Certified Security - Specialty

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Passed Security Specialty 08/11/21

I passed the exam Wednesday with an 873.  I have to say it was a challenging exam.

The Acloud course was the primary source in organizing my studies, focusing my reading, and valuing where I spent my time.  I don’t believe you can succeed with just videos, though I think you can get lost without them. I read an awful lot of documentation and white papers.  

I recommend AGAINST the practice exam… I paid the $40 for this on Monday, and Tuesday to the (Free) AWS Learning Library "Exam Readiness: AWS Security Specialty" course and found the majority of the questions were identical to the sample questions in the course.  Save your money and take that course.


1) I had expected a lot of IAM policies in the exam, but I think there was JSON in 3 or maybe 4 questions. Know appropriate forms for conditions service via, account ids – acloud covers these – but also vpce endpoint conditions.

2) I was surprised at how many Cloud Front questions I got.  I think close to 15. Know how configure CF for secure communications, apply certs, restrict algorithms, etc.  The acloud course covers OAI to S3, but you need to understand ALB’s as well, and more detail on groups. I was glad for some play time I had with Cloud Front as I don’t use it at all at work (Cloud Flare rocks)  

3) KMS was in a few questions, and sometimes (I think – I mean I only got an 873) as diversion. Far fewer than I had expected from the course.  Nothing on cloud HSM. 

4) I hate that I had to flag the first question (!) but I did, and flagged about 17-19 total – some with answers I wanted to go back over (changed 2), some I left empty because of the level of time I thought they would require to analyze (e.g. policies etc.)  I went through front to back in about 2 hours and had 50 minutes to review the flagged questions.  This is the first exam I took this approach with, and it worked well.  I would never have had the chance to revisit all the questions over again (which I had done with Sysops and SAA)  I ended with 1 minute left. 

5) keep in mind these are reflections on the exam they gave me – its possible the pull from a different part of the pool for you.

Very glad to accomplish this (though my goal was 900!)


Could you please share the link of the course you mentioned (free) ? All I could find was a paid course of about $700 USD.

Eduard Romaniuk

I think this one https://www.aws.training/SessionSearch?pageNumber=1&courseId=32296&languageId=1


He mentioned free, those ones are not from what I can see

Sebastian Grugel

https://www.aws.training/Details/eLearning?id=34786 Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Security – Specialty

Veera Srinivasan


1 Answers

Congratulations, and thanks for the feedback 🙂

Rick Kellogg

Agreed. Very tough exam and the ACG Practice Exam while helpful did not focus enough on Cloudfront or IAM enough to prepare adequately.

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