Exam style questions are an important resource to pass the AWS Machine Learning Speciality certificate exam. My strategy is to binge study exam style questions as the last phase of study before taking the exam. By the time I come to exam style questions I have already studied the subject areas I need to understand and practiced with labs and tutorials. This is the last stage before the real exam. I use the scores from the questions to check I am good enough to pass the exam. At $300 this is no time for a near miss. The pass mark is about 75% so once my scores are regularly in the mid eighties I know I am ready and I book the exam.
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The exam comprises approximately 65 questions that have to be answered in 180 minutes. The pass mark varies from 75% to 80%. Extra time is allowed for people with English as a second language and other special needs such as dyslexia. To get the extra time you must book the exam with a special title and code, not the standard exam. The special exam may have rules and tasks that have to be completed to allow you to book it, so you need to research this before you need to book the exam.
Note that whilst the full price for the exam is $300 if you have passed an AWS certificate in the past you may have a 50% voucher assigned to you. Go to your AWS training account and search the benefits section. There you will find images of exam logo badges and any money off vouchers. The exam contains four knowledge domains each contributing a different percentage of the exam. For more information about the exam see these revision notes: AWS Machine Learning Exam Syllabus
Each question consists of a text based question followed by multiple answers. Some questions require more than one answer to be chosen. These typically follow the usual format of answers you did at school with one crazy answer that can be rejected immediately and two or three very similar answers that you must choose from. There are no marks deducted for incorrect answers so it is a good policy to guess if you don’t know the answer. The computer app that delivers the questions has a feature that lets you mark questions to come back to later.
The search for free questions
When writing this guide to free questions I searched for free questions for the AWS Machine Learning exam on Google and found a large group of vendors offering free questions, usually as a sample of their paid for offering. However before I recommended them to you I wanted to vet them to make sure I was not using my reputation to back up a vendor that did not deserve it.
Checking the vendors
I assessed the vendors using this criteria:
- Their website offered free exam questions without asking you to sign up for anything or hand over your email address.
- Their website looked as though there was ‘life’ behind it. That someone was actually home.
- The person or company behind the website could be identified on the About page, or Terms and Conditions and could be contacted by more than just a web form.
- The website did not look scammy or fraudulent.
- The website had acceptable reviews on TrustPilot.
I started with eleven results from the first two pages of the Google search copied into a Google Doc and then applied my criteria. To my amazement most failed the test.
Ghosts and secrets
Some sites were ghost sites with the latest blog posts a year old and in one case no evidence of activity for three years. Most of those that failed were anonymous sites. Sites that had no contact details and gave no clue as to the people or organisation behind them. The websites were sophisticated, well maintained e-commerce sites. So this was not an innocent oversight this was a policy to evade responsibility for what they were doing.
Costly reader software
One site sold a downloadable file of questions for $30 that were impossible to read without special reader software that cost much more than the original purchase. Whilst the web page did mention that the reader was needed, it did not make it clear that a subsequent purchase was necessary.
Whilst some of these issues were forgivable it was the TrustPilot reviews that were most damning. All businesses get some bad reviews and some of the reviewers were clearly complaining about something that was not the vendor’s fault, such as not passing the exam. However multiple complaints about answers to questions being incorrect shows that there was a quality problem. Reading between the lines some of the positive reviews appeared to have been coerced from customers seeking a refund. In another case the vendor appears to have been submitting their own reviews. All of the reviews were in perfect english and of similar size and submitted at regular intervals.
Of the original eleven results only four remained: one from the official AWS website; Whizlabs, who I have used before; and two Kindle books on the Amazon website. So my conclusion is to forget about free questions unless it is from a reputable site. Otherwise you will be dealing with some very scuzzy people.
Oxford American-English dictionary, scuzzy: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/american_english/scuzzy
Free questions from AWS
AWS provides a pdf with 10 sample questions. The questions have links to supporting information. These links are to the official AWS website.
Free questions from Whizlabs
Whizlabs provide 15 questions as a sample of their tests that you can purchase. I have purchased from Whizlabs before and found their products to be of good quality and value for money.
Whizlabs (affiliate link): AWS Machine Learning Speciality free test
Free questions from mlexam.com
This website contains 190 free quiz type questions. These cover the content of the exam, but are not in the AWS exam style. Each Study Guide starts with quiz style questions.
Sample free quiz
This sample quiz has 5 questions randomly chosen from the 190 questions in the Study Guide’s quizzes.
If you liked these quiz style questions why not try some AWS exam style questions: AWS exam style questions
Paid for questions
AWS practice exam
In addition to the standard exam, AWS also provides a practice exam of 40 questions. This exam is taken online and lasts one hour. The cost of the exam is $40. To take a practice exam log into your training account: https://www.aws.training/certification?src=exam-prep
A Cloud Guru
A Cloud Guru provides a practice exam of 65 questions as part of their AWS Machine Learning course. I have used A Cloud Guru to pass two AWS certifications and I can vouch for the quality, relevance and usefulness of their material. They have started to reverse a price hike when they purchased Linux Academy. However this is still a premium service with a price to match.
A Cloud Guru website: https://acloudguru.com/
Whizlabs sells 130 questions split into two exams of 65 questions each and a further 41 questions focusing on specific subject areas. Their pack also has four labs. The questions are delivered through an exam app on their website. The answers have detailed explanations and links to specific pages on the official AWS website. I have not seen this particular exam, but I have purchased two others in the past and I intend to purchase this one when I am closer to the exam. Whizlabs exam questions are good quality and good value for money.
Whizlabs (affiliate link): AWS Machine Learning Speciality practice test
Books on Amazon
AWS Certified Machine Learning Specialty Practice Tests 2020 MLS-C01: Prepare for and pass the current AWS Machine Learning Specialty Exam
Contains 130 questions in two exams. It is free if you have a kindle unlimited subscription. 45 questions can be seen by using the look inside feature, although with no answers visible.
Whilst there are a few opportunities to obtain free exam style questions, I suggest you accept you have to buy from a reputable vendor. The exam will cost $300 so you may as well spend a bit more to get access to this valuable resource.
AWS Certified Machine Learning Study Guide: Specialty (MLS-C01) Exam
This study guide provides the domain-by-domain specific knowledge you need to build, train, tune, and deploy machine learning models with the AWS Cloud. The online resources that accompany this Study Guide include practice exams and assessments, electronic flashcards, and supplementary online resources.