Last week I made an attempt at passing one of the new AWS Specialty exams – Security.

The “Specialty” exams are currently in Beta, which means the questions are not finalised, and there’s many more of them than you’ll find at the final version of the exam. Because of that, the results will be available in late March. But as an incentive, you get much more time to answer the questions and if you don’t pass the Beta exam, you’ll get a voucher for the final version. And the Beta exams are half price. Worst case, you get two attempts at the exam for quarter of the price.

The AWS Certified Security – Specialty BETA exam I received, consisted of 108 questions for which I had 2 hours and 50 minutes. The questions were all focused around wide-range of security considerations (as per exam’s objective) in AWS environment. I can’t share any content of the questions, and since the exam is still in Beta, none of them may appear on the final version.

The difficulty varied tremendously – some questions were very easy and some required very specific knowledge of security standards, like ISO 27001. You can find a description of requirements for the exam on AWS page:

Most of the questions were long, scenario-based, similar to what you can find on DevOps – Professional and Solutions Architect exams. Because of that, the exam was quite exhausting as it required me to focus on a complex scenario in order to find an answer and then immediately switch to another scenario in another question. In all, I’d say the exam required just as much, or even a bit more, energy and focus than the DevOps – Professional exam.

I have to say I was quite surprised by some questions touching on subjects which you can find on Solutions Architect – Professional exam, even though officially you only need to pass the Associate exam to try the “Specialties”. On the other hand, a lot of the areas covered by the Pro exam include security of production environments in AWS, so that should be expected on a Security-focused exam.

All in all, I’d say the exam matched the difficulty of the Professional exams (and some questions went event above that), so I’m eagerly awaiting my results in March!

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  1. vijay

    Have they now pulled the plug out of this Security – Specialty (Beta)

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Vijay,

      Not sure, it seems the exam disappeared from AWS website. I posed this question on the LinkedIn group, we’ll see if anyone can share some light. It would be a shame, and surprising since Cloud Guru released a series of courses for all 3 Specialty exams today!
      We’ll post an update if there’s any news.


    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Vijay,

      The following message is appearing on the exam’s registration page:

      We are currently over-subscribed to our AWS Certified Security – Specialty Beta exam, so registration has closed. Any customers who have already scheduled their Security beta exam will have the ability to complete this exam, up until January 31st, 2017.

  2. Alan

    Hello Paulina, If you thought that was bad the advanced networking beta exam had a 135 questions in it! The big data only had 100 questions in it πŸ™‚

    • Paulina Budzon

      Thanks Alan, how do you think you got on? We should be getting the results in a month or so!

  3. Michael Quale

    Following this as I have an interest in achieving the security specialty cert as well. I’m three for three on the Associates and will test for DevOps in 8 weeks or so.

  4. Sachin

    Hi Paulina,
    The link is getting redirected to certification main page and that Security Specialty exam seems to be vanished. I cleared my Professional and looking for Security Specialty but having no further information.
    Did you get your results for the exam you gave? Any feedback that you would like to share please?

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Sachin,
      The exam is finished the Beta state and is now under review – AWS is trying to figure out which questions to use for the final version and how to score them. Everyone who took the Beta exam is waiting for their results (check out: and it’s not possible for anyone else to take the exam at the moment (since the questions are not finalized).
      Once there’s any news I’ll surely be posting the details on the blog πŸ™‚

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