It’s bold strategy, Cotton. Let see if it pays off

A month ago, I took the RHCE exam, fairly confident I will pass after spending hours studying and practicing.

It did not happen. I was not even able to complete the exam on time. I was hoping when I came home that I somehow squeaked though, but then came the exam notification::

Passing score for the exam: 210
Your score: 206

Result: NO PASS

For the next few hours, I was pretty depressed. I actually studied for the test far more extensively than the last time I took the RHCE, so it was a big blow to my confidence. At one point, I thought about not continuing on the RHCA path.

Then I decided to re-group and give it another go.

After signing up for the exam again (which, I will add, came at considerable cost, as Red Hat do not offer free re-takes), I took another look at the exam objectives and realize that in order to pass the exam, I need to complete all objectives in 3 1/2 hours (or 210 minutes). So I consolidated the list of objects as follows:

  • Configure a caching-only name server
  • Configure a system to forward all email to a central mail server
  • SSH Key Configuration with ACL
  • Synchronize time using other NTP peers
  • Apache – Configure a virtual host – with acl
  • Apache – Configure private directories
  • Apache – Configure group-managed content
  • Apache – Deploy a basic CGI application
  • Apache – Configure TLS security
  • Produce and deliver reports on system utilization (processor, memory, disk, and network)
  • Configure a system to authenticate using Kerberos
  • NFS – Provide network shares to specific clients
  • NFS – Provide network shares suitable for group collaboration (multi-user)
  • NFS – Use Kerberos to control access to NFS network shares
  • Samba – Provide network shares to specific clients
  • Samba – Provide network shares suitable for group collaboration
  • Use firewalld and associated mechanisms such as rich rules, zones and custom rules, to implement packet filtering and configure network address translation (NAT)
  • Route IP traffic and create static routes
  • Use /proc/sys and sysctl to modify and set kernel runtime parameters
  • Configure IPv6 addresses and perform basic IPv6 troubleshooting
  • Use network teaming or bonding to configure aggregated network links between two Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems
  • Install and configure MariaDB
  • Use shell scripting to automate system maintainance tasks
  • Configure a system as either an iSCSI target or initiator that persistently mounts an iSCSI target

Then I put them spreadsheet and start logging the time it takes me to complete each task over the course the week. The results were not pretty – it took about 162 minutes complete most of them.

(Actually, some of the tasks (in particularly, Apache), took far longer than I expected and some others I gave up after 10-15 minutes).

The important thing, though, is after that practice run, I know where my area sof weaknesses were. So I review the material again on my way to work and back, did some quick practice sessions and then went through the tasks again.

As the result, the following week was a different story I was able to cut my time down by almost 40 minutes – down to 128 minutes.

Again, I look at areas where I was weak at, practice and review. By the Sunday before the exam, I was able to cut my time to under 2 hours. Then I did some final review on some parts on Sunday and Monday.

As the result, when I re-took the exam Tuesday afternoon, I was able to breeze through all the items, and complete all of them with an hour to spare. At that point, I was able to spend the remaining time validating the setup, and going back and correcting things that I missed.

Later on that evening, I received the results:


Passing score for the exam: 210
Your score: 271

Result: PASS

Boom, baby.

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