From Beginner to Certified: Navigating the AWS Solution Architect Associate - SAA C03 Exam

Ramakrishna chimmiri
4 min readJun 22, 2023

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Achieving a formal certification in AWS was on my bucket list for quite some time. I had originally planned to pursue it last year, but as life goes on, it didn’t happen. Fortunately able to do it this year.

In this blog post, I’ll share my journey, learnings, and tips for conquering the AWS SAA C03 exam. Hopefully, my experience can serve as a helpful guide for you.

Understanding the Exam:

Before diving in, it’s important to familiarize ourselves with the SAA-C03 exam’s format, objectives, and expectations.

Format: The SAA-C03 exam comprises multiple-choice and multiple-response questions, with a duration of 130 minutes. It consists of a total of 65 questions, including 15 unscored ones that won’t affect your final score. AWS collects information about candidate performance on these unscored questions to evaluate these questions for future use as scored questions. The exam is scored on a scale of 100 to 1000, with a minimum passing score of 720.

Objectives: The exam is divided into domains, each representing a specific area of knowledge. Here is a breakdown of the domains and their respective weightings:

Domain 1: Design Secure Architectures — 30%
Domain 2: Design Resilient Architectures — 26%
Domain 3: Design High-Performing Architectures — 24%
Domain 4: Design Cost-Optimized Architectures — 20%
Total: 100%

Visit the official AWS Certification website and review the guide thoroughly here

Resources:

Resources are something like your secret weapons to conquer the AWS SAA C03 battle. In the vast ocean of online materials, I was on a quest to find the ultimate AWS SAA C03 weapon. I tried to avoid blending together all the resources while also ensuring that I do not overlook the finest one. After conducting thorough research, I came to the following conclusion.

Preparation:

I enrolled in Stephen’s course mentioned above. Stephen’s teaching style is engaging and easy to follow, making complex AWS services and concepts more accessible. While absorbing all the AWS knowledge is helpful, it’s easy to get overwhelmed over time, which can lead to confusion..

For those new to AWS or who have only worked with a few services, I highly recommend doing hands-on exercises module by module in parallel with the course structure. Of course, use the free tier services to avoid unnecessary costs. Keep in mind that this approach may make the course a bit overwhelming, so allocate a good amount of time to complete it.

After completing the course, I took the Tutorials Dojo practice tests. These practice exams are specifically designed for the SAA-C03 exam and simulate the actual exam experience. They help assess your knowledge and readiness. I recommend taking these practice exams under timed conditions to develop your time management skills and experience the pressure of the real exam. The practice tests are available in different modes, including Topic-based, Review mode, and Timed mode. Utilize the detailed explanations provided by Tutorials Dojo to understand the reasoning behind the correct answers and learn from any mistakes

Last thing, don’t get discouraged if your initial scores are less, it happens to all of us.

Review and Refine:

As I progressed through the study materials, I reviewed and reinforced my understanding of the topics regularly. Focused on the areas where I used to feel less confident and scored less and revisited the corresponding course sections and hands-on on AWS. I encourage you to pay attention to the explanations provided by Tutorials Dojo to ensure a deep comprehension of the underlying concepts.

The exam :

We can take this exam either at the test center or from home, I recommend taking this at the test center to reduce of risk of online Technical requirements such as a wired internet connection via ethernet cable and a private, distraction-free area. I had to take this from home as there is no test center near me,

I found the exam to be somewhat challenging and was more concentrated on Micro-service questions(ECS, EKS, Fargate) and serverless architecture questions(API Gateway, Lambda, and Dynamo DB). Time will not be a concern, able to finish the exam with 15 minutes to spare for reviewing flagged questions.

Tips:

  • I approached the elimination process for each question, which means I used to eliminate the wrong options first, leaving the right one to last.
  • Look for the keywords, you will find the correct answers in plain sight if you spot the keyword.
  • The Scenario-based questions will be tricky at times, we will feel all the options are eligible and sufficient for the given architecture, but look out for what is required whether it should be cost-effective or minimum effort, or least complex, based on that you can take a call.

Conclusion:

Eventually, I passed the exam thanks to the hands-on experience I had and the practice tests.

All the recommendations are based on my subjective experience. Feel free to do your own research and choose the best solutions that work for you

Until then Happy Learning…

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