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Best Tips to Prepare for the AWS Certification Exam

05th Dec, 2023
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    Best Tips to Prepare for the AWS Certification Exam

    When it comes to certifications in cloud computing, AWS is one of the most recognized in the entire industry. However, the exams are very comprehensive and take a thorough test of your knowledge and understanding. This makes them tough to crack, creating the necessity for proper planning and guidance. 

    So, if you are wondering how to write the AWS certification exam, keep reading this blog. You will get a fair idea of the AWS certification exam structure along with the best preparation tips. Alongside, you can go for Amazon AWS training and certification course to further enhance your knowledge and learning.

    What is the AWS Certification Exam?

    AWS certification exam is a test that you need to clear in order to earn an Amazon Web Services certificate. It comes with a time limit and a set number of questions which will differ based on the subject matter and the certificate’s level. 

    Now, AWS certifications are of 4 types – Foundational, Associate, Professional, and Specialty. They cover a wide range of domains like Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, DevOps Engineer, Machine Learning, Database, etc. 

    The pricing and difficulty will tend to vary across certificates. They remain valid for 3 years, after which you can apply for a recertification on the same certificate or move to a higher level. 

    To take the test, you can opt for an online proctored exam or go to a Pearson VUE testing center. Furthermore, all certifications are offered in a variety of languages like – English, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. 

    The minimum passing score for Foundational-level exams is 700, Associate-level exams is 720 and for Professional-level and Specialty exams is 750. 

    AWS Certification Exam Structure

    The exam structure for each AWS certification will tend to differ. Now, AWS Cloud Practitioner is a foundational-level certification which most professionals go for while starting out. Thus, let us take its example to help you gain an idea of the general AWS certification exam structure. 

    The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification exam involves cloud concepts, security, compliance, technology, billing and pricing. Its format is as follows:

    • This test has a time duration of 90 minutes and contains around 65 to 68 questions. 
    • Questions will come in two formats:

    a) Multiple Choice Questions

    These questions will provide 4 options from which you need to select the correct answer.

    b) Multiple Response Questions

    As the name suggests, multiple-response questions will have two or more correct answers, which you need to choose from the list of available responses. 

    • There is no negative marking for incorrect answers. Thus, even if you do not know the exact answer to a specific question, you can take a guess and select the correct answer. 
    • The exam will also contain unscored questions. Their purpose is to gather statistical information. Attempting them or not attempting them will not affect your test score. 

    Now that you have a fair idea of how to write the AWS cloud practitioner exam, let’s move on to the best preparation tips. 

    Best Tips to Prepare for the AWS Certification Exam

    Listed below are some of the best tips you can follow on how to write AWS exam:

    1. Look for the Right Keywords in the Questions

    In AWS certification exams, questions usually come in a long story format. In some cases, the stories might be written in a tricky manner, just to confuse you. 

    Therefore, to choose the correct answers, you need to find the right keywords. This strategy will benefit your decision-making process, enabling you to find the right answers quickly. 

    Here is a sample example:

    Selecting right keywords in the question

    2. Eliminate the Answers That Don’t Fit Your Primary Thought

    After finding the keywords and deducing the answer, it's time to look at the provided options. Now, you need to eliminate the ones which do not fit your primary thought. By doing so, you can come one step closer to the option which you think is actually the right answer. 

    Pro Tip – When you are unsure, just go with your gut feeling. The majority of the time, it is right.

    3. Learn Key Concepts from the Official Practice Question Set

    While preparing for the exam, one of the best AWS tips and tricks you can follow is to go through the exam guide and official practice questions. By doing so, you get a clear idea of all the domains and tasks covered, their weightage in the test, along with the key concepts. 

    It is essential that you focus on them, as in the test, you will find several questions based on them. Following this simple strategy, you can significantly increase your chances of scoring higher marks. 

    4. Read Questions Twice

    As stated before, most questions come in a long-story format and will be designed to trick you. Thus, it is crucial that you read through them at least twice before choosing your answer. A small mistake in understanding the meaning of a single word is enough to deviate you from the right answer. 

    If you read through the question too fast, there is a high chance of misunderstanding it and choosing the wrong answer. Hence, reading the question twice is crucial. 

    5. Use the ‘Mark for Review’ Feature

    For critical questions, it may happen that you are not satisfied with your chosen answer. In such cases, instead of allocating additional time to think over it, you must use the ‘mark for review’ feature. 

    It will enable you to come back to that question later, after you have finished with the rest, to review and select a more suitable option. 

    6. Build your Practical Knowledge

    Having practical experience with the AWS platform is a must when you are preparing for your certification exam. Experts advise practicing building projects in your AWS account. It will immensely help in developing your practical skills, which will increase your proficiency and confidence. 

    They even suggest allocating 80% of your preparation time to project building and 20% to studying. This is because understanding and retaining facts and figures can be difficult just by reading study material and watching videos. Thus, putting your knowledge into practice is the best way to remember. 

    Consider enrolling in courses for Cloud Engineer to gain hands-on experience with cloud labs and take your exam preparation to the next level. 

    7. Work Backwards

    This is based on one of Amazon’s leadership tactics, which entails creating an idea of the final product and working backward to make its development plan. Similarly, during the test, you can select an answer and work your way back to whether it suits the question’s purpose. 

    By doing so, you get a clear idea of which response fits the question's requirements, thus increasing your chances of choosing the right one. 

    8. Don't Spend Too Much Time on Each Question

    Given that you have 90 minutes to answer 65 questions, you will get roughly 1 minute and 30 seconds for each. Thus, if you are stuck answering a tricky question, experts advise that you move on to the next one. 

    You can always come back to it later if you have extra time on your hands. 

    9. Go for AWS Practice Exams

    An excellent way to get an idea of what you may face during the actual test is to go for AWS practice exams. They are usually auto-graded tests, providing instant results and enabling you to learn from your mistakes. 

    In this regard, enrolling in Amazon AWS training and certification programs can be an ideal choice. You can gain access to practice tests which are structured as per AWS’s syllabus, along with logical explanations for each answer. 

    Best AWS Preparation Books

    Apart from having practical experience, studying the right books is also necessary when you are planning on how to write AWS certification exam. Here are some of the books you can consider buying:

    1. AWS Web Services for Dummies: A Wiley Brand by Bernard Golden

    This book is a perfect choice if you are new to the world of Amazon Web Services. The language is simple and comprehensive, enabling you to go in-depth on a wide array of topics. 

    2. AWS Basics: Beginners Guide by Gordon Wong

    The AWS Basics: Beginners Guide by Gordon Wong contains topics like what is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, how to set up an account, deployment of MEAN App, etc. It provides an in-depth insight into all of them, along with providing you the detailed steps of opening an AWS account. 

    3. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide

    AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide will help you learn all the necessary skills to work on the AWS cloud. It is written by AWS experts and contains key exam essentials and review questions for every chapter. It is one of the best books to help prepare for your AWS certification test. 

    4. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate All-in-One Exam Guide by Joyjeet Banerjee

    In this book, you will find details on all the skill sets you need to pass AWS certification exams. For each chapter, there are learning objectives, practice questions, exam tips, along with in-depth explanations. 

    5. AWS Certified Advanced Networking Official Study Guide

    This study guide covers topics like the design, deployment and implementation of AWS cloud-based applications. It also contains a glossary, practice exams and chapter tests, which can help keep track of your progress. 


    Now that you know how to write AWS certification exam, the only thing left for you to do is to start preparing. However, given the high standards of Amazon Web Services, cracking their certification exams all by yourself can be a difficult task. 

    Hence, opting for professional guidance by enrolling in our AWS cloud computing courses is advisable. Check the KnowledgeHut Cloud Computing course duration and start learning at your own pace. Our vast curation of AWS courses will ensure that you learn all that you need to know in order to crack the certification exam on your first go. 

    You May Also Like:

    How Much Does an AWS Certification Cost?
    A Complete Guide on AWS Certification Exam
    What Is AWS Certification?

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1How to get 30 minutes extra in the AWS exam?

    You simply need to log in to your AWS training and certification account, navigate to ‘Go to your Account’, tap on ‘Request Exam Accommodations’ and then on ‘Request Accommodation’. Then, under the ‘Accommodation Type' drop-down menu, choose 'ESL +30 MINUTES’ and click on ‘Create’.

    2How do I pass the AWS test?

    You can pass the AWS test by reading the certification exam guide, reading all the questions twice to understand them properly, gaining practical knowledge by building projects and opting for AWS practice exams.

    3How difficult is the AWS exam?

    AWS certification exams are credentials recognized by every industry. Thus, they are very scenario-based and will thoroughly test your knowledge and expertise in this field. They cannot be passed just by reading books, watching videos and opting for a few practice exams. Hence, getting professional help is a must to pass AWS certification tests.


    Kingson Jebaraj

    Multi Cloud Architect

    Kingson Jebaraj is a highly respected technology professional, recognized as both a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) and an Alibaba Most Valuable Professional. With a wealth of experience in cloud computing, Kingson has collaborated with renowned companies like Microsoft, Reliance Telco, Novartis, Pacific Controls UAE, Alibaba Cloud, and G42 UAE. He specializes in architecting innovative solutions using emerging technologies, including cloud and edge computing, digital transformation, IoT, and programming languages like C, C++, Python, and NLP. 

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