Finishing All AWS Certifications

19 September 2021

Back in April 2019, I started studying for my AWS certifications, but I never went through with it. I had purchased study materials, and only had a couple of chapters to finish but, I got caught up with other things, and next thing you know - 2 years had gone by! The thing people say where you have to set a date, and commit to it by purchasing the exam? I highly recommend it.

So I picked up where I left off in April of this year, purchased some practice exams and finished the course. Fortunately I had taken notes, so going over them was a great refresher. I did all the practice exams, and while I didn't do great in them, the exams had really good in depth explanations. I took the practice exams again and scored higher than 90% on them, which really boosted my confidence. I felt ready to take the real exam.

For the examination I went with Pearson VUE, and did it online. They seemed to have more available, immediate dates for this exam. The experience felt very smooth, although I was pretty nervous since this was my first one. I finished it with a lot of extra time to go over the answers I flagged for review, and then I finally submitted it. After a couple of more questions regarding the exam accommodations, the screen said I had passed the exam.

After this, I prepared for another certification, and passed it. Then another, and another, until I achieved the 11 available certifications on August 31st.

For most of these certifications, I took the online courses by Stephane Maarek that can be found in Udemy. For the practice exams, I purchased the ones provided by Jon Bonso. Besides these awesome resources, these are some things that really helped me:

Take your time to read the questions and the answers.

The questions can be tricky and sometimes a small detail changes the whole scenario. IE: Did the question mention real time or near real time? If it is near real time, the answer might involve using Kinesis Firehose and not Streams.

You can usually rule out 2 answers easily.

When in doubt I start ruling out answers, and read over the best contenders and the question again.

Keep doing your practice exams until you have a really high score on them.

It felt a bit silly doing this, because technically you already did the practice exam, and went over the in depth answers. I definitely tripped over the same stone twice, and it helped me go over the areas I was weakest in.

If it is a long question and you're unsure about the answer, flag it for review and do it at the end.

Some questions felt really complicated, I thought the best approach would be to flag it and do it at the end. That way you don't spend too much time on a question. Remember that's just one question and you have a limited amount of time to answer all of them.

Having a lot of time for studying, and with a group when possible.

I spent a lot of my free time studying for these, and at work we had a study group that also kept my motivation.

You get a 50% discount on your next exam each time you pass one. You also get a free practice exam.

The exams can be pricey, so that 50% discount goes a long way.

The certifications exposed me to a lot of services and solutions I wasn't aware of, so I'm really glad I ended up taking them. I could apply the knowledge on my job, and on personal projects too. I left the specialty certifications for last, and at that point I was only going to take a couple of them, but I took all of them because I felt like being a completionist.

If you have any questions regarding any specific exam, please reach out and I'll be happy to chat.