I made it! After being certain I flunked it (because the question were so different from the course material/practise exams), I actually ended up with an 85%.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing the course videos. Even less the practise exams - it's not that surprising they aren't an exact replica of the real exam. They did help by sheer repetition (I lost count how many I did For Practise and can't be bothered to look up how many I did For Real), but I believe what really got me over the line were flashcard decks. Over and over. And the advice to read the whitepapers.
Interestingly enough I got a mere 40% in one area, balanced by a 97% and 100% in two others. That was enough, together with the fourth area, to secure the decent overall score, likely due to the higher weighting of the ones I did well on.
So, my summary for others:
- do the practise exams until you want to scream, not just the 3 required times. Do them until you consistently score >90% every time, no exceptions, no outliers. - flashcards, flashcards, flashcards. - for heaven's sake, read those AWS whitepapers. All Of Them! There are nuggets in there that will promptly pop up in the exam. Out of the way details that can't and aren't being covered in the course. They *will* pop up like an inverted rake you left on the lawn and which you will promptly step on.