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How to pass your 2019 AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Exam first time

AWS has introduced new services in 2019 such as Aurora Serverless. To pass the exam on the first time, we would need to have a solid understanding of majority of the services and go through the exam dumps questions. Passing your AWS Solution Architect Associate exam requires two things: a lot of revision and hard work. I was delighted when I passed the exam thanks to Cloud Guru for their amazing training materials. An AWS certification is an indication that you’re familiar with AWS resources and be helpful in your career development.

Sections covered in AWS

 

The exam will cover 5 different sections which is extremely essential to pass the exam:

  1. Building a scalable, fault-tolerant and cost-efficient architecture. (34%)
  2. Utilizing caching services to improve application performance, appropriate database design. (24%)
  3. How to secure applications from attackers using the services such as WAF, using encryption mechanisms, and configuring VPC (26%)
  4. Reducing the cost of systems in both storage and compute areas. (10%)
  5. Selecting the right design to provide a fault tolernt architecture (6%)

AWS Certification Roadmap

As of 2019, there are 3 paths to get AWS certified — Architect, Operations and Developer and there are 5 specialty exams —

  1. Networking,
  2. Big Data
  3. Security
  4. Machine Learning
  5.  Alexa.

You don’t need to clear the associate level to take the professional exam now but I have heard that the professional level is significantly harder so it might be a good idea to start with the associate ones. It also seems to be the case that for the 3 associate level exams, SysOps is the hardest, followed by the Solutions Architect and the Developer track is relatively the easiest.

Solutions Architect Associate Important Questions

Example question :

Your web application front end consists of multiple EC2 instances behind an Elastic Load Balancer. You configured ELB to perform health checks on these EC2 instances. If an instance fails to pass health checks, which statement will be true?

A. The instance is replaced automatically by the ELB.

B. The instance gets terminated automatically by the ELB.

C. The ELB stops sending traffic to the instance that failed its health check.

D. The instance gets quarantined by the ELB for root cause analysis

The above question is taken from the official AWS sample exam questions. In your real exam, the question is either going to be “given the requirement and constraint, how will you design or improve this system” or “given a system, explaining why certain behavior/bug/bottleneck is happening”.

The most important thing is to understand the requirement and constraint in regards to performance, scalability, availability, cost, and security.

There will be 65 questions and you have 130 minutes. All of them are either single or multiple-choice questions. ~65% would generally be a passing score.

My take is that if you have some relative experience with AWS and basic knowledge about networking and database, passing the exam in 1 to 2 months could be a realistic plan (that’s how long it took me). The key is to focus on what’s important — understanding different services, features, and tradeoffs. AWS is not going to test you on which button to click on to set up a Lambda function or how much your reserved EC2 instance is going to cost. But you need to understand what storage solution would be the best choice given that you are storing image data and won’t require frequent retrieval but when you need the data it has to be available immediately.

Solutions Architect Associate Exam Topics

I think the core services you need to understand very well include:

  • EC2 (AZ, auto-scaling, load balancer, security group)
  • VPC (subnet, NAT gateway, BastionHost, Network ACL)
  • S3 (different S3 classes, encryption, versioning, cross-region replication, lifecycle)
  • RDS (multi-AZ, cross-region replication)

Services that you need to understand their basic functionalities include:

  • Storage: Glacier, DynamoDB, Storage gateway, Aurora, ElastiCache, Redshift, EFS
  • Compute: Lambda, ECS, Elastic Beanstalk
  • Networking: Route53, API Gateway, CloudFront
  • Management & Monitoring: IAM, CloudWatch, CloudFormation, KMS
  • Analytics: Kinesis, Athena
  • Applications: SQS, SNS

 What is Snowball ☃️?

What is Kinesis 🔬?

There is a service called Athena 🧚‍♀️?

Why do some services start with Amazon and some start with AWS?

Amazon SageMaker but AWS RoboMaker, Amazon Redshift but AWS Auto Scaling?

Why completely different things have very similar names?

NAT Gateway, Storage Gateway, Internet Gateway, and API Gateway?

Why some services have abbreviation names some have spaces in their names some have CamelCase names some even have dashes in their names?

Ok “E” is “elastic” in EMR, ECS, EKS, ECR, and EFS but what about ElastiCache (how to pronounce these AWS people?) and Elastic Beanstalk?

Shouldn’t it be EC and EB instead?

Why there are so many services with “Cloud” in their name?

Aren’t everything here cloud ☁️ already?