Certifications / Cloud

5 Tips to Ace Your AWS Big Data Certification Exam

5 Tips to Ace Your AWS Big Data Certification Exam
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Published on October 12, 2023

Programmers, data analysts, and other professionals in the IT sector need as many certificates as possible. After all, the more certifications you can post on your resume, the easier you'll find it to qualify for and get high-paying, high-quality jobs. And no field demands certificates as much as cloud computing. 

One of the most effective and useful cloud computing certificates you can earn is the AWS Certified Big Data — Specialty certification. It’s particularly valuable if you are pursuing or are in the midst of a career that focuses on data analysis, data warehouse solutions, and data leak prevention. 

However, even seasoned data scientists can struggle with this certification. With that in mind, this article will share five tips to help you ace your AWS Big Data Certification exam (with the help of CBT Nuggets courses). 

Why AWS Certified Big Data — Specialty? 

AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty is fantastic for growing your career, as it shows potential employers you have the expertise and the technical skills needed to reform data analyses with complex data sets. It also shows you are experienced in using services and tools like Amazon Redshirt, QuickSight, and EMR. Certified professionals can also command higher salaries compared to their non-certified counterparts. Achieving AWS Certified Big Data - Specialty can also lead to networking opportunities through online communities and AWS events. 

But you must pass the certification exam to earn your AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty certificate. You’ll also need a handful of skills and qualifications, such as an associate-level certification for AWS cloud solutions, at least two years of experience using AWS, and at least five years of experience in the data analytics field. 

Now that you’re aware of the scope of this undertaking, let’s take a look at five tips you can use to ace the AWS Big Data Certification exam.

1. Prep with Tested Exam Resources

One of the first things you’ll want to do is prepare by collecting a variety of different exam resources. For example, you can review the AWS Training and Certification exam preparation pages, which are official exam prep resources containing all the knowledge you need to succeed. These are used by many people who have successfully passed the exam, so you know they have the information you need. 

Some resources to consider: 

  • Sign up for the AWS Skill Builder platform, which helps you practice with exam-style questions

  • Enroll in courses on the AWS Skill Builder platform

  • Review the white papers and service-related FAQ pages from the provided exam source materials

  • Take a certification training course from CBT Nuggets

In effect, review everything there is to know about the exam, the likely questions you’ll find on it, and how to tackle those questions to help you feel confident when you finally take the exam. 

Though mastering the concepts and hands-on skills is paramount, equally crucial is how you manage your study materials, particularly if you’re juggling coding snippets, AWS service documentation, and other resources. 

This is where bespoke PDF editing software comes into play. Unlike Adobe’s basic version, these apps target data scientists and offer niche features such as a split screen view for comparing code, annotation options for making quick notes on AWS-specific terms, and search functionalities to swiftly find specific topics or code snippets. 

It doesn’t end there, though, as you can even utilize no-code automation software like Zapier to speed up your workflow when preparing for the exam. Ultimately, this sort of approach can save you valuable time, regardless of which AWS exam you’re preparing for

2. Review Your Incorrect Practice Exam Answers

At this stage, you should take practice exams, but don’t worry about your score at first. Instead, use the official practice questions to identify gaps in your knowledge.

More specifically, practice tests let you zero in on all your mistakes. Did you get the question wrong because you forgot a fact or because you misunderstood a core concept that will likely appear on the real exam? The difference between these can help you determine your study path going forward.

You can devote more time to shoring weak points up as you identify them. Take another practice exam after the initial revision. Then, review your scores once more. Rinse and repeat until you feel confident you can pass. This progressive, gradual improvement in your knowledge will reduce knowledge gaps, so you won’t worry about getting tripped up by tricky questions. 

3. Build Projects for Practice

Studying the AWS exam preparation pages is one thing, but putting that knowledge into practice is another thing entirely. That’s why one of the best ways to ace an AWS Big Data Certification exam is to build projects inside your AWS account.

Not only does this give you hands-on expertise when using AWS cloud tools, but it also will help you become more proficient. In general, it’s best to spend about 80% of your exam prep time building code and projects and about 20% studying. It sounds daunting, but the 80-20 rule helps you acquire hands-on experience for your AWS certification. 

In any case, free digital training, an AWS Skill Builder subscription, and other tools can help you learn the ropes of this area of IT analysis and data crunching. Plus, if you build a particularly good project, you can put it on your resume right next to your certification exam results. 

4. Study in Short Time Blocks

Everyone loves reading on the topics they’re interested in, but it's still easy to get burned out when you enjoy the material. To conserve your energy, aim to study in short blocks of time. 

For example, you might break up your study time into 30-minute or one-hour blocks, and then take a break after each chunk. Rest between five and 15 minutes to let your brain relax, decompress, and regain energy. This is also known as the Pomodoro method and it's highly effective at helping you stay engaged with material. 

Another good tip is to alternate between blocks of interesting material, such as AI applications in cloud computing, and blocks involving theory and lots of definitions. Ultimately, it’s all about tracking your progress and knowing your mind well enough to stay motivated to study as long as possible. 

5. Read Through Each Question Backwards

This sounds counterintuitive, but it can be one of the most helpful ways to ensure you understand the exam material before sitting for the true test.

Of course, you shouldn’t literally try to read each word backward like da Vinci. Instead, approach it like this: 

  1. Start by reading the end of each big question so you know what form the answer will take and in which direction to think. 

  2. Read the following paragraph (the first sentence of the answer). 

  3. Then, try to uncover the crux of the question without cheating.  

This way, you process the question in its entirety while giving your brain a “hint” as to what’ll be expected of it when you need to answer. It’s an unorthodox method, but it lets you think about conventional topics unconventionally and helps information stick more efficiently. 


As you can see, you can prepare for and master the content of the AWS Big Data Certification exam well ahead of time. By keeping these tips in mind and staying focused on studying, you're more likely to pass the exam on the first try and save valuable time. Plus, it’s the best possible springboard for more advanced CBT Nuggets AWS courses


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