There's no shortage of blog/reddit/videos posts that explain how to prepare yourself for the AWS Certified Practitioner exam but since I got an excellent score on my exam (934/1000), I thought I'd also share how I prepped.

Having a strong Azure background, getting up and running on AWS was very fast for me since both platforms are very similar.  I was familiar with the AWS services that can run containers so I looked at preparation materials that could help me go thru the learning process pretty fast.  I saw many positive reviews of DigitalCloud training material so I bought their course and practice exams package.

I started on a Monday morning, went thru the course, did some reading and experimentations, did the practice exams and took the exam on the Friday afternoon of the same week so about 5 days of prep + exam in total.

The exam consists of 65 multiple choice questions with 90 minutes to complete the exam.  It's not deeply technical meaning that you won't have questions on how to do things but you'll have to know what services to use to accomplish some tasks or fulfilling requirements.  Since AWS offers a gigantic list of services, this means that you have to memorize lots of information.

To be honest, I don't have a great memory.  My brain process information and discard stuff that seams unimportant very fast.  This means that I have to work very hard to imprint information in my brain.  To achieve that, I wrote notes in OneNote as I went thru the course and created flash cards for each chapter of the course.

To make things worse, AWS has a tendency to use service names that sound the same and create an abundance of them.  CloudWatch, CloudTrail, CloudThis, CloudThat, gawds!  The exam uses some of these services as "distractor" answer so even if the Lumberyard service is not in the exam's objectives, you must at least have read the product description so you can eliminate it quickly if it shows up as an answer.  The practice exams benefit is that they prepare you to spot these distractors and services with similar names. 

Make sure you memorize all the information found in the support plans page.  You'll likely have 4-5 questions just on that topic.

Make sure you can identify the services that allow you to protect Web applications, from the CDN up to the VPC's network ACLs.  The questions around this are the most technical ones in the exam.

Make sure you know how to create billing alerts.

After the course, the reading and experimentations, I took half of the practice exams on Thursday and scored 80%+ in them so I booked my exam for Friday afternoon.

Friday morning I read all notes back, took the remaining practice exams and cleaned by dining room table and surroundings.

With the pandemic situation, it's easier to take a proctored exam at home or at work instead of booking it at a test center.  They ask you to log in 30 minutes prior to the exam.  This seems like a lot but keep in mind that you'll have to go thru some required steps like downloading an app, taking and uploading photos of your ID and surroundings with your phone, wait for the proctor to contact you, move your laptop so that he/she can have a 360 view of your room.  The whole process took me 20 minutes.  Take a look at the video found in this page for more info.

Then it's exam time!  I completed the exam in 35-40 minutes (didn't look at the exact starting time) and got a Pass result, yeah!  The Acclaim badge and the full result came by email 24 hours later.

If English is not your first language, you can request a 30 minutes extension but for this exam, it's clearly not necessary.

Hope this helped and best of luck!


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