After studying AWS for more than 4 months in preparation for the AWS SAA exam, I was looking to learn something different for a change before I continue with my AWS journey. While searching for a new certification, I came across this blog where the writer discussed how he achieved the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification after achieving a few AWS certifications. I was also reading online forums and on reddit to see which certifications were in demand. I saw lots of cloud enthusiasts talk about the Azure Fundamentals certification. That’s when I made my decision to achieve this certification by only using free resources.
First, my goal was to secure a free exam voucher to take the exam. Therefore, I kept reading posts in Reddit to know how I can get one. Fortunately, there was one Microsoft Virtual Training Day webinar available and I managed to enroll in one of those sessions. I received a free exam voucher a few days after the webinar which I then used to take the exam.
The list below shows the free resources which I used to prepare for the exam.
- Microsoft Learn:
This is a very good training resource to understand the basics of Cloud and Azure. I went through the Azure fundamentals course available on MS learn and got hands-on experience by using sandboxes provided by Microsoft in the course.
- Microsoft Virtual Training Days Webinar:
This is a 4 hour webinar split into 2 training sessions. It is designed specially towards achieving the MS Azure Fundamentals certification. It contains all the information that you need to pass the exam. Overall, this was a great training resource which helped me fill in the gaps in my knowledge. You also receive a free exam voucher after completing both the sessions.
- Andrew Brown’s free course:
I used Andrew’s free courses to prepare for my AWS certifications. I was glad when he announced that he would release a free course for AZ-900 right when I was preparing for this certification. This is a 3-hour long video which touches every topic that’s mentioned in the exam objective domains.
- Tim Warner’s AZ-900 YouTube Playlist:
I found about this playlist while doing a random search on YouTube. At the time of writing this post, there are 38 videos. Although the playlist doesn’t cover all exam topics, I really liked Tim’s teaching style where he explains a topic first and then shows a quick demo about the same topic.
- Exam AZ-900 video course by Jim Cheshire:
I had free access to Oreilly’s library through my employer. I checked on Oreilly to see if there was any good material available. That’s when I came to know about Jim’s video course which had received very good ratings in Oreilly. I completed the course and it helped me understand the core Azure services better.
- Exam prep: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) by Sharon Bennett:
Finally, I went through this free course on LinkedIn. It was only a 90 min long course but covered all the main topics which may appear on the exam.
- Azure in bullet points:
Apart from my notes and video courses mentioned above, I also referred to this impressive study guide on GitHub.
After going through all the training material mentioned above, I felt confident and I then booked the exam. I had also prepared my own notes while going through the aforementioned study resources. I revised my notes a couple of times and hoped for the best.
I used the same laptop which I had used for my AWS SAA exam a month ago. I went through the Pearson Vue check-in process and waited for a proctor to join. The proctor joined and tried to launch the exam. She informed me via chat that she was unable to launch the exam. She tried a couple more times, but the result was the same. I checked Windows Firewall, VPN, and other basic windows settings but that had no effect either. This didn’t change even after I restarted my laptop.
I told the proctor that I would use a different machine/system and join using a different code. I used my Mac and went through the check-in process again. When the proctor launched the exam, the Mac screen went black and I couldn’t see the welcome screen. The Mac was also not accepting any keyboard or mouse inputs. However, I was still able to chat with the proctor. At this point, I was convinced that this wasn’t going anywhere, and I would probably have to reschedule the exam. Finally, I decided to restart my Mac to see if that would fix the issue. As I was going to push the power button, Siri started and spoke out loud “Activity Monitor”, I was then able to see the desktop where the exam was launched in a different app which I wasn’t able to access when the screen went black. I opened the exam app and managed to see the welcome screen. What a relief!
The exam had 32 questions in total and I had 60 mins to finish the exam. The questions were mainly about the basics of cloud and Azure. As I had gone through numerous study notes and courses, I felt confident while taking the exam. There were a few questions which went deep into a few Azure services. Although I knew those services, I didn’t know them in that detail. Therefore, I had to guess while answering a few questions. I went through all 32 questions first and flagged the ones which I wasn’t sure about. I then went through the flagged questions and changed my responses wherever I felt like. Lastly, I went through all 32 questions again to ensure that I hadn’t missed anything. I had approximately 4 mins left on the clock when I finished the exam and completed the post exam survey. In the end, I finally got to see the screen which I was waiting for. The message on the screen said “Passed” and it also showed my exam report at the end. I scored 840/1000 (700 points are required to pass). It’s not a very high score but I was happy that I passed after troubleshooting for almost an hour.
This was my AZ-900 exam journey. If you are also preparing for the same certification, then good luck and happy cloud computing.