Free exam guide: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01)

Getting started in the Cloud might be overwhelming at first since AWS is boasting over 200+ services (growing every year)! Currently, there is a lot of information on the web about AWS like white papers, courses, books, and videos.

But if you’re a beginner in the Cloud industry, all the available content might be overwhelming and you don’t know if the information is of high quality and helps you become a better engineer.

To solve that problem I’ve created the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam guide to help you prepare for the exam.

So you just have to focus on studying and preparing for the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam instead of looking for the right learning resources.

So let’s start! Here are the detailed steps to help you get prepared to pass the AWS Certified AWS Cloud Practitioner exam:

Who should take the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam?

This is an entry-level exam that is intended for people who want to demonstrate a general understanding of the AWS Cloud.

You’re not required to understand deep-level knowledge of specific services. That is more required for the AWS Solutions Architect exam.

In order to pass the exam, AWS recommends that you understand the following topics:

  • The AWS Cloud and its basic global infrastructure
  • AWS Cloud architectural principles
  • The AWS Cloud value proposition
  • Key AWS services along with their common use cases (for example, highly available web applications or data analysis)
  • The basic security and compliance practices relating to the AWS platform and the shared security model
  • AWS billing, account management, and pricing models Documentation and technical assistance resources
  • Basic characteristics for deploying and operating in the AWS Cloud

Source: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification page

An important note to mention is that when you want to follow up on this guide and start learning, create a free AWS account first.

AWS offers a free tier to get familiar with its services, so you can practice and experiment with the exercises and pieces of training that are provided in this guide.

How to prepare AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification Exam

Exam overview

The exam consists of the following:

  • The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam consists of 65 multiple-choice, multiple-answer questions.
  • You have 90 minutes to complete the exam.
  • It costs $100,-
  • The minimum passing score for this exam is 700 points
  • The exam is available in English, Japanese, Korean, and Simplified Chinese.

Content outline

As explained in the official AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam guide. The following topics are included in the exam including their weighted percentage:

Domain% of exam
Domain 1: Cloud Concepts26%
Domain 2: Security and Compliance25%
Domain 3: Technology33%
Domain 4: Billing and pricing16%
AWS Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01) exam content outline domains

Domain 1: Cloud Concepts – 26%

  • 1.1 Define the AWS Cloud and its value proposition
  • 1.2 Identify aspects of AWS Cloud economics
  • 1.3 List the different cloud architecture design principles

The first domain requires you to understand what the cloud is, what technologies it’s built on, what kinds of cost savings and operational advantages it can bring you, and how cloud-based applications work differently than traditional hosted ones.

Domain 2: Security – 25%

  • 2.1 Define the AWS shared responsibility model
  • 2.2 Define AWS Cloud security and compliance concepts
  • 2.3 Identify AWS access management capabilities
  • 2.4 Identify resources for security support

The second domain requires you to understand how AWS itself organizes its hardware, networking, and security infrastructure.

The important thing to know is how the responsibility is divided between the customer and AWS when using AWS services. And with that responsibility, you need to ensure proper security and compliance.

Domain 3: Technology – 33%

  • 3.1 Define methods of deploying and operating in the AWS Cloud
  • 3.2 Define the AWS global infrastructure
  • 3.3 Identify the core AWS services
  • 3.4 Identify resources for technology support

In the third domain, you need to understand the key tools that enable you to configure and monitor your AWS resources.

Although each AWS service has its own unique aspects when it comes to configuration, AWS offers two common tools (AWS Management Console & AWS Command Line Interface (CLI)) to interact with all of them.

Important to know how AWS provides layers of support to help customers on the platform and what kinds of AWS support are available and how to find them.

Domain 4: Billing and Pricing – 16%

  • 4.1 Compare and contrast the various pricing models for AWS
  • 4.2 Recognize the various account structures in relation to AWS billing and pricing
  • 4.3 Identify resources available for billing support

In the last domain, you need to know what the Cloud is going to cost you. Because cloud services are scalable, there’s virtually no limit to how much you can purchase, or how much it can cost you.

If something isn’t going according to plan, you’ll want to know what it is and how to pull its plug as soon as possible.

Technical Preparation notes

For each domain that passes the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam, I’ll be sharing a couple of notes that are worth remembering.

You can use these to create flashcards or copy them to your own notepad so you can revisit them at a later stage. I’ll be adding links to the original documentation as well so you can dive deeper at your own pace.

Domain 1: Cloud Concepts

There are 3 types of Cloud platforms: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Cloud platform models
Cloud platform models

Scalability is when an application or service automatically grows in capacity to meet demand e.g. with health checks or performance metrics.

Elasticity will automatically add or remove resources to meet changing user demands.

The Well-Architected Framework is a set of principles that AWS recommends as a way of evaluating the pros and cons of designing and building systems on AWS.

Domain 2: Security

AWS Shared Responsibility Model is the shared responsibility between AWS and the customer.

AWS Shared Responsibility Model
AWS Shared Responsibility Model

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) helps you to securely control access to AWS resources.

AWS Trusted Advisor is a tool that provides you with real-time guidance to help you provision your resources following AWS best practices.

You should also know the different AWS support plans.

Domain 3: Technology

Try to get a basic understanding of the following AWS services:

Domain 4: Billing and pricing

You should know about EC2 pricing models like spot and reserved instances. Get familiar with the AWS Pricing Calculator to estimate costs for AWS services.

Learn what the AWS Total Cost of Ownership Calculator does and learn how to monitor AWS costs using Cost explorer.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Study material

Everybody has their own preferred way of learning. One likes to watch videos while the other prefers reading. So I’ve compiled a list of high-quality material that is worth reading and watching.

AWS Study guide

For reading enthusiasts, I definitely recommend the official AWS Cloud Practitioner study guide: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Study Guide: CLF-C01 Exam.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner - Study Guide book

Every topic in the exam is covered in this book and explained thoroughly for beginners. Especially useful are the hands-on exercises combined with the hundreds of practice questions.

The hands-on exercises give you a good understanding of how the AWS console works in combination with its services.

The practice questions in the book are similar to what you can expect at the real exam, so it’s wise to finish the questions in the book.

AWS Video Course

If you’re more comfortable with the AWS console, I’d highly recommend this free and extensive AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification Course.

This video contains everything a beginner should know to become familiar with AWS and its services for the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam.

Do note that you block some time in the calendar because this course is 13 hours! I’d recommend viewing this video in multiple sessions of 2 hours. So you can comprehend and memorise these new concepts way better.

AWS practice exams

On the official AWS Certified Cloud practitioner page from Amazon, you’ll find the following sample questions document. It contains 10 questions that give a good estimate of what to expect on the real exam.

You are now fully prepared to pass the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam

You are now prepared for the exam! To summarise what you’ve done with the help of this guide:

  • You created a free tier AWS account to get familiar with the AWS console and test some of its services.
  • You verified the exam overview including the blueprint to know what domains are being handled.
  • You checked my technical preparation notes which highlight the most important AWS Services you should definitely know for the exam.
  • You’ve read or watched the content I’ve referenced in the learning material section.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam – FAQ

  1. Is the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam hard?

    If you’re a beginner with AWS Cloud or Cloud in general, then it’s hard. Make sure to get familiar with the Cloud fundamentals first before proceeding to take any AWS Certified exam.If you have a more technical background or a deeper understanding of how the Cloud concepts work then this exam shouldn’t be hard. That is because the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam covers the initial foundation of the AWS Cloud. Therefore People with a technical background have the advantage over non-technical people.

  2. How long does it take to prepare for the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification exam?

    If you’re new to AWS Cloud then it’s advised to study at least 30+ hours to get prepared for this exam.The material provided in this exam guide helps to set up the foundational knowledge to understand how to work with various AWS services.

  3. Is the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification worth it?

    Yes, it’s worth it. As a beginner in tech who hasn’t had much experience, it can help you get interviewed for a job application faster, as AWS certifications are an accepted form of accreditation in this business field.The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification (CLF-C01) shows that you know how to define and implement the core concepts and practices of AWS Cloud into your organization’s infrastructure.

  4. How do I schedule the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam?

    To schedule the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam, sign in to and click “Certification” in the top navigation. This will redirect you to Certmetrics where you can register and schedule the exam online or at a location near you.

  5. How many questions do I need to answer correctly in order to pass the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam?

    The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam consists of 65 multiple-choice, multiple-answer questions. To pass the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam you need to correctly answer 70% of the questions (around 46 questions).

Danny Steenman

A Senior AWS Cloud Engineer with over 9 years of experience migrating workloads from on-premises to AWS Cloud.

I have helped companies of all sizes shape their cloud adoption strategies, optimizing operational efficiency, reducing costs, and improving organizational agility.

Connect with me today to discuss your cloud aspirations, and let’s work together to transform your business by leveraging the power of AWS Cloud.

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