Exam Review: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Exam 2018 Version!

Solutions Architect


The new and improved AWS Solutions Architect – Associate (2018) exam is now an option for you. As I write this, you can still schedule the “old” exam, but of course, that will expire in the near future. I would recommend targeting the new exam as it did seem a bit easier.

Exam Homepage

Here is the official resource page for this exam from Amazon.

AWS Solutions Architect – Associate (2018)

The Exam

You can expect about 65 questions on this exam. You have 130 minutes for the exam. Time pressure is NOT an issue. I completed the exam in 53 minutes with a passing score.

You can expect an approximate requiring passing score of 720 out of 1000.

I did NOT study. With that said, of course, I worked hard on creating 6 modules covering this material for CBT Nuggets. That was certainly study enough, but I intentionally did not go back and study anything as a prep. This permitted me to validate my materials for exam success.

The Exam Blueprint

Domain 1: Design Resilient Architectures

1.1  Choose reliable/resilient storage.

1.2  Determine how to design decoupling mechanisms using AWS services.

1.3  Determine how to design a multi-tier architecture solution.

1.4  Determine how to design high availability and/or fault-tolerant architectures.

Domain 2: Define Performant Architectures

2.1  Choose performant storage and databases.

2.2  Apply caching to improve performance.

2.3  Design solutions for elasticity and scalability.

Domain 3: Specify Secure Applications and Architectures

3.1 Determine how to secure application tiers.

3.2 Determine how to secure data.

3.3 Define the networking infrastructure for a single VPC application.

Domain 4: Design Cost-Optimized Architectures

4.1 Determine how to design cost-optimized storage.

4.2 Determine how to design cost-optimized compute.

Domain 5: Define Operationally-Excellent Architectures

5.1 Choose design features in solutions that enable operational excellence.

Question Types

What types of questions can you expect? Here they are:

  • Simple multiple choice – this is the most common question type you face
  • Multiple correct – multiple choice – you will not face any “Choose all that apply”; you will always be told exactly how many are correct

Exam Mechanics

Here are some important things to know about how the exam functions:

  • There is a countdown timer in the top right corner! Keep an eye on it! While I do not think time will be an issue, be aware of how many questions remain, and how much time you have left.
  • You can go back and forth in the questions. This is critical because you might find that a later question helps answer an earlier question.
  • You may review your responses at the end of your questions.
  • There is a comment button if you want to send Amazon a nasty note about a question. 🙂

Various Thoughts

Here are tips and various thoughts I have for you on this exam:

  • The exam no longer is a “For Dummies” version of the Sys Ops Associate exam! This one really does focus on Architecture. Sure, you still need to know important details of services of their configuration, but almost all questions center around “… a Solution Architect needs to design a …”
  • One fact can answer as many as three or four of your questions! For example, if you know how to optimize S3, you can bang out many questions.
  • Read very carefully! I know it sounds cliche, but it really does matter in this exam. For example, you might have a question about Web servers, and if you miss a detail like they exist outside of AWS, you are in big trouble answering the question.
  • Know thy database options and when they would be the best choice!
  • Know thy storage options and when they would be the best choice!
  • Know thy options with Auto Scaling!
  • Know thy options with Elastic Load Balancing!

I am sure you have questions for me if you are still reading at this point. Hit me with those in the comments area below! Thanks!


2 thoughts on “Exam Review: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Exam 2018 Version!

  1. Does it take 3 months to know the result with new test? Looks like you wrote the new version and got the result in less than 3months.How many days does it take for your to know the result?

    1. The new exam is no longer Beta. So I received my results immediately at the testing center after submitting the exam.

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