Tips to prepare for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert exam
Article by Dilip Kumar Khandelwal, Big Data & Cloud Developer
I have recently passed the Exam AZ-303: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies and Exam AZ-304: Microsoft Azure Architect Design.
The most significant change is increasing infrastructure-related questions to almost half of the exam questions and reducing the section dedicated to development in the cloud. After the update, the exam leans very heavily towards infrastructure and workloads (networking, load balancing, backup&migration, server-less, storage accounts, VMs, infrastructure as code, active directory, MFA, RBAC).
See the below announcement from the exam page.
The AZ-303 exam and AZ-304 replace the AZ-300 Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies and the AZ-301 Microsoft Azure Architect Design exam.
The best resource is to practice what we learn in the portal, especially in networking, virtual machines, and active directory.
I followed the courses given below to prepare for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert Exam.
- Linux Academy**
- Pluralsight Courses
- Udemy “AZ-300/AZ-303 Azure Architecture Technologies Certification Exam” by Scott Duffy
- Azure documentation
- Quick-start ARM and Powershell templates.
Understand exam structure
- Questions: 60 questions
- Some questions are worth 1 point
- Some questions cannot be skipped
- There are different types of questions: multiple-choice, build a list, hot area, drag, and drop, reorder, etc.
- There are also Performance-based questions (labs) to be done in the Azure portal.
- Questions are often in the context of Case Studies, where you need to gather and understand information across multiple sources.
2. Duration: 180 Minutes (Exam) + 30 Minutes (Instruction)
- Schedule 30 minutes for reading and understanding instructions and rest for the actual exam.
- Take your time with the questions; it is important to read carefully with understanding. I have finished the exam more than 20 minutes before the end time, so there is plenty of time.
A few thoughts after passing the exam
The exam focuses heavily on networking and VMs. Questions are really tricky with multiple layers of indirection, and broad knowledge of even small properties of different Azure managed services is required to answer the majority of the questions. Questions around virtual networks were most difficult for me, setting up load balances, connecting networks, and all this under often complex and tricky requirements.
There is a separate section for the case study and a separate section for labs. The case study requires a good understanding of the problem domain and requirements, so read each question very carefully; there is plenty of time.
10 days before the exam, I set the final preparation plan, which focuses on each section below.
- Days 1–3: Deploy and configure infrastructure (40–45%)
- Days 4–5: Implement workloads and security (25–35%)
- Day 6: Create and deploy apps (5–10%)
- Day 7: Implement authentication and secure data (5–10%)
- Day 8: Develop for the cloud and Azure storage (15–20%)
- Day 9: Practice exams and mock questions, final review. I used “Microsoft Azure AZ-300/AZ-303 Architecture Technologies Practice Exams” from Udemy and Exam topic dumps.
In the end, what helped me pass was the experience with Azure and trying everything on my own in Azure Portal, creating and solving problems, and experimenting with virtual networks and VMs.