On Friday, June 22, 2018, I achieved my AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional certification. The 77 question exam took 170 minutes to complete. There are two main challenges in this exam: the content and the duration. The material tested is extensive. The length of the test requires a lot of mental endurance.
Learning the material
Daily AWS usage is insufficient to pass this test. You must study specifically to pass this exam. Start by reading the whitepapers in the exam guide. Supplement your reading with one of the many prep courses for this exam. ACloudGuru and LinuxAcademy are both excellent video courses to supplement all your reading. The study plan for this test is well understood, and there are numerous sources and documented personal experiences with this exam.
I went into the exam feeling very confident. I started the test at a robust pace. However, at about the 2nd hour my concentration began to wane. I had to re-read questions multiple times to understand them at this point. The last hour was very challenging due to the time constraint of the test which left me with no time for a break. The exam facility doesn’t allow any refreshments (water or snacks) in the room. Also, if you do need a bathroom break or any break, you can leave the testing room; however, your test clock does not pause.
If you’ve ever taken the GRE, GMAT, etc. then you’re probably prepared for the endurance of a test like this. If you’re like me, it’s been a long time since you took any tests like this. My number one suggestion is to sit the practice exam and supplement with other practice exams. I saw that WhizLabs had practice exams, but I never personally used them. Make sure you sit the real test ready for the nearly 3-hour duration.
Best of luck with your certifications!