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How I Crushed My AWS Certification Renewals Back-to-Back (and Why It Was a Bad Idea)

I renewed all 12 of my active AWS certifications in 22 days! Most of the exams were back-to-back (based on testing center availability), and I even took two exams in a single day. The entire experience was insanely stressful, yet incredible.


In January, I was compiling a list of my goals this year, determined to be more accomplished than I was last year. I set some extremely ambitious goals for myself, to say the least. As if they are too ambitious, I guess we will wait and see. Since I had some AWS certifications expiring this year and some next year, I wanted to get them all renewed so I could focus on other priorities next year (Kubernetes, here I come)! The obsessive tendencies in me thought it would be nice if I could align the dates in some logical way rather than the random mess they were previously in. Although I had originally planned on finishing my AWS certifications by the end of Q1, plans changed. Aside from everyday life, there were other complications.


Cert Schedule

  • 4/08 Data Analytics Specialty
  • 4/22 DevOps Engineer Professional
  • 4/23 Solutions Architect Professional
  • 4/24 Advanced Networking Specialty
  • 4/25 Machine Learning Specialty
  • 4/27 Security Specialty
  • 4/29 Database Specialty
  • 4/29 SAP on AWS Specialty

If you didn't already know that professional-level exams automatically renew some lower-level certifications, now you do.

DevOps Engineer Professional renews

  • Developer Associate
  • SysOps Administrator Associate
  • Cloud Practitioner

Solutions Architect Professional renews

  • Solutions Architect Associate
  • Cloud Practitioner

Retiring Exams

AWS had announced they were retiring three of their exams, which I already wrote about in Navigating AWS Certifications in 2024.

  • Data Analytics Specialty (retiring April 8th)
  • Database Specialty (retiring April 29th)
  • SAP on AWS Specialty (retiring April 29th)

Obviously, I contemplated skipping these exams; after all, they are retiring. Why didn't I? What's the point? Well, like I already said in this LinkedIn post in regards to the Data Analytics Specialty exam, "I don't agree with Amazon Web Services decision to retire this exam".

Big Data is more important now than ever before. Perhaps the Data Engineer Associate is meant to replace this exam. Although I think we may need a Data Engineer Professional if we expect the same level of depth.

I feel that the Database Specialty is equally valuable. With all of the purpose-built databases that AWS has to offer, it is invaluable to build a strong understanding to ensure the best database for the job can be chosen.

My feelings for the SAP on AWS Specialty are not the same; I'm not terribly sad to see it go, yet I still wanted to renew it. Why?

  • I had previously planned on taking this exam before I learned about the retirement. If I had skipped it, part of me would have always wondered if I could've actually passed it again.

  • I wanted to test my SAP knowledge, as I am particularly weak in this domain. Even simple SAP configurations on AWS can easily cost thousands of dollars per month, which makes it impossible to experiment on my own.


I've talked about my study methods before and this time was pretty similar, to be honest. Except this time, I only had to focus on the new stuff since I've already passed these tests before.

These are the websites that I used the most:

Practice Tests

I started with practice tests to gauge my knowledge before hitting the books. This helped me focus on the newer services and concepts I wasn't familiar with.

Did you know that API Gateway can directly call some other AWS services without Lambda? It's called Direct integrations, and it's definitely something I learned through this experience.

The scores varied wildly between A Cloud Guru and CloudAcademy, which was interesting. How can I get a 50% on CloudAcademy and a 90% on A Cloud Guru for the same exam? 🤔

Flash Cards

I used Quizlet to create online flashcards. The AI functionality that has been added to Quizlet recently is really great. I'll highlight two examples.

  • Magic Notes uses AI to generate flash cards automatically from a large source of text. I used this a couple of times to paste AWS FAQs or documentation.

Quizlet Magic Notes

  • Q-Chat uses AI to interact with your own flash cards using natural language. With this, I don't have to worry about exactly how my flash cards are typed anymore.

Quizlet Q Chat

In the middle of this AI storm, it seems like Quizlet is doing AI the right way!

Dedicated Study Time

For a while now, I have always dedicated time every day to studying something. This year, I just focused the allocated time strictly on AWS. Nearing my exams, I would often trade time I would've spent on entertainment like movies or shows for studying instead to ensure I was as prepared as I could be. Do you know how hard it is to study for eight exams at the same time? In my mind, it was similar to "finals week" in college.

Dedicated Testing Time

Typically, when I take a single exam, I will take a half day and be back to work. Although, this was much more taxing, I used a week of PTO so I could focus on my exams exclusively. I prefer testing in person, which resulted in commuting to testing centers that were about 35 miles away. Still, not all of my tests were in person. I did three exams using the online option called OnVUE.


The costs can be high for these types of exams. I had access to a bunch of benefits through my company and my engagement in AWS communities.

First, AWS Community Builders and AWS User Group Leaders both provided me with a 100% voucher.

Next, I was able to use multiple 50% vouchers that I had stockpiled from earning all of the certifications previously.

AWS provides benefits to certified individuals.

Finally, Bravo LT reimbursed me for every exam I passed.

Words of Caution 🚧

I will never do this again. If you are thinking of attempting something similar, I hope I can change your mind. Overall, I felt like everything turned out okay, but it could've been far worse.

My mental health suffered from this endeavor in a couple ways. I experienced anxiety, stress, and Imposter Syndrome. I lost enjoyment in my life for a time because I was sacrificing all of my spare time to studying.

My physical health was impacted as well. I found myself skipping meals to finish practice tests or additional lessons. Furthermore, my quality of sleep was affected.

When planning, I want to ask that you don't overwhelm yourself. Give yourself plenty of time to accomplish your goals without rushing.

As always, if you liked this content, maybe you would like to Buy Me a Coffee or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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