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Felipe Tófoli
Felipe Tófoli

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My Journey to AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification: How I Scored 967/1000!

Recently, I took the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification exam and scored 967 out of 1000 points. 🎉

Since I achieved a significant result, I decided to share my exam preparation strategy. 💡

In this post, you will find the study materials I used, how I organized my study routine, preparation tips, and even my strategy for answering multiple-choice questions. 💎

I hope this post can assist you on your journey to AWS Cloud Practitioner certification! ❤️

Below are all the topics covered:

  • 📚 Study Materials
  • 🎓 Study Routine
  • 📅 Exam Scheduling
  • 📝 Exam Week Preparation
  • 📑 Exam Eve
  • 📆 Exam Day
  • 💎 During the Exam
  • ✅ Results
  • 💭 Conclusion

📚 Study Materials

Over the years, I participated in AWS projects, read pages of official documentation, and consumed various cloud computing content. However, for this certification preparation, I chose to use the following resources:

Courses 📘

Stephane Maarek’s courses were highly recommended by many friends , making it challenging not to choose him, and now I understand why!

▶️ Course: [NEW] Ultimate AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner CLF-C02

The course is very comprehensive and up-to-date. The instructor provides valuable tips about the exam and facilitates understanding of what will be asked for each AWS service.

Stephane himself states that his goal is to provide a course that helps students achieve a score in the range of 900 points. And that’s exactly what happened to me! 😃

This course includes a Practice Exam, which is quite interesting. The Practice Exams are so helpful that they deserve an exclusive mention below!

Practice Exams 📗

The practice exams created by Stephane Maarek and Abhishek Singh are very comprehensive and have a detailed explanation of correct (and incorrect) answers, along with general exam tips.

▶️ Practice Exams: 6 Practice Exams -> AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner CLF-C02

In reviews of the practice exams, I noticed some people complaining that the questions were much more difficult than the certification exam. I agree that some questions are more challenging, but if you want to score high, they are an excellent study guide.

However, after reading negative reviews about the practice exams, I decided to look for something closer to the real exam. Since English is not my first language, I was concerned about any surprises regarding the wording/vocabulary of the exam.

In the search for something closer to the real exam , I found the awsalgi website. I answered some questions to familiarize myself with the format and vocabulary of the exam, which were not much different from Stephane Maarek’s course. But it was worthwhile.

▶️ Practice Exam: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

My strategy with the practice exams was always the same: answer and review all questions, giving more importance to those I got wrong , doing additional research to gain more clarity about the concepts.

YouTube Channel 📺

During preparation, I referred to some videos by Neal Davis from the Digital Cloud Training channel, especially when the topic was the “6 Pillar Framework”. I found the content to be very well-explained , recommending it as a supplement to studies.

▶️ YouTube: Neal Davis -> Digital Cloud Training

🎓 Study Routine

Routine 💡

During my preparation, I allocated 1 hour per day for studies. I found that studying before starting work worked best for me because my mind was “fresh” and ready to absorb new knowledge. Additionally, it reduced the likelihood of postponing the start of studies due to any unforeseen events during the workday.

Notes ✏️

After watching each course lecture, I took notes. This time, I used a digital tool, OneNote. I like to take notes on paper, but the convenience of being able to add screenshots and perform content searches turned out to be a significant attraction.

Labs 🔨

Since I already had previous knowledge of AWS, I completed each lab only once. For those without prior knowledge, it may be interesting to do each lab twice to practice and better absorb the knowledge.

Practice Exams 📝

As previously stated, I utilized the practice exams to identify areas requiring further study, subsequently conducting additional research on these topics.

📅 Exam Scheduling

Additional Time for Non-Native English-speakers 🕕

The request for additional time must be made before scheduling the exam. The additional time is 30 minutes and can be very useful for Non-Native English-speakers.

I tried to add this extra time, and although I thought I had done it successfully, it was not added to the exam. So, I recommend checking carefully if the request for additional time was successfully registered.

In the end, the additional time was not needed (phew!). 😌 I answered the questions and reviewed all exam questions in 55 minutes. And I still had over 30 minutes left.

At Home or at the Certification Exam Center? 🏢

This question caused some doubts for me.

Initially, I scheduled the exam to be taken at home for convenience. However, after researching, I found that the examiners - the online proctors - are quite strict. I would have to remove some items from the room where I would take the exam (such as books) and also adapt my workspace , as the exam must be done on a single screen.

Unfortunately, in the week of the exam, I experienced some instability in my internet connection. Additionally, I noticed there was some noise in the room where I would take the exam (as I will explain later). Therefore, I chose to reschedule and take the exam at the certification center.

By taking the exam at a certification center, if there is any problem, they may be able to negotiate a new date in case of unforeseen events. Additionally, they probably have network contingency plans.

When taking the exam at home, I wouldn’t have this support, and if there were any problems, I would have to pay the exam costs again. Besides the frustration…

📝 Exam Week Preparation

In the 7 days before the exam, I took the Practice Exams (1 per day).

For me, the most important thing was to take them at the same time for which the exam was scheduled , and following the exam rules : using only the laptop screen and no headphones.

The strategy was useful because I got used to taking multiple-choice exams at that time, requiring less effort to stay focused , and I noticed that there was some noise at the time I had scheduled the exam.

Since I always studied with headphones, I hadn’t noticed. But by removing the headphones, I realized that the noise could be disturbing, and worse, the proctor could cancel my exam due to excessive noise.

📑 Exam Eve

  • I reviewed my notes.
  • I took a “Practice exam” at the same time as the exam to keep my brain accustomed to answering multiple-choice questions.
  • I created the checklist of what I would need to bring to take the exam.
  • And most importantly, a good night’s sleep. 😴

📆 Exam Day

  • I reviewed only the most important points of my notes.
  • I answered some (easy) Practice Exam questions, just to “wake up” my brain. I didn’t want to arrive “cold” for the exam.
  • I ate properly. 🍎
  • I reviewed the checklist of what to bring to take the exam (they ask for 2 forms of identification - in Brazil: ID/driver’s license and credit/debit card, for example). This point - reviewing the items - was crucial. Working and studying 100% from home for so long, I almost forgot to grab my glasses. 👓 The checklist saved me! 😌

💎 During the Exam

Strategy 🎯

I have some strategies for multiple-choice exams. The strategy is quite simple (and I imagine they are common), but it’s worth mentioning:

  • If I am sure of the answer, well… then it’s simple, I mark the option and move on to the next one;
  • If I’m not sure of the answer, I go by elimination until only one option remains;
  • If I still have doubts, I mark it for later review. When in doubt, I try not to spend too much time on the question, but I try to understand the doubt and the possible answers - many times, the exam can provide a hint about the answer in a later question , so it’s important to be attentive to make the correlation when you have the opportunity;
  • After applying the previous steps to all questions, I start the review;
  • As I said, sometimes the exam gives you input on the answers to other questions, so I review and try to apply something I learned during the exam;
  • When I have time, I like to review all questions:
    • For those I’m sure about, I just reread the question carefully to make sure I didn’t make any silly mistakes , like ignoring something in the statement
    • For those I have doubts about, it’s time to reason. If I still don’t know the answer, I mark the one that seems right and move on to the next one, without removing the review indicator;
    • I go through the process until there are no more questions to review
    • At a certain point, it’s not worth forcing to find an answer, it will only cause stress, so I try to let go and move on (that’s why I think it’s good to review the questions I’m sure about, so as not to lose “easy” points due to carelessness)

Breaks ⌛

If taking the exam from home, you cannot leave the computer. If you do, the exam will be canceled. As far as I know, you can’t even stop to drink water, so hydrate, eat, and go to the bathroom before starting.

At the certification center, you can take breaks to go to the bathroom and drink water. However, the clock does not pause. Eating is not allowed, so eat before starting the exam.

✅ Results

As mentioned at the beginning, I scored 967 out of 1000 possible points. And I passed! Additionally, I finished the exam in 55 minutes , with over 30 minutes remaining from the allotted time for the exam.

Badge AWS Cloud Practitioner Certified

💭 Conclusion

I believe that preparation was crucial for the obtained result.

I enjoyed - and strongly recommend - the materials used because I learned a lot during the process.

Simulating the test was also crucial : without headphones, at the same time as the exam, using only one screen. During the exam, I was already comfortable with this scenario.

Taking the exam at the certification center made me feel at ease regarding possible unforeseen events during the exam. This allowed me to focus solely on exam preparation throughout the week, without the anxiety caused by possible external factors.

Warming up my brain on the exam day to arrive focused was very useful.

Furthermore, a good night’s sleep was essential. After all, quality sleep and adequate nutrition are things to always keep in mind, aren’t they?

That was my preparation, and I hope this post helps you! ❤️

If it helped, I would love to know, it would make me very happy! 😃

Best regards!

If you liked this post, please check more content of my personal blog:

Top comments (4)

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

Major congrats, Felipe! And appreciate you coming here to share these tips. 🙌

felipetofoli profile image
Felipe Tófoli • Edited

And I appreciate your comment! Thanks, Michael! :)

rivailjunior profile image
Rivail Pinto

Amazing post! I’m on this preparation too. It’s really nice to see that someone used the same course I’m doing to be prepared for the certification exam.

felipetofoli profile image
Felipe Tófoli

Thanks, Rivail! That's an excellent course! I wish you success in your journey to AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification! :)

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