AWS Solutions Architect — Associate Certification SAA-C02: Preparation Journey

In this blog post, I will share with you my AWS Solution Architect — Associate exam study plan, the course material and resources I used, how I prepared for the exam in three months and passed the exam in first attempt.

I thought of writing this blog because I was also researching on how to prepare for an exam, what is the minimum score in practice test is good enough to confidently face the exam and other lot of questions which each one of us has before attempted any certification exam.

The timeline for preparation may vary and it all depends on how much time you are devoting for the preparation, the technical background of individual and hands-on experience in cloud space.

Study Plan: I suggest to have a study plan ahead of time and you can set a timeline for yourself to achieve this certification. I prefer to get the insight on the study material by going through it 1–2 times and then I had scheduled my exam at least one month before taking the exam. The exam can be rescheduled twice and I feel scheduling the exam ahead of time also brings discipline and commitment in the study.

Study Material: I was fortunate that my employer assisted in enrolling me to AWS boot camp where I got an access to the AWS Lab to play with all AWS resources. Though it’s good to have hands-on experience on AWS but it’s not a show stopper. One can register for AWS membership and ensure the resource usage is monitored to avoid getting overcharged. I have gone through the Udemy course material of Stephane Maarek, Neal Davis, and 2 weeks before the exam, I discovered Adrian Cantrill course material & practice tests from Jon Bonso.

My SAA-C02 Exam Study Plan:

Step #1: Gone through the entire Udemy course material of Stephane Maarek to familiarize myself with the content and created own notes from it. You can use your own preferred way of creating notes as I found Notion is a very user friendly way to capture all notes.

Step#2: I have again gone through the Stephane’s Udemy course material, but this time in a fast track mode and created crisp notes.

Step#3: Later in a fast track mode, I had gone through Neal’s Udemy course material and attempted all assessments from Neal & Jon’s practice Exams. I found Neal’s practice exam’s were bit challenging comparatively. I was consistently getting 62%-65% of Neal’s practice exam and 68%-70% from Jon’s practice exam.

Step#4: I was noting down the weak areas and gone through the explanation provided against incorrect answers. Also, I was going through the study material of Stephane, Neal and the cheat sheets from DoJo site.

Step#4: I tried the practice tests again, but for some reason I couldn’t able to crack the magic passing number of 72%. While researching on the internet, I came across Adrian course material and decided to push the exam by one month & go through his course material.

Step#5: In a fast track mode, I had gone through Adrian’s study material and then attempted Neal & Jon’s practice exam. Now, consistently I could able to pass both the practice exam’s and this increased the confidence level. In my view, if you are able to clear these practice exam’s and scoring 75%-80% then you can consider yourself ready for the actual exam.

Step#6: One week before the exam, I was only attempting the practice exam’s and go back to the study material to focus on my weak areas. I think that the best way to prepare for the exam is to take as much practice questions as you can and work on your knowledge gaps.

Step#7: Two day’s before the exam, I have only gone through my notes that I created during the preparation. Also, I recommend you to go through the AWS cheat sheets published by Neal & Jon on their websites.

Recommendations: You can also go through

  • Jayendra Patil blog post
  • AWS Performance Efficiency Pillar Whitepapers
  • AWS Reliability Pillar Whitepapers
  • AWS Security Pillar Whitepapers
  • AWS Cost Optimization Pillar Whitepapers
  • AWS Operational Excellence Pillar Whitepapers
  • AWS Disaster Recovery Whitepapers
  • AWS FAQ’s

Studying Tip:

Create your own notes, even though readily available cheat sheets are available on the internet. In your notes, you can highlight, summarize and collate all study material at one place and elaborate it to an extent as per your requirement.

Create mind maps/spider diagram so that you can get the bird eye visibility of each area as it is easy to relate things.

Best of Luck..!!

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Kirankumar Bhilwadikar

Kirankumar Bhilwadikar

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