AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate Exam Learning Path

Udemy June Discount Braincert-AWS-Certified-SA-Professional-Practice-Exam

AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate Exam Learning Path

AWS Solution Architect – Associate exam basically validates the following 2 abilities

  • Identify and gather requirements in order to define a solution to be built using architecture best practices.
  • Provide guidance on architectural best practices to developers and system administrators throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Refer to the AWS Solution Architect – Associate Exam Blue Print

AWS Solution Architect - Associate Exam Break up

AWS Cloud Computing Whitepapers

AWS Solution Architect – Associate Exam Contents

NOTE: With recent feedback from users AWS SA-A Exams have questions for new Lambda, ALB, ALB vs Classic Load Balancer, ECS, API Gateway services

Domain 1.0: Designing highly available, cost-efficient, fault-tolerant, scalable systems

  1. Identify and recognize cloud architecture considerations, such as fundamental components and effective designs. Content may include the following:

2 Domain 2.0: Implementation/Deployment

  1. Identify the appropriate techniques and methods using Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, AWS CloudFormation, AWS OpsWorks, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to code and implement a cloud solution.
    Content may include the following:

    1. Configure an Amazon Machine Image (AMI)
    2. Operate and extend service management in a hybrid IT architecture
    3. Configure services to support compliance requirements in the cloud
    4. Launch instances across the AWS global infrastructure
    5. Configure IAM policies and best practices

3 Domain 3.0: Data Security

  1. Recognize and implement secure practices for optimum cloud deployment and maintenance. Content may include the following:
  2. Recognize critical disaster recovery techniques and their implementation.
    Content may include the following:

4 Domain 4.0: Troubleshooting

  1. Content may include the following:

NOTE: I have just marked the topics inline with the AWS Exam Blue Print. So be sure to check the same, as it is updated regularly and go through Whitepapers, FAQs and Re-Invent videos.

AWS Solution Architect – Associate Exam Resources


Udemy AWS Certified Solution Architect - Associate Practice Tests

  • Purchased the acloud guru AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate course from Udemy (should get it for $10-$15 on discount) helps to get a clear picture of the the format, topics and relevant sections
  • Opinion : acloud guru course are good by itself but is not sufficient to pass the exam but might help to counter about 50-60% of exam questions
  • Check out the New course on Udemy AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Exam Mastery 2018
    • Covers the exam topics in detail, scenario based practice questions and visual aids.
    • Very good rating and user feedback (~ 4.7)
  • Signed up with AWS for the Free Tier account which provides a lot of the Services to be tried for free with certain limits which are more then enough to get things going. Be sure to decommission anything, if you using any thing beyond the free limits, preventing any surprises 🙂
  • Also, used the QwikLabs for all the introductory courses which are free and allow you to try out the services multiple times (I think its max 5, as I got the warnings couple of times)
  • Update: Qwiklabs seems to have reduced the free courses quite a lot and now provide targeted labs for AWS Certification exams which are charged
  • Read the FAQs atleast for the important topics, as they cover important points and are good for quick review
  • Did not purchase the AWS Practice exams, as the questions are available all around. But if you want to check the format, it might be useful.
  • You can also check practice tests

37 thoughts on “AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate Exam Learning Path

  1. Associate architect is relatively simple. Read and understand all the IAM, VPC, EC2, S3 documentation, read the FAQs for the next most popular other services, read the recommended white papers, do some sample exams on Cloud Guru / Linux Academy, play with EC2/VPC a bit, you’ll likely pass. Doing a Cloud Guru or Linux Academy course will make it easier but doesn’t replace the reading.

    1. Thanks Tim, agreed A Cloud Guru and Linux Academy helps you to get started but not clear the exams for sure. Also CSAA is relatively simple once you clear it 😉

  2. Hi Jayendra,

    I appeared for architect associate and scored 90%.Lot of websites offer sample questions but they are misleading.Other than your blog and whitepapers,I didn’t refer additional resources.Thanks a lot!!

    1. thats Awesome Bhuvana .. congrats and thanks .. Happy to help 🙂
      Let me know if any feedback to improve ..

      1. 🙂 It would be great if you can provide guidance for Specialty exams as well.

        Thanks in advance!

  3. Where can I find the sample questions and whitepapers in your website for AWS certified solutions architect- associate exam.

  4. Hi Jayendra
    I found your blog while I am googling for practice questions for CSA exam. Your blog is very informative & it clarified few of my open questions.

    I am preparing for AWS-CSA(Certified Solution Architect-Associate) certification and I have gone through all the material & videos of Linux Academy. Have got good understanding of the concepts but I want to try testing myself by taking up some quiz. I am currently looking for Practice questions & answers for my preparation. Can you please share me, if you any ?

    Thanks in advance.


  5. Hi Jayendra.I work in Amazon and I really love this blog. I am going to appear for all 3 associate exams shortly and going through your blog has given me a confidence of passing. was the only other source which I found as good as your blog. Keep it up for the good writing and sharing !!

  6. Jayendra, thanks again for these helpful resources.

    I studied for the SysOps Associate exam first and passed. I am now moving on to Solution Architect Associate. I’m comfortable / familiar with the Sys Ops topics. Which topics are specific to Solution Architect that are not on SysOps that I should focus my time on to pass Solution Architect given that I have the SysOps knowledge already?


    1. You can refer to the SA – Associate Blog Post.
      Topics like VPC, IAM, S3, EC2, EBS are mainly common.
      However, there are lot other topics that you need to cover like Auto Scaling, ELB, Storage Gateway, Route 53, RDS Multi-AZ & Read Replicas, CloudFront, Storage Options Whitepaper etc.

    1. Thanks Ankit, STS is something already covered. Have got feedback for Lambda, API Gateway, DynamoDB and ELB vs ALB as well.

  7. My exprience with AWS CSA Associate exam –
    A couple lines on my background before I start.
    I have 20 years exprience in software engineering. I am mostly hands on but on occasion I was into leadership.
    All my experience is on Microsoft Stack.
    I wanted to do my certification in aws because I wanted to get my feet wet with non MS eco system.

    I have gone trhough a cloud guru course
    I have done all practice exams on BrainCert
    I have done all practice exams on Whizlabs
    I have done all questions on cloudacademy.
    I have read sections on and paracticed questions on his blog.
    (Reading is a must. It is probably beyond associate level. But if you read and try those questions, you can not go wrong. THIS GUY IS A ROCK STAR FOR AWS CERTIFICATION !!! )
    I have heard 20-30 hours of re-invent videos
    I have watched videos on SSL/TLS

    Since I have no hands on experience on aws, I used more resources than usual.
    I took the exam and passed with 85%.
    Here are my thoughts. Obviously they don’t reflect anyone else’s viewpoint but me.
    Hope you find them useful.

    A Cloud Guru can ease you into the exam preparation and helps you to scope the breadth and depth of content.
    It is nice and friendly place you like to start. But it is not sufficient to pass.
    I got some areas which are not covered in acloud guru. Lamdas, cloud front path patterns, DirectConnect and VPN fault tolerance etc.
    Also cloud guru content does not put you in that (tricky and twisty) exam groove.
    The best relavant questions are on some of the questions from you can see on
    Whizlabs questions are easy and not really upto the exam standard but still decent content if you want to cover more surface area.
    I am not too impressed at the cloud academy questions and their relavance with the exam.
    Like someone mentioned cloud academy is picking up some unexplored corners from aws documentation, rather than creating a scnario which forces to analyze (or elimininate options).

    Now coming to the actual questions. Most questions have 2 bad answers. one correct and one looks correct.
    when you have to pick more than one option, you get get 1 or 2 immediately, the second or third one requires some analysis/ elimination.
    Here is the areas I can point you to based on my experience
    API Gateway Features, Lamda Basics, EFS Basics, Setting up ECS tasks with IAM permissions, cloudfront path patterns. Ec2 instances showing up in ECS cluser, Direct Connect / VPN fault tolerance (read DiretConnect on,
    Kinesis Streams Vs firehose, DynamoDB VS Elastic cache, which services provide encryption at rest, which services can trigger lamdas, EBS replication across regions, Cloudfront origins, why and when to use DynamoDB,
    reserved instance features, graceful shutdown of application and spot instances, what does STS provide , SQS and priority, auto scaling termination policy, auto scaling cool down timers, SNS supported end points.

    over all it was not very straight forward exam to just walk in and pass/ace. I took the full 1 hr 20 mins and reviewed quickly once before hitting submit.

    your experience may vary !! good luck

  8. Jayendra, Dude i cant thank you enough for all this effort that you have put in to setup these blogs. I have cleared my Solution Architect exam and i am so thankful to you. Most of the questions on the exam were from the questions that you have listed below in the various topics. You have also covered all the critical topics and concepts so well.

    You are doing a great service here my friend


  9. I took my AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam today, sadly I failed. Most of the questions are API Gateway, Lambda, ECS, VPC Cross Account, Security, IAM. Hope to pass next time. 🙁

    1. You can surely clear it next time. I have added the topics to the blog as I got feedback from multiple users about this new topics.

  10. Dear Jayendra,

    It is wonderful reading your blog and as also the interaction from other aspirants and exam takers. I have been trying to take up the exam for the last 2 years but have been unable to do so because of time constraints. I have now dedicated my time to pass both the associate as well as the pro exam. Any help from you in the for of study notes, sample exam questions etc. which would help me to cross the first hurdle of associate exam would be highly appreciated.

    Could you please send me the same to mail mail @

    Many thanks for your blog. Really helpful.


  11. I am very happy write this that, I took SAA exam yesterday 7th sept 2017. I passed with 81% 🙂

    First of all Let me say thanks to Jayendra for such a excellent detail blogs, which helped me lot to clear my concepts and buy me confidence to go for this exam.

    How I prepared for this:

    Jayendra’s blog will lay the foundation for this exam.
    cloud guru course with hands on will help you to understand and those concepts at high level.

    Jayendra’s question set are more than enough to prepare for this exam. I solved the Whizlabs tests to feel the exam pattern and format.

    Topics in my exam:

    1. Couple of questions on Lambda (which services invoke lampda, how to improve performance of function)

    2. API gate way : advantages of API gateway.

    3. Application load balancer : dynamic port and Path base hosting. No questions on classic load balancer

    4. Cross account access: how to allow permission for the dev user in production. ( by creating cross role in production account)

    5. OPS works – def of OPS works

    6. def of Beanstalk

    7. SQS – decoupling

    8. Cloudwatch – restarting the hung instance by scanning logs

    9. Spot instance – pricing

    10. Shared responsibility of AWS

    11. Kinesis stream VS Kinesis fire hose: User want to access stream and process streams. I selected Kinesis stream.

    12.Cloud Front: origin servers can be either S3,ELB. There were different choices for RDS, dynamoDB etc

    13. Dynamo db : two questions: web session storing ( once question was pretty clear and had only Dynamo db as option along with other RDS, Second question was checking on storing session in tabular structure having option of Elastic cache and Dynamo db. I selected Dynamo db. Not sure though).

    14. S3: Access . bucket Policy

    15. No questions on Direct connect,

    16. EBS: how to create encrypted EBS volume from unencrypted volume.

    17. Route 53: Select correct options for alias record. 1. Zone apex record 2. Can map against DNS entry 3. Can’t set TTL

    18. there was a question to share the data for a application to all users on a file system. the system should be scalable or shrink as per the data size. Options were S3,EFS,EBS. I selected EFS.

    19. Few questions on VPC. Server A can ping Server B but Server B can’t ping Server A. Out bound traffic is not allowed to both instance, what changes should user do to get this done.

    20.VPC flow logs for tracing logs in VPC

    21.IAM Roles are global: You can use same role created to another Ec2 instance in different region

    22. auto scaling: termination policy

    23.STS : 2 question on the temp access. ( web federation )

    24. No questions ECS

    25. VPC Peering

    26. AWS Import/Export use case.

    It was very easy exam if you read all Jayendra’s blogs and get your had dirty with VPC,EBS,EC2,S3,ELB,AUTO scaling.

    I finished the exam in 1 hour and reviewed it for next 20 mins.

    Best luck!!

  12. Hi Jayendra, I have passed AWS CSA exam today. Thanks a lot for putting so much effort in keeping these blogs up to date. My exam pattern was similar to Nandkishor.

  13. Hello All,
    Just now i came to know about the Jay’s Blog. Feel great on the Jay’s efforts in preparing this…. I am preparing for the CSA exam. i am yet to browse the blog completely. as of now i am referring Acloudguru , Linux academy and will add this blog now for preparation.
    I welcome the suggestions on preparation recommended for the exam .


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