Here is how I passed 9 AWS certification tests in 14 months. Oddly the practice testing is not the most critical step. All of these steps are needed. Let me know if you try them out and how they work for you.
A WHY is important to keep focused and make sure you optimize for the outcome you are looking to achieve.
I would not recomend this challenge for someone who thinks they will get a job out of it, or a promotion. I did find it useful to understand a broader array of the AWS service offerings and it forced me to nail the basics.
At a past job, as a way to challenge myself and my team to dive into studying AWS I took on the challenge of passing all the AWS certification exams within 12 months. I used some elements of Ultralearning (a strategy for aggressive, self-directed learning) which I was reading at the time.
My WHY was:
AWS is constantly changing the line up of their certifications. Depending on the current offering and your skills you may want to pick a different starting point.
I only picked the next test or two at a time. This was my order:
In general I would recommend completing all the Associate level before moving onto the Specialty. With one exception, I found the Networking Specialty exam the hardest of any of the exams. I managed to pass the first time I took it but only barely. Unless you come from a Networking background (I installed networks as a summer job in high school and admin'ed a call center and corporate lan/wan first job out of college) jump first to the Professional certifications then circle back to complete the Advanced Networking.
Pick a date that gives you a realistic chance to do it, but not so far out that it has no sense of urgency.
For me the WHEN was usually 4-8 weeks out from when I was scheduling. At the time I had to take the tests in person which meant getting a time slot that was convenient for my schedule. It took about that amount of time for the center to have a slot I wanted.
Picking a date is only real if you then register.
For me my employer paid for any certification tests I took. Also, after I passed the first one AWS issued discounts on future exams.
This is probably the most important step. Tell everyone. Tell anyone. This is the equivalent of tying your self to the mast.
For me the TELL was scheduling it on the office calendar and announcing each exam to my colleagues. In my personal life it meant scheduling with my wife to coordinate childcare and usually having a play date. This meant I had multiple sets of people who were going to ask me the outcome of the test. Don't underestimate the power of feeling embarrassment in going back on your assertions with your family, friends or colleagues.
You now have no choice but to pass. Better get to it :)
For each certification I purchased a collection of practice exams. I then did the following exam process for each of the three practice tests:
Repeat for all three practice exams.
The first exam usually would take 4-6 hours of work till the process was complete. Often I would break this across two study sessions. The second exam got faster, usually taking 2-4 hours. I could usually get the third down to 2-3 hours.
This whole practice process usually took me about 2 weeks.
This was my process for taking the test:
If I confidently know the answer:
For the intro level tests there is usually one answer (possibly two) that is clearly wrong. If you can confidently eliminate one or two answers, then select the one that seems the best.
If I don't have confidence in the answer:
Once I completed all questions I would run through the same process with the list of questions I'm not confident on the answer to. I would continue the process till I ran out of time or I eliminated all questions from my list.
I'm sure you did great. Let me know what you think @seekayel
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