By Anand Rao N, CertGlobal CTO


I took my Amazon’s new AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification exam in Jan 2017. The exam is 55 multiple choice questions with a time limit of 80 minutes and a minimum passing score of 65%. I completed it in about 60 minutes with 83% of questions answered correctly. The exam is really comprehensive and would expect you to be very through with certain AWS service offerings that I will explain in a minute. I had worked on various AWS services in the past and hence it was easy for me to co-relate the questions with what I had accomplished in the cloud projects.

I have taken numerous certifications in last 3 years and felt that this one is really different. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate focuses on real world experiences and doesn’t have any questions that are just too obvious. One quick tip, read the answers twice as some of them are just too close to each other.

You must know the following:

  • You cannot pass the exam without knowing IN and OUT of VPC. Get your basics right, Understand subnetting . Do no neglect any of the subtopics of these topics.
  • Use cases of services like SQF , SQF and SNS
  • Do the labs for interaction between auto-scaling groups and ELB in high-availability deployment.
  • Various storage options like S3 , EFS , Glacier ( 10 – 15% questions )
  • Know about spot instances, reserved and on demand and the use cases of each one.
  • Get hands on Cloud –formation and understand the JSON template formation.
  • How do you optimize the I/O for EBS backed volume and its configurations
  • Best practices in EC2, S3, RDS and IAM
  • Architectural trade-off decisions (e.g., high availability vs. cost, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) vs. installing your own database on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2))
  • Cloud computing shared responsibility model
  • DOS mitigation, Encryption solutions
  • AWS Import / Export , Storage Gateway
  • Components of Route 53 and How Traffic policy works
  • Usage of Cloud Front and CDN’s.
  • Design Hybrid architectures with VPC, Direct Connect, Storage Gateway and Directory Services.
  • Identify different techniques Used in CF , ELB Ops Works , VPC and IAM

The Approach ( I did this to get my knowledge grow exponentially )

I have found that, unlike other certifications available in the market AWS certifications are challenging and in order to clear the certification exam you will really need to understand how the various service offerings from AWS work and integrate with each other.

Every individual will have their own technique to prepare but this blog post helps you with the things that you will need in general.

What Next: .AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Professional: This exam is the pinnacle of all the AWS certifications. You must first take the Associate level exam before you can sit for this certification exam.

Anand Rao