My AWS solutions architect associate Exam preparation journey

Review By: rahul tyagi



Expiry Month


Expiry Year


Time taken to Prepare

90 Days

Resources Used

  • Udemy Courses (A cloud guru and John Bonso Practice tests) AWS white papers and AWS console using the free tier accounts

Detailed Review Of Preparation

Exam Info

The link below is the home page for Solution architect associate exam. We can find all information related to the exam on this page. The exam guide and sample exam questions are also available to download on the page.



Udemy Courses

Acloudguru Course: This is the best seller course on Udemy and it is good. Since I have taken the exam, I can say it covers only the 70% of the exam. There are a number of exam topics which are not covered (sometimes in details and sometimes absent altogether) from this course. However I don't think any course covers all the topics since the exam is so vast.

There are couple of other courses on Udemy which are supposed to be very good. At the time of writing, course by Stephane Maarek was the best rated course on Udemy for the Solution Architect Associate exam.

Practice Exams: I bought a practice exam course also. It had 6 mock exams and had very detailed explanations for the answers. However the questions were quite verbose. But the mock exam is totally worth it price and I would highly recommend it.


The exam guide also lists a number of whitepapers. These can be downloaded in various formats and are also available to download on Kindle (for free) for leisurely reading. Highly recommended to go through these.

For the hands on training and practice, AWS offer free tier accounts.

Other resources: I heard from couple of friends that the courses on Linux Academy are also extremely good but I did not take them myself.

Actual Preparation

The exam feels theoretical however it is not. One has to be hands on. The main services, S3, EC2, VPC and Databases require practice and requires lots of learning. Unless you can do things on your own in the AWS console from memory, I wouldn't recommend to sit on the exam.

I followed the following strategy:

  • Completed the A cloud course above. It took me longer as I had to do that in my own personal time which was short because I had a new born at home who took all my time and energy. People can definitely cover this faster. It had lots of hands on tutorials. I would definitely recommend to go beyond tutorials and play with things in the free tier accounts. Things get clearer once we do things on our own in the console. The course does a good job in covering the below sections:
    1. S3
    2. EC2
    3. VPC
    4. Load Balancing
    5. Autoscaling
  • However after taking the mock exams and the real exam, in my opinion, it lacked in details on the following sections:
    1. IAM integration with Identity Providers, On premise LDAP
    2. Kinesis Streams
    3. ALB
    4. DynamoDB
    5. Some small services like Containers on AWS, AWS workflow etc
  • Only attempted the Mock Exams after I had completed the course once. The mock exam course mentioned above is quite tough and the level is very near to the real exam. If you fail the mock exam, don't get disheartened, identify the weak points / topics and go through them again.
  • Sometimes during preparation and mock testing, one may feel that there is a discrepancy in the course content or exam question. In all such cases, AWS documentation itself has the last word. It is the single source of truth for anything and everything related to the exam. The documentation is extremely detailed, so it is not possible to go through everything. However make sure to have the FAQs for main services covered completely.
  • I covered the above missing details (in the acloudguru course) through the details provided in mock exams answers, AWS documentation and by playing with things in AWS console.
  • Exam is multiple choice format. We have to choose 1 out of 4 or 2 out of 5 options provided. I noticed in the real exam sometimes all the given answers could have solved the problem. But we have to choose the most cost effective and performance efficient answer. That is where I feel this exam was different than the previous certification exams I have taken.

So this was my journey of AWS solution architect associate exam. I wish everyone reading this best of luck in theirs.

Benefits From Certification

  • My Job Needed It
  • Knowledge is Power