Certified Security - Specialty

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Passed Security Exam Today

I passed the security exam today. I don’t have my score yet, but suspect It isn’t 1000!! [EDIT: 869 ]. This exam is tough – a step above the Associate exams.

It’s all a bit of a blur, but I remember lots of questions on CloudTrail, CloudWatch and Config. Don’t rely on the course, make sure you have explored the documentation and played with it. Know about querying CloudTrail logs.

Athena was mentioned a few times.

Know IAM back to front, particularly cross-account and federated access, and particularly S3.

And completely random, but know about smtps!

I used

  • acloudguru

  • Zeal Vora book

  • AWS official exam practice

  • Whitepapers

  • IAM user guide (particularly the worked examples).

Good exam technique is essential here. Even if you aren’t sure of an answer, it is usually possible to narrow the odds by eliminating a couple of obviously incorrect choices.

Nagarajan (Raj)

Congratulations Stuart. I heard that it takes around 5 days to get the exam result. Is that so?

Stuart Clowes

Hi Raj. You get a pass or a fail immediately. The score comes later. Mine took about 24 hours.


I passed the exam a couple of weeks back. Due to some technical issues the result was not shown immediately. After raising ticket with AWS/PSI, I got the result. It took almost 5 days. This course is definitely not enough. You need to have a good experience as Solution Architect to answer the questions. In most cases the filtering out the incorrect answers helped. But it was no doubt a tough exam.


Cloud trail, Cloud Watch, Inspector, KMS, systems manager etc came in mutiple questions.


Also give special attentions to root account user.Different AIM policies, AWS config. AWS organization etc

Kevin B

I agree with the comments above. Sat the exam today and passed (awaiting score detail). The ACG and other online training only really sets you up for 50-60% of the questions asked, in the way they are asked in the exam. Common themes are KMS, S3 policies, Organisation SCP policies. Forensic investigation and response several questions, a couple on audit reports and compliance. Cognito Service as answer 3 times. CloudFront, ALB, WAFs, AWS Certificate Manager. root account and cross-account IAM roles and policies for shared S3. I was surprised by the AWS practice exam, is VERY different from the main exam. I used various additional RE:invent 2017 videos. plus FAQs, reading docs etc.

Rachit Dalord

Hi Kevin, could specify which re:invent videos did you watch during your preparation?

1 Answers

Hi Stuart

Congratulations on your success.

One quick question, how good zeel vora book is. As I read mix feedback on Amazon.



Stuart Clowes

I found it helpful and gave a different perspective on the material. It has some grammar and formatting errors, but that shouldn’t get in the way of understanding.


Congrats Stuart! i had wanted a second opinion about the Zeal Vora book and only a one person had some positive about it. But like Abhijeet said, Amazon review stated the grammatical error issues. Would you say the book helped you in greater ways or just wanted to have an alternative to the ACG course?

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