Studying for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert Cert? Here’s How Long It’ll Take to Get Exam-Ready

by Ross Heintzkill | Published on September 12, 2022

If you're hoping to add the advanced IT certification Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert to your resume, knowing how long you need to study can help you prepare for exam day.

To find out how long exam takers need to study before earning the title of Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert, we polled solutions architects from all over the world to see how many months they studied ahead of exam day. We contacted them via LinkedIn survey, Twitter poll, and an emailed questionnaire.

And while we initially asked people to tell us how long they took to learn before taking the AZ-303, which was replaced by the AZ-305 on March 31, 2022, the results are still valid. When Microsoft retired AZ-303, they didn't re-write the playbook on how to plan and execute Azure infrastructure solutions, they just updated it. 

Here's how long it takes most people to prepare for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert cert.

How long do most people need to study for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert exam?

The length of time needed to study for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert varies considerably, most likely due to variations in experience, first-hand knowledge, and quality of training. 22% of people say it took less than 4 weeks to prepare for the AZ-303, while 27% needed more than 4 months.

how long to study for azure architect AZ-303 survey data

Generally though, we can say that 80% of Azure architects needed at least a month to prepare for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert exam, and half needed more than 2 months. If you're studying for the AZ-305 on your own, without a study plan or solid training course to follow, it'll likely take significantly more time to get ready for the exam.

Azure architects who prepare with a well-curated online course with lots of hands-on practice can prepare for the AZ-305 in about a month. Most people who try to learn on their own take significantly longer.

How should you prepare ahead of taking the Azure Solutions Architect Expert exam? 

An online course that provides tons of opportunity practicing the actual materials on the exam is the best way to prepare ahead of taking AZ-305. The Azure Architect Online Training from CBT Nuggets has tons of info and lots of practice opportunities.

But even the best course won't be very useful if you don't have great study habits. According to Molly Billow, a senior coach at CBT Nuggets , the key to preparing for the AZ-305 is tricking your brain into forming a study habit with a good course.

"Our brains are literally wired to repeat actions that lead to rewards," Billow says. "So if the same behaviors are repeated, you create new neural pathways. If it's repeated often enough, a new habit is formed." Using the Azure Architect course from CBT Nuggets and staying with it is your best bet for preparing for the exam.

How to make sure you’re test-ready before Azure Solutions Architect Expert exam day:

The certifying exam for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert is challenging because of how much practice you need in the exam's four key areas: identity and governance, data storage, business continuity, and infrastructure design. You can be sure you're test ready before taking the Azure Solutions Architect Expert exam with real-world practice in implementing Azure solutions.

While the AZ-303 is very high-level, with day-to-day administration tasks a lesser concern, only intermediate-level skills in systems and network administration are necessary. Being able to balance skills in areas of IT operations — including networking, virtualization, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data platform, budgeting, and governance — will all be necessary to be ready for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert exam.

RELATED: Is the AZ-303 Worth It?

You'll also want to take advantage of tools like virtual labs and practice exams. Labs are like personal sandboxes with simulated networks where you implement network changes, configure Azure solutions, and tweak settings. You decide what to try, and then the virtualized environment shows you the results. You practice as much as you want, and never have to worry about breaking anything. Plus, it's a functioning virtual network – so it's as real as the real-world, practically speaking.

Practice exams help you narrow down the areas of study you're not ready for. That way, you can speed up how long it takes you to prepare for the real deal by accurately identifying where to spend your study time, and what you can safely move past.

The last piece of the puzzle for preparing for test day is with expert instruction. A great instructor is one who can explain complex networking topics simply, but not bore you to death with long-winded seminars. Check out the first video in the AZ-303 online training course for free to see if the CBT Nuggets course is the right fit for you.

It takes the majority of Azure solutions experts over 2 months to prepare for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert exam – most of them over 4 months. If you're studying for the AZ-303 and you want to earn the Azure Architect cert, you should prepare yourself to take as long as 4 months or more to study for it. But a rock-solid online course with opportunities to practice the advanced, expert-level solutions implementations you'll find on the exam can help you prepare in less than 4 months.

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