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Congratulations! After months of studying complex concepts and practicing in your AWS Free Tier account, you are finally ready to sit your AWS certification exam.
You now understand that AWS exam preparation requires lots of time and dedication. To qualify as an AWS solutions architect, sysops administrator, or developer, you must master skills such as AWS deployment, development, monitoring, security, and troubleshooting. Now that you’ve put in the hard yards and prepared for your AWS exam, the final hurdle that blocks your way to getting your long-awaited certification – is passing your AWS exam!
In this post, we’ll analyze some of the best hacks on how to prepare and take the AWS certification exam. Check off each one of these hacks and you will be on your way to joining the bandwagon of the highly sought-after AWS certified practitioners.
Before the Exam
- Remember one study cram session will not suffice
With AWS certification exams you can’t study one evening and take the test the next morning. If you choose to do this, rest assured you will fail miserably!
AWS exams are designed with the expectation that the test taker comprehends the concepts and has extensive experience working with AWS. This sort of knowledge cannot be gained alone by simply self-studying in a very short timeframe. For most AWS certification exams hands-on experience is necessary.
Make sure that you have adequate knowledge of the AWS platform and the core services and features before you book the exam. In case there are some things you don’t understand, and you feel they will have an adverse effect on your performance, consider giving yourself more time to study and book the exam for a later date.
- Practice Makes Perfect!
One of the best ways to ace any AWS exam is through practice. This includes hands-on practice working with AWS services as well as taking practice exams that simulate the real AWS exam experience. With adequate practice, you not only hone your skills and get a feel of how the actual exam is, but you also gain confidence that could contribute to your ultimate success.
The best way to study today is to use online, on-demand courses. These courses are often very high in quality and in-depth and you can fit them into your daily schedule. Self-studying in this manner is often preferable to classroom-based training as comes with much lower cost and is less demanding on your personal time.
You can practice for the exam through:
- Resources provided by AWS: AWS provide extremely detailed documentation on their website for the AWS platform and services. Check out the product pages, FAQs, whitepapers, user guides, developer guides, and API references
- Video-based training courses: Use on-demand video-based training courses to learn the concepts. Make sure you choose courses that have a strong hands-on element so you can practice through guided tutorials.
- Online practice tests: Practice tests are a great way to test your progress and get a good idea of what to expect in the real exam. Best to choose practice tests that are up to date and simulate the real style and difficulty of the AWS exam.
- Take time to rest
Don’t forget that continuous studies without breaks can lead to fatigue and content saturation. This will ultimately compromise all the hard work you have put into the exam preparation. Ensure you take a break in between your study sessions to allow you to recharge. Taking breaks allows content you have studied to be absorbed in the brain, hence enhancing your retention. Also, remember to have enough sleep on the evening before the exam day so that you can walk into the exam room with a fresh mind.
4. Request 30 extra minutes as a non-native English speaker
If English is not your native language, you can request 30 extra minutes for your exam via the exam accommodation “ESL +30,” in your AWS certification account. The accommodation “ESL +30” only needs to be requested once, prior to registering for your exam. It will then automatically apply to all future exam registrations with all test delivery providers.
As a non-native test taker, you can make good use of this extra time to double-check your answers and ensure you have done everything correctly.
On Exam Day
- Slow Down
One of the reasons why people fail the AWS certification exam is because they are influenced by the clock, and this affects their comprehension. Of course, the test will be timed. Don’t panic. Slow down and read every question carefully. When you read questions or instructions hastily, you will be more apt to misinterpret the meaning or miss something important. Keep in mind that there are no bonus points for finishing the test quickly. Even if you are pressed for time, you will increase your chances of success if you understand the intention of each question in the test. Be wise!
- Double Check Your Work – If Time Allows
Checking your work is important in any exam, and the AWS certification test is not an exemption. However, we cannot shun away from the act that this is not always possible. AWS exams are timed, and finding the time to double-check your answers can be extremely valuable. If you are lucky to complete the test fast, don’t rush to submit it. Make use of all the allotted time to ensure you have answered everything correctly. In case you find errors in what you have already done, don’t hesitate to make changes. Make sure you mark questions for review if you’re not 100% sure of the answer.
- Trust Your Instincts
One of the AWS exam hacks you should remember is to always trust your instincts. As you revisit questions as advised above, avoid changing answers simply because you feel they might be wrong! If your instincts tell you that the answers you wrote initially are right, don’t try to contradict them unless you’ve remembered a critical fact. The point is, don’t change any initial answer unless you are sure it is incorrect.
- It’s Okay To Make Educated Guesses
Even if you have taken months to study and you have done hundreds of practice tests, chances are that you will find some scenario-based questions you might not understand. In such cases, don’t leave them blank. Instead, try to remember everything you have studied and make an educated guess. You might be surprised to find out that the answers you initially thought were “pure guesswork” were actually right. Again, make your best choice and mark for review so you can come back later and double-check.
- It’s OK to Not Know Everything On The Exam
Sometimes, you may not know the answer to a question, and you might not even remember information that could help you make an educated guess. Don’t be flustered if this happens. Remember, if the AWS certification exams were easy, cloud computing practitioners wouldn’t be so highly regarded.
Don’t expect the AWS exam to be a breeze. It is okay to miss answers to some questions, and as mentioned earlier, it is okay to make educated guesses when you can. The trick that will help you answer as many questions as possible is to know that most AWS exam questions are worded in a way to try and fool test takers. It is, therefore, critical to read questions you find difficult carefully and look for clues in the wording. By treating all questions as a potential trick, you will pay more attention, and this will increase your chances of success. Check both the question and all possible answers to look for clues.
Taking The Exam From Home
Due to the recent wave of temporary closures of testing centers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AWS now allows individuals to take all exams in the comfort of their homes. This comes as a relief to many, who would otherwise have to travel long distances to take their tests. If you are doing your Exam from home, make sure you choose a room that is free from all distractions. Ensure your internet speed is good, and test your computer before the exam for any issues. For more information, check out this blog on how to “Take ANY AWS Certification Exam from Home“
Pass Your First Certification And Get 50% Off!
AWS certification exams cost money. However, when you pass your first certification, you will be given a 50% off voucher for your next exam. Take advantage of this and undertake as many certifications as you can. Once you succeed in earning AWS certifications, you can rest assured that job opportunities will come knocking at your door, and you will enjoy financial freedom in no time.
Final thoughts on AWS Exam Preparation
Preparation for your AWS exam should start as soon as you decide this is what you really need to advance your career. With these tips at your disposal, you are well set for your AWS exam preparation and can start the journey towards your long-awaited promotion or a lucrative job in your dream company. Cloud computing is exploding in popularity and now is a great time to start learning AWS – the leading cloud computing platform.
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