Linux+ Certification Exam Writeup

Here are my thoughts on the Linux+ Certification.

Published: June 1, 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes

My Thoughts on the exam

The exam was more difficult than expected. I did not have any problems with any other certifications and going into the exam I thought it would be a piece of cake. My first exam was canceled due to testing center closures. This certainly made it more difficult to maintain a good understanding of all the exam topics as it was unclear when testing would be able to resume. The actual exam was very difficult but that is partly due to the months of waiting to scheduling another exam as well as lots of unexpected material that was mentioned on the objectives, but never in a direct way. I would say 95% of the exam objectives were covered in the exam, however, covering all of the objective did help me have a better framework for how to answer certain questions and it would be nearly impossible to cover every objective the exam was under 70 questions. I have linked the 50+ pages of notes that I took while studying for the exam below.

Resources Used

Sybex xk0–004 Study Guide: I used this book as my bible and went over the material minimum one times, going back to review what I did not fully understand a few days later. Some sections I would score 40% on the end of test chapter and others I would get a 100%. Overall the actual exam questions were harder but they gave you more information. This book had lots of questions like “ Configuration file X is stored in which directory?” Which is not representative of the exam. Regardless, it is the best resource I have found and it allowed me to pass. Worst case scenario is you’ll learn more than you need to know for the exam.

The first time I went through the book I made a 48% on the cumulative practice exam. I got someone else to grade it so I didn’t know which ones I got wrong so I could not just memorize the answers. This was helpful as there are not many practice tests out here for the Linux+. I put a sticky note at the beginning of chapters that I needed to review. About a week before my actual exam I made a 60%.

Linux academy video lectures: It seems like a lot of the videos way overkill and teach you more than you need to know. (My guess it that a lot of the material is recycled from other more advanced certifications) Is this bad? Probably not, however it can be very overwhelming. I would use it again but with almost 40 hours of content it was very intimidating.

I made a 84% on the practice exam before even finishing the course, however, the questions are MUCH easier than the actual exam.

Lots of Youtube Videos I Used for Reference

Testing Situation

This is my first time testing from home and it was much more stressful than going to a testing center in my opinion. The test crashed on me once and it took 20 minutes of waiting for my test to even begin. I can see how it would be useful for some people but there is a testing center 5 minutes from me which is much more convenient than moving all books and screens from my room. It also didn’t help that my license expired the day before the test since I just turned 21 and I was still waiting for my new one to come in the mail so there was that complication.

Final Thoughts

I am trying to learn as many foundational skills that will be useful for a career in cyber security and I have heard from many professionals that Linux knowledge is a must for most careers in security. I think this exam gave me a great understanding of Linux because it was SO much material and very new for me. Will you be the best Linux System Admin just from taking this exam? No, but you have to start somewhere. If you’re planning on taking this exam I would not rely on VMs to learn Linux. Dual boot your machine and practice everything you’re learning. Mess with systemd, archive utilities, scripting, exploring the file system. Something not working? Take a look at some man pages and some documentation. Unlike some of the certs (A+,Net+,Sec+) you cant get by just by knowing the definition of the objectives. You need to know HOW to do things not just that you can do them. Would this exam be easy for those who have been a Linux admin for 10 years? Probably. Can you pass this exam without knowing the material? Absolutely not.

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