Thank you ACG for wonderful course. Below is my experience on the learning path-
1. I am working with AWS since last 3 years and got opportunity to work on some of complex assignments on Architecture.
2. I have SA Associate and Big Data Specialty Certification from last October (2018). This was some background I had but was little stale, so started with preparation from SA Professional Course on ACG.
3. The ACG course looks slightly theoretical when we do at the first time, but Scott has done really good job here to keep it crisp and relevant. There is just too much information and we need to cover it in certain time. I completed the course, read all whitepapers given in the reference and then tried Exam Simulator for SA-Professional. I got a score of 55%, slightly disappointed but then explored all attempted questions and read all material given in the references of question in order to gain in depth understanding of each topic. I started with Exam Simulator for SA-Associate (to boost motivation) and got good score there.
4. Again tried Exam Simulator for SA-Professional and this time score was improved (70%) but still failed 🙁 .
5. Went through several discussions on ACG and collected list of all services important for exam, went through FAQs of each to understand limits and specifics.
6. Bought Udemy Jon Bonso Practice Test (As per some of suggestions in discussions). These tests are good but not to the actual exam level. This test gives information of some more missing areas and links to blogs. We need to be picky here and spend time only on most relevant ones. There are links from outside AWS official documentation which might divert the attention. I practiced 3 tests from here and every time got good score. Went through reference material on each question to understand question depth.
7. Went to AWS.training and saw there were some benefits pending from my earlier exams which include free Practice Test voucher. Used That to test and saw its 20 question test which gives 90 minutes to complete. Which I could complete in around 45 Minutes. Result was Pass. Difficulty Level was quite Okay, I could see it was slightly easier than the actual exam.
8. Again tried the Exam Simulator and this time I got more than 85% score.
9. Two days before exam, went through ACG course work one more time with the speed of 1.5x and I could link explanation with my reading experience. Second time listening helps a lot actually, this builds confidence needed to screen out wrong answers.
10. In actual exam, as everyone stated the questions are lengthy and I had to run through while reading. All Practice Tests help here as we focus on keywords and only keep them in mind while filtering out answers. So more we practice, better we get at reading questions and save time. I saved few minutes at the end of 75th question to go back and review my flagged one’s. I had to rush through my review to complete it on time.
I can see this exam is surely challenging but with right preparation everyone should pass it.
In case someone is looking for list of topics to read FAQs, below is the list.
ELB / AutoScale Groups / EC2
RDS – MySQL vs Aurora, Read Replicas
AWS Systems Manager – PatchManager
DR strategy, RTO, RPO
Lambda, API Gateway
AWS Organization, IAM and SCP, Consolidated Billing
Reserved Instances vs Spot Instances vs On-Demand Instances
SQS and Kinesis
CloudFormation & StackSets.
Direct Connect and Direct Connect Gateway
VPC Peering vs Transit VPC
EBS – Volume Types & IOPS
IAM – Roles, Polices, Identify Federation with SAML
AWS WAF and AWS Shield
Database Migration Service (DMS)
ElastiCache, Redis vs Memcached
Snowball vs Snowmobile
AWS Organizations, Consolidated Billing, SCPs
CloudWatch, Cloud Watch Events
Congratulations Anand! Thank you for sharing your experience to help others!