How to pass the AWS Certified Security – Speciality

I recently took the AWS Certified Security – Speciality exam for the first time and I passed it with over 800 points! L Scale is from 100 to 1,000 and 750 is the passing mark. More about the exam here. et’s go over how to pass the AWS certified Security – Speciality certification.

Take these certifications first

Although AWS has lifted the requirements to have an associate level exam before taking a speciality exam; I on the other hand still believe having an associate level certification and understanding is very much needed to pass. In my personal experience I always advise taking the AWS SysOps Administrator over the Solutions Architect if you’re planning on taking this security speciality. Knowing the capabilities of many AWS services will help you cross out the wrong answers immediately. The AWS security training does not cover in depth capabilities.

  • Pass the AWS Cloud Practitioner
  • Pass the AWS SysOps Administrator


Nothing beats real experience. Or at least labs. I have been in the AWS world for more than 4 years now.

Security topics

I believe the same exam is always different for different editions and users. This is all based on my experience.

  • KMS: Know this inside and out!
    • All of its capabilities
    • Key policies/permissions/cross account
    • Usage with S3 in depth
    • Usage with all other top services like EBS, RDS, DynamoDB, etc.
    • Be able to troubleshoot issues related to permissions and missing keys, etc.
  • IAM: This is one obvious and must
    • Be able to read and write IAM policies, S3 bucket policies, KMS policies, etc.
    • Master roles for services, for role switching (how to secure it)
    • Cross account setup
  • S3
    • Replication
    • KMS integration
    • KMS cross account integration
    • Troubleshoot permission issues

This is just my top list, always use the guide and study based on that. So don’t ignore other topics.

Training tools / White papers

Exam guide

Click here

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How I passed three AWS certifications back to back!

AWS Cloud Practitioner

I passed the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification with nearly flying colors!  My score was only a few points away from 900 out of 1000. This exam was not challenging for me and I doubt it will be challenging for you either. Now I do have to say that I did work with AWS and related services for two years prior to taking this exam. Always read the exam topics and find sites that organize their study guides with the exam topics. I studied about an hour a day for about 3-5 days the week before taking the exam. You don’t need to be an IT guru to study and pass this exam so don’t push too hard, just take it! 

AWS SysOps Administrator & Solutions Architect

Few months after that I started to study for the AWS SysOps administrator certification. The reason I started to study for that exam before the AWS Solutions architect because I planned to knock out both of the exams back to back. The exam topics for both of them was very similar to me and I had a feeling that passing the SysOps would help me pass the AWS Solutions Architect exam. I bought the official AWS SysOps Administrator book from Since I’m so busy with work during the day, working out during the evenings, I read a few pages before going to sleep. During my commute to and from work, I would also listen to AWS official podcasts (Note: What you hear on the podcasts may not be on the exam)

I mainly used (links below to each course) because they have the latest content, hands-on lab, quizzes and practice exams that were on par with the topics in the exam. I also purchased a study guide package from for around $12 to get more practice exams. Those exams were formatted like the actual exam but the content for the package I got had more information than I needed for the associates level. I passed one exam on one Sunday and then the other exam on the following Sunday.  I was relieved that my plan worked! What I didn’t know was that passing each exam AWS gives you a 50% off discount on your next exam. Now I have discounts available for my next AWS certifications. These exams are good for 3 years before a renewal is required.

Last words; these exams definitely require professional experience. It’s not just a memorization type exams, it’s all scenario-based. Let me know if you have any specific questions!

AWS Cloud Practitioner

The AWS Cloud Practitioner exam enables individuals with an overall understanding of the AWS Cloud to validate their knowledge with an industry-recognized credential. It provides individuals in a larger variety of cloud and technology roles with a way to validate their AWS Cloud knowledge and enhance their professional credibility.
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AWS Certified SysOps Administrator

The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate exam validates technical expertise in deployment, management, and operations on the AWS platform.
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AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam is intended for individuals with experience designing distributed applications and systems on the AWS platform.

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