Certified Security - Specialty

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Jan 9 2019 – Failed Security Speciality Exam Today

I used all 3 services (ACloudGuru, Whizlabs and LinuxAcademy) and all the content is out of date.  All services combined will get you maybe 50% there. LinuxAcademy is more up to date then ACloudGuru but not by much.

Whizlabs will give you a huge false sense of readiness. I was getting 95% on Whizlabs Practice Exams and I’d say they only reflect 25% of the questions on the exam.

I bought the AWS Practice Exam which I got 60% and weirdly enough it was considered a pass which has to be a mistake. The AWS Practice Exam reflects well what to expect on the exam.

If you read enough "I Passed/Failed" posts here you’ll hear questions can vary greater per exam sitting for Security which must be the case since the mix of questions was much different from what I’ve read.

From what I remember:

  • 5 questions on Active Directory (This really through me off)

  • 4 questions on GaurdDuty and with very specific in configuration.

  • 2 questions on Debugging Vault Lock Policies

  • 5 questions on CMK KMS Key Rotations

  • 2 questions about Orgs and Root Access across multiple accounts

  • 3 questions with Athena + CloudTrail

  • 4 questions on Parameter Store / AWS Secrets Manager

  • 2 questions on VPC flow logs

  • 1 question on Macie

  • 1 question on QuickSight

Other than Macie and QuickSight you really had to know all of these services and debugging cases around them.

There was really not that many KMS or S3 questions.

I would say that 1/5th of the questions were poorly worded especially the multiple choice choices.

Patrick Bauer

Thanks for sharing your experience and giving this overview.

6 Answers

How much could there possibly be on configuration of guard duty? Trusted IP and threat lists? There are not that many configurations in the service


absolutely that trusted IP list was the only question I got in my exam. Its not much , if you just watch the tutorials.

wow this is not encouraging at all, I have the exam scheduled for Jan 31 and I passed all whizlabs, and I felt that I was ready for it….I may move it to another day then…thanks for the updates.

Hi Andrew,

My name is Alicia and I am one of the Content Managers at A Cloud Guru. Thanks so much for your detailed feedback. We are actually doing a major overhaul of our Security course now, so we will be taking in account your experience to help improve the course. Thanks so much!


Dries Buyck

When is this expected to be released ?

Larry Anderson

^ Ditto… I was about to buy it but with a lack of updates I’m not sure if or when

Richard Askew

@Alicia .. I am also interested in when this course will be updated, thanks!

Joshua Bregler

I too am curious, as I have the exam scheduled for next week.


I’d planned to schedule the exam for the end of the month, looks like I need to rethink that ;-(

Alicia Cheah

Hi all, I’m reconfirming the schedule with the instructor, so I will have an update shortly. Please check back at the end of the week, and thanks for your patience!

Alicia Cheah

Hi here, I have just met with Faye Ellis and lecture updates will be incrementally added to the course over Feb and March, with a new exam simulator available around the start of Q2 2019. Thanks very much!


Hi Alicia. It is May2019 and I’m logged into the security videos of yours that says it was done in 2018. Please let us know when was this last updated. Thanks.

Hi Andrew , I would like to thank you for your notes here as I went for the exam just a few days after you had scheduled yours and I luckily went through the notes you posted. watched the reinvent videos for Active Directory and Guard Duty and could answer around 6 questions on them. So thank you and I wish you can clear the exam in your next attempt.


Hi! What reinvent videos do you recommend to prepare for the AD questions? Thanks

Given that you’ve passed all the Associate Exams, I will definitely take your experience to heart. Best of luck on a future sitting.

Hi All,

just to let you know that we have begun updating the course for 2019, based on feedback from everyone. I have added a section today (Chapter 9 – Updates For 2019) which I will continue to build out over the next few weeks to include any gaps in the course.

I have also added a lecture covering additional resources and grouping together all the best White Papers and re:Invent videos to watch.

If you have anything to contribute, please do let me know!



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