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Bill Hegazy for AWS Community Builders

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Controlling Procrastination and Get Your AWS Solution Architect Professional Certificate

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Yes, I admit it, I have been procrastinating for a few months while preparing for my AWS SA Pro exam, but I controlled it and finally took the exam last February, in fact, I have been procrastinating on writing this post for 2 months now😅.

I wanted to share a few tips, that helped me to control procrastination while studying for the AWS certification exam.

This post will also serve as a reminder for my future self 🙂

Set a goal

Procrastinator or not, you should set some kind of goal for yourself.

Trust me this helped me to have some kind of plan. I formed the goal using the OKR framework

The goal doesn’t have to be perfect. Here is an example, so you can get started:

Objective Key Results
Become an AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional by the end of Q1 2022 KR1: Study a minimum of 1 hour daily
KR2: Pass at least 2 practice exams with an 80% score or higher
KR3: Buy a study material and complete it 100%

Schedule exam date upfront

If you’re a professional procrastinator (like myself), you have to do this.
I know it’s scary to schedule the exam date, and not know when you will be ready, but, trust me, this will help you to set aside some time to study.

You can cancel or reschedule your exam (2 times only) up to 24 hours before your scheduled appointment without an extra fee.

Before scheduling the exam:

  • If you’re going for an online proctor exam, then do read PSI / Pearson Vue FAQ.
  • Take advantage of the ESL +30, if English is not your first language. To get the extra 30 minutes, you must request this before scheduling your exam.
  • Depending on your situation and time, you will need to figure out (approximately) how long it will take for you to complete your studies. I recommend starting by going through the video course curriculum and practice exams.

Take notes along the way

Notes will be your best friend for the next few months to remind you about important AWS exam points, AWS services that you have never used before, and most importantly remind you to keep going.

You might be wondering, what notes should you take? I will give you an example of what my notes looks like:

I use notion as my note-taking app, I recommend note-taking app that can sync to multiple devices

Example of my aws notes photo

  • Review: Note/screenshot of important points from the instructor or anything I find important to remember.
  • Weak services: Summary of the AWS services that I’m weak at or never used before.
  • Real life usage: Where I gather improvements that I want to apply to the current AWS Infrastructure that I manage.

Find a study partner (if possible)

The AWS SA Pro is tough and long, your study partner will remind you that, you are not alone and to keep going. A study partner can also give you tips that they found out while studying. I was lucky enough to have a partner at my work, who happened to be studying for the AWS SA Pro and we did a weekly sharing together.

Be gentle to yourself

“Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.” — Salvador Dali

If you don't feel ready yet, don’t feel bad about it, and remember that It’s OK to re-schedule the exam date. I had to re-schedule 2 times myself.

Go through the study materials, go through the notes and review the parts that you're weak at.

The key is to remember that anyone can do it, you might need to study harder or need more time than others, but in the end, you will get there!

Study materials:

I understand that you might be wondering about the study materials that helped me prepare.Here is what I recommend:

  • Adrian Cantrill: AWS SA Pro video course, Adrian's course is very detailed and well organized.
  • Tutorials Dojo Practice exam: Practice exams currently include 4 exam sets, the practice exams will help you prepare for the real one and also identify your weak points.
  • AWS Exam Readiness: Official Exam Readiness from AWS.

Why get AWS Certified

I asked myself the exact same question. I have been managing AWS for 7+ years now, and I proved that I’m more than capable when it comes to AWS cloud.

There are many benefits listed here, for me, it's simple: I love learning!

Getting AWS certified, was an opportunity to learn more, learn what I have done wrong, and learn what can I improve in the current AWS architecture.

Conclusion

I have learned a lot from studying for such a tough exam like AWS SA Pro, learning new AWS skills, and controlling procrastination.

I hope that the tips can help you to get started on your AWS SA Pro exam journey.

If I could do it, then anyone can!

Over to you

Which AWS exams are you currently interested in? What stopping you from preparing for the AWS exam?

Like this post? Consider following me on Medium billhegazy.

If you have questions or want to reach out, add me on LinkedIn.

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