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How to: Pass the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam in 2020

Katie
Junior Software Engineer, Tech Blogger, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, Girls Who Code Facilitator, runner up of #gftwhackathon, lifetime learner πŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸ’»
・4 min read

Introduction

From knowing very little about cloud computing in general, I passed my AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CCP) exam after 8 - 9 days of study.
Find out how I accomplished this below.

What is my background?
I'm relatively new to the tech industry, having started coding full-time at the end of last year through a full-stack coding bootcamp. As part of my final bootcamp project we used Firebase for Cloud Storage, and this piqued my curiosity for cloud services in general, so I was keen to delve into this more after my course.

Why AWS?
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is very widely used in the industry, and in Q4 of 2019 held the largest market share amongst cloud infrastructure providers (Source), so I thought I'd start there!

Who is this exam for?
Regardless of your current job or title, this foundational exam is suitable for anyone who has an interest in building overall knowledge and skills around the AWS Cloud. If you are currently working with AWS and have a base knowledge, you may be able to complete this exam in a shorter time span.

You can find details about the exam format and skills areas from Amazon.

Without re-inventing the wheel, find details about which resources I used below and how I managed my revision for the exam.

Play to your learning strengths

Play to your strengths in terms of how you learn best - I like to watch, write out my own notes and read them back for revision.

To prepare for the exam, I opened up a notebook on Gitbook and had pages for these areas: Cloud Computing - Overview, AWS Integrated Services, AWS Core Services, Technology Overview, AWS Global Infrastructure, Architecture, Security, Pricing and Support, and Q&A.

As I studied the different areas, I made notes on each of the pages that I would come back to later to read through.

Gaining an understanding

I started with going through this 6-hour video course: AWS Digital Training - AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials (Second Edition). As this is an official Amazon course, it was a great place to start and really gave me a broad overview of the key areas for the exam. BONUS: you receive a certificate of completion after this course, so you get a real sense of achievement!

I then worked through ExamPro's 4-hour CCP Training Full Course 2020 - a fantastic resource, and thanks to FreeCodeCamp this is completely ad-free for the whole 4 hours. Alongside this, I was also making notes in my Gitbook and screenshotting the overview slides which were really helpful for last-minute revision.

Though the above two videos were crucial to my success, they didn't cover all of the services which might appear on the exam. The questions can be finicky, so be sure to read the Overview of Amazon Web Services Whitepaper - absolutely essential to read (even at 95 pages long).

Practical skills

I wanted to gain some practical skills alongside my theoretical knowledge, so I started by creating an AWS account and had a play around with the AWS Management Console.

The aforementioned ExamPro course helped a lot with this too - as there are "follow along" sections, and before I knew it, I had created a budget with an alert, launched EC2 instances, created an auto-scaling group, an elastic load balancer, and added items to an S3 bucket.

Practice, practice, practice!

My Dad, and I'm sure many others before him, said "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail", and that stuck with me throughout this preparation. Once you have worked through gaining a base knowledge, you still need to go into the details and get lots of exam practice in!

To revise for the exam I went ahead and purchased 6 practice exams and responses. There are detailed explanations for both correct and incorrect responses following each exam, and it also shows you which areas you need to brush up on. I completed all of the exams, ensuring I reached 73% + in each.

I also worked through this short set of Amazon official sample questions.

Throughout any of the practice exams whenever I got an answer wrong, or wasn't sure about the answer, I added this to the Q&A section of my Gitbook notes. That way I could come back to the questions I struggled with whilst revising and quickly refresh myself.

On the days leading up to the exam I read the Overview of Amazon Web Services Whitepaper again, and filled any gaps by searching for helpful Youtube videos, such as this one on the AWS Shared Responsibility Model.

Summary

Here's a summary of all the resources I used, which were free (with the exception of the practice exam set on Udemy):

Practice exams -
Amazon Official Sample Questions
6 AWS CCP Practice Exams - paid resource

Whitepapers & AWS Website -
Overview of Amazon Web Services
How AWS Pricing Works
AWS Support Plans Info

Videos & Training -
AWS Digital Training - AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials (Second Edition)
Exam Pro's 4-hour CCP Course
Selected videos from this AWS Products and Services official playlist
AWS Shared Responsibility Model - unofficial

Please comment or get in touch with any further questions relating to my preparation for this course. I hope this answered 'How to pass the CCP exam in 2020'. Good luck for your exam!

Discussion (23)

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tsunaminori profile image
Tsunami Nori

Great post and thanks for your super useful links. I'm not really good at English, but at least you helped me a lots by provided these without spending more time on internet to finding resources.
Also, great motivation for me

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rajagopaliyer profile image
Rajagopal Iyer

Thanks for sharing. Congrats on clearing the CCP exam.

I am beginning web dev. and can use some pointers.
Are you on whatsApp ?. Please drop me a line at vrajagopal1@gmail.com
if you would like to provide some guidance.

Rajagopal Iyer

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francescoxx profile image
Francesco Ciulla

Thank you Katie! I will take a look during the Week end!

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katieraby profile image
Katie Author

Thank you :)

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jlebron profile image
jlebron • Edited

Hey Katie, would you be willing to share your Gitbook pages with me? I am currently studying for this exam and would love to compare notes.

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joseatenergize profile image
Jose • Edited

Hi Katie,

I come from a non technical background (means I have no idea about coding) but want to get into it and actually start learning about cloud. Do you think I could do this course without the programming knowledge?

Cheers for the great post :)
Best,
Jose

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katieraby profile image
Katie Author

Hi Jose,

Yes definitely. This cert is suitable for anyone (even from a non technical background), who wants to become acquainted with the cloud.

Thanks
Katie

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alexandrecoin profile image
Alexandre C.

Thank you for the resources, just what I needed to really get into it πŸ˜€

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rmartins20 profile image
Rangel Martins

Thank you so much Katie!!

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krishnakakade profile image
krishna kakade

Good work

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katieraby profile image
Katie Author

Thanks Krishna ⭐️

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aledeltoro profile image
Alejandro del Toro

What a coincidence! I had just started looking into resources to study for this certification. Thank you for writing this post!

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katieraby profile image
Katie Author

Excellent! No problem, hope this helps, and good luck with your studying πŸ˜„

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moneerrifai profile image
Moneer

Congrats!

Do you think you'll pursue one of the other certs in the near future?

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katieraby profile image
Katie Author

Thank you!
I'd love to, I'd be looking to do the Solutions Architect and Developer associate exams, but ideally i'd like a bit more practical experience using AWS too.

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tiagoratto profile image
Tiago Ratto

Great guide! Will you create one on Operation or Architect maybe?

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katieraby profile image
Katie Author

Thanks! I haven't done any of the other certifications, but I will do a guide as and when I do them! πŸ˜ƒ

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db001247 profile image
db001247

Hi Katie. Thank you for this study guide. Did you have any problems getting the AWS courses to load when you clicked on them?

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katieraby profile image
Katie Author

Hello, no haven't had any problems like that. During the exam I had a technical issue similar though and they were able to delay my exam start and troubleshoot until fixed.

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db001247 profile image
db001247

Cheers.