How I recommend studying for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam

Studying for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam? Keep reading for what to expect as Janeice DelVecchio and I share our tips for passing the exam on the first try *and* making the best use of your time. Also see:


Official Study Guide/Outline

Amazon has two pages that describe the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam. While they are mostly the same, they link to different versions of the whitepapers they recommend you read!

The current exam page links to the 2018 versions of the whitepapers. (It also links to the study guide pdf that still references the older versions of the whitepapers.) The older exam page links to older whitepapers. The older one also includes a 2012 paper that they no longer recommend. We aren’t 100% sure, but we think Janeice got a question that was covered in the newer versions of the whitepaper and not the older one.

In any case, be sure to read the exam PDF that covers the format and what to expect.

Janeice & Jeanne’s Study Guide

If you only get one thing out of this post, I hope you download this PDF!

Janeice & Jeanne’s AWS Practioner Study Guide


  • Starting with this unofficial 34 minute video helped us tailor our study. If you prefer learning by reading, skimming our study guide serves the same purpose. If you prefer learning by video, this is a brief one!

Free practice exams

  • Amazon offers 10 questions with the study guide. They represent the easier end of difficulty of questions on the actual exam.
  • Whizlabs offers 20 questions free They also represent the easier end of the questions on the actual exam.

Optional: Whizlab mock exams

Janeice and I both like learning from mock exams. We both recommend Whizlabs ($15 for 3 practice exams) if you do as well. Whizlabs gives you information on the right/wrong answers and groups your score by category as well. It covers about 75% of the topics on the exam.

Personally, I find that actually exercising my brain to think about the material in a sample exam format helps me more than anything else. It also lets me use the questions as a sort of “flash cards.” Finally, as a mock exam author myself, thinking about questions this way, really gets me focused on the key points!

Other resources that we used (tried to incorporate into study guide where possible)

Other resources that exist (but we don’t recommend)

  • Amazon offers a 30 minute online exam for $20. There’s only 20 questions, so that’s a lot of money per question!
  • Udemy mock exams – I bought this for $10. (The price seems to range from $10-15 depending on the discount of the day.) At first, it seemed better than Whizlabs because there were twice as many exams. While the English isn’t great, that didn’t impede learning. The reason for not recommending it is that some of the questions were *way* out of scope for the exam. It’s one thing to ask harder questions to “toughen you up” for the exam. It’s another to distract you by asking about concepts you don’t need to know.
  • ACloudGuru – This is a course with video and quizzes. It’s $100. That’s what the exam costs. I think taking the exam and failing would be a better investment of $100 because at least you’d know what to study! It’s Scott recommends this site heavily. It’s also available for $29/month. There is a 7 day trial. I’d want to save that in case I ever want to take the associate exam though! While I haven’t used this site, it appears better for the associate level where it includes mock exams.

12 thoughts on “How I recommend studying for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam

  1. Hi there,

    Excellent synopsis/glossary. Just notice something under Security (NACL), if it Stateless, it would not have a passport 🙂



  2. @Tyler: No. I haven’t taken the architect exam. However, Amazon published an official study guide in 2017. Other publishers have as well. Sybex’s came out in March. (Sybex is my publisher for the Java cert exams so I know they have an excellent process)

  3. Hi. I’ve started studying by reading the three top recommended (by my team) white papers (listed below) and taking the first Udemy mock exam. There were some questions not covered in any white paper; for example, several questions on the Enterprise Support option. Are there white papers I should add to my study list?

  4. @Chris There’s no harm in reading the white papers, but they are overkill. If you use the PDF linked to this post, it gives you the gist of the scope you need to know. Many of the mock exams cover things that go beyond the scope of the real exam. That freaked me out a bit when I was studying :).

  5. Hi Scott, Jeane

    Just wanna say a big thanks for putting this site together – would have been lost without it!

    I passed the exam yesterday – I found the Whizlabs past papers the best, the Udemy ones were a bit more of a challenge (still worth doing IMO) but I agree there is a lot of content on those that doesn’t seem applicable for the cert. The linux academy questions (part of the 7 day free trial – questions at end of each section as well as one 60min past paper at the end) were also very useful. I noticed if you re-do the linux q’s then you often get different questions the second time through, so worth doing if anyone else uses that site.

    Your summary sheet was also great so I didn’t actually use the white papers in the end. I passed very comfortably so I naturally wouldn’t suggest anyone spending too much time on the white papers… obviously it won’t do any harm if people have enough spare time but i’m more an ambassador for repeating practice questions.

    Once again thanks guys – such a huge help.


  6. @Paul : I was trying free trial for the linux one . only practise test for 3 modules were unlocked in that . the practise test for other modules and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam were unlocked. did u purchased any plan?

  7. @Paul : I was trying free trial for the linux academy one . only practise test for 3 modules were unlocked in that . the practise test for other modules and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam were unlocked. did u purchased any plan on linux academy

  8. Hi as odd as it sounds Salesforce has a pretty good set of study materials for the AWS Cloud Practitioner Exam on its trailhead learning site.

    It was written in collaboration with AWS, is around 6 hours of material and includes mini quizzes.

    It even has a mini guide with practice questions

  9. Hello,
    Do you have a contact email? I’d like to request permission for our university to link to your website.
    Thank you

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