My experience of attempting the AWS SysOps Administrator Associate (SOA-C02)

2022.03.10

Introduction

I had been preparing for the AWS SOA certification test for about a month and I thought I was finally ready to take, I headed to AWS Certifications' website to register for the exam and book a slot for myself. You can take the exam almost at any time during the day given that a slot is available to you. I easily got the slot which I wanted for myself. I was using Pearson Vue as my exam coordinator.

How did I prepare for the exam?

Before the exam I had spent most of my time reading blogs and watching videos about the various services which are important to the exam, most notably services which are related to Monitoring, Security and Management and Governance associated services. I must mention that following certain courses on E-learning platforms such as Udemy also helps a lot. Making notes while you are learning new things also helps a lot to revise topics before the exam. Additionally this serves as your reference whenever you want to look up information regarding any service.

Things to know before the exam

As it is for all AWS Certification exams, you need to be in a silent room for your exams. There should not be anyone around you during the duration of the exam and no reading or writing materials on your desk. You also need a very good internet connection, if your wi fi is not reliable, consider connecting the LAN cable directly with your laptop.

The Exam

So here's the endgame, the exam. You need to understand the weightage which each section carries to prepare well for the exam and maximise your chances of clearing it. Be sure to study topics according to the exam blueprint in the order of their weightage.

  • Monitoring, Logging and Remediation - 20%
  • Deployment, Provisioning and Automation - 18%
  • Network and Content Delivery - 18%
  • Security and Compliance - 16%
  • Reliability and Business Continuity - 16%
  • Cost and Performance Optimisation - 12%

I have mentioned all the domains of the exam and also their respective weightage for your reference.

There were plenty of questions related to CloudWatch, CloudTrail, CloudFormation and other Security services. There were some questions which were pretty much similar to the type of questions which are asked in AWS SAA examination too.

The surprise!

Before the taking the test, I was preparing AWS SOA C01 exam or at least according to the exam blueprint for that exam, and I noticed that 55 questions in 180 minutes is a pretty reasonable time allocation. There were times during the test that I felt that I must be doing something wrong to be able to finish the 55 questions within 90 minutes.

But then the moment I finished the 55 questions. I got a screen which told me that I will be facing 3 lab questions which was a bit of a surprise because I did not know about this (I think this was purely due to my lack of research about the exam).

So the instructions were very clearly defined, 3 lab questions, once I move from one question to the next, I cannot come back to it. It is recommended that you dedicate 20 minutes to each question to solve it comfortably.

There is a virtual environment running in which AWS Console is open and ready for you to work on, the instructions are present on the right side of the screen along with the question statement.

I would recommend that you visit the webpage of each service which comprises a major part of this exam and go through it, understand all the configuration options present and also all the actions which can be performed with the service's objects. For eg; With an EC2 instance, you can either reboot it, shut it down or terminate it. Additionally you can also attach storage volumes to it, modify their security group etc.

Conclusion

Overall, this is was a good test to attempt, you need to be meticulous in your studying and note making. I would recommend testing yourself using some practice test to level up your confidence.