Hi. Today I will tell you how to prepare and pass the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam (SAA-C02).
Who is this certificate for? For people who want to confirm their knowledge of the AWS cloud in the context of architecture. According to the guidelines, the owner of the AWS Solutions Architect Associate certificate should have the ability to design AWS cloud systems.
The exam itself is not difficult. What may initially scare you is the number of components, technologies or tools that are available in AWS. However, people without practical experience in AWS can also successfully learn and pass this exam.
How long does it take to prepare for the exam? It very much depends on whether you already have experience with AWS. If you are already experienced, then 3-4 weeks should be spent on preparation. People without experience should prepare for about 2 months.
The exam topics relate to the following domains:
|Domain||% of Exam|
|Domain 1: Design Resilient Architectures||30%|
|Domain 2: Design High-Performing Architectures||28%|
|Domain 3: Design Secure Applications and Architectures||24%|
|Domain 4: Design Cost-Optimized Architectures||18%|
Below is a list of services that you need to know to pass the exam:
- Amazon Athena
- Amazon Elasticsearch Service (Amazon ES)
- Amazon EMR
- AWS Glue
- Amazon Kinesis
- Amazon QuickSight
AWS Billing and Cost Management:
- AWS Budgets
- Cost Explorer
- Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS)
- Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS)
- Amazon EC2
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk
- Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)
- Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS)
- Elastic Load Balancing
- AWS Fargate
- AWS Lambda
- Amazon Aurora
- Amazon DynamoDB
- Amazon ElastiCache
- Amazon RDS
- Amazon Redshift
Management and Governance:
- AWS Auto Scaling
- AWS Backup
- AWS CloudFormation
- AWS CloudTrail
- Amazon CloudWatch
- AWS Config
- Amazon EventBridge (Amazon CloudWatch Events)
- AWS Organizations
- AWS Resource Access Manager
- AWS Systems Manager
- AWS Trusted Advisor
Migration and Transfer:
- AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS)
- AWS DataSync
- AWS Migration Hub
- AWS Server Migration Service (AWS SMS)
- AWS Snowball
- AWS Transfer Family
Networking and Content Delivery:
- Amazon API Gateway
- Amazon CloudFront
- AWS Direct Connect
- AWS Global Accelerator
- Amazon Route 53
- AWS Transit Gateway
- Amazon VPC (and associated features)
Security, Identity, and Compliance:
- AWS Certificate Manager (ACM)
- AWS Directory Service
- Amazon GuardDuty
- AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
- Amazon Inspector
- AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS)
- Amazon Macie
- AWS Secrets Manager
- AWS Shield
- AWS Single Sign-On
- AWS WAF
- Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS)
- Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS)
- Amazon FSx
- Amazon S3
- Amazon S3 Glacier
- AWS Storage Gateway
1. Udemy Course
A good starting course is the training prepared by Stephane Maarek: https://www.udemy.com/course/aws-certified-solutions-architect-associate-saa-c02/ .
The instructor quickly and accurately provides all the necessary information needed to pass the exam. The course itself is also updated very often (the last update appeared a few days ago).
It’s also worth mentioning here that Udemy courses are usually very expensive. Therefore, it is worth waiting for a discount or trying to buy from another computer or use the browser in incognito mode.
2. Sample questions
For the best database of sample questions, see Jon Bonso’s set on Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/course/aws-certified-solutions-architect-associate-amazon-practice-exams-saa-c02. This is a great help in studying for the exam.
3. Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (Digital)
It is also a good idea to take part in the free exam preparation course available on the website: https://www.aws.training/Details/Curriculum?id=20685&saa=sec&sec=prep
The course shows what the exam looks like and what its scope is. In addition you also have a chance to learn a few sample questions that may appear during the exam.
4. Prep Exam
Before the exam itself, it is worth taking a mock exam (cost $ 20) on the AWS website (https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certified-solutions-architect-associate/). This is a shortened version of the test with questions very similar to those you will meet in the exam. This way you can check before the exam what else needs to be repeated. Importantly, the exam has a fixed list of questions, so it’s not worth paying for the approach again.
Basic rules of the exam:
- theory test consisting of 65 single or multiple-choice questions
- exam time is 130 minutes. In the case of people who do not speak English on a daily basis, it is possible to request an extension of the exam by 30 minutes
- to pass, you need to get about 72% of correct answers. The scoring however, is dynamic and scaled to the difficulty of the questions. For more information on scoring, please visit: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/training-and-certification/demystifying-your-aws-certification-exam-score/
- for questions with multiple answers it is necessary to mark all correct answers to get a point. However, in such cases there is information about how many correct answers there are
- The exam can be taken at home (using the Pearson VUE or PSI platform) or at examination centers.
- The cost of the exam is $ 150
- Any question can be flagged. This is useful when you have a problem with any of the questions. In that case, it’s best to mark them and come back to this if there is still time. It is also possible that you will find the answer in another question during the exam.
- In many cases, the answers to the question will be very similar. Here it is worth using the elimination method and selecting the answer that will remain at the end
- If there is any time left after selecting the answers to all the questions, it is worth reviewing them again. You may still find a wrong answer.
This exam is relatively easy. It takes some time to prepare for it, but I believe it will pay off in terms of general knowledge of the AWS platform. It is very possible that after passing this exam you will want to get another AWS certificate 🙂