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  • Writer's pictureDamien Burks

How I Passed the AWS CSA C-02

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

After about two months of studying consistently, I was finally able to pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate exam (CSA) with a 759!!

Compared to the AWS Certified Developer - Associate (CDA), I found the CSA exam to be slightly more difficult considering the range of services that you would be tested over. From what I can remember, the exam that I took covered the following services in-depth:

  1. VPC

  2. S3

  3. IAM

  4. AWS Storage Gateway

  5. AWS Auto Scaling

  6. AWS EC2

  7. CloudFormation

  8. AWS Lambda, SQS, and SNS

  9. AWS GuardDuty and AWS Shield

Listed below are the materials that I've used to help prep me for the exam:

  1. Stephanie Marek's Ultimate AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate:

  2. Jon Bonso's AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Practice Exams:

  3. Jon Bonso's TutorialsDojo AWS Cheat Sheets:

  4. Whizlabs for AWS labs:

Compared to ACloudGuru, I believe that Stephane's course is phenomenal. It contains over 340+ lectures, and it is about 26 hours long. He explains each service in great detail and provides clear and concise examples that are very easy to remember. He is incredibly straightforward and will let you know when something is on the exam. For the majority of his lectures, he provides a corresponding hands-on lecture. This provides the student with a great opportunity to play around in the console with various services in AWS with Stephane. For those who have free-tier accounts, some of the hands-on sessions will require you to pay a little bit of money because the services being used are not available to free-tier accounts, however, it is well worth the investment. On another note, if you prefer a more simulated lab environment, I would recommend signing up for Whizlabs. This is a token-based system and you'll have to pay for tokens to use for labs, so keep that in mind. Overall, after putting in about 2 hours a day on the weekday and between 2-4 hours on the weekends, I was able to finish Stephane's course within a month's time.

Now, we get into the practice exams. I used Jon Bonso to pass my AWS CDA, and I literally failed every exam and was still able to pass my CDA with an 873. Go figure right? Ultimately, Jon Bonso's exams are much harder if not on par with the actual exam. There are about 6 different exams with ranging questions that are constantly updated when the AWS exam is updated, so no need to buy another course. For the AWS ASA, the scores from the first round of testing ranged from the 40s and 60s which was totally demotivating for me. However, I read through EACH example thoroughly and looked at the cheat sheets in TutorialsDojo for the services that I struggled to understand. After doing so, I attempted the tests again. My scores were ranging between the 70s and 80s. Ultimately, it is recommended that you attempt to get at least 85+ on each exam before sitting for it, but I took the risk and went for it anyway. Jon's questions are so much more detailed, tricker, and longer than the actual questions on the exam; you'll definitely see the difference when you sit for it. However, if your risk tolerance is fairly low, I'd say sit for it when you get an 85 or higher on each practice exam.

That is all that I have for you all. Thanks for reading, and good luck if you are attempting to pursue this exam!


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