Passed AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional

I passed the AWS CSA Pro exam this morning with a solid 83%. The exam covers a lot of ground and the questions are seeking design solutions that usually combine multiple services. A tough test, but I was well prepared and felt confident through the exam that I would pass.

We had a push to move to the next AWS partnership level last year and I had a free practice exam voucher, with the opportunity to earn a free exam voucher if I passed the practice exam. I did not. I only had a few evenings to prepare, I wasn't ready, and I scored 50%. 10 weeks later I passed with 83%.

I started with the CSA Pro Course from A Cloud Guru and some FAQs before the practice exam. Next I created my own study guide with AWS Whitepapers, FAQs, and hours (and hours) of AWS presentations from re:Invent and the monthly webinar series. I went through most of the CSA course again over the weekend as a review and spent several hours skimming whitepapers to pick up some last minute tips.

I found a new study method that really worked for me. We use the YouTube app on my XBox One to watch music videos so my kids can dance. I used that app to watch videos from the AWS YouTube channel on the big screen in the living room instead of on my laptop. It kept me focused instead of wandering off down the internet somewhere.

Practice Exam Score
Overall Score: 50%

Topic Level Scoring:

Domain 1 - High Availability and Business Continuity: 66%
Domain 2 - Costing: 0%
Domain 3 - Deployment Management: 25%
Domain 4 - Network Design: 75%
Domain 5 - Data Storage: 33%
Domain 6 - Security : 75%
Domain 7 - Scalability & Elasticity: 33%
Domain 8 - Cloud Migration and Hybrid Architecture: 50%

Actual Exam Score
Overall Score: 83%

Topic Level Scoring:

1.0 High Availability and Business Continuity: 100%
2.0 Costing: 75%
3.0 Deployment Management: 85%
4.0 Network Design: 85%
5.0 Data Storage: 72%
6.0 Security: 78%
7.0 Scalability & Elasticity: 90%
8.0 Cloud Migration & Hybrid Architecture: 71%

Improvements in every area and every area was a passing score. This is the most I have studied for an exam in a very long time (I did my entire 2003 MCSE in 9 weeks) and the most excited I have been about passing an exam since I passed my CCNA 9 years ago. It's a great way to start a week of vacation.

I'd like to thank my wife for tolerating a few weeks of AWS videos for 2-4 hours each night. She is really looking forward to watching anything else on the TV. I would also like to thank the makers of Makers Mark, Bulleit, and Buffalo Trace for helping me tolerate AWS videos every night.


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