AWS Training and Certification Blog

Conquering a Mountain: 5 Tips to Pass AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

Passing the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam is like conquering a mountain. To successfully climb a mountain, you need to train. Passing this exam is no different. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional credential validates your expertise in designing complex solutions on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and empowers you to make confident architectural decisions. This credential helps certified individuals showcase advanced knowledge and skills in providing complex solutions to complex problems, optimizing security, cost, and performance, and automating manual processes. This certification is a means for organizations to identify and develop talent with these critical skills for implementing and optimizing cloud initiatives.

The ideal candidate for this exam has two or more years of experience in using AWS services to design and implement cloud solutions, can evaluate cloud application requirements, and make architectural recommendations for deployment of applications on AWS. This candidate also can provide expert guidance about architectural design that extends across multiple applications and projects within a complex organization. After successfully earning the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner and AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate certifications, I decided to tackle this exam. I’m naturally a curious person and I wanted to immerse myself in my company’s value proposition. It also reflected my commitment to growth, curiosity, and effective collaboration with diverse AWS customers.

Now, let’s explore how preparing for this challenging exam is like training to conquer hiking a mountain:

1. Navigating the path: Building cognitive stamina

Much like a hike up a mountain demands physical and mental endurance, preparing for this exam requires mental clarity and resilience. Begin by thoroughly reviewing the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam guide to help guide your preparation. Dedicate regular study sessions, just as hikers undergo training to build physical strength. Consistency is your ally, helping you enhance your cognitive abilities over time. Planning is crucial for a successful hike and it’s equally vital in exam preparation. Craft a study plan, set clear goals, and schedule study sessions, mirroring how hikers plan routes and estimate hiking times. For instance, I dedicated one hour every day to study after my children had gone to bed, accumulating 42 hours of focused study over a six-week period.

2. Proper equipment and materials: Gear up for success

Hikers depend on the right gear, and you need appropriate study materials. Leverage AWS Skill Builder, an online learning center that provides 600+ free, on-demand courses, standard exam prep, learning plans, and digital badges. I recommend becoming a Skill Builder subscriber to access the enhanced exam prep resources, which include hands-on training like 150+ AWS Builder Labs, AWS Cloud Quest: Solutions Architect role-playing game, AWS Jam Journeys to assess your building expertise, and the Official Practice Exam to will help you gauge your readiness and gain confidence going into exam day.

Skill Builder offers seamless exam prep in four steps. You already started step 1 by reviewing the exam guide, to familiarize yourself with the exam. I also recommend taking the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional Official Practice Question Set. In doing so, you’ll get a sense for the exam-style questions and can also use this step to identify potential gaps in your foundational knowledge, which you can fill through Skill Builder’s digital course library. When it comes to fundamental AWS services like Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), AWS Route 53, Amazon S3, Amazon CloudFront, and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), ensure that you possess an in-depth understanding of them. Subscribers can access AWS Cloud Quest: Solutions Architect, a role-playing game that helps you develop practical solutions architect skills using AWS services while solving puzzles and earning rewards. Equip yourself with additional resources like AWS Classroom Training and free training events.

3. Scaling the summit: Practical application

Once your foundation is strong (just like your hiking boot laces!), I recommend taking the Exam Prep Enhanced Course: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional. This course includes everything the standard version does, but takes things even further by incorporating hands-on practice, which is key to mastering the deployment, management, and operation of AWS workloads, including security controls and compliance. This practical experience enhances your knowledge retention. You can also dive deep into AWS Documentation and AWS AWS Whitepapers & Guides to enrich your understanding. Take meticulous notes, capturing essential details about the service, its strengths, and best practices.

4. Mastering the terrain: Exam rehearsal

Rehearsing for the exam is as crucial as navigating the rugged terrains of a hiking trail during your preparation journey. I completed five practice exams under real exam conditions, answering 75 questions within a strict 3-hour timeframe. To strengthen your knowledge, review every question you answered incorrectly. Identify correct answers by systematically eliminating the wrong ones. If you’re a Skill Builder subscriber, you have access to the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional Official Practice Exam, which will help you gain the confidence you need going into exam day.

5. Collaborate and network: Build a supportive community

Just as hikers often form groups to conquer challenging peaks, building a supportive community can significantly enhance your journey to passing the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam. Seek out forums, online communities (like the AWS Community Builders), or industry events dedicated to AWS learning. Attend AWS re:Invent in-person or online to explore opportunities to hone your skills, learn new ways of working from AWS experts, and advance your knowledge. Collaboration can lead to valuable insights, study resources, and even study partners to help you stay motivated and accountable. Additionally, networking with professionals who have already achieved this certification can provide guidance and mentorship, offering you a clearer path to success in your own AWS Certification journey.

Preparing for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam mirrors the challenges of conquering a mountain. Dedication, meticulous planning, and consistent practice serve as your guiding principles. By embracing these principles, you not only increase your chances of certification success but also gain invaluable skills for navigating the cloud computing landscape. Best of luck with your journey—reach for the summit!