AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional 2020

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Passed the AWS Solutions Architect Professional in Apr 2021

After 3 hours exausting exam, finally I managed pass AWS Solution Architect Professional Exam with 87.5% this Monday, and it is my 1st AWS certificate.

I have been working in IT for 20+ years with very limited AWS experience. Initially I planned to start with SA associate, but later decided to jump to SA Pro (to save some exam fee).


  • Stephane Maarek : AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional 2021

  • practise: braincert, Jon Bonso

  • white papers listed on SA pro exam.  read once – twice, as they are easy to me.

  • deep dive – none. most are good to learn but irrelevant to test.

  • many tutorial to understand how AWS works.


  • 300-350 hours. 2 hours per weekday; 4-6 hours on Saturday/Sunday.

  • watched Stephane’s video twice

  • deck : 5+ times. key slide – 10 times. it is extremely condensed, each line/work/diagram is important.

Practice test:

  • I finished Braincert(7 test) and Jon Bonso(4 test) pratice twice.

1st round score:

Braincert: 60-65

Jon Bonso: 70-75

2nd round score:

Braincert: 75-80

Jon Bonso: 80-88

Braincert and Jon Bonso has some overlapping questions, and they have different answer on 3~5 questions. Fortunately those questions didn’t show up in my test.

Braincert: overall good with a few caveat:

  • more typo. answers may not be convincing enough. question can be vague.

  • format is slightly different from real test.

Jon Bonso: better.

  • No typo. answers are more convincing.

  • format is quite close to real test.

Real test:

  • all questions are crystal clear. and choices have differences, and answers are 100% certain.

  • not ridiculously long, all fit in 1 screen.

  • there will be something unknown. stay calm.

  • I don’t recall any questions on exact command or parameters.

Some said real test is easier, it is NOT:

  • question/answers cover same level of knowledge (more and/or higher!).

  • questions/answers are just clearer than practise.

You can still score higher, because the score is measured very differently from praticse:

Real test score is weighted score by comparing your result to others. Pracice score is absolute score.

Most question/answers take whole screen. many questions are like below:


A1 (1 word difference from A)


B1 (1 word difference from B)

I am not native English speakers, but I didn’t 30 take minutes of accommodation, since 3 hours are long enough.

Initial run took 2.5 hours or so with 25% questions marked for review.

In the middle of the test, I felt strongly I might be failing, since I encountered quite a few questions which I had no idea at all:

AWS RDS proxy vs connection pool?

couple of questions on private host zone / DNS setting.

add 1 more subnet to existing VPC. long question/answer.

7~10 questions are direct copy from braincert/Jon Bonso, so you shouldn’t make mistake with those questions.

You must understand the key word/concept to answer it correctly.

I learned a lot from Justin Wheeler and Mukul Gopal’s post. Special thanks for their sharing.


Congratulations! AWS is a great platform and amazing services. Thank you for your feed back on you study plan. I’m scheduled to sit security specialty in a few weeks and plan to take SA Pro in the future.


I am surprise you didn’t mention anything about acloudguru. I take the Jon’s practice test, and I did ok, but acloudguru’s test seems to be strange

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