How Japanese Infra Engineer passed the English version of AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional(SAP)

Will cover

  • Why did I take the exam
  • State before starting to study
  • Study period
  • Studying before passing
  • Exam points
  • Future goals

Will not cover

  • Exam questions themselves and trends (because of confidentiality and renewal of test itself is fast)
  • Overview and value of AWS SAP exam
  • Difference in difficulty between English and Japanese exams (because I am not taking the Japanese one)
  • How to study when you are short of sleep or when you have physical and mental instability (Please sleep when you can sleep)

Why did I take the exam?

I will skip the part described in the previous SAA post and focus on the part that changed from July 2019 to October 2020.

  • I joined a platform team mainly use AWS, container, and Cloud Native technology as a platform and to provide to users, so I wanted to systematically learn best practices and reflect them into my daily job.
  • The team members have high technical / business skills and keep moving forward so fast and I want to visualize my own growth and understanding level as a team member.
  • My company’s English language program requirements are “to improve both English and technical skills and acquire qualifications in English”, but this year, I asked my teacher to spend our time to “Reading SRE books” and “Checking my translation of Japanese blog into English”. However, I was very grateful to the teacher who responded flexibly and politely, and I wanted to leave an easy-to-understand achievement for him.

State before studying

  • Network Engineer(about 2 years and 3 months)
  • Infrastructure Engineer in AWS Platform Team(about 6 months)
  • In addition to “physical container sales” that I briefly mentioned in self-introduction, I have almost 10 years of experience in other industries such as “bilingual team leader at a rental car call center” and have little IT industry experience.
  • Operate / design / build / develop AWS platform in our daily work.
  • English reading and writing is business level

Study period (about 1 month)

  • Later September-October 24, 2020

result

  • 10/24 (Sat) 792/1000 points PASS !!

Study done before passing

Actual machine operation

  • Daily work

I haven’t done anything special as an exam preparation, but I think that the fact that the platform is operated from the perspective of improvement through each work is linked to the intention of the exam. For example, we are investigating, verifying, constructing, and guiding to our users components like DX / VPN / ACM / ELB / ECS Fargate, etc., and I personally investigate and simulate other things that I am not directly in charge of.

Exercise

Through the exercises, I tried to dig deeper into the points I wondered about.
I checked how the components used in practice were implemented, and checked documents from what perspective the current configuration set.

What I should have done: Official AWS Certification Practice Exams
When I conducted the practice test attached to the exercise book in the morning of the test day, the correct answer rate was about 50%. And since I had never taken the English version of the practice exams due to time constraints, I was prepared for a fail this time.
* The above correct answer rate of 50% is for questions that are difficult to understand and are not counted as correct answers. It was something that I had to pay close attention to in order to drive myself until just before, and I think that the correct answer rate was actually about 70–80%.

Udemy course

While watching the Udemy video above, I wrote down the points and solved the questions.
Personally, if I just watch the video, it may not come to my mind and I may overlook it, so I took the above primitive method so that I can explain the points to people. It is an image that reproduces classes such as school in my own room.
In addition, there was a comprehension check quiz in each section, so I made it so that I could answer all the questions correctly based on that and proceed to the next section.

Exam points

  • Be able to select the one that best meets the requirements

For design questions, there are not many options that are clearly mistaken in composition, and it is necessary to select the one that best meets the requirements such as cost and delivery time, so if you are unsure of the answer, it is recommended to read the requirements again.

  • Enjoy the happiness you can choose

In practice, I don’t think there are many situations where answers are prepared and you can just select, and explanations are detailed. That is why I think it would be good if you could enjoy studying safely and securely in such an environment with your certifications.
When I started studying, I thought it was difficult to study, but I had many opportunities to research best practices and ideas in my work, and when I thought of it as a “research activity”, I saw the explanation of my wrong choices and said, “Thank you for your detailed explanation.” Rather thankfully I was able to study.

  • Don’t think long

It’s a four-choice question, so I think it’s a good idea to answer within a few minutes at the longest without thinking too long. Thanks to answering quickly, I was tired and drowsy in the second half, but I was able to finish without running out of time.

  • Prepare your mind and body

There are a certain number of exam questions (75 questions), and the exam time is 180 minutes. I recommend that you plan as much as possible before and after the test and take it in perfect condition.
Misjudgments and delays may occur due to tension, fatigue, or impatience.

  • Check the latest information

When I checked the previous article to write this article, I mentioned the following last time, and I didn’t check it as a test preparation this time, but I decided to check it on a daily basis.

You should read all the latest updates of official materials such as the AWS cloud service utilization material collection.

  • Consider taking the exam in English(For non-native English Speakers like me)

If you select English as the language selection, the load will increase a little, but since there is no stress of mystery translation, if you are comfortable with English, please consider taking the exam in English.
There is a rumor that the range is more advanced in English, but I do not know the truth. However, I did not take the English practice exams, so I passed it, so I think there is no problem if you understand the contents of your native languages’ teaching materials.

Summary

As with the last time, I think that the necessary information and advice will change according to the test period, individual situation and character with up-to-date information, so I was allowed to take in basic content in this place.
If you have any questions about the content or want to check it individually, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Future goals

  1. I aim to acquire the following
  • CKA (Certified Kubernetes Administrator)
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer — Professional

2. Write a hands-on blog

At the time of writing my previous blog, I didn’t have a habit of writing blogs regularly, but now I write an article that summarizes and leave comments for SRE / DevOps / Kubernetes newsletters every week.
In the future, I would like to write blogs for hands-on of the techniques and procedures that I am interested in, and I hope to deliver more useful information.

Finally

In writing the AWS SAP pass experience report, I am grateful to remember the previous SAA’s struggle and support. This time, rather than studying, I think that I was able to pass because of the people who support me in practice. I would like to thank you again on this occasion.

I don’t think I have enough ability for this title yet, so I will continue to study further.
I will continue to qualify regularly to learn AWS best practices and reflect them in my work.

Bye now!!

Yoshiki Fujiwara

An infra engineer in Tokyo, Japan. Grew up in Athens, Greece(1986–1992). #Network, #Kubernetes, #CKA, #CKAD, #Certified AWS SAP

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