How to Pass the AWS CSAA Certification Exam (SAA-C03) - MedCerts

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How to Pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Certification Exam

Are you ready to take advantage of the ever-increasing demand for Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect-Associates (AWS CSAAs)? With an average starting salary of $129,000 and a ten-year job growth estimated at 7.3 million, now is the time to launch your career.

As an aspiring AWS CSAA, passing an AWS certification exam is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and accelerate your career journey.

In this guide, we'll cover the following:

  • Who should take the AWS CSAA exam

  • Key exam domains and subjects covered

  • How to prepare for success

So, if you're serious about earning your AWS Solution Architect Associate Certification in 2023, read on to learn how to get started.

What does an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate do?

With technology rapidly changing, organizations need qualified and specialized individuals to help them leverage the cloud's cost efficiency and scalability. AWS CSAAs are tasked with designing, building, and managing applications using the AWS cloud platform. In addition, they must be familiar with different components of the AWS platform and understand the security measures necessary to protect data.

What is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Associate exam (SAA-C03)?

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Associate (SAA-C03) examination is for anyone who performs in a Solutions Architect role and wants to become AWS certified. To earn your Amazon Web Services Certification, you'll need to take and pass the exam. It covers essential aspects of AWS storage, computing, networking, security, database, and application services and how to use them.

The AWS CSAA certification is issued by Amazon Web Services, an industry-leading cloud provider dominating almost half of the world's cloud infrastructure market. Vendor-specific training for single cloud environments, like AWS, is sure to be worthwhile if you're an IT professional working within the cloud platform space.

Who should take the SAA-C03 exam?

While there are no formal requirements for taking the exam, AWS suggests that candidates have at least one year of hands-on experience designing cloud solutions with AWS services. Earning your certification validates that you have the skills and knowledge required to design and implement a distributed architectural solution. Therefore, this exam serves as an ideal starting point on the AWS certification path for those with experience in AWS technology.

SAA-C03 exam sections and essential content

There are 65 questions on the exam appearing in one of two forms: multiple choice and multiple responses. Of those, you'll also encounter 15 unscored questions, which are used to collect information and are not included in your final score (note: you won't be able to tell which ones they are). Candidates get 130 minutes to complete the AWS Certified Solution Architect-Associate exam.

The exam includes four knowledge domains, each containing two-to-five individual task statements. Your score is reported on a scale of 100 - 1,000, and you must earn a minimum score of 720 to pass.

Domain 1: Design Secure Architectures (30%)

Task Statement 1: Design secure access to AWS resources.

Topics include:

  • Access controls and management across multiple accounts

  • AWS federated access and identity services (for example, AWS Identity and Access)

  • Applying AWS security best practices to IAM users and root users (for example, multi-factor authentication [MFA])

  • Designing a flexible authorization model that includes IAM users, groups, roles, and policies

Task Statement 2: Design secure workloads and applications.

Topics include:

  • AWS service endpoints

  • Designing VPC architectures with security components

  • Determining network segmentation strategies

Task Statement 3: Determine appropriate data security controls

Topics include:

  • Data access and governance

  • Data recovery

  • Aligning AWS technologies to meet compliance requirements

  • Encrypting data at rest

Domain 2: Design Resilient Architectures (26%)

Task Statement 1: Design scalable and loosely coupled architectures.

Topics include:

  • API creation and management (for example, Amazon API Gateway, REST API)

  • AWS managed services with appropriate use cases

  • Designing event-driven, microservice, and/or multi-tier architectures based on requirements

  • Determining scaling strategies for components used in an architecture design

Task Statement 2: Design highly available and/or fault-tolerant architectures.

Topics include:

  • AWS global infrastructure (for example, Availability Zones, AWS Regions, Amazon Route 53)

  • AWS managed services with appropriate use cases

  • Determining automation strategies to ensure infrastructure integrity

  • Determining the AWS services required to provide a highly available and/or fault-tolerant architecture across AWS Regions or Availability Zones

Domain 3: Design High-Performing Architectures (24%)

Task Statement 1: Determine high-performing and/or scalable storage solutions.

Topics include:

  • Hybrid storage solutions to meet business requirements

  • Storage services with appropriate use cases

  • Determining storage services and configurations that meet performance demands

  • Determining storage services that can scale to accommodate future needs

Task Statement 2: Design high-performing and elastic compute solutions.

Topics include:

  • AWS computer services with appropriate use cases (for example, AWS Batch, Amazon EMR, Fargate)

  • Distributed computing concepts supported by AWS global infrastructure and edge services

  • Decoupling workloads so that components can scale independently

  • Identifying metrics and conditions to perform scaling actions

Task Statement 3: Determine high-performing database solutions.

Topics include:

  • AWS global infrastructure (for example, Availability Zones, AWS Regions)

  • Caching strategies and services (for example, Amazon ElastiCache)

  • Configuring read replicas to meet business requirements

  • Designing database architectures

Task Statement 4: Determine high-performing and/or scalable network architectures.

Topics include:

  • Edge networking services with appropriate use cases

  • How to design network architecture (for example, subnet tiers, routing, IP addressing)

  • Creating a network topology for various architectures (for example, global, hybrid, multi-tier)

  • Determining network configurations that can scale to accommodate future needs

Task Statement 5: Determine high-performing data ingestion and transformation solutions.

Topics include:

  • Data analytics and visualization services with appropriate use cases

  • Data ingestion patterns (for example, frequency)

  • Building and securing data lakes

  • Designing data streaming architectures

Domain 4: Design Cost-Optimized Architectures (20%)

Task Statement 1: Design cost-optimized storage solutions.

Topics include:

  • Access options (for example, an S3 bucket with Requester Pays object storage)

  • AWS cost management service features

  • Designing appropriate storage strategies

  • Determining the correct storage size for a workload

Task Statement 2: Design cost-optimized compute solutions.

Topics include:

  • AWS cost management service features (for example, cost allocation tags, multi-account billing)

  • AWS cost management tools with appropriate use cases (for example, Cost Explorer, AWS Budgets, AWS Cost and Usage Report)

  • Determining an appropriate load balancing strategy

  • Determining appropriate scaling methods and strategies for elastic workloads

Task Statement 3: Design cost-optimized database solutions.

Topics include:

  • AWS cost management service features (for example, cost allocation tags, multi-account billing)

  • AWS cost management tools with appropriate use cases (for example, Cost Explorer, AWS Budgets, AWS Cost and Usage Report)

  • Designing appropriate backup and retention policies (for example, snapshot frequency)

  • Determining an appropriate database engine (for example, MySQL compared with PostgreSQL)

Task Statement 4: Design cost-optimized network architectures.

Topics include:

  • AWS cost management service features (for example, cost allocation tags, multi-account billing)

  • AWS cost management tools with appropriate use cases (for example, Cost Explorer, AWS Budgets, AWS Cost and Usage Report)

  • Configuring appropriate NAT gateway types for a network (for example, a single shared NAT gateway compared with NAT gateways for each Availability Zone)

  • Configuring appropriate network connections (for example, Direct Connect compared with VPN compared with internet)

Other things that may appear on the exam

Tools, technologies, and concepts

Topics include:

  • Cost management

  • Database

  • Disaster recovery

AWS services and features

Topics include:

  • Analytics, such as Amazon Athena, Amazon Kinesis, and Amazon Redshift

  • Containers, including Amazon Elastic Contained Service and Amazon ECS Anywhere

  • Media Services, such as Amazon Elastic Transcoder and Amazon Kinesis Video Streams

  • Storage tools like Amazon S3 and AWS Storage Gateway

How to register for the AWS Solution Architect-Associate Certification Exam

To register for the SAA-C03 exam, you must schedule an exam on the AWS training and certification website.

  • Create an account and sign in.

  • Select an exam date and time from the AWS Solution Architect exam schedule

  • Choose a Pearson VUE testing center or opt for an online proctored exam.

If you are a MedCerts student, your exam fees (as well as your books and study materials) are covered as part of your tuition. Otherwise, you'll need to pay the $150 examination fee to register.

How to prepare: AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Associate Exam Prep Course

Once you've set a goal to pass the exam, it's time to build the knowledge and skills you'll need to propel your career. With a MedCerts preparation course, you can be job-ready in just 3-6 months with complete schedule flexibility and 24/7 access to immersive learning environments.

What you'll learn:

MedCerts will give you the skills to define solutions using architectural design principles and ace your AWS CSAA certification exam. By the end of the course, you'll be able to:

  • Understand cloud terminology and concepts related to the AWS platform

  • Understand AWS infrastructure and console management

  • Comprehend AWS networking and storage concepts

  • Navigate the AWS management console

Enjoy the MedCerts advantage

Your program and tuition cost covers all exam fees, books, and materials. Course materials are 100% online and on-demand, so you can build your skills on your time. You'll also gain access to personal advisors, exam-tailored content, and soft skills training.

AWS Certified Solution Architect-Associate exam (SAA-C03) FAQs

How is the AWS CSAA exam scored?

The AWS CSAA exam is scored on a 100-1,000 scale, with the passing score set at 720. Additionally, there are no penalty points assigned for incorrect answers. The exam is pass/fail.

Where can you take the AWS CSAA exam?

You can take the AWS Solutions Architect exam at an authorized Pearson VUE testing center or online with a proctor. Depending on your location, you may have access to multiple test centers.

How much are the AWS CSAA exam fees?

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Exam price is $150. If you’re a MedCerts student, you do not have to pay the exam cost, as it’s included in the cost of your tuition.

What happens if you fail the AWS CSAA certification exam?

If you fail the SAA-C03 exam, you will need to wait 14 days before scheduling another attempt. There are no limits on the number of attempts you make at the exam.

What jobs can you get with an AWS CSAA certification?

By passing the AWS CSAA exam, you can earn your Amazon Web Services Certification and open up a range of cloud technology career paths, including:

Take the first step—your future self will thank you.

Take the first step towards a new career by enrolling in an AWS Solutions Architect Associate certification course today. With MedCerts, you can get the skills and credentials to become a cloud technology professional in just months.

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Published on January 31, 2023