Passing the HashiCorp Terraform Associate Exam

Table of Contents ๐Ÿ”—︎

HashiCorp Terraform Associate ๐Ÿ”—︎

Today, I sat and passed the HashiCorp Terraform Associate exam.

After completing the exam, I hope to give guidance to others about how I went about studying for it and what worked for me.

I passed the exam with a score of 73%. HashiCorp doesn’t publish the passing mark but it seems to be around 70%. Exams like this might have passing grades dependent on which questions you get too, but generally 70% is a good guide.

HashiCorp is creating the next version of this exam currently. It’s scheduled for release later this year so keep an eye out for that.

You can find the full curriculmn for the exam here .

My Background ๐Ÿ”—︎

I decided to start studying for the exam on the 12th of August and sat the final exam on the 20th.

I had seem some Terraform before, I’ve done some IAM related changes at work and also created some buckets and BigQuery instances in my own time. I would say I have some experience with Terraform, but definitely not an expert by any stretch.

HashiCorp recommends that you have basic terminal skills and basic understanding of on premises and cloud architecture before sitting the exam.

It was a pretty quick turnaround for me to study for the exam (about 1 week), but I didn’t think the study material was too difficult and thought I had enough time in the end. The exam is an associate level exam and isn’t meant to test you at an expert or professional level. The Terraform Associate is the highest level exam you can sit for Terraform, perhaps in future a more advanced exam will be offered.

Resources for Study ๐Ÿ”—︎

I used the following to study for the exam:

Terraform Associate Tutorial List

Rating 7/10

This is the official study guide for the exam. Everything you need is here, and it’s all provided by HashiCorp.

Since they provide this resource, it has everything you need to pass the exam.

I did some of the modules here but not all, I found it more valuable to read the documentation for certain pieces that I needed more information on.

Terraform Certified Udemy Course

Rating 8/10

This course has some great info and goes beyond what is required for the exam. It’s much more of a practical approach to Terraform and was really valuable in helping me understand best practices and file setups etc.

I didn’t go through the entire course before sitting the exam, I ended up just using the practice exams. However, I can see myself returning to this course again in the future.

Terraform Practice Exams

Rating 10/10

This set of practice exams was easily my most valuable resource. I did the set of exams twice, so 10 practice exams.

Unlike some exam courses on Udemy, this course is created by people that write the actual exams, so the questions are highly relevant to the exam material.

After going through each exam twice, I then sat my lowest rated exam on the morning of the real exam.

Here were my attempts and their percentage:

Attempt Date Score Exam Number Improvement on Previous
12/8/22 45% 1 -
13/8/22 73% 2 -
13/8/22 82% 3 -
14/8/22 70% 4 -
15/8/22 85% 5 -
16/8/22 77% 1 171%
17/8/22 77% 2 105%
18/8/22 89% 3 109%
18/8/22 72% 4 103%
19/8/22 94% 5 111%
20/8/22 89% 4 124%

As you can see, I started off fairly badly but by the end I was getting pretty good results. I felt comfortable once I was hitting 85%+, that meant I had some buffer in my marks to still get the 70% required for the certification.

Exam Review ๐Ÿ”—︎

The exam was very similar to what I had encountered in the practice tests. It wasn’t quite the same though and some things did trip me up.

A bunch of my questions had terraform taint in them, which I thought had been depreciated so that confused me.

The practice exams that I did (written by the writers of the actual exams) also stated that some questions would require typing commands. None of my questions required this. This makes me think that perhaps I had some questions that were out of date, or the exam doesn’t actually require you to do this.

Anyway I ended up passing the exam! My final score was 73% which was a bit lower than what I had been getting in the practice tests. Since I did use these as my primary method of study, it was expected that my learning material overfit on the practice tests and left some concepts that hadn’t been convered. That’s ok though because I ended up with a passing grade.

Lessons for Next Time ๐Ÿ”—︎

If I had to do this exam again, I would continue to make the practice exams a big focus of my study. One thing that I could have done better was not rely on the practice exams as much as I did. While studying using the practice exams meant that I was able to learn very quickly, I had still had some content in my final exam that I hadn’t seen before. Taking a more rounded approach and tackling the exams once I had learnt the material, rather than learning the material through the exams, would have resulted in a higher final exam mark.

Conclusion ๐Ÿ”—︎

Overall, it was a good experience studying and sitting the exam. I feel that my Terraform skills have dramatically improved as a result. I now have a much better understanding of the internals of Terraform and am more able to write effective Terraform code.

If you enjoyed this post, consider subscribing to my email list ๐Ÿ‘‡

Connect With Me!

I'll remind you when I post so you don't have to remember