How I passed the AWS Certified Developer – Associate exam

I began studying for the AWS Certified Developer – Associate exam last year after I completed the HBX | Harvard Business School Certificate in Negotiation Mastery. Last year, the CDA exam was the easiest of the three associate exams. That test was re-written. The new version is the hardest of the three associate exams.

AWS is going to retire the old CDA exam in November.

I found out in July. My wife and I are expecting our first child in September. I had to pass quickly or waste a bunch of time studying for a non-existent test.

Last week I passed with an 88% on my first attempt.

Here is how I did it:

From August 2017 – July 2018:

  • Watched a few videos from A Cloud Guru.
  • Worked with AWS as part of my day job.

Two weeks in July 2018:

  • Read the AWS whitepapers.
  • Took the official AWS practice exam and kept screenshots of the test questions to study them later.
  • Signed up for the ACG Exam Simulator.
  • Purchased AWS Certified Developer – Associate practice exams on Udemy.
  • Every day for two weeks I took a practice exam. After each practice exam, I studied what I got wrong. And I wrote down information to help me get the questions right in the future.

The one thing that pulled 90% of the weight was understanding the practice exam questions and answers. Rote memorization isn’t enough. The AWS exam requires a detailed understanding of the underlying concepts. And practice questions are the best guide.