatic.com/training-and-certification/docs-sa-assoc/AWS-Certified-Solutions-Architect-Associate_Sample-Questions.pdf

9. Exam overview

Format: 65 questions, either multiple choice or multiple response.
Length: 130 minutes to complete the exam
Cost: 150+30(tax) USD

Your results for the exam are reported as a scaled score of 100–1,000. The minimum passing score is 720.

10. Book an Exam

You need to create an account to book the exam here.

Exam Result

You can typically expect to receive your exam results within one to five working days, although in most cases, they are available within just 24 hours.

Conclusion

Passing the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate exam requires diligent preparation, hands-on experience, and a strategic approach to learning. By leveraging resources such as AWS Free Tier, Udemy courses, and mock tests, you can equip yourself with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the exam and demonstrate your expertise in architecting solutions on AWS.

GOOD LUCK!

Are you looking to enhance your career in cloud computing? Are you eager to demonstrate your expertise in architecting solutions on Amazon Web Services (AWS)? If so, then the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C03) exam might just be the step you take in your professional journey.

In this blog, I’ll share practical information to help you prepare effectively for the AWS SAA-C03 exam

Benefits of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Exam

Before exploring the journey of passing the AWS SAA-C03 exam, it’s crucial to understand the benefits it brings:

  1. Recognition: Achieving AWS certification showcases your proficiency in designing and deploying scalable, highly available, and fault-tolerant systems on AWS.
  2. Career Advancement: AWS certifications are highly valued in the industry, opening up opportunities for career advancement and higher-paying roles.
  3. Expertise Validation: Passing the AWS SAA-C03 exam validates your expertise in utilizing AWS services to solve real-world problems, boosting your credibility among peers and employers.

Exam Guide

The exam guide available on the AWS website provides a comprehensive overview of the exam content, serving as a valuable resource for those preparing to take the test.

Preparation Steps

1. Motivation

Discovering your motivation is crucial as you prepare for the AWS SAA-C03 exam, particularly if you’ve been deeply involved with AWS technologies for an extended period. It’s common to begin feeling complacent and lose your enthusiasm for exam preparation.

Best is to allocate a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of dedicated time on a daily basis. By committing to regular study sessions, you can steadily build your knowledge and skills, increasing your confidence and readiness for the exam.

2. Setting Up an AWS Free Tier Account

The journey begins with practical hands-on experience. Setting up an AWS Free Tier account provides you with access to a wide range of AWS services without incurring any costs. This allows you to experiment, build, and test architectures in a real-world AWS environment. Most, but not all, of the hands-on exercises can be carried out using an AWS Free Tier account.

Here, you can learn how to set up a free tier AWS account.

3. Reading Materials

There’s a lot of stuff online about the AWS SAA-C03 exam, which can get overwhelming fast. Therefore, it’s essential to stay focused and channel your energy in the right productive direction.

Udemy have a bunch of AWS Solution Architect Associate courses made for different ways of learning. Just check for the ones with good ratings and reviews to make sure you're getting good stuff to learn from.

I recommend any of the following courses.
Ultimate AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate SAA-C03 by Stephane Maarek
AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate (SAA-C03) Course by Neal Davis

Personally, I enrolled in Stephane Maarek’s course, but I have also read good reviews about Nael Davis couse.

Additionally, I suggest creating an account on the AWS Training website. It’s a comprehensive platform that contains nearly all the necessary training materials and information related to certification exams.

AWS Training also has a tab to Skill Builder, which provides several learning materials for free.

https://explore.skillbuilder.aws/learn/course/external/view/elearning/14760/exam-prep-aws-certified-solutions-architect-associate-saa-c03

4. Mock Tests

Practice makes perfect, and this holds true for the AWS SAA-C03 exam. Mock tests simulate the exam environment, allowing you to assess your knowledge, identify areas of improvement, and familiarize yourself with the exam format and question types.

Several online platforms offer AWS practice exams, including official AWS practice tests and third-party resources. Dedicate good time to solving practice questions and aim for consistent improvement in your scores.


I recommend that you avoid from taking the exam until you consistently achieve an 80% or higher score on practice tests.

Mock Test Package # 1:

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Practice Exams by Neal Davis

Pros: Addresses a wide array of subjects.

Cons: Each test focuses heavily on certain topics, sometimes overlooking other areas. The actual exam covers a wide range of topics in a single test. However, completing all tests in this package can still be greatly beneficial.

Mock Test Package # 2:

Practice Exams | AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate by Stephane Maarek

Pros: Cover good range of topics.

Cons: Some questions are excessively long, making it challenging to complete the test within the allotted time.

5. AWS Well-Architected

The reading materials discussed earlier cover various AWS technologies. The exam is comprised of multiple-choice questions, many of which have two very similar options out of four or five, leading to potential confusion.

In many questions, there might be more than one option that seems “logically” correct. It’s crucial to concentrate on the specific ask or wording in each question. For instance, some questions may seek the “Most cost-effective solution” while others demand a solution with the “least operational overhead” This is where the AWS Well-Architected framework documentation proves invaluable in understanding the purpose of using any service in a given scenario.

“The AWS Well-Architected Framework describes key concepts, design principles, and architectural best practices for designing and running workloads in the cloud.”

6. Preparation Sequence

People often discover various methods that suit their exam preparation style. Personally, I found the following sequence to be highly effective.

  1. Watched all the video lessons on Udemy course
  2. Read the well architected framework
  3. Taking mock tests was crucial for assessing my preparation. Mock tests provided a clear indication of question formats and areas needing improvement.
  4. I had to go back to step 1, to watch video lesson again, but this time lesson focused only on selected topics.

7. Key Areas

I may not remember every detail, but my actual exam primarily covered the following areas:

  • IAM Roles and Policies
  • AWS Cognito
  • JSON Policy Selection
  • EC2 Instance Types and Purchase Options
  • AMI Replication Across Regions
  • Load Balancer Types and Differences
  • Auto Scaling and Policies
  • Storage Classes: S3, Instance Store, EBS, EFS
  • S3 Lifecycle Policies, Especially in Disaster Recovery Context
  • S3 Transfer Acceleration
  • Database Technologies: RDS, Aurora, In-Memory Databases
  • Provisioning Databases on EC2 Instances
  • Serverless Aurora Database
  • In-Memory Databases like Memcached and Redis
  • Database Replication Across Regions
  • Database Encryption
  • Route53: A Records vs AAAA Records
  • Alias vs CNAME
  • Routing Policies: Latency-Based, Failover for Disaster Recovery
  • Route53 Health Checks with Load Balancer
  • CloudFormation for Automation
  • CloudFront
  • WAF Rules: Rate-Based Adaptation, SQL Injection
  • CloudFront with API Gateway
  • AWS Global Accelerators
  • AWS ECS (Elastic Container Service)
  • EKS
  • Serverless Launch Type with Fargate
  • Managing Multiple Accounts in AWS Organizations
  • AWS Control Tower
  • AWS GuardDuty, AWS Inspector, Macie
  • AWS Direct Connect, Site-to-Site VPN Connections
  • Storage Gateways: File, Volume, Tape
  • Machine Learning technologies, Comprehand, Textract, Rekognition etc
  • Kinesis Data Firehose, Kinesis Streams
  • SQS (FIFO and Standard), SNS Topics
  • CloudWatch, CloudTrail, EventBridge
  • AWS Lambda Functions, Including Lambda@Edge
  • AWS Snow Family
  • VPCs: EC2 Accessing S3 in Private Subnets
  • NAT Gateway, NAT Instances

8. Sample Questions

You may find some sample question here,

https://d1.awsstatic.com/training-and-certification/docs-sa-assoc/AWS-Certified-Solutions-Architect-Associate_Sample-Questions.pdf

9. Exam overview

Format: 65 questions, either multiple choice or multiple response.
Length: 130 minutes to complete the exam
Cost: 150+30(tax) USD

Your results for the exam are reported as a scaled score of 100–1,000. The minimum passing score is 720.

10. Book an Exam

You need to create an account to book the exam here.

Exam Result

You can typically expect to receive your exam results within one to five working days, although in most cases, they are available within just 24 hours.

Conclusion

Passing the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam requires diligent preparation, hands-on experience, and a strategic approach to learning. By leveraging resources such as AWS Free Tier, Udemy courses, and mock tests, you can equip yourself with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the exam and demonstrate your expertise in architecting solutions on AWS.

GOOD LUCK!

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