From Zero to Hero – Your Path to the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification (CLF-C02)

Zach Gurevich
6 min

So, you are looking to get a crash course in AWS, or advance your career, or maybe you just want to learn about what the cloud can do. If that sounds like you, then you should be interested in an AWS Cloud Practitioner certification! In this post, we are going to explain what the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification covers, why you may want to get certified, as well as a fast and sure-fire way to pass the certification exam!

What Is the Cloud Practitioner Certification?

The Cloud Practitioner certification is often seen as the first step into the vast world of AWS, serving as a foundational badge that demonstrates your familiarity with the cloud ecosystem. By obtaining this certification, you’re telling the world that you understand the basic architecture, services, and pricing models of AWS, making you a valuable asset in many tech-driven roles. Whether you’re in technical, sales, managerial, or financial roles, this certification paves the way for deeper dives into more specialized AWS certifications. The Cloud Practitioner certification covers the following domains:

Cloud Concepts

  • Basic understanding of cloud computing concepts, including scalability, elasticity, agility, and disaster recovery.
  • Differences between public, private, and hybrid cloud deployment models.
  • Value proposition of the AWS Cloud, highlighting cost-effective resources, ability to scale globally, and broad service offerings.
  • IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

Security and Compliance

  • AWS shared responsibility model, distinguishing between what AWS is responsible for (the cloud) and what the customer is responsible for (in the cloud).
  • AWS Cloud security and compliance concepts, including data encryption, identity and access management (IAM), and the AWS Compliance Programs.
  • Basic knowledge of AWS access management capabilities, understanding how to secure your AWS environment using IAM roles, policies, and best practices.
  • Awareness of AWS security services and features of services to provide a secure production environment.


  • Core AWS services including compute, storage, database, and networking services.
  • AWS architecture principles, focusing on designing for scale, security, and reliability.
  • Basic principles of the AWS Cloud Well-Architected framework
  • Key features of AWS services and how they can be used in diverse IT architectures.

Billing and Pricing

  • Different ways to purchase AWS services and how pricing is calculated (on-demand, reserved instances, spot instances).
  • Basic understanding of cost optimization practices, including cost-effective resource selection and using AWS cost management tools.

Additional Aspects

  • AWS Cloud Adoption Framework: Operations Perspective
  • Cloud Migration
  • Identify sources of documentation or technical assistance (e.g., whitepapers, support tickets).
  • Describe the AWS Cloud value proposition.
  • Describe basic/core characteristics of deploying and operating in the AWS Cloud.
  • Understand what is included with the Basic, Developer, Business, and Enterprise support plans.

Exam Details

Understanding the format and structure of the exam is crucial for effective preparation. Remember, this exam tests not just memorization, but the ability to apply knowledge in practical scenarios. Thus, focusing on real-world applications of AWS services during your study will be key to success. Also, consider the language option that best suits you to ensure comprehension is not a barrier to demonstrating your knowledge.

Exam duration90 minutes
Exam format65 questions; either multiple choice or multiple response
Cost100 USD. Visit Exam pricing for additional cost information, including foreign exchange rates
Test in-person or onlinePearson VUE testing center or online proctored exam
Languages offeredEnglish, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), French (France), German, Italian, and Portuguese (Brazil)

Preparing for the Exam

For those starting from scratch with AWS, here are the steps I took to get a “well above passing” score on the CLF-C02 exam:

  1. Watch the official preperation video here
  2. Next, take two practice tests from LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn Learning is a “well worth it” paid service at about $40 a month. Since going from zero to hero in AWS can take as little as a couple of weeks, you should only need one month worth of membership. If it is your first-time trying LinkedIn Learning you could even just get the free trial!

    After taking each test, take note of what you got wrong. Do some basic research into the services that you don’t know and get to know the differences between them.
    LinkedIn Learning practice test 1
    LinkedIn Learning practice test 2
  3. After having taken both practice exams – and having studied what you had gotten wrong – rewatch the entire official preparation video paying closer attention to the different services and the distinctions between them.
    Watch the official preparation video
  4. Now take the official AWS practice test called:
    Exam Prep Official Pretest: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C02 – English).
    This is also a paid service, but again, there is a 7-day free trial available. This practice test is a better representation of the official certification exam.

    By now you should have gotten at least an 80% on the official pretest. If that is the case, then you are well on your way to being ready for the real deal! If you scored lower than 80% make sure to investigate what you got wrong and to retake the first two LinkedIn Learning practice tests again.
  5. Lastly take the final two LinkedIn Learning practice exams. After each exam look over your wrong answers and investigate the topics that you still struggle with.
    LinkedIn Learning practice test 3
    LinkedIn Learning practice test 4
  6. On exam day you should be at a point where you can score a 90% on any of the above LinkedIn Learning pretests and AWS official pretest (having already taken all of them once before). Give yourself a couple of hours before the exam to retake all the practice tests and review any final concepts.

Total Prep Time: 20 – 24 hours

A final bit of advice, only 50 of the 65 questions on the exam are graded, the other 15 are questions that amazon is considering adding to future tests. Therefore, if you find any questions particularly difficult or unexpected, don’t worry they might just be a bad question that AWS is testing on you!

Scheduling the Exam:

Now you should be totally prepared to take the official certification exam! Don’t worry, you got this! Be prepared for the exam to be a little uncomfortable. Drinking and eating is not allowed and if you take it remotely you will need to clear off your entire desk. Make sure to check the system requirements and test environment setup if opting for an online proctored exam.

Before scheduling your exam, it’s a good idea to do a final review of all the key concepts and services covered by the Cloud Practitioner certification. Use this time to revisit any areas where you feel less confident. Also, ensure you understand the exam’s cancellation policy and any fees that may apply should you need to reschedule. Remember, being well-prepared also means arriving for your exam stress-free and focused.

Visit this link and sign up for the exam:

What if I don’t care about getting certified?

That is totally fine, because if you followed all the steps above, chances are you just learned A LOT about the features that AWS – and cloud computing as a whole – has to offer! This knowledge is increasingly crucial in today’s digital world, where cloud computing plays a vital role in everything from small startups to global enterprises. Even if certification is not your end goal, the understanding and skills you develop through this preparation process can open up new avenues for leveraging cloud technology in your personal projects or workplace, making you a more valuable asset!

Author: Zach Gurevich