AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is the first gate at the AWS Certification center. It’s meant to serve as an introduction to cloud services in AWS. The exam is a 65 multiple-choice and multiple-response question set. You have 90 minutes to complete it.
Do not take it for granted: it is not an easy exam, and you will need to study and take sample exams to learn a large set of AWS services and how they interact.
Here is the short summary, taken from the exam’s homepage:
The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner offers a foundational understanding of AWS Cloud concepts, services, and terminology. This is a good starting point for individuals in non-technical roles with no prior IT or cloud experience or for those with on-premises IT experience looking for basic AWS Cloud fluency. This certification can give candidates the confidence to tackle role-based AWS Certifications.
AWS is overwhelming. According to https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-aws, there are over 200 fully featured services and growing. Many of them interact with each other to build cloud solutions. We also come across organizations with all or part of their infrastructure in a cloud provider, such as AWS. Some have also moved their applications to the cloud.
AWS also works on a pay-as-you-go model, and bad decisions can lead to a large bill at the end of the month. Because of this, it’s important for us to have a strong foundation in cloud solutions, and cloud certifications can be a good way to validate knowledge.
The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam guide mentions a long list of “key tools, technologies, and concepts” that may be covered in the exam. A logical approach would be to start reading the existing documentation on each of those items. However, this is discouraged as you could end up in a rabbit hole reading guides, tutorials, and blog posts without actually hitting content for the exam.
To get a glimpse of what the exam looks like, take on the ten Sample Exam Questions. But there are multiple online courses and exam question sets to prepare for the exam. Here’s a sample:
Ultimate AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner - 2022 is the perfect entry point to learn all the concepts that the exam covers. It comes with quizzes at the end of each section, plus a practice exam at the end. Once you have completed that, take the 6 Practice Exams | AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner CLF-C01. These practice exams are a bit harder than the actual exam.
Practice further. Take as many test exams as you can. There are more high-quality practice exam courses at Udemy. In particular, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner 500 Practice Exam Questions is great. The questions on these exams are the closest to what you’ll encounter on the actual exam.
AWS Skill Builder
AWS Skill Builder is the official resource to use to prepare for certification exams. It’s worth it to go through all question sets available there. The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Official Practice Question Set (CLF-C01 - English) is free but requires an account. It’s a short 20-question exam.
Skill Builder offers various subscription models. If you need more practice beyond Udemy, subscribe for a month and take the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Official Practice Exam.
The AWS site has a useful FAQ with common questions and answers.
If you are going to take the exam online, you need to register on a platform for online proctoring in which you will do the exam with someone who will inspect your room and watch you while you perform the exam. This might feel uncomfortable to many people, but with the proper preparation, it can be a smooth process.
The section, Schedule an Exam, at AWS has a general overview of online proctoring. At the time of this writing, Pearson VUE and PSI (soon to be removed) are the two online proctoring platforms you can use to take an exam. PSI has a great Live Proctoring Quick Start Guide that provides an idea of what it looks like and what you will be asked by the proctor. As for Pearson VUE, its AWS landing page has resources for performing a system test, choosing your testing space, and preparing your ID documents.
Here are some tips of our own:
- Choose wisely the room where you will take the exam. It should not be noisy, and nobody should enter the room, or the exam will be terminated.
- Clear as much clutter as possible from the desk and the room. Make it easy for the proctor to get the sense that the room is safe to take the exam. Check that there is proper lighting in all areas of the room for inspection.
- An HD webcam will help the proctor to see the room and workspace clearly. It is especially useful when the proctor asks you to show your ID, as bad-quality webcams may not be able to focus on the letters of your ID since you need to place it very close to the camera. You can try this now: open a webcam application and test placing your ID in front of the camera. If you can read the contents of your id on the screen, you are ready to go.
- While taking practice exams, try to replicate the Dos and Don’ts: keep in front of the camera all the time, don’t cover your mouth or move your lips as you read, and don’t drink (liquids are not allowed unless medically required). This will help you to focus even better during the exam.
- If you have a secondary monitor, take into account that the exam only allows one monitor. If what you usually use is your laptop plugged into a large monitor, most operative systems support folding the laptop, which deactivates the screen, leaving just the large monitor. An alternative is just to use the laptop.
The AWS exams are tough, but you can pass them if you prepare. We hope our tips help you get the extra motivation you need to cross the finish line. Good luck!