AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional 2020

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My Solutions Architect Professional Experience

Hey Cloud Gurus!

I’ve been studying for the AWS Solutions Architect Professional (SAP) exam for over 6 months after earning 8 other AWS certifications. I took over 30 full length practice tests across, Whizlabs, and the official AWS practice test. My average on those tests was lower than I would’ve liked around 73%. However, my Solutions Architect Associate (SAA) certification was scheduled to expire in January 2021 so I reluctantly booked my exam anyway. I studied for over an hour every night leading up to my exam, yet could not raise my average. I kept tripping over the same types of services that I never use like Active Directory (AD) and Internet of Things (IoT).

I was starting to think that I would only pass the exam if the questions dealt to me where on topics that I was more comfortable with, something like a crap shoot. Still I didn’t give up and studied tirelessly. I watched Scott Pletcher’s concepts, exam tips, and pro tips literally 10x the nights before my exam including in the parking lot of the exam center.

So the exam day came, I made sure to get plenty of sleep and woke up 4 hours early so I could get some light studying in before heading off. I completed the exam with 50 minutes to spare scoring 940 of 1000. Honestly, I was shocked the real exam seemed so much easier than the practice tests I’ve been struggling with. Although, the exam stayed more in my comfort zone there were a couple topics that I wasn’t prepared for.

Additionally, I heard horror stories of novel-like questions on the exam and yes I got some superfluous questions, but the majority were not that bad. I did see a new format of questions appear quite regularly at least for me in this syntax. Sometimes these questions listed like 8 or 9 criteria items, which you had to choose the best answer out of very different options. Don’t misunderstand… this exam is still incredibly difficult; I just found it different than others have described.


  • Criteria 1

  • Criteria 2

  • Criteria N

Now the juicy part! These are the topics I saw on the exam:

  • (Low ~= < 4 Questions)

  • (Med ~= < 10 Questions)

  • (High ~= > 10 Questions)

API Gateway (Low)

  • @connections

  • Quotas

  • Types REST, HTTP, WebSocket

AppSync GraphQL (Med)

  • What it does?

  • When to use it?

  • I don’t recall this in study material so was caught off guard.

CloudFormation (Low)

  • Change Sets

  • Drift Detection

  • Stack Sets

DataSync (Low)

  • What it does?

  • When to use?

Deployment Methodologies (DevOps Engineer Professional Territory?) (Low)

  • Blue/Green Method

  • Canary Method

  • CodeDeploy

Streaming Services (Med)

  • DynamoDB Streams

  • Kinesis Data Streams

  • Kinesis Data Analytics

  • Kinesis Consumer Library (KCL)

  • Kinesis Producer Library (KPL)

Global Solutions (High) <– Important

  • Aurora Global Databases

  • CloudFront

  • DynamoDB Global Tables

  • Cross-Region Replication for AMI, EC2, EBS, RDS, S3

  • Promoting Read-Replicas to Master

  • Route 53 Routing Policies

  • Active/Active vs. Active/Passive vs. Pilot Light

Organizations and Service Catalog (Med)

  • IAM across different Organizations

  • Service Control Policies (SCP)

  • Service Catalog for Compliance/Governance

  • Service Catalog Permissions with IAM

Migration (High) <– Important

  • Application Discovery Service

  • Database Migration Service (DMS)

  • Direct Connect (DX)

  • Service Migration Service (SMS)

  • Migration Hub

  • S3 Transfer Acceleration

  • Snowball

  • Storage Gateway

  • VPN Connections

  • Encrypted Migrations

  • Offline Migrations

Compliance with S3 (Med)

  • S3 Object Lock

  • S3 Versioning

  • S3 Compliance

  • S3 Glacier Vault Policies

Networking (Med)

  • VPC Endpoints

  • Private Link for Private SAAS

  • Route 53 Resolvers

  • NAT Gateway

  • Internet Gateway

Systems Manager (High) <– Important

  • Run Command

  • Patch Manager

  • Session Manager

  • SSM Agent

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions.


Great post and very helpful. You mentioned 30 full length practice tests but cloudguru has one and whizlabs have around 8-10. Just wandering did this add up to 30 ?


I took those practice tests multiple times. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I would usually rotate to ensure I wasn’t taking the same practice test too soon in an attempt to avoid memorization.

1 Answers

Hi Justin,

Great post and congrats on passing the exam!!



Thanks! I hope it helps someone.

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