Studying for the AWS Advanced Networking Specialty Exam

I recently took (and passed) the AWS Advanced Networking Specialty exam and hope this quick post may help you prepare.

Exam Overview

The exam itself consists of 65 multiple choice and multiple response questions and you have 170 minutes to take it. When I completed the exam, and a review of a few questions, I had approximately 28 minutes remaining so it’s my opinion that do not have to rush through the exam, but slow down, take your time, draw pictures, etc.

I chose to take the exam at a testing center as I find that easier than trying to sterilize some room in my house. At one point, I had 6 kids in my house and even though I “only” have 3 now, we downsized, thus every room is full of somebody’s stuff. I do pick the testing center close to a “Panera Bread” and “Freddy’s Steakburger”. I grew up a baseball player so my gameday routine is to take the 10am – 1pm exam window, go to Panera for an Orange Scone before the exam, and then Freddy’s Steakburger afterwards.

The exam itself focuses on the following areas:

  • Network Design (30%)
    • Tests your ability to design resilient, scalable, and efficient AWS/Hybrid cloud solutions
  • Network Implementation (26%)
    • Tests your ability to build network solutions including, but not limited to, VPCs, subnets, Direct Connect, Transit Gateways, and route tables.
  • Network Management and Operations (20%)
    • Tests your ability to monitor network performance, troubleshoot connectivity issues, and optimize network configuration
  • Network Security, Compliance, and Governance (24%)
    • Tests your understanding of network security features such as AWS WAF, IDS/IPS, Gateway Load Balancers, Firewall Manager, Route53 Resolver DNS Firewall, and DDoS protections

Study Tools

I’m sure everybody has their favorite instructors/content creators but for this particular exam, I used the following tools and courses:

  • AWS Skill Builder – Networking Core Digital Badge Learning Plan
    • I took this course to start my preparation for the Specialty exam. I thought it covered the basics pretty well AND you earn a digital badge you can share! If you complete every lesson within this plan, I believe the time estimate for completion is 20-ish hours. You mileage may vary of course but when you are comfortable with the content, you can take the assessment exam to earn your badge.
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty 2024 by Zeal Vora (Udemy)
    • I had used Zeal’s material for the AWS Security Specialty exam and decided to give his Advanced Networking course a go. It has 294 lessons, a couple practice exams, 34 hours of content, and a 4.6 rating.
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty Practice Exams by Neal Davis (Udemy)
    • This course had 6 practice exams, 20 questions each, timed for 1 hour
  • Review the AWS Sample questions!!!!! I can’t recommend this enough. The questions you see on the AWS sample questions have a similar look and feel to the questions you will see on the real exam.

I started the AWS Skill Builder course on 12/26, Zeal Vora’s course on 1/22, and I took the exam on 2/22 if you’d like a rough preparation timeline.

Good luck!!

I know each one of us has our own opinions, but for me personally, the AWS DevOps Professional was the hardest exam for me…by far. In my opinion, the Advanced Networking Specialty exam is NOT as difficult as the DevOps Pro….I’d say the Networking Specialty exam is fair and if you grew up in IT through the networking path, you may have a head start on those of us who came up through the server/SAN track.

Like many of the exams nowadays, you will not see your score immediately, but after some time, you will receive it through email. I took my exam on a Thursday 10am-1pm window and received my test score on the next day, Friday, at 6am.

Also, don’t forget about the AWS Exam Retake program running until April 15th which allows you to get a free retake provided you retake the exam before June 30th, 2024.

Good luck!!

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