Just wanted to pass on a thank you to the ACG team for all the hard work you’ve put into this platform.
I just passed the AWS Solution Architect – Professional exam with a score of 876. I’ve been watching you guys for a long time and the content really is the best. When I grabbed the 3 Associate-level certifications back in 2016, the Professional SA sample questions and practice exam looked insane to me. The sheer breadth and depth of knowledge and experience necessary seemed daunting.
For anyone else pursuing this certification right now, you can and should do it. I won’t go into too much detail as many other students have laid out a lot of good advice already, but I would offer the following suggestions that helped me get above the bar:
1) Actually read the whitepapers – It’s brutal. It’s soul-sucking. And much of it was review since I watch large volumes of ACG content (which pulls a lot of content from them) but they were insightful and I would especially recommend the Well-Architected Framework and the Cloud Adoption Framework whitepapers to others. At the very least, I would read those that appear on the exam guide. Some are long so I broke them into 5 page chunks in between Halo matches which got me through them.
2) Actually read the documentation – It’s savage. It’s life-draining. But these helped patch the knowledge holes I had for AWS services I’ve never used in a professional or at-home capacity. I didn’t know hardly anything practical about Service Catalog and after reading the docs, I knew it well even though I still don’t need to use it in my work yet.
3) Play with services you don’t know – If you’re even considering this exam, odds are you’re already pretty good with the core AWS toolkit – VPC, EC2, IAM, S3, ELB, CF, Lamdba etc. but for me, when I started I didn’t have any actual experience with many of the services that are in scope for this exam. Namely OpsWorks, Service Catalog, Storage Gateway, and some of the more enterprise-like networking components like Transit Gateway and Direct Connect. You should already know which services you’re weak on, so this one’s pretty easy. Just hop in the console and mess around.
4) Practice exams – These are amazing and towards the end of my studying, were the best bang for my time. The ACG Exam Simulator, the AWS practice exam and anywhere else you can get good quality professional-level questions was an immense help. Particularly on questions I got wrong. Every question wrong was an opportunity to learn what I didn’t know. I had to fight the urge to scoff at incorrect responses I had and read either documentation or validate for myself how I was wrong and why the correct answer was correct for every question. Seriously, if you are getting wrecked by practice exams, that is great because you can spend time more efficiently getting better.
Missed a lot of you guys at re:Invent this year. Stopped by the booth once but didn’t get a chance to come back and grab a photo later in the week. You guys are really helping people, excited for what’s next.
Congrats Aaron and thanks for the kind words. You definitely did it right…read all the stuff. There is no shortcut or hack to passing this exam. Welcome to the family!