I recently passed the AWS SAA-C03 exam certification and in this blog post I wanted to share my approach on how I did it.
- Buy a course. I bought this course which contains 27 hours of lectures which I watched on 1.5x speed. The important thing for me was that buying this course gave me an overview of what to do so that I could chop it up and schedule it in on my calendar.
- Start early with practice exams. I started with practice exams when I had done around 30% of the material. On the one hand this made it quite difficult for me to answer some of questions, but it made me get used to this rhythm of answering 65 questions in a row without looking up the answers in between.
- Know a lot about the core services, and a little about everything else. You will be tested thoroughly on the core services that make up AWS. That is AWS, EC2, Lambda, S3, VPC, databases, SQS, SNS, Kinesis. For the other services it is important that you know at a high-level what they do and when you should apply them. For example use Amazon Macie to remove PII from data, but it doesn’t go much deeper than that.
- Break it down and spread it out There is a lot of material. 27 hours of lectures that contain important information in every slide. I watched them at 1.5x speed but I had to make notes as well. I also did 6 practice exams at around 2 hours each. I finished usually in 1 hour but the analysis of my errors afterwards could also take upwards of an hour. This means that I studied for approx 40 hours over the course of 2 months, that is around 5 hours/week extra next to my day job, which was a lot. I definitely spent some early mornings and weekends on this.
- VPC and networking is HARD, so start early and revise it. I remember that someone told me that networking would be really hard, so I skipped forward to it. Going through it the first time was terrible, truly a slog. But then I let it simmer for a week in the back of my mind and then something clicked the next week. Give your brain some time to adjust.