AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate – Exam Guide

For the most part, Amazon’s CSA exam is grounded nicely in tasks and scenarios that you are very likely to encounter in the real world as you embark on architecting solutions using AWS services. For this reason, there is no better way to learn than logging in and getting some hands-on experience. You are however unlikely to be able to do this for everything you need to know so I’ve included the process I followed to help get myself 85% on the exam.

Firstly, and only in my opinion, the official practice exam is a waste of time (and money if you don’t have a voucher). It’s short, unable to be paused and you cannot review the questions after it has been completed.

I used A Cloud Guru ( as the first port of call for getting a good foundation. I purchased both the Solutions Architect and SysOps courses and found both struck a good balance between providing both tips for the exam and, more importantly, making sure that you are actually functional in certain areas like VPC creation etc. rather than just knowing the theory. Their courses are frequently updated to take into consideration new questions that are beginning to appear in exams and their forums are a good place get an even more current view of what others are encountering.

Where I found A Cloud to be lacking was the practice questions. Although I’ve never been a fan of focussing too much on practice questions during previous academic endeavours, here I found it important. Exposure to the format and style of the exam should definitely be experienced. There are common formats that come up again and again worded slightly differently each time; when first encountered they cause panic and yet, subsequent times they’re easy points. I found the A Cloud questions throughout to be very easy and the final set at the end, very difficult. I now felt I had the foundation, I just needed to practice exam technique.

If you can look past the instances of poor English and a few questions that are simply wrong, Whizlabs ( provides a wealth of questions in a very similar format (not identical) to the actual exam. I would suggest purchasing and going through all the practice quizzes including the section questions at the end. Don’t worry too much about doing them under exam conditions (re:time) and pause the quiz as and when you need. To avoid simply learning to regurgitate answers, if you find a hard question, instead of trying to muddle through, go and research the area then come back and tackle it before moving on. I did this a lot and interestingly I didn’t find the bad English too off-putting; it’s often the case in the actual exam that I only fully understood the question after examining the answers. Whizlabs was like this as well but for completely different reasons 😊

In addition to the two resources above I read FAQs for the services likely to come up. I did not read any white papers.


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