I used to get a lot of queries on AWS learning path and exam preparation procedures via emails or chats. Honestly I am not an expert (now) to advise on which track you need to follow; all depends on your target, like you want to go for an architect role or become a DevOps specialist. AWS is offering multiple level and streams of certifications for developers, architects and DevOps; see below for a quick overview on the certifications AWS is offering.
Like other public cloud providers (GCP, Azure, Alibaba, OTC), AWS also offering a free tier usage of 1 year with limited resource usage; but that is more than enough to learn the platform. You have to sign-up and provide your credit card details; don’t worry, AWS will not charge you for anything until you exceed the free tier usage. So create free account and start getting your hands dirty.
Read about : How To Check Your Resource Usage in AWS Free Tier
Since I read a lot about Ryan Kroonenburg‘s course in udemy.com, I choose the same and purchased same course (yes, there was an offer and I got it for some 10$++) and started watching videos. I strictly recommend to do the hands on lab together with course (with your free tier account); otherwise you will lose the track.
If you read reviews and other blogs, below course also heavily recommended by students who passed the exam.
Do not limit your learning from the course content only, but read all available documents when you feel a doubt on the content for clarification.
You can book for your exam any time without worries, so book only when you feel you are ready to attend the test. Below are some articles for exam preparation.
Always good to practice with questions; but never consider those as exam dumps.
AWS has already launched new exam for Architect Associate; so be careful when choosing the exam. Old exam will be available until somewhere Aug 2018 but better take as soon as possible if you have such plans. Or revise the course content and go for new exam.
All the very best.