AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional 2020

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Beta Exam

Hello,

I did the beta exam today, most probably on the last day of beta period. Hence, this might not be helpful as it is too late, but might be helpful for the author and people who plan to do the new version of exam once it is released.

It had 85 questions and 220 minutes. For me, it was very exhausting as I attended a such long online exam being seated after a while. I took a bathroom break after first 2 hours to get some break (at least step out of the workstation and get face washed and refreshed) πŸ˜‰

Well, let’s come to the essential part.

  • I got plenty of questions related to the on-prem resources/data centers under the following sub topics.

  • migration of existing on-prem with the least cost/fastest/performant way.

  • connectivity between AWS and on-prem via DirectConnect/VPN.

  • augmenting on-prem resources with AWS to support on-prem data center with extended storage/compute.

  • DNS connectivity/resolution between On-prem and AWS

  • BGP usage.

For a while, I was wondering If I was doing AWS Networks Speciality exam. πŸ˜‰ (After all,Β  questions cross the paths of networking, compute, storage, DB and one way or another all AWS services belong to them! so what to do.. πŸ™ )

  • Migration of servers, apps, DBs

  • Authorization with IAM, Policies, STS, Active directory, federation, etc.

  • Data migration with Snowedge.

  • EMR, Kinesis data streams, Kinesis firehose, etc. appeared several times and most of the times I felt that questions were to emphasize the fact that Kinesis streams with Lambda processing, etc. could replace EMR clusters based works in some contexts

  • AWS organizations – authors can come up with a deep dive course on AWS organizations and AMI, SCP, and possible setups. Because, I got full-course worth of questions on them.

  • Access related scenarios when multiple accounts are involved.

  • Restrict access, only provide read only access, avoid accidental terminations, etc. IAM best practices for complex permission handling scenarios!!!

  • Athena appeared in several cases. Once again, I felt that they try to emphasize the use cases that can be done with Athena over having Redshift clusters. Btw, do not think that selecting Athena for all data querying on S3 cases will be correct! πŸ˜‰

  • I got several questions on CloudFormation and Service catalogs. Specially, they like to bundle systems as products in portfolios in Service catalogs using CloudFormation scripts and give only access to the catalog portfolios for the users to deal with them.

  • A couple of questions featuring Alexa for business, AWS connect (for having contact center for a business, etc.), Polly, Lex to let us demonstrate our understanding on how they can be paired together to develop business solutions like contact centres, answer bots, etc. Nothing deep, if you knew what services they were, you would have easily go them right. Maybe, only easy questions I encountered in the exam. πŸ˜€

  • ALB, NLB, classic load balancer differences, Sticky session cases, with Route53.

  • CloudFront appeared several times with complex caching of static and dynamic scenarios. Host, Authorization, headers processing through Lambda@Edge. Err!

  • ECS, Fargate, Containers.

  • Elastic beanstalk came up several times.

  • AWS config, config rules

  • Elasticache – memcache vs Redis for different usecases

  • Lambda (coupled with API gateway, cloudwatch events, service events (S3 events)

  • automated patch management with maintenance windows

  • One or two questions from these topics also.

  • Batch, Artifact (my favourite, the easiest question, it asked about getting compliant docs), Fargate, OpsWorks, EFS, Redshift, SQS standard vs FIFO (as exactly once processing solutions), Placement groups, reserved instances, auto-scaling policies, Workspaces

Well, sorry folks this is not really organized, but I wanted to write down everything as soon as possible before I forget them. Actually, it is a hard exam. But not an impossible target. What I understood is that we have to thoroughly understand and dig deep into each and every service that appears in the exam. Because, what I observed is when it asks questions, it goes into the deepest level and questions deal with a mix of services. So, if you do not know them well, it is hard to figure out the correct answer. I remember, Scott clearly mentioned that we have to dig deep on the services in the course without limiting to the content discussed in this course. That’s very true. Once final advice, again, this is something I felt when I was referring to the white papers, FAQs, documentation during my study. If someone, can study all the white papers, FAQs and documentation of main services, there is a high chance that he/she could cover lots of ground. I know it is bit silly and everyone knows that but the time is the issue. In my case, when I refer to the documentation, I noticed that the most of complex scenarios in using relevant service and possible solutions were documented there. Most of my Google searches ended in nowhere other than AWS documentation of each service. So, if you can manage time, read them, you will not regret. πŸ˜‰

If English is not your native language, you might find these tips useful.

  • You can request additional time (30 mins) for each AWS exam and that can be done through the AWS certification account. (Under accommodations, you can request it.) I could not get it, because, you cannot add any accommodation requests when you have already scheduled an exam unless you cancel the scheduled exam, make accommodation request and re-schedule the exam. I got to know this very lately and it was 3-4 days away from the scheduled date, so I was nervous to cancel and re-schedule as they might charge me a cancellation fee and in worse case, if could lose a time slot from the nearest exam center. πŸ™

  • try to speed up in reading questions, because, some questions were like essays and answers too.

  • quickly noting down keywords in the paper provided for rough works, may helpful in a lengthy question, if your mind buffer is minimal like mine. πŸ˜€

Thanks guys for your time! Hope this helps someone to plan and study for the exam!

At last but not least, Scott thanks a lot for the wonderful course. It helped me a lot. Not only its rich content, delivery, memorizing tips, humour but also your and Cloudguru’s dedication on releasing the course in no time with beta exam announcement. It gave me and most of us the courage to try this out! Big salute bald man… πŸ˜‰

NA

I also took the beta on the same day; I would say pretty much same as I got. I also had 2 questions on BGP.

Sanjeev Kumar

Great brain dump ARK! I also took it yesterday and agree with your writing. First I thought 220 Min. is more than enough for 85 questions, but guess what, I didn’t took a single break and for last 5 questions I have to rush. Few things I lacked in analytics section due to lack of hands on. My suggestion is to do all hands on whatever is possible.

Ark

Yep, very true, time flies and it takes considerable amount of time to read, understand and evaluate answers because, in most of times, 2-3 answers seem to be correct but there will be one and only one right answer based on the question hints. Other thing is "elimination of invalid answers" strategy worked a lot for me especially when I am not certain about some concepts. Let’s see how our results gonna come out! Hope everyone will get through it! πŸ™‚ Fingers crossed!!!

4 Answers

Thanks Ark, very helpful and detailed. I did Devops Engineer Professional Beta too. All the best

Ark

Awesome! πŸ™‚

Haha, thank Ark!!Β  Glad you liked the course and really enjoy your contributions to the forum!Β  The quantity of AWS Organizations and SCP questions on my exam caught me by surprise too.Β  I’m working on a Lab that will cover AWS Organizations and SCP because as you said, there’s enough there where I think just simple slides won’t really reinforce the concepts as much as a hands-on challenge lab might.

Ark

Great Scott! Keep being awesome!!! Once again, Big thank to you for quickly updating the course and active engagement with the community. That’s pretty much appreciated! πŸ™‚

Ark, thanks for the awesome info on the Beta Exam and Scott looking forward to your updates. …Soon pls πŸ™‚

Well, finally I got the results! I have passed the exam!!!

Feeling so awesome and all hard work is paid off finally!!

I must say that the CloudGuru’s course on the beta exam was one of the key motivators for me to get ready for the exam in a lesser time!!

@Scott, Appreicate your effort on this course !!!

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