My AWS Solution Architect Associate SAA-C03 exam experience

I sat the AWS-SAA C03 exam on June 23rd. Unlike the SAA-C02 exam that I took in 2020, I went to an onsite exam center. As I did in 2020, I used A Cloud Guru’s AWS SAA-C03 course to prepare. This exam covers an enormous range of topics. It took me more than a month to get through all 23 chapters worth of training content. I found the exam to be significantly more challenging than the C02 version.

ACG does exam summaries at the end of each of their sections – I screenshot each summary page and drop it into a document. This lets me read through the summaries repeatedly for maximum retention. I took four of the five available practice exams on ACG. I did OK on the first one, completely bombed the second one, then did OK on the third and forth ones. I went into the exam feeling cautiously confident.

My typical strategy when taking a multiple choice exam is to take my first trip through the questions as quickly as I can. If I have to think at all about an answer, I flag it and come back later. I find that if I make it through the first trip having answered 60% of the questions, I’m likely to pass. Doing it this way calms me down for the remainder of the exam. I take a second trip through the flagged questions. After that trip, I have questions that I’m mostly sure on – if I’m mostly sure on 15%, it’s almost a guaranteed passing score.

This method backfired on me a bit as I only had 45% of the questions correct on the first trip, and the second trip only brought me to 54%. I was quite concerned on my third and final trip through the flagged questions. I knew I had a chance for a passing score, but I had low confidence. Fortunately, A Cloud Guru did their job and I retained more than I thought – I passed, and I scored better on this version than either of the previous two.

One change from prior exam experiences is the lack of an instant score report. I finished my exam around 12:30PM on June 23rd. At 6AM the next day, I had an email from Pearson asking me to take a survey on my exam experience. When I saw that email around 8:30AM, I checked the Certification site and it showed my passing score. I received an official ‘Congratulations on recertifying’ email around 2PM.


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