AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty test

Well this past Friday, I threw the kitchen sink at this test and came up well short with a 54% score. That’s a low score for just about any test, and not worthy of a pass regardless. But lemme tell you the test is difficult, bordering on impossible to pass without significant datacenter w/ AWS experience. I labbed up and studied my head off, understanding the concepts as I went through the blueprint topics. Of course I could only read up, and memorize in some cases, some of those intricate things you’d work on to get your on-premises devices hooked up with AWS. My score report:

That last one really dragged me score down 🙁

Here’s what I can tell you from my testing experience:

  • The test is brutal, 65 questions in 165 minutes. This means you have about 2 and a bit minutes per question. Most questions are detailed and require careful reading. There were only a small handful of one/two liners which you could just go – ah, the answer is blah. If you get stuck, make an educated guess, flag and move on.
  • There were a lot of questions to do with connecting your existing datacenters to AWS. I put the s there in bold to highlight the fact the test really expects you to know have had significant experience with migrating to AWS and/or extending your gear to the AWS cloud.
  • They really test you on BGP concepts, Direct Connect (this one went absolutely bonkers on me) and VPN knowledge. When I say BGP, the questions weren’t just about neighbours, ASNs and the like, they expect you to know its intricacies too. With Direct Connect and VPN, jesus, if you haven’t worked with these two in detail in real life – you will fail, I can just about guarantee it.
  • All in all, I think it’s a very fair test. The certification says – AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty. Advanced and Specialty – double whammy IMO! It’s really about advanced concepts and hands-on specialist experience with the things I mentioned in bullet 3 above.
  • I learned a helluva lot more about AWS with preparing for this certification than I did with the other two certifications, combined, I managed to pass.

Finally, I won’t be doing this again. I know I cannot pass without actual experience. Simple as that. Wondering why I even attempted this in the first place? So I could learn more and more about how networking works in AWS. I have significant experience with NSX and that helped me prepare for this one.

I’ll post my study notes in another post. I’ll be doing TOGAF next, to change pace up a bit.



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  1. Well attempted n all the best for ur feature exams.
    I am interested to know ur study material you followed for preparation..

    • Thanks Amol. I used an AWS account for labbing up. I bought the Kindle version of the AWS Advanced Networking – Specialty official study guide and went through it with a fine tooth comb. Following the blueprint closely, I tried to lab up where I could and went through as much of the AWS documentation in addition to the book.

      The above was NOWHERE near enough. Actually experience is 100% required. IMO, impossible to pass this test without actually having worked on production AWS setups.

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