Cover image for I sat an AWS Certification exam online - here's what happened

I sat an AWS Certification exam online - here's what happened

helenanders26 profile image Helen Anderson Updated on ・4 min read

I've just passed the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam. Woohoo!

I sat the exam using the new online option which means I could take the exam in a meeting room at work on my own laptop instead of having to travel to a testing centre.

What does the exam cover?
Preparing for the Exam
Getting Set up and Checked Out
The Exam
The Results

What does the exam cover?

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is a foundation level certification that tests knowledge of core AWS services, security, cost optimisation, and support plans. It isn't designed to test in-depth knowledge of AWS services and requires a high-level knowledge of Cloud Computing.

Domain 1: Cloud Concepts - 28%
Domain 2: Security - 24%
Domain 3: Technology - 36%
Domain 4: Billing and Pricing - 12%

If you're studying toward the Solutions Architect or Developer Associate exams you'll probably have the Technology domain covered but will need to make sure you have enough knowledge of the Billing and Pricing domain.

Preparing for the Exam

I've only recently made the move to the tech world so it's been a long journey to get here. I signed up for the AWS Free Tier back in August 2018 and signed up for the AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials course to get started.

The resources I used to cover all the material needed to pass were:


Scheduling the exam was pretty straightforward. The Training and Certification site has all the instructions you need to create an account, fill in your details and schedule a Pearson Vue exam.

AWS Training and Certification

Getting Set up and Checked Out

The instructions recommend that you download the software used to conduct the exam in advance to check that it recognises your microphone and webcam in advance. Even though I did this a few days before I still needed to go through the process again on the day.

I needed to receive a text message which took me to a site to take a picture of my ID, a selfie and my desk. This was a little tricky due to my choice of room. The desk is built into the walls so when I had to take a picture of the left, right, front and back of the desk it was a bit of a squeeze. I'm glad the proctor wasn't watching me at this point.
Once that was all done on my phone I then had to put my phone beyond arm's length for the rest of the exam time.

The proctor then appeared via a chat window to do some more checks. I had to put my wrists up to the screen to show I wasn't wearing a watch, and do a SLOW 360-degree spin in my office chair to verify I had taken photos of the same room. Hopefully, I didn't make the proctor too dizzy.

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The Exam

After the checks were done the exam was released. The chat window vanished and I was presented with multichoice and multianswer questions. There was a checkbox to flag any questions I wanted to come back to, and a button if I needed to check in with the proctor at any stage.

When I was ready to finish there were another set of questions about how I found the exam and then the final splash page with my results straight away.

The Results

The splash screen said I had passed. Yay! And that my results would be emailed within five working days. This arrived the day after so I didn't have to wait long to see get my certificate and official results.

All-in-all it was a straightforward process and made it much easier than having to schedule a time at a training centre to do an exam that was all over in about 45 minutes.

If you're doing the Cloud Practitioner exam soon I'd recommend giving it a go.



This post originally appeared on helenanderson.co.nz

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Helen Anderson


Making applications go faster at Raygun, AWS Data Hero, and tag moderator on Dev.to.


Editor guide

and do a SLOW 360 degree spin in my office chair

Spinning Seal
(I'm sorry - that's all I could think of!)

Congratulations though! Great to hear about what's involved in the examination process :)


Love it!

This is all I could think of at the time. I'm sure the proctor watching through my webcam was getting dizzy no matter how slow I was going!

Alt Text


Love the series and a belated congrats on achieving the certification!

If you don't mind me asking, how many hours did you put into studying for it?


Thanks Ben!

I took my time as my background is Marketing/Logistics and not IT, DevOps and Infrastructure.

I started with AWS at zero. Absolute zero. I didn't know what networking was in the traditional world, let alone the AWS world. So it was a long journey to get my head around all the concepts. I knew this going into it and was realistic that I wasn't going to be competing with my experienced colleagues.

I got started in September 2018 with a shiny new AWS account and no experience, wrote plenty of blog posts to lock in the knowledge along the way and sat the Cert in November 2019.

These are the resources I used to get there:

Next stop is probably going to be the Database or Analytics specialty as this is more in line with my day job.


That is so incredibly impressive. Honestly, in awe of your achievement.

I've known several people that have wanted to move into IT. Suffice to say I'll be keen to show them this series next time I'm asked and this comment in particular.

I've been in tech for my entire career (since I was 19 yo) so can't imagine how hard it would be to transition.

It's not an easy switch to make but not impossible.

My advice is ...

You are not starting from zero - and you are not competing with 20 somethings who have been coding in their bedrooms since they were toddlers. Tech is all about communication so being able to run a meeting, take requirements from stakeholders and negotiate office life is invaluable. Tasks can be automated, communication cannot.

There is a role for everyone - you don't need to go straight into a super technical role. Edging in slowly by being a technical administrator or marketing at a tech company is a great way to make the switch. It's what I did, and it's been much more manageable.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable - everything in Tech is changing, for newbies and industry veterans. The hot new library or tool may not be hot for long. Learn how to learn so you can be flexible.

Lot's more here and helpful comments from the Dev Community:


Thank you for all the material and practice exam! It made such a difference to know what kind of questions I would be in for.


Thanks! Pleased to be out the other side, exams are so stressful


Congratulations 🎉
I just gave the Solution Architect associate exam a few days back and those two hours were quite stressful!


Well done! I've been doing the practice exams and can't get better than 60%. That one is tough!


I'm also on the same path so thanks for sharing.


i too sat for that AWS Cloud Exam but But My result was Failed... Helen Anderson Happy for your you passed it Congo