I just passed the latest version of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional SAP-C02! What a way to end the year strong! In this short article, I’ll quickly discuss what this SAP-C02 exam is all about and the different things that can help you pass this mind-boggling test.
The New AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional Exam
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional SAP-C02) exam is one of the two Professional-level certification tests of the AWS Certification program. This particular exam is meant for individuals who perform a solutions architect role in their current company/organization. The SAP-C02 exam validates the person’s general IT knowledge, advanced technical skills, and experience in designing optimized AWS solutions that are based on the AWS Well-Architected Framework.
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional SAP-C02 exam validates your ability to complete certain tasks within the scope of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. These tasks, or also known as “task statements”, are grouped together into exam domains, which are as follows:
SAP-C02 Exam Domains
- Design for organizational complexity
- Design for new solutions
- Continuously improve existing solutions
- Accelerate workload migration and modernization
This Pro-level certification exam is composed of 75 multiple-choice or multiple-response scenario-based questions that you must complete within 180 minutes or 3 hours. The “multiple-choice” question type has one correct answer and three incorrect responses, while the “multiple response” item has two or more right responses out of five or more options. Like other AWS certification exams, you can take the SAP-C02 exam from a local testing center or online from your home.
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (SAP-C02) exam has no prerequisites, so you can take this exam directly. The score range is from 100 to 1000 and you need to score at least 750 to pass the test. Thus, the passing score is at 75% (750/1000) compared with just 72% for the Associate-level exams.
My AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional SAP-C02 Exam Experience
I was actually in Vancouver, Canada, for a week when I took the SAP-C02 exam. My family and I are in a two-bedroom Airbnb condominium in Downtown Vancouver. Since we have a one-year-old toddler with us, my wife needs access to the master’s bedroom, living area, kitchen, and other parts of the condo to take care of our little one. I am left with just a small closed room – just about 10 square feet with no table, let alone a chair.
With that cramped space, I can’t transfer and place the other table in the living room. It simply can’t fit at all! Good thing that our Airbnb has an ironing board available which I used as a table and used the bed as my “chair.” I simply covered the ironing board with a bed sheet, et voila, I was ready to take the test! My SAP-C02 exam was scheduled at 9:00 AM via Pearson Vue, but as early as 8:40 AM, I logged in to my AWS Certifications account and started the check-in process for my test. Part of the process is to take photos of the front, back, and side views of your desk, so I did all that with my smartphone. If your desk (or, in my case, a makeshift desk with an ironing board) is up against a wall, you can just take a picture of the view opposite of it. Don’t stress out about this process since your proctor will ask you to move your webcam/laptop around later on for secondary verification. Ensure that the ID you’ll present (or take a picture of) in the check-in process is not expired, as this may cause some issues along the way.
After the check-in process has been completed, I am presented with a screen that shows how many people are in the queue before my turn. My 9 AM test schedule, which is on a weekday (Tuesday), seems to be a good spot since only about 3 people are waiting in line. I bet that you’ll wait for a longer period of time if you schedule your test on weekends since this is usually the time that other folks will take the test. This queue number is updated every minute, and it wasn’t that long when a proctor showed up and talked to me using my computer speakers. She asked me to carry my laptop and move around the room so she could view the entire surroundings. I did that and told her that my room was quite small. Good thing that she has no problems with my setup. Finally, she asked me to bring my arms up to ensure I was not wearing any watches, smartwatches, or electronic gadgets.
She released my AWS exam, and a few seconds later, I was able to see the AWS test console with a hovering widget that contains various tools that you can use. The widget is somewhat of a distraction as it is placed on top of the screen, which slightly blocks the view of the question area. If this bothers you too, you can actually drag this widget and place it at the bottom of the screen so you can focus on your test. You can also see a “Comment” button on the upper left-hand corner of the test console. This button here will show up a modal that allows you to enter your comments/doubts regarding the question at hand and submit it so the AWS Certifications team can review it. I actually used the Comment button twice to report a typo error in one of the questions and another one for a wrong info in the scenario.
The SAP-C02 exam has a series of long-winded questions with equally verbose options. However, it also has a handful of short scenarios as well. Expect to see a lot of multiple-response questions where you have to select 2 or 3 answers out of 5 or 6 options. In terms of exam topics, I saw an extensive range of AWS services in the exam on multi-account strategy, machine learning, advanced networking, migration, and many more. There are also a lot of scenarios that use 3rd-party applications and systems that you have to integrate with your AWS cloud architecture. During the exam, I used the 🚩 Flag button on the upper right-hand corner of the screen for the items that I wanted to revisit later on. You can also use a digital whiteboard available in the floating widget of the test console though I don’t find this tool effective in my case.
You have to complete the SAP-C02 exam within 3 hours. I was able to complete all 75 questions with about 30 minutes left to spare. I used this time to go over my flagged items and to review my answers one last time. Personally, I find the exam to be an upgraded version of its AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate SAA-C03 counterpart in terms of exam topics and complexity, so if you pass your SAA-C03 exam, your exam preparation will be fast-tracked since you already have a solid technical foundation.
This particular certification carries a lot of weight in your profile and separates you from the Associate-level cert holders. Passing this exam indicates that you have advanced knowledge of AWS amongst your peers, as well as the other aspect of cloud computing and cloud architectures.
What’s the Difference Between SAP-C01 and SAP-C02 Exams?
This is the 3rd iteration of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam, which was initially launched almost a decade ago. The very first version of this certification test was released on May 2014 with an exam code of SAP-C00. AWS released the second version on February 2019, 5 years after the first one, with an exam code of SAP-C01. The third and the latest exam version of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam has an exam code of SAP-C02 which became available on November 15, 2022.
I’ve already taken and passed the previous versions of this exam in the past, but this week, I took the latest exam version to ensure that our SAP-C02 reviewers here at Tutorials Dojo are still on par with the actual exam. I took the first version of this test (SAP-C00) on April 2018 which is almost 5 years from today then the second exam version (SAP-C01) on February 2019. I took the recently launched SAP-C02 exam version this November of 2022.
Through all these exam iterations, I would say that there were significant changes from first SAP-C00 exam compared with the second version (SAP-C01). Back in 2018, when I took the SAP-C00 exam, the questions are long-winded but the number of AWS services included are not that extensive. It was when AWS released the SAP-C01 exam version that the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam topics covered a wide range of AWS services and other 3rd party systems.
The SAP-C02 still resembles the old format of the recently decommissioned SAP-C01 exam. It has a mix of long questions (with 3-4 paragraphs) and short ones (1-2 paragraphs). The same goes for the answers as well, with multiple-response questions where you have to select 2 or 3 items out of 5 or 6 options. In comparison with the SAA-C03 and other Associate-level exams, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional exam has more multiple-response questions than multiple-choice items.
The table above shows the difference between the SAP-C01 exam domains versus the new SAP-C02 exam. From 5 exam domains, it is now down to 4, with changes in the coverage percentage on each domain. The Design for Organizational Complexity domain was renamed to Design Solutions for Organizational Complexity and its exam coverage was bumped up from 12.5% to 26% while the Migration Planning domain was upgraded from 15% to 20% and was also renamed to Accelerate Workload Migration & Modernization. Speaking of Modernization, expect to see a lot of containerized architectures in the exam which involves Kubernetes, Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, Serverless, and other related services.
You can also see here that the Cost Control domain was removed. Don’t think that there will be no cost-related questions in the exam. It only means that the cost factor has been distributed to other exam domains. So, for example, for the Design Solutions for Organizational Complexity domain, you have to factor in the cost management and billing setup of your AWS accounts in your AWS Organization. The exam coverage for the Design for New Solutions domain was reduced from 31% to 29% only. The same goes for the Continuous Improvement domain, which was at 29% before but is now at 25%, including a slight name change to “Continuous Improvement for Existing Solutions” as well.
Tips to Pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional Exam SAP-C02
If you’re planning to take this exam in the near future, I highly recommend that you prepare well and allocate time to study the relevant AWS topics. It’s also beneficial that you first take and pass your AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate SAA-C03 exam first before you attempt the Pro-level SAP-C02 exam. The SAA-C03 exam covers an extensive number of AWS services that are similar to the scope of the SAP-C02 test. The primary difference, however, is the required use of two or more AWS services in order to solve the requirements stated in the exam scenarios.
The first thing that you have to do is to read the official AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional SAP-C02 Exam Guide. This document contains a list of all the relevant AWS services that you focus on, including the topics that are not covered in the exam. Read every task statements that are mentioned in each exam domain and focus your review on these topics.
For the video course, I recommend Adrian Cantrill’s content, as his course covers all of the topics for the SAP-C02 exam. You can check out his courses at his learn.cantrill.io site. For practice exams, you can use our SAP-C02 reviewer with Review-mode and Section-based tests to help you simulate the actual AWS exam environment:
We’re always updating our content to cover all of the topics in the new SAP-C02 exam.