An AWS (Amazon Web Services) certification is a globally recognised qualification in cloud expertise. IT professionals acquire this credential after passing one or more exams under AWS, using it to verify their technical skills and knowledge in cloud technology.

Such qualifications also entitle professionals to perks under the AWS network . These include the ability to sport “digital badges” on one’s social media profiles or e-mail signatures, boosting their trust within the industry and employability on the job market. Individuals are also offered exclusive access to AWS conferences and events, as well membership to the “AWS Certified Global Community” – where they’ll have opportunities to network with industry veterans and like-minded peers.

AWS certifications for various roles and skill levels are available, including those catered to cloud developers, architects, and practitioners.

If you’re looking to pursue AWS certification, we’ve laid out the following tips below to help you prepare for exam success.

Use the study material offered by AWS

The AWS website offers a wide range of study materials to help equip you for your exam. Resources are categorised under foundational-level, associate-level, and professional-level certifications; making it easy to navigate around the information you’re after.

Each category of study materials includes white papers, FAQs, exam guides, and sample questions. Use the exam guides provided to gain a comprehensive overview of what to expect on your designated test. These outline the type of questions you’ll be answering (i.e. multiple choice and multiple responses) and the exact topics you’ll be assessed on.

The (foundational-level) AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam Guide**,** for example, clearly lists the test domains and their weightings on the actual exam: cloud concepts (26%), security and compliance (25%), technology (33%), and billing and pricing (16%). Students can then tailor their studies and preparation around these test expectations as necessary.

Another useful resource offered by AWS are their sample exam questions. Individuals can use these to familiarize themselves with the format and style of the actual exam questions; as well as test their own knowledge on the subject.

Take practice exams

Apart from reviewing the AWS’ sample questions, mock exams are also an effective way of putting your knowledge to the test.

These practice exams can be found under various training providers and e-learning networks, as well as the official AWS website. Registered users under AWS Training can additionally enjoy a selection of free courses to help them gain a more robust understanding of the concepts covered by their exam.

Popular online education sites such as WhizLabs and Udemy also offer free preparatory courses and practice exams to aid in their studies. Some come at a price (such as WhizLab’s practice exam under AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate); though offer plenty of questions, individual tests, and labs to assess one’s knowledge with.

At DDLS, “exam readiness training” is provided as a highly-recommended step in their AWS certification programs. This workshop essentially provides face-to-face exam guidance and training for AWS students; diving into the main topics of their test, test-taking techniques, practice questions, and more. Following this is a practice exam provided by AWS, before finally scheduling the actual exam and getting certified.

Put your theory to practice

Of course – it can’t be all about textbook knowledge. Those studying for their certification are highly recommended to gain hands-on experience with their chosen field; building real-world practice with relevant AWS services and products.

“Self-paced labs” are thus provided by AWS to help students build on their practical experience. These provide individuals with active, first-hand participation in a live AWS environment, using the provider’s actual services and technology. Students will be required to navigate real-world scenarios and cases, equipping them for actual tasks and responsibilities in the workplace.

Additionally, these labs are an effective way of truly absorbing the training materials – adequately preparing them for certification.

Individuals have the choice of taking an individual lab or heading down a “learning quest”, where they’ll be taken through a sequence of labs to help them fully grasp specific AWS products and services. Upon completion, students earn a “Quest Badge” to display on their website, social media profiles, or resume.

Learn common test-taking strategies for AWS exams

Finally, it helps to familiarise yourself with the techniques and strategic methods of answering AWS exam questions. This is where practice exams and sample questions can come in handy.

AWS certification exams are often filled with scenario-based questions, so it helps to know how to break these down. In his Toptal article of exam-taking tips for AWS professionals, Ross Bowman shares how one should always read the “kicker” first – the segment of the question that directly presents the problem. By focusing on this first, you’re given a clearer idea of what to look for within the given scenario, making it easier to select the right solution.

Additionally, AWS exams have a “Mark for Review” feature, where unsure answers can be marked for “review” – giving you a chance to re-assess them just before submission. Bowman recommends using this, as it helps in spending your exam time more wisely. Some questions may even have the answer to a previous question, with which this feature also comes in handy.

Of course, having general test-taking strategies under your belt can also help with the final exam – such as using the process of elimination with multiple choices, reading questions twice, and scanning for keywords to help you tailor your answers as necessary.

What to expect at your AWS exam

Though different certifications will have different exam topics, AWS exams generally follow a similar process.

Associate-level exams have a timeframe of 80 minutes, while those on a professional or specialty level last 170 minutes. According to SearchAWS, each test is statistically analysed to determine the final score, and can vary per test.

Upon completing the exam, students should receive their results within 72 hours. Those who pass are granted a digital certificate and access to certification badges for personal and professional use. Those who fail can still retake the exam in two weeks’ time.

AWS additionally offers flexible options for taking exams, allowing students to choose between “online proctoring” or testing centres. Those who opt for online proctoring can take their test from any private location, such as their home or office. Individuals can set this appointment at any time. During their exam, test-takers communicate with a proctor through their computer, who remotely monitors the exam via webcam and a screen-sharing application.

Testing centres are physical facilities that allow students to take the test in person. Appointments can vary depending on the centre, though all required technical equipment is provided.

These options allow for a flexible certification process, tailored to your needs and schedule.

Ready to get certified?

As an official AWS training partner, DDLS offers a wide range of AWS courses and certifications  – including AWS Architect, AWS Specialty, and AWS Foundational. All areas are comprised of a comprehensive learning path, helping you get certified according to your specific needs and goals.

Both virtual and in-classroom training is provided, helping you study through methods that suit you best. Our DDLS Anywhere platform provides students with the latest telepresence technology for a robust, remote training experience.

Get qualified under a global leader in cloud technology, and enquire with us on AWS courses today.

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