AWS cloud practitioner notes, my path towards the CLF-C02 based on three pillars - official material, online course and self-test

Last updated Apr 4, 2024 Published Jan 20, 2021

The content here is under the Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license


This post provides insights into preparing for the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification (CLF-C02), emphasizing key AWS concepts such as services, pricing, and security. The study approach involved utilizing official materials, attending online courses, and self-testing. It also covers the recertification process and lists various resources, including the CloudQuest gamified learning platform.


This post aims to expose the path I took to take the AWS cloud practitioner certification (CLF-C02). This post was inspired by Gaurav Venkatraman [1] and some of the resources I am going to share here were taken from his post, in addition to that, I am going to share my notes, based on the free official training [2] that AWS offers and how I built my study plan to conquer the exam.

Before taking the exam, note that the CCP (Certified Cloud Practitioner - CLF-C02) exam is the first certification in the AWS list, as such, if you have some experience with AWS it should be no problem to complete it. Therefore, the material needed for this certification depicts the conventions used by AWS and its pricing model, which is not common for developers or hands-on people to know (usually those terms are known by more seniors). If that is your case, I would recommend focusing more on the terminology and what each service does, its pricing range and for which workload it’s recommended. The AWS white paper [3] is the place to have an overview of AWS services.

The following mindmap depicts the subjects that are evaluated in the exam.

Long history short

Before going any further the following list is a collection of each topic covered by the certification. Those are based on my notes from different resources, but mainly from the AWS free course. Feel free, to go over the ones you are most interested in. In my opinion, the order in which they are presented is not relevant, still, it gives a path for those who have no experience with AWS.

Following up on the content, the approach taken is resumed in the following flow chart:

The next section depicts in detail each step and enumerates the resources used.

The journey

The journey was planned with three basic ideas before taking the exam:

  1. Read the official material provided
  2. Attend the official online course
  3. Self-test

Official material

For number 1, reading the official material provided by AWS helped me to get familiar with the content. AWS has a section called “prepared for your exam” linking resources to read. For 2, the online course was one of the main sources I used to prepare myself, there are two of them: AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials and AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials (Second Edition).

Besides that, there is this video course freely recorded which I would not recommend. I found this style of approach a rush into all the sections of the exam on a “try to memorize and good luck”, but of course, this is my humble opinion. I am listing it here so you can make your own opinion on the matter.

Last but not least, for 3, the self-test, I used an android app to keep on track of my progress, as the sample questions provided by AWS are not enough [4], it has only 10 questions. The first time I took the simulation, I scored between 50 and 60% only, therefore, after some reading and watching the course this mark increased to 80 ~ 90%.

Lastly, a simulation pack helped to improve the confidence in the questions. Besides the 6 simulations, it also offers tips for acing the exam and a community that is studying, it’s useful because people are discussing the topics and the questions in comments form and it is available as historical data for students like us.

I followed this short path of reading docs, watching the training and self-testing till the day of the exam. I took some time to digest all the content as well, I tried to follow the focused and diffused mode to make the process easier.


Once the exam is taken and the passing grade is achieved, the badge becomes available to be claimed at credly.


After 3 years with the certification active, AWS requires you to redo the certification to keep up to date with the latest changes. AWS sends an email 6 months before the expiration date of the certification, and it is like the following:

Hello X,

It’s time to recertify! Your AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is set to expire on Feb 01, 2026.

How to Recertify
To recertify, you can take and pass the current version of the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam. For Foundational and Associate-level certifications, you can also take the next exam in the role-based path to recertify. Learn more.

Thank you,
AWS Training and Certification

This is the email that kicked off the process for me to recertify, AWS mentioned a discount that is given for people recertifying. Pay attention to the instructions on where to find the voucher, it is in your certmetrics account, to access that, go first into your AWS account training.


In this section, there is a list of resources used throughout the certification study journey.

Cloud quest

I’m passionate about gamification as a method for enhancing the learning experience across various subjects. In 2020, I published initial findings on the effectiveness of applying gamification to learning unit testing, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that AWS is also embracing this approach through its CloudQuest platform. CloudQuest provides gamified learning paths for various roles, including cloud practitioner, solutions architect, serverless developer, and many more.

Cloud quest start screen

I recently completed the Cloud Practitioner path, and it was both enjoyable and informative. I refreshed my understanding of key concepts while also gaining new insights. The experience is planned in a way that combines game elements with the experience of using the AWS console to set up new cloud services, such as load balancers, VPC peering connections, databases and many other things. Upon completion of each role path, CloudQuest integrates with to issue badges that recognize your accomplishments.


  1. [1]G. Venkatraman, “Preparing for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CCP) exam in 2 weeks,” 2020 [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 2021-Apr-1AD]
  2. [2]A. W. S. training and certification, “AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials,” 2020 [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 2021-Apr-1AD]
  3. [3]AWS, “Overview of Amazon Web Services,” 2021 [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 2021-Jan-26AD]
  4. [4]A. web services, “AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner (CLF-C01) Sample Exam Questions,” 2020 [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 2021-Apr-1AD]


  • Apr 04, 2024 - Adds mindmap vizualization, updated content to CLF-C02
  • Dec 10, 2023 - Adds Cloud quest to the resources section.