Which Online Training Should You Choose for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam?

This is a brief review of several online training courses and websites that I used when I was preparing for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam.

I had zero experience in cloud computing or IT before I started preparing for the exam. Here is a post of how I did it.

The AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam covers a ton of content, and even if you have used AWS for a long time, it is very likely that you are not familiar with some of their services.

You will need training resources that fit your learning style, ones that have accurate information AND are relevant to the exam.

AWS Official Training Course

Learning Style: in-person classroom training, with a mix of presentations and discussions

AWS-related information: 4/5

Relevancy to the exam: 0.5/5

I have mixed feelings about these courses. They feel more like networking events than actual classes. Usually they are very expensive, but the one I went to was a beta-class and it was by invitation only. The instructor was very knowledgeable about the topic he is presenting about, but it really depends on the instructor’s background if you want to ask deeper questions. Since Amazon is not going to train you to take their exams, you are not going to learn much about the actual test.

Recommended for: people paid by their company to take these courses, and those who are looking to network

Cloud Academy

Learning Style: video lectures, hands-on labs, quiz questions

AWS-related information: 4/5

Relevancy to the exam: 4/5

Cloud Academy is beginner friendly. You can easily get started on one of their video lectures and not get lost. Their hands-on labs also have easy-to-understand instructions. I used their study materials from the very beginning, and they helped me until I took the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam. However, I’ve heard complaints that their content doesn’t go deep enough for advanced learners, so be aware of this if you consider yourself a veteran. They also have a ton of content about other cloud providers (Azure, Google Cloud Platform) and they are subscription-based. It is definitely a nice place to go to familiarize yourself with the whole cloud ecosystem.

Recommended for: people who are ready to study seriously for the exam, and those who are new to cloud platforms

A Cloud Guru

Learning Style: video lectures & discussion boards

AWS-related information: 4/5

Relevancy to the exam: 4.5/5

How can I not mention A Cloud Guru? Ryan Kroonenburg is the rock star of AWS online training. Their courses for the Solutions Architect Associate Exam is on-point, easy-to-follow, and inexpensive. You’ll also learn a lot on their discussion forum. However, you cannot learn much other than what the exam covers on A Cloud Guru; in other words, they teach to the test. The actual AWS exam also updates faster than their courses, so sometimes you’ll run into outdated exam information. Regardless, A Cloud Guru is a useful resource if you want to study for the exam.

Recommended for: people who can study effectively with video presentations (without falling asleep)

Linux Academy

Learning Style: video lectures, hands-on labs, and flash cards

AWS-related information: 4.5/5

Relevancy to the exam: 4.5/5

Linux Academy also have great video courses that come with a subscription. They joined the online education scene a little later than other big players, but I feel their courses are better prepared and more detailed. Like Cloud Academy, Linux Academy also have hands-on labs where you can practice what you learned. They cover the exam, but you can learn so much more than just the exam.

Recommended for: people who want to go more into detail about AWS, especially on subjects other than those specific to the exams


Learning Style: practice questions and video lectures

AWS-related information: 3/5

Relevancy to the exam: 4.5/5

Whizlab is your question bank. I went through all of their questions for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate Exam. Did it help me passing the exam on the first try? Yes, but to a very limited degree, as I encountered an all-new question bank at the actual exam. In other words, these Whizlab questions will train you to think in the AWS exam way, but you can’t rely on them to help you “hack the exam”.

Recommended for: people who need to cram for the exam

Last Words

Remember, you should never “study to take the exam”. What really matters is your ability to use the cloud service and to continue educate yourself. My recommendation is to combine these online courses with a book (or several). More importantly, use the labs to gain hands-on experience.