I jam through the course in 4 days with Linuxacademy, barely passed it above 72%. I haven't taking a cert or back in school study format since 2001. I mainly rely on my past IT domain experience, free tier and linuxacademy course/labs/quize/exam/reading materials, as I don't have any existing company/clients with AWS production environment. I'm taking this course so I can market myself to clients with AWS footprints or planning to be on cloud.
If you're in my boat, I recommend don't to rush it, take 2-4 weeks to really prepare, 2-3 hours a day instead of 8-10 hour study days. Conception retention isn't as good. During study 4 days, I failed on the first final practice test on linuxacademy course, don't want to throw away $150 and wait 2 more weeks for retake. Then I went back to orion papers and clicked on every essentials, pointers, and how those relates to exam questions, read white papers. Topics linuxacademy is about 95% spot on, but the actual testing questions throws some twists added options, or some really not covered like elistic ip charge or opswork topic. But you only need 70% to guarantee a pass as I found out, some can go as lows 68% I'm guessing.
e.g. For bastion host, they'll throw in windows destop instead of linux, but same idea. S3 storage encryption at rest policy from customer, select 3 out of 7. sse, customer own keys, ssl at transit, s3 policy, etc. Throws you off if you dont know the in/out security options in S3 and definition of at rest encryption.
Within 80 min, I finished it in 35 minutes for 60 questions. You have to put in the time and get your mind back test oriented state, deductive reasoning, connecting the keywords from selections to the questions. Good luck with next hopeful to pass AWS. This is not a brain dump or memorization test, you actually need to get familiar with AWS service, and it's in/out concepts/definitions/rule s.
Now that I get my associate cert, I hope to land a client with AWS and maybe go for the Pro when the time comes, or go for the dev track. Big thanks to Linuxacademy on creative follow along course/labs.