I cleared the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Foundation exam[CLF-C01] with 84%, and my study time was around 7 days. At the risk of reducing the credibility of the test, I’m going to share what worked for me.
spoiler alert: A Plan.
But, a little context first:
I was looking forward to a four-day CNY (Chinese New Year) break, and I knew exactly what I would be doing: binge-watching Kdramas, cafe hopping, meeting friends who would talk about those dramas, and more cafe hopping. But I also knew I’d regret it after, because I had squandered another good opportunity to do something useful or complete a pending task. With this, I remembered that the AWS exam voucher had been collecting dust for half a year in my e-wallet and decided this might be a good window to check it out. And thus began my short odyssey through the cloud.
My arsenal of materials
My first stop was the AWS certification website to understand the exam requirements (almost anyone can take the exam), question pattern (multiple choice and multiple responses), and a passing score (of 70%). The requirements led me to understand that it’s a primer before you deep dive into the cream of AWS exams and that it's essentially for people with non-IT backgrounds.
Armed with information, I went on to Udemy to land a course that would help me achieve my goal. I zeroed in on two, knowing they were the mavericks of the AWS world.
i. [NEW] Ultimate AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner — 2023 by Stephane Mareek
ii. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam Training [New] 2023 by Neal Davis
I chose one of them, but I won't say which one because you'll soon learn that I changed my mind midway for reasons I'll explain shortly.
I realized two days into the course that if I don't make a timeline, I could spend an eternity watching videos at their pace and at my mood or will. At this point, I was blatantly tricking myself into taking the exam in 4–5 days. So I needed a plan (a tailored one) urgently, or I was set to fail grandly.
Days spent: 2 days
3. Digital Cloud cheat sheets
Upon finishing each video in the course, I noticed a few references left at the end. I clicked on a couple of links (cheatsheets) and realized they were more of a summary of what the trainer was saying. Furthermore, the sheets contained more nuances and information at times. A huge help because the material covered in the course in video format was what I could learn here, divided into categories as highlighted in the AWS exam guide. I took two days to skim through these and make my own notes for later reference.
Note that this approach would mean missing out on the AWS demos and hands-on covered in the Udemy course, which would actually be a lot of help to anyone who is seriously considering getting an opportunity in the cloud or working to sincerely improve their knowledge.
I would only recommend cheat sheets for people who set impossible goals for themselves and have fun slaying them. Even so, after finishing these cheat sheets, I remember reviewing a few demos to see firsthand how to set up an S3 bucket or the possibilities of an IAM root/user role.
>>> Digital cloud references: Cheat Sheets
Days spent: 2 days [total: 4 days]
4. Udemy Exam Practice Questions
I then jumped right into the practice tests, enrolling in the following items as well as taking any free online exams on the topics on which I was rusty. billing and pricing, storage, and shared responsibility. I made it a point to thoroughly review the answers, take copious amounts of notes, and add remarks on things I was getting wrong repeatedly. I went online or to the original Udemy video (that I gave up midway) to learn and bridge those gaps.
i. 6 Practice Exams | AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner CLF-C01 by Stephane Mareek
ii. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner 500 Practice Exam Questions by Neil Davis
Days spent: 3.5 days [ total: 7.5 days]
I wouldn’t say that sitting through the exam was a piece of cake. I had my moments of confusion as well as my moments of triumph. But, for the most part, I felt confident when I hit the submit button.
As a last note, I think I would owe the passing score to the practice exams. They nudge you to learn the art of making inferences from what you learn to apply in real-time, in addition to giving you a taste of the actual exam; and that has made all the difference.
ID: DDFBX3KCR1Q41ECY | Link to my credential