How to Beat the Amazon Technical Academy Assessment (ATA)?

Amazon offers a small number of qualified candidates the ability to change their lives entirely by studying for a Software Development Engineer qualification through its personal learning program- the Amazon Technical Academy (ATA).

Within only 9 months, ATA candidates will receive intense, high-quality training that will give a powerful boost to their careers.
But the program is selective and only has a small number of openings.

To be accepted, candidates need to go through a battery of challenging tests. By studying in advance, familiarizing yourself with the test material, and improving your skills, you will boost your chances for success.

amazon technical academy assessment

Taking The Amazon ATA Test? Learn how you can boost your score and overscore the competition

Table of Contents

What Can You Expect from The ATA?


The AMCAT, or Aspiring Minds Adaptive Test is the first in the ATA assessment process.

You will be sent this test soon after you send in your application. It is far from being a regular pre-employment Amazon assessment, and in many ways, it is far more challenging.

So let’s talk about the different features of the AMCAT test:

  • You need to answer 24 questions, and you’ve got 35 minutes to do it.
  • The questions are all multiple-choice questions. No essays, no coding.
  • The test is purely about your logic abilities – not programming knowledge.
  • The test is adaptive – that means that with each question you answer, it gets harder.
  • You have only one chance to take it – no breaks, no re-testing, no second tries.
  • You can take notes (and you’ll probably need it).
  • Candidates are not told what the passing score is.
  • Those who passed the Aspiring Minds test last time, don’t need to take it again.

Many people who have taken the AMCAT report that the biggest challenge is time and that they were unable to complete all the questions within the time frame given.

This is because the test is adaptive: difficulty increases as you progress so each question takes more time to answer properly.

Because candidates are not told the passing score, you should be doing your best effort to complete questions as fast as possible – of course, this is only useful if you answer them correctly!

The best way to improve your test score is, as always, by practising for the test in advance.

This allows you to learn effective methods for answering the questions, learn time management skills and avoid being surprised by the test, which, put together, will improve your performance under pressure.

The questions you see below are official sample questions that are taken from Aspiring Minds’ official website. They’re intended to familiarize candidates with the Aspiring Minds Computer Adaptive Test.

AMCAT Test - sample question

As evident from these sample questions, some tasks may include details designed to confound the candidate, which is part of why so many examinees have difficulties completing the test on time.

You can avoid these problems if you practice questions similar to those on the real test. This will help you answer the questions both faster and with greater accuracy.

The better your answers, the better your score – and the better your score, the more likely you are to move to the next stage.

Work Style Assessment

This Amazon test consists of a personality assessment that most Amazon job candidates and ATA candidates must pass.

The test usually takes about fifteen minutes to answer and serves to evaluate whether the candidate’s work style and personality are compatible with Amazon’s workplace culture.

You will be shown paired statements. You will need to choose to what extent these statements describe your own attitudes.

Here is an example:

work style assessment sample question

When answering those questions, you must remember the 16 Leadership Principles. Those are key values that Amazon uses to describe the sort of employee they expect.

The best way to prepare for this test is to gain a deep understanding of Amazon’s Leadership Principles. Your performance in the Assessment will be improved if you are familiar with the Leadership Principles. Only then can you move to the next and final step.

Technical Assessment

This is the last required step for the August 2022 Cohort of the Amazon Technical Academy (the coding project has been made purely optional)
This test evaluates the candidate’s basic Java knowledge.

Candidates are given 3 hours, but most of them actually finish the test in about 90 minutes.

A webcam is used to monitor the candidate during the test, sometimes taking snapshots. It is not possible to take the test if you don’t have a working webcam.

As such you should not make any attempts to use your phone, browser tabs, or any other source of information – only scratch paper and pens are allowed.

The test includes 3 sections composed of 31 questions in total.

Sentence Completion Question

Typically this is a question that requires you to complete a series of numbers. For example:

Multiple Choice Questions

In this section, you must answer 29 questions on Java programming theory.
Here are two example questions for you to try that were posted to the preceding ATA Cohort:

Coding Problem

In this section, you will need to complete a practical assignment. On one side of the screen, you’ll be given a coding problem including a description of the function, sample input, sample output, constraints, explanation, and so on.

Additionally, you will have access to a code editor. You’ll need to write the code, compile it, and submit it when you’re done.

Practicing for the Technical Assessment

Of the entire application process, the ATA Technical Assessment is the hardest but also probably the most crucial.

You must possess both good knowledges of Java theory and experience coding in Java.

Optional Coding Project

In past Cohorts, the coding project was mandatory for all candidates. Starting from this year it is now optional. The project tests the knowledge provided in Prerequisite Course 4. You can find it online at the ATA wiki website.

While this is an optional part of the process, it’s best to turn in the project regardless, for the following reasons:

  1. Completing the project may give you a leg up over those applicants that did not.
  2. It demonstrates that you’re committed to getting into, and succeeding in, the ATA.
  3. A good grade in the project can give you a better chance of acceptance even if you did not do as well as the other candidates in the assessments.

Frequently Asked Questions by ATA Candidates

Who is Eligible to Apply?

  • Blue badge Amazon employee.
  • Being an Amazon employee for at least 12 continuous months before the Cohort start date of Aug 2022.
  • Good standing (no improvement plan / negative UPT / write-ups)
    U.S. citizen / lawful permanent resident.
  • Living in the US and willing to work full-time at an Amazon tech hub.

Is The ATA program Open for Part-Time Study?

The Amazon Technical Academy is a full-time program taking up 9 months. It’s not possible to participate on a part-time basis.

Do I have to complete the Amazon Technical Academy Prerequisites?

Prerequisites 1 to 3 are optional for acceptance. Prerequisite Course 4, on the other hand, is required for the coding project.

Is Amazon Technical Academy Free?

The ATA is free for candidates employed by Amazon.

What Will I Be Paid During The ATA Program?

ATA students are paid $21.19 an hour for 40 hours a week, for a total of $3,692 per month.

What Subjects Will I Learn in The ATA Program?

The ATA subjects are grouped into teaching units, each lasting several weeks. Also, there’s an assessment at the end of each unit to see if you should continue with the program.

The subjects are:

Unit 1: Introductory coding, memory basics, testing, design tools, Java collections. Six weeks.

Unit 2: Data structures, inheritance, composition, as well as software design concepts. Five weeks.

Unit 3: More data structures, DynamoDB intro, static keyword, logging. Four weeks.

Unit 4: How computers run applications, tracking and optimizing applications, stacks and queues, queries in DynamoDB, stacks, and queues. Four weeks.

Learn and be Curious: Build your confidence in learning new technologies. Know when to ask for assistance. Four weeks.

Unit 5: Relational databases, distributed caches, advanced data structures, service design, integration testing. Four weeks.

Capstone: Designing APA, advanced features in DynamoDB, as well as new Java programming fundamentals. Ten weeks.

Taking The Amazon ATA Test? Learn how you can boost your score