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LPIC-1 101 exam preparation and approach

Written by: Peter Fisher on March 7, 2012
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Linux Professional Insitute LPIC1

Linux Professional Institute LPIC

On February the 28th this year I passed the first of two exams for LPIC-1.

After the exam I wrote a few pointers on how to prepare and approach the next exam (LPIC 102) .  Below are a few expanded notes from this list.

The format

The exam is 90 minutes long and consists of 60 questions which are split into four subject areas.  This means that each subject area holds 15 questions.   All of the questions are ordered randomly.

The exam is electronic and ironically mine was on a Windows XP machine.  Most of the questions are multiple choice however there are a few which require you to input commands.

Keep calm and carry on

All the questions can be marked for review.  If you are unsure of the answer then flag the question and review it at the end. I would allow 10 -15 minutes at the end to do this. Once you have gone back over the question and answered it, remove the flag and move to the next one.

Answer all the questions

This might sound obvious but dont mark a question for review without answering it to your best ability. You may not have enough time at the end to review the question and enter your answer.

Use up all the time you have have

If you finish the exam before the allotted time you can end the exam and get your results.  However I recommend using this time wisely. Go over the answers via the review screen. Maybe you misread one the questions or didn’t answer a question.

You are being marked by a computer and not a human

Its important to remember that the computer you are working on already has the exact answers and after the exam is finished you will get your score. Each answer needs to be perfect in order for the computer to mark it as correct. Some of the questions require you to enter a particular file path or file name into a text box.  Others ask you to enter a command (with or without options).  These answers need to match a regular expression or a conditional in order for them to be successful.   So dont get cocky.  If  the question asks you to enter just the filename then dont include the file path.  Likewise if the question asks you to enter just the command then dont enter any of its options.

Get more VMs

Some of the content in the LPIC study guide is based on old kernels and old software. For example LILO or the first gen grub boot loader are not supported/supplied with the latest and greatest Linux distributions.  However it is important to understand how to configure these legacy loaders.  So dont rush and update your VM to the latest version as these will not be supplied.  Likewise make sure you have some VM snapshots of older kernels which dont support the latest software. This way you are forced to use the legacy applications that the study guide refers too.

Be snap happy with VM’s

There is no harm in taking loads of snapshots of your virtual machines. (disk space permitting). I confess to only taking a few snapshots and moving from chapter to chapter. I think its important to have a snapshot per chapter or even per study day.  That way you can see your progress by the amount of snapshots taken and you can isolate any risking changes that you are making.

Download and install loads of Linux distros

Every disto that is mentioned in the study guide should be installed as a VM. Even if your only using it to view the man pages for a particular command. You need to get a feeling of what the desktop looks like and any limitations it may have.

Complete all the exercises no matter how small

If the study guide says something along the lines of.  “If you type this then this happens”, then do so.  If anything you will become more familiar with the commands and the options that it uses.

I will be referring to this post before my next exam.  If you have any other pointers then please share in the comments below.

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Peter Fisher is a web developer working in Gloucester UK. Founder of the digital agency Websomatic, author of this blog and the HowToCodeWell Youtube channel. Peter has over ten years of web development experience under his belt

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