How I Passed AWS Certified Security - Specialist (SCS-C01)

How I Passed AWS Certified Security - Specialist (SCS-C01)

AWS is one of the most popular and widely used cloud services. I think it has a massive user base compared to other service providers because of its slick UI. If you are a developer or automation person you like API (SDK) AWS default support API, AWS API is easy to use, and you can call any services using API.

Recently I successfully passed my AWS Certified Security – Specialty (SCS-C01) certificate. In this article, I want to share my learnings and exam experience with you, so you can get a better knowledge about the exam, also I will share how I studied and what are the resources I have used, and finally will give some tips to study.

Why did I take AWS Certified Security - Specialist?

In my day-to-day work, I use a lot of AWS services, As a trainer, I will also teach AWS security courses for our we45 clients and also events. I work on an E-learning platform called AppSecEngineer it is completely built on AWS infracture. We use Lambda, API Gateway, DynamoDB, SNS, AWS Cognito, Step Functions and many more. As a trainer, I should keep learning new things to teach and up to date with new technologies.

AWS learning path for certification

AWS provides you with a clear, structured learning path for training and certification. One more thing I liked in AWS Certification is if you have some experience in AWS directly you can take Associate, Professional and Specialist certificate. If you don’t have an experience, I would suggest please take AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam.

Apart from this AWS also provides lots of resources like AWS documentation, AWS FAQ, AWS training and white papers, which make it easy for the students to study and pass the exam.

Before even taking on the exam read exam guide it will help you to understand the exam pattern and exam content.

AWS Certified Security - Specialist Domains

Domain Percentage
Incident Response 12%
Logging and Monitoring 20%
Infrastructure Security 26%
Identity and Access Management 20%
Data Protection 22%

How did I prepare for the exam

Overall I studied for four weeks. Four weeks was more than enough time for me to prepare for the exam because I had already some experience in AWS.

As I was working full-time I used to get only weekends to study. So I knew that If I study only at weekends, I will take forever to take the exam. For that, I decided to plan my study schedule.

I have planned like this. First 3 weeks every day minimum 2 hours of learning without fail, in the weekends minimum of 6 hours of learnings. In these 3 weeks I should complete all the training videos, read all the AWS white papers, and finally read all AWS documentation and FAQ.

Last week I kept for practice tests.

How did I study

  • First, I downloaded the exam guide and read completely.
  • Then I bought A Cloud Guru course. Watched completely. Cloudguru has a feature where each section will have a question and at the end of each section will have a review or exam tip. It helped me to recap the topics.
  • Once I finished the course, I started reading the AWS white papers, AWS documentation and FAQ.
  • Then I started watching AWS re:Inforce and AWS re:Invent videos.
  • Then I started taking the Practice exam from multiple sources. As always, first from AWS Sample Questions, it had 10 questions with answers.
  • Then I bought a practice exam bundle from Braincert It helped me a lot. After each test, I used to validate my answers and also validate wrong answers. For each test, I used to understand where I am weak. Then I used to focus on my weak subjects, for that I read AWS documentation and FAQ then watched the AWS re:Inforce and AWS re:Invent videos. I used to repeat the same steps until I was confident on that subject.
  • Before the exam, I purchased an official test. I bought them because I wanted to explore how an online exam will look like.


  • Purchase any AWS Security specialist course from Udemy or any other platform.
    • Watch the entire course and note down the points.
  • Watch AWS re:Inforce and AWS re:Invent videos.
  • Read AWS Documentation and FAQ.
  • Read White papers.
  • Practice more tests from multiple sources
    • It will make you realize where you are strong and where you are weak.
    • Motivate you to read more.
    • Prepares you for the actual exam.

How to book an exam

First, you need to sign in to AWS training portal. Once you signed in will redirect you to certmetrics site. There, select your exam type, then click Schedule New Exam button. Fill in all the details, then select whichever online variant you want. I choose PSI Exam.

Online exam variants

  1. PSI Exam
  2. Pearson VUE Exam

Exam day

Just 2 days before I booked my exam. I scheduled the exam early at 5:30 am.

Online exam some rules

  • Where you take the online exam, no one should be there in that room.
  • Laptop table should be empty, only your laptop should be there.
  • When you book the online exam on the site itself inform you to download the software and inform you to scan the laptop.
    • Software will scan your entire laptop and checks the following
      • Connected monitors
      • Running apps like browsers
      • Checks video, audio input and output

      Note: If you are connected with multiple monitors will inform you to disconnect it. and also will inform you to close the apps if any apps are opened.

  • After all, these only your exam page will open.
  • Once the exam page opens, you need to fill in some information, then the proctor checks your information if the proctor is happy then the proctor allows you to start the exam. The proctor will monitor your entire exam.
  • Please open the exam link before 30 minutes, because you need to set up the above things.
  • After all this, I wrote an exam I have finished 15 minutes early. Once I completed the exam it said Congratulation screen, I was happy! The same day evening I got my certificate email.


Additional Resources

Well-Architected Framework - Security Pillar
Plain English VPC
Free Practice Questions
Knowledge base



Here are my notes


I hope this article will help your preparation and gives you a nice overview. If you are writing an exam All the best!