itdeptitdept Registered Users Posts: 270 ■■■■■■□□□□
I managed to pass AWS CSAA and it feels so good. Took me ages to finally get around to doing the exam but figured I needed to set Jan 23 as final date. I figured I was on track to fail 9 questions in. I got to question 16 and figured all I could do was save face and pride was on the line. From about question 22 - 44 I felt I answered all the questions right. The back 20 questions ended up being more challenging.
I probably marked for review 15 questions and end up changing answers to 3 questions. I "finished" the exam with about 7 minutes to go and used the remaining time for reviews.

The resources I used was the Adrian Cantrill course on Linux Academy (now deprecated), Stephane Maarek and Jon Bonso exams from Udemy. I also went through the faqs on the AWS site to try to get the details on each service into my head. I did the Cloud Prac around April and had stops and starts to studying for CSAA.
I used Stephane's Udemy exam (scored 64%) and Jon Bonso's first two tests and scored poorly. I figured I would need to change my approach and "reset" after the first two bombs.

Bonso exam 1 - 53%
Bonso exam 2 -53%
Bonso exam 1(2nd attempt) - 67%
Bonso exam 2 (2nd attempt) - 66%
Bonso exam 3 - 76%
Bonso exam 4 - 76%

I went through the Bonso exams and really tried to work on my weak points. The re-attempts for Bonso exam 1 and 2 had a big gap of about 3 months as I did not want to just remember answers. Once I had done 3 and 4 I figured it was time to move on and do something else for a while pass or fail. Scheduled the exam for at home with Pearson and gave it a shot.
It was a bit sigh of relief to see "PASS"

I will have a few weeks break and then probably starts on next associate exam.
I don't have any real life experience with AWS and only really get an hour a day to study. That combined with a start-stop-start approach probably delayed my total study time.
I had a lot of questions on RDS, Auto Scaling Groups, Load Balancers. I did not find too many "trivia" type questions with the scenarios.


  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 12,962 Admin
    Congratz! I know several people that studied close to a year before they felt confidant enough to take the CSAA. The dev exam is said to be the hardest of the AWS associates certs, but the breadth of topics on the CSAA is very intimidanting. Well done!

  • Johnhe0414Johnhe0414 Registered Users Posts: 191 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Current: Network+ | Project+ 
    Working on: PMP
  • Mike7Mike7 Member Posts: 1,107 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congrats! If you have not, I suggest you sign up for a new AWS account and use the free tier features to try out different offerings  (

    I recently passed all the AWS associate and professional exams. Among the three associate exams, SAA has broadest range of topics. Both Sysops and Developer associates are more focused; I have the highest score for developer but that could be because it was my last associate exam. 

  • itdeptitdept Registered Users Posts: 270 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Thanks Mike, how long have you been working with AWS? Did you find much overlap between SAA and SysOps? I did find SAA to be very broad and probably part of reason it took a while to pass.
  • Mike7Mike7 Member Posts: 1,107 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I used AWS in the early 2010s but only started using it more last year.  However I used to work in a  startup doing sysops role managing Ioad balancers, web servers,  databases and other IT sevices. Prior to that, I was involved in web development. So it was slightly easier for me to understand the concepts and get up to speed on AWS technologies. As this was my first exam, it took me a few months of studying and practicing before taking SAA exam.

    Agree that SAA is broad. SysOps goes deeper into operational areas such as ASG, NLB and SSM. 

    If you want to dive deep and understand AWS instead of being AWS "paper certified", I strongly recommend Adrian Cantrill's content at  His content are always updated and he attempts to illustrate the concepts with practical examples. For SAA course,  he started with a single WordPress application, decouple it to 3 tier multi AZs with ALB and add EFS for central storage among other things. CloudFormation templates and code  are provided for you to practice and learn. 
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