Greetings, fellow learners and AWS enthusiasts! I'm David, and if you've stumbled upon this blog, let's get acquainted. In the next few minutes, I'll walk you through my remarkable journey of conquering the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam in just 100 hours. If you're eyeing this coveted certification, you're in for a treat.

Unveiling the Path Ahead

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, allow me to provide a glimpse into my background. As an Australian resident for over a decade, I've nurtured a profound passion for AWS. Recently, I achieved the AWS Solutions Architect Professional certification, and today, I'm eager to share my insights on how you can tread the same path, especially if you're not a native English speaker like myself.

Defining 100 Hours: A Personal Context

To appreciate what 100 hours truly entail, let me shed light on my personal commitments. With a full-time job and responsibilities as a parent, preparing for this exam was no walk in the park. Over the course of five intense weeks, I dedicated an average of 2 to 3 hours daily to my studies. This endeavor was reminiscent of my journey to conquer the Solutions Architect Associate exam two years ago, where I achieved a commendable score of 845 out of 1,000.

The Grueling Quest for the SAP Certification

Embarking on the journey towards the Solutions Architect Professional certification is akin to traversing treacherous terrain. Unlike its Associate counterpart, this exam is a beast of its own, designed to test your mettle comprehensively. Even if you're well-versed in AWS technologies, the SAP exam demands a unique form of preparation, delving into aspects you may rarely encounter in your daily work.

Cracking the Code: Insights into the Exam Structure

As we delve into the exam itself, let's navigate its distinctive characteristics. The SAP exam spans a formidable 3 hours, and for non-native English speakers like me, an extra 30 minutes can be a game-changer. This extension is a boon, enabling you to tackle questions more comprehensively.

With 75 questions to answer and a pass rate of 75%, every choice becomes crucial. There's no penalty for incorrect answers, but with a 75% pass rate, you can afford only 18 mistakes. This makes precision paramount. While some questions have only one correct answer, others involve multiple choices. To tackle these, focus on differentiating between the answers—a strategy I've mastered from my experiences.

The Challenge of the Long Questions

Solving the SAP exam questions requires a strategic approach. Some queries are straightforward, allowing you to spot the correct answer effortlessly. However, the exam also presents lengthy questions where you must peruse all options meticulously before making a choice. These questions are like hidden traps, where the seemingly obvious answer might lead you astray. Hence, mastering the art of dissecting these complex queries is as vital as your AWS proficiency.

Navigating the Newness

The SAP exam incorporates an array of new questions, necessitating extensive practice. Practicing with reliable resources is invaluable, and I'll share the practice tests I used later in this blog. Drawing from my experience with the Solutions Architect Associate exam, I realized the significance of practicing with authentic questions that mirror the actual test. This method is a potent tool for honing your skills and boosting your confidence.

Stay tuned as I unveil the practice tests I found instrumental in my preparation journey. I'm thrilled to guide you through the resources that played a pivotal role in my triumph, ensuring you're armed with the best tools to conquer the SAP exam.

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Mastering the SAP Exam: Strategies and Insights

Continuing our exploration of the SAP exam, let's delve into the heart of preparation. While the Solutions Architect Associate exam and the SAP exam may share some similarities, the latter presents a new array of challenges that demand a unique approach.

Navigating Uncharted Waters: Tackling New Questions

Unlike the Solutions Architect Associate exam, where a considerable portion of questions might be familiar, the SAP exam introduces a wave of new, uncharted questions. Some delve into real-world scenarios that might mirror your own experiences. This is where your accumulated knowledge and practical understanding of AWS solutions will prove invaluable. While around 50% of the SAA exam questions might feel recognizable, a mere 10% of the SAP exam questions tread a similar path. This fact alone highlights the distinct nature of this challenging endeavor.

Unveiling My Arsenal of Resources

Throughout my preparation, I harnessed a range of resources to bolster my readiness. A Udemy course from the esteemed Steven Maarek, titled "Ultimate AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional 2021," played a pivotal role. Having benefited from Maarek's SAA courses previously, I invested $30 to acquire this treasure trove of insights, which I revisited when my SAP journey began. Maarek's courses are well-structured, comprehensive, and certainly worth every penny.

However, let me be candid: SAP-specific courses are a double-edged sword. While I diligently worked through these materials, the unpredictable nature of SAP questions meant that their utility was limited. Still, they served as a reference point while tackling practice tests, offering a quick refresher and reinforcing essential concepts.

The Power of Practice: Bonso's Practice Exams

Turning to practice tests, I sought the expertise of John Bonso, a highly regarded figure in the AWS certification realm. I acquired four sets of practice exams from Bonso on Udemy, and I can't stress enough how crucial these resources were. The questions mirror the complexity of the real exam, with detailed explanations that unravel the mysteries of correct and incorrect answers. If you're serious about cracking the SAP exam, I strongly endorse Bonso's practice tests.

Additionally, I explored SkillCertPro's offerings, purchasing 15 sets of practice tests containing a staggering 900 questions. While I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend this resource due to some question duplication, it could be an option if you're seeking extra practice and confidence-building.

Unveiling My Preparation Strategies

With these resources in hand, I employed strategic methods to make the most of my preparation time. When tackling Udemy course practice exams, I didn't confine myself to three-hour blocks; the system allowed me to pause and resume tests, ensuring I used my time judiciously. However, the extensive length of questions posed a challenge—I often found myself revisiting the questions, which consumed valuable time. This issue stemmed from the intricate nature of questions, a common theme in the SAP exam.

To maximize efficiency during SkillCertPro's tests, I divided my screen into two windows: one for questions and one for answers. This allowed me to instantly verify correct responses, immediately boosting my knowledge base. I also compiled a Word document containing incorrect questions, which I revisited for a more comprehensive review.

Furthermore, I adopted a unique highlighting strategy: I marked keywords in the questions and explanations. These visual cues expedited my response time during the actual exam and served as a reference point. This technique significantly aided my performance in the real exam, making a notable difference in navigating lengthy questions.

Booking the Exam: Pearson Vue vs. PSI

As you approach the exam booking phase, a critical choice lies ahead: Pearson Vue or PSI as your testing platform. I wholeheartedly recommend Pearson Vue due to a plethora of negative feedback associated with PSI centers. I personally experienced this firsthand when my PSI exam in Brisbane was mistakenly canceled, causing a two-week delay. Moreover, the refund process proved cumbersome. Spare yourself such headaches by opting for Pearson Vue.

You have the flexibility to choose between test center, home, or office testing. While at-home testing may seem appealing, opting for a test center offers distinct advantages. During the grueling 3.5-hour SAP exam, test centers allow scheduled toilet breaks and provide a more controlled environment. I encourage you to choose the test center option if possible.

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Achieving Success in the SAP Exam: Strategies, Confidence, and Growth

As I draw this comprehensive exploration of the SAP exam to a close, allow me to guide you through the final stages of preparation and share some parting insights.

Setting a Solid Schedule for Success

Creating a structured plan is paramount when preparing for the SAP exam. While the AWS certification can be undertaken at any time, it's wise to set a clear schedule and stick to it. Reflecting on my journey, I completed my online course in just two weeks, dedicating another two weeks to four sets of practice exams. The subsequent two weeks were devoted to reviewing incorrect answers and reinforcing my understanding of highlighted keywords—an approach that significantly bolstered my confidence.

Embrace Confidence: Your Best Companion

Confidence is the pillar of success in the SAP exam. Often, the questions and answers may seem elusive, leaving you with a sense of uncertainty. A valuable tip is to discern differences among the answers. Consider the question's intent and potential tricks, focusing on keywords that can lead you to eliminate incorrect choices. This method, driven by confidence and methodical thinking, will empower you to navigate the exam's complexity with poise.

Embrace the Journey and Never Give Up

The SAP exam stands as one of the most challenging tests in the IT industry. Yet, even in the face of failure, the preparation journey is enriching in itself. The knowledge accumulated, the insights gained, and the understanding honed are invaluable assets that remain with you, irrespective of the exam's outcome. Therefore, if the first attempt doesn't yield the desired result, remember that success is not measured by a single moment, but by the dedication and perseverance that led you there. The road to mastery is often paved with determination and resilience.

A Glimpse of What's to Come

If you've found value in this exploration of my SAP exam journey, I invite you to join me on my channel, where I delve deeper into exam topics and share invaluable cheat notes. Your support, expressed through subscriptions, likes, and comments, fuels my motivation to provide you with more insights that bridge the gaps between complex concepts.

Furthermore, for those of you who understand Mandarin, I extend an invitation to explore my weekly Mandarin vlog, where I offer a window into my Australian life and extend a helping hand to the first generation of immigrants navigating this new territory.

In closing, I want to express my gratitude for your time and attention. This endeavor has been a labor of passion, driven by a desire to support aspiring professionals like you. Remember, success in the SAP exam is a journey that transcends the exam itself—it's a journey of personal and professional growth. Until we meet again, take care and stay determined on your path of mastery.

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