Tips and Tricks for AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification Exam

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Today, AWS is the most popular cloud service provider and in terms of market share, being way ahead of Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, which are its two closest competitors.

What is AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification?

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam tries to measure the knowledge and understanding of attendees in AWS Cloud environment. There are many different types of AWS cloud certification depending on specific usage, however, AWS cloud Practitioner can be considered as baseline.

Do I need AWS Cloud Experience to pass the exam?

Of course, if you have hands-on experience in AWS cloud, (or in other cloud environments) you may reduce the preparation time for the exam. However, if you don’t have any experience, don’t worry, you may need more time to understand the environment and for sure you will get some hands-on experience when preparing for the exam.

How can I prepare for the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam?

1- Download the exam guide: This is provided by AWS on their website. It will provide you topics that you need to cover and the format of the exam.

2- Sample Questions: There are 10 sample questions with their answers provided by AWS for free. When I first check the questions before starting to study for the exam, I thought it will be a very tough exam, however, after finishing my study I checked the questions again and found them very easy. So when you first check the questions, if you think it is difficult, please don’t worry, because after studying well and check the questions again, you will feel the same as me and be surprised how much you learned during that preparation.

3- Online/Offline Courses: You can benefit from many online courses. AWS provides online and classroom courses on its website. Also, you can find many good online courses that you can use for preparation.

First of all, I watched AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Training 2020 — Full Course by Andrew Brown from ExamPro which I found very useful because of a clear explanation of important concepts and also Mr.Brown shows how each system works by sharing his screen. I repeated the steps by watching his video, created a free account to play with AWS Cloud services in order to get a better understanding. Also, you don’t need to subscribe to watch this video, because it is from YouTube (free).

At that point, also taking notes is very important. If you don’t have a long time experience with AWS Cloud, you might start to get confused with the names of the AWS Services, some services have very similar names with different scopes. My tips: write down the names with an explanation of them with at least 2–3 sentences to make sure you will remember when you come back and look at your notes. ( I like to write it down when I study about something, maybe still a bit traditional :), I had around 10 pages of notes at the end of my study)

4- Practice Exam Questions : It is very hard to find similar questions as a real exam. When I check user-comments of some example question sets or some online courses, some people were saying those questions are harder than the exam and for others, it was the opposite. I can tell the resources that I share in this blog are very good sources to prepare for the exam and I have encountered very similar or sometimes same questions.

→ After intensively searching for the best question sets by checking the user-comments, I purchased Neal David’s 500 Practice Exam Questions from Udemy. Each question includes a detailed explanation of the answer. I enhanced my notes by checking the answers of every question. At the end of each exam (which includes 60 questions), I was checking for each concept and services the White Papers of AWS in order to extend my knowledge (mainly this White Paper).

→ In addition to that, here I found 260 sample questions (written as 520 but actually it is duplicated) which are very similar to the real exam. Just please carefully review the answers because there are many wrong answer keys, therefore please also consider comments for each question.

As a summary, I created and used an AWS Cloud account by watching Andrew Brown’s video, then checked Neal David’s 500 Practice Exam Questions, took some notes at the same time by checking White Papers of AWS, and before the exam I reviewed these questions on the internet.

In the real exam, 95% of the topics were the same as what I covered with videos and practice questions. However, the questions were more tricky in terms of grammar and multiple choices. Please make sure that you read the questions well.

For example in the questions, they could ask ‘If a company wants to reach their AWS cloud environment 7/24 hours and be protected from electric shot-downs, what shouldn’t they implement?’ rather than asking ‘What should they implement..’.

How can I take the exam? What is the passing score?

The exam can be taken at a testing center or home. After you register on AWS Certification website, (Exam Code: CLF-C01) you can choose the certification exam and date/time schedule from available timeslots.

  • Lasts 90 minutes
  • Costs $100 USD per attempt
  • The exam is available in English, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese
  • Format: Multiple choices, multiple answers
  • 70% passing rate (also I read that in some cases, you may pass with 67% or 68% of success rate because the score depends also on the difficulty of the exam. But generally the base is around 70%)

I chose to take the online exam. Before taking the exam, I suggest you to prepare your exam area according to the instructions that are provided by the AWS like no phone, no watch, closed room, etc..

After you install the required programs on your computer, during the exam you will not able to do anything with your computer, except looking and answering the questions. Instructor will connect with you at the beginning of the exam with voice and checking your camera. He/She may want you to show the room, your wrists and the table, etc.. The instructor might not watch you all the exam time but your camera will record all activities. Also during the exam, another instructor can connect to your session and asks you to show around again.

When will the Exam Score be shared?

After you complete the exam, you will immediately see PASS/FAIL information according to your number of correct answers. However, you will not be able to see your score and your certification/badge, because after the exam, your camera record will be examined by the instructor to make sure that you were respecting the rules. Then within one week, you will receive your certification and badge with more detailed information regarding your exam result.

Additional Resources:

If you also looking for additional resources, these websites cover some good quality training with an explanation of their advantages and disadvantages.

Good Luck!

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