AWS Certified Solutions Architect –Associate SAA-C01 Exam Guide & Overview

Updated: Jul 17, 2020


The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C01) examination is intended for individuals who perform a Solutions Architect role. This exam validates an examinee’s ability to effectively demonstrate knowledge of how to architect and deploy secure and robust applications on AWS technologies.

It validates an examinee’s ability to:

 Define a solution using architectural design principles based on customer requirements.

 Provide implementation guidance based on best practices to the organization throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Recommended AWS Knowledge

 One year of hands-on experience designing available, cost-efficient, fault-tolerant, and scalable distributed systems on AWS

 Hands-on experience using compute, networking, storage, and database AWS services

 Hands-on experience with AWS deployment and management services

 Ability to identify and define technical requirements for an AWS-based application

 Ability to identify which AWS services meet a given technical requirement

 Knowledge of recommended best practices for building secure and reliable applications on the AWS platform

 An understanding of the basic architectural principles of building on the AWS cloud

 An understanding of the AWS global infrastructure

 An understanding of network technologies as they relate to AWS

 An understanding of security features and tools that AWS provides and how they relate to traditional services

Exam Preparation These training courses and materials will help with exam preparation: AWS Training (

 Architecting on AWS instructor-led, live or virtual 3-day course


AWS Whitepapers ( Kindle and .pdf and Other Materials

 Architecting for the Cloud: AWS Best Practices whitepaper, October 2018


 AWS Well-Architected webpage (various whitepapers linked)


Exam Content

Response Types There are two types of questions on the examination:

 Multiple-choice: Has one correct response and three incorrect responses (distractors).  Multiple-response: Has two or more correct responses out of five or more options. Select one or more responses that best complete the statement or answer the question. Distractors, or incorrect answers, are response options that an examinee with incomplete knowledge or skill would likely choose. However, they are generally plausible responses that fit in the content area defined by the test objective.

Unanswered questions are scored as incorrect; there is no penalty for guessing.

Unscored Content

Your examination may include unscored items that are placed on the test to gather statistical information. These items are not identified on the form and do not affect your score.

Exam Results

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate (SAA-C01) examination is a pass or fail exam. The examination is scored against a minimum standard established by AWS professionals who are guided by certification industry best practices and guidelines.

Your results for the examination are reported as a score from 100-1000, with a minimum passing score of 720. Your score shows how you performed on the examination as a whole and whether or not you passed. Scaled scoring models are used to equate scores across multiple exam forms that may have slightly different difficulty levels.

Your score report contains a table of classifications of your performance at each section level. This information is designed to provide general feedback concerning your examination performance. The examination uses a compensatory scoring model, which means that you do not need to “pass” the individual sections, only the overall examination. Each section of the examination has a specific weighting, so some sections have more questions than others. The table contains general information, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses. Exercise caution when interpreting section-level feedback.

Content Outline

This exam guide includes weightings, test domains, and objectives only. It is not a comprehensive listing of the content on this examination. The table below lists the main content domains and their weightings.

Domain 1: Design Resilient Architectures 34%

Domain 2: Define Performant Architectures 24%

Domain 3: Specify Secure Applications and Architectures 26%

Domain 4: Design Cost-Optimized Architectures 10%

Domain 5: Define Operationally Excellent Architectures 6%

TOTAL 100%

Domain 1: Design Resilient Architectures

1.1 Choose reliable/resilient storage.

1.2 Determine how to design decoupling mechanisms using AWS services.

1.3 Determine how to design a multi-tier architecture solution.

1.4 Determine how to design high availability and/or fault tolerant architectures.

Domain 2: Define Performant Architectures

2.1 Choose performant storage and databases.

2.2 Apply caching to improve performance. 2.3 Design solutions for elasticity and scalability.

Domain 3: Specify Secure Applications and Architectures

3.1 Determine how to secure application tiers.

3.2 Determine how to secure data.

3.3 Define the networking infrastructure for a single VPC application.

Domain 4: Design Cost-Optimized Architectures

4.1 Determine how to design cost-optimized storage.

4.2 Determine how to design cost-optimized compute.

Domain 5: Define Operationally-Excellent Architectures

5.1 Choose design features in solutions that enable operational excellence.

Exam Overview

Exam Format - Multiple choice, multiple answer

Exam Type - Associate

Exam Time - 130 minutes to complete the exam

Exam Cost - 150 USD (Practice exam: 20 USD)

Exam Language - Available in English, Japanese, Korean, and Simplified Chinese

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