AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (2019) | Exam Experience

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

I wanted to share the resources I used throughout my studies in pursuit of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam. I hope this may be useful to you.

When it comes to studying try and find what works for you, I typically drop my notes into Evernote. Though this time I tried an online mind mapping service called Coggle and it helped massively with mapping out the different services AWS offers. I’m not one to write things on paper because my handwriting is shocking and I cannot even read it back. Though for some that works and that’s cool.

My Coggle mind map can be viewed here its a mess and literally a dump of what was going on in my head, but it worked for me. It may provide some use or at least point you in the direction of how to create a mind map. I’m sure the next map I do will look more presentable! A good book I would highly recommend for further reading on Mind Maps is ‘Buzan’s Study Skills: Mind Maps, Memory Techniques, Speed Reading and More! (Mind Set)‘ big shout out to Faye Ellis at A Cloud Guru for this recommendation.


AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate All-in-One Exam Guide (Exam SAA-C01) – This is the only book I used when studying supplemented with the training courses below. I quite like the All-in-one Exam guides as I find them easier to read.

Online training courses

I used a variety of training courses to ensure I had all bases covered, probably overkill but it worked! I have yearly subscriptions with the training providers below which work out cheaper than paying monthly. FYI: The best time to get a yearly subscription is on Black Friday / Cyber Monday where there tend to be good deals. A cloud guru typically doesn’t participate in these deals as they are considerably cheaper compared to the others.

  • Linux Academy As a visual learner I found the material full of useful high-level diagrams throughout the LABs which helped to visualise how things were being built out.
  • A Cloud Guru The theory used here was full of information and useful exam tips. The LABs were good but I felt not as in-depth compared to Linux academy.
  • Pluralsight Great training videos, no labs but can follow along with a free tier AWS account. 50% off your first month or 15% off an annual subscription if purchased via the link provided.

If you struggle to keep engaged in the video content, I’d recommend listening at around 1.5x speed and see if that helps. I found normal speed a little slow for my liking.

Practice Exams

The above courses include practice exams along with them. I have included some additional practice exams I came across:

I was recommended the following Udemy exams from a colleague (thanks Hugo!) and used these in my final preparations for the exam.

I’m glad I did as I noticed some additional services came up that wasn’t covered in the other training material. Though I can’t recall being tested on any in the exam but could be luck of the draw.

2V0-622D – VMware Certified Professional 6.5 – Data Center Virtualization Delta Exam | Exam Experience

Wow, it has been a while since I last blogged! What better way to get back into the swing of things than with a pass on the VMware 2V0-622D exam.

My VCP6-DCV was coming round for renewal and as usual, a mad rush to recertify. Days just before the exam was scheduled, this happened: ‘VMware Certification: Recertification Is Changing and What It Means to You’ Essentially, allowing you to recertify when is convenient for you. With most of the hard work already put in, it made sense to press ahead with taking the exam. The question now remains, do I renew in the future… watch this space!

For those that are not aware, the 2V0-622D is the delta exam, this delta exam focuses more on the upgraded content between VCP6 and VCP6.5. 

Here are my tips for passing the 2V0-622D exam:

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MCSA Server/SQL 2012 electives changes

Microsoft has made some changes to the MCSA for Server 2012 and SQL 2012 by introducing electives. This I feel is good idea as it allows you to pick an exam that may be more relative to your job role. So in my case I will be taken the following mandatory exams:

70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server
70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012

and then I can decide to do 70-409: Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center.

Taken from

For MCSA: Windows Server 2012 > Exams 410 and 411 are required. You can choose one of the following exams to fulfill the requirements for the third exam in the path:

  • Exam 346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements
  • Exam 409: Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center
  • Exam 412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
  • Exam 462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases

For MCSA: SQL Server 2012 > Exams 461 and 462 are required. You can choose one of the following exams to fulfill the requirements for the third exam in the path

  • Exam 411: Administering Windows Server 2012
  • Exam 412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services
  • Exam 463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Exam 483: Programming in C#

MCSA electives Server 2012



Passed – Cisco CCENT (ICND 1)

On Tuesday 12th June this week I took the Cisco ICND 1 and managed to pass luckily. I was studying this on and off for a year! One thing I was mostly worried about was hearing other people’s stores about running out of time. I found I had 50 minutes left (this may be because of the intense studying I did) – I also have some Cisco experience.

I used the following materials:

  • Trainsignal – There is additional content which allows you to copy the material to an Apple/Android device – The videos are reduced in quality – but makes studying on the go, listening in the car etc much easier. Every bit of studying helps!
  • CBT Nuggets
Cisco Material:
There are some apps on the Android play store that can also help:

Now for the ICND 2 (CCNA), I ‘plan’ on doing this in the next couple of months.