Answers to your most frequently asked questions
The Amazon Web Services (AWS) certification offers individuals one of the most valued certifications in the marketplace. The exam is difficult, and there is no magic pill for bypassing the work required to pass.
We commonly get questions from our students wondering “what else is needed beyond watching your AWS Certification courses to pass the exam?”
Here’s some answers to some of your most frequently asked questions about preparing for the associate-level AWS certifications:
What do I need to complete the A Cloud Guru course?
A Free Tier AWS Account
The courses from A Cloud Guru offer hands-on labs — and you’ll need an AWS account to complete the interactive examples and exercises. The majority of our hands-on labs use the AWS Free Tier, so there is almost no additional cost for the account.
A PC (Windows or Linux) or Mac — You can’t do the course purely on a tablet or mobile device. You can view our courses on mobile devices and tablets, but you can’t do the exercises without a PC or Mac as you need to be able to run an SSH client.
Ideally a modern browser — such as Firefox or Chrome— to access acloud.guru which is a Single Page App (SPA) written in AngularJS.
How much time do I need to study and pass?
This depends on how much experience you have with AWS. If you’re new to AWS but have some IT experience, typically between 40 to 80 total hours of study is required. Our AWS Certified Associate Courses are 10 to 20 hours long, and require about 4 hours of study for every 1 hour of video.
If you have extensive AWS experience, we’ve seen students successfully earn the certification in less than a week with our course as the guide for exam preparation.
What does the course include?
The A Cloud Guru certification courses includes unlimited access to the training content, video lectures, quizzes and practice questions, sample code, example hands-on labs, and moderated discussion forums.
Does the A Cloud Guru course include the exam registration?
No. AWS uses a third party to administer the exams. The training provided by A Cloud Guru is independent of AWS and their testing centers. You will need to register separately for the certification exam using the AWS Training and Certification Portal.
What additional materials do I need to study to pass?
The free AWS whitepapers are the only additional study materials you’ll need to pass the certification exam. In particular, it’s important to know the AWS Security Whitepaper back to front — it applies to all the certifications. The AWS Storage Services Whitepaper is also useful, and the AWS Well-Architected Framework is worth a read.
What is the best way to study?
This differs from person to person, but I personally prefer to split screens or use dual monitors to simultaneously display the video player and the AWS console. This allows you to perform the exercises and examples at the same time as the instructor — pausing and replaying the video whenever it goes too fast or if you missed something.
To pass the certification, you’ll need to be comfortable with AWS — and the only way to do that is by using all the AWS services covered in the certification training and exam.
My recommendation is to complete the course, and then destroy everything you’ve created during the course — then try it again without following the course. Try to create your own exercises to test yourself. Create a small personal project to practice building with AWS. There is no substitute for using AWS when studying and preparing for the exam.
Final Exam Preparation
This is where the questions in the course are important. They will help assess where you have gaps in your knowledge and need to study more.
When doing final preparations for the exam, I would go through the A Cloud Guru sample questions and take note of where you did poorly. Then revisit those sections in the course, and read the relevant whitepaper. Afterwards, repeat the process until you get 100% for the sample questions.
You can now simulate the exam experience on A Cloud Guru. We take a random selection from our large pool of questions and ensure that the domain breakdown satisfies that listed in the exam blueprint. Unlike a real certification exam, we’ll show you a detailed report upon completion.
In the exam, there will be a number of scenario based questions that often test your comprehension of the question as much as they test your knowledge. When you encounter a scenario based question — use the process of elimination before selecting a correct answer.
How do I know when I’m ready?
After students start training, many wonder “how do I know I’m ready to take the exam?” To alleviate test anxiety, we’ve combined hundreds of student testimonials, insights from AWS experts, and countless hours of our own studying to create the AWS Certification Prep Guide.
This exam guide is free to members, and helps you prepare for all AWS certifications — with tips, tricks and strategies that apply to all exams.
After viewing this quick but comprehensive guide to the AWS Certification exams, you’ll feel confident knowing when to step into the exam room.
How do stay current with AWS once I’m certified?
Amazon Web Services launches new updates daily and it’s hard to find the time to keep up. To help you stay up-to-date after your certification, A Cloud Guru created the AWS This Week newscast to provide quick and current headlines from Amazon Web Services delivered to your inbox every week.
Are there any other study resources available?
The engineering team at A Cloud Guru developed a fun quiz bot that can be integrated with your team’s Slack channel — including a leaderboard.
A Cloud Guru is also available on Alexa in the US, UK, India, Canada, and Australia. Just say “Alexa, open A Cloud Guru” to access hundreds of practice questions that test your AWS knowledge on a variety of services including compute, storage, networking, security, databases, and management tools.
I hope this answers the majority of questions we hear from our students. If you have any other questions, create an account on acloud.guru and join our on-line community of over 600,000 students in 160 countries!
Our discussion forums are a hive of activity, full of engineers helping each other learn cloud and prepare for exams. See you there!