I recently passed the Terraform Associate exam and wanted to share how I prepared for it. I ended up passing with a 94% grade, so I think this approach worked pretty well.
I’m going to add the timeline to this post so you can see how much time it took. I did set an aggressive exam date and had to cram for it over a weekend. It is definitely possible to spread this work out over more time.
Step 1: The Skillmix Course
I am one of the co-author’s of the Terraform course on Skillmix. This step is difficult to replicate if you don’t feel like writing a bunch of content! However, the second best thing to writing a course, is taking one. The Skillmix course has many hands-on labs that will give you practice writing HCL and using the CLI.
You can access this course for free here (no account required). You can also create an account here to more easily track your progress.
This course covers all the major
Timing: Allow yourself 1-3 weeks to complete this course.
Step 2: Take the Practice Quiz
I took the Skillmix practice quiz here (free). This is 130 questions that cover a range of exam topics. I duplicated the answer doc, and then marked all of my wrong answers in red.
Timing: I took this practice quiz on the Saturday before the exam (2 days before exam). It took about 2 hours to complete the quiz and grade it.
Step 3: Studying What I Got Wrong
I missed a lot of the questions on the practice exam! You can see how many I missed here. That was ok to me; it showed where I needed to focus.
I went through my wrong answers, diligently opening the link associated with the question. I had a stack of printer paper and took hand-written notes to summarize the key points on the page.
I ended up writing about 10 pages worth of notes. This included things like summarizing data types and constraints, writing out commands and describing them, etc.
Timing: This took about 3 hours on Saturday, and 4 hours on Sunday before the exam.
Step 4: 90 Minutes of Review Before the Exam
My exam was scheduled for 8am on Monday morning. I woke up early and was able to do about 90 minutes of review before the exam. I wanted to be confident, so this was more of a relaxed review of my notes vs. a frantic cram session.
It was a lot of fun to prepare for this exam. As far as technical exams go, it wasn’t one of the harder ones. Of course, passing is all about being prepared. I hope this article gives you a better understanding of what it takes.