In this article I’ll be sharing my experience of going through RHCE exam and a few tips on how to crack the one-of -the-kind performance based exams. Before I proceed let me tell you that I will NOT be sharing any exam questions because I’ve agreed to the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement). For those who haven’t heard RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer) is a certification offered by Red Hat Inc. for which you have to pass two “performance” based exams, RHCSA (Red Hat Certified System Administrator) and RHCE. Performance based means you have to practically configure everything on the system they provide no objective type questions or theoretical ones where you can practice a couple of “dumps” and breeze through it.
The exam was scheduled on 26th April 2011 and I had two whole weeks to practice after my college semester exams where over. I had the Red Hat official books but they were for RHEL5 but the exam was on RHEL6 so I had to google many things like creating LUKS encrypted filesystems. Certain things like pam_tally.so had changed to pam_tally2.so. The exam centre also offered special “exam” training at an additional cost but I preferred learning things alone, so the two weeks I practiced all the exam objectives for RHCSA and RHCE which was specified in the official redhat website.
Finally the D-Day (examination day) arrived and I was determined to score 100% on arriving to the examination centre I found that all my co-exammates were employed people who wanted to earn a RHCE for a promotion. I was the youngest one there and they had all attended the exam training which made them familiar with the setup RHEL in the exam hall. After the examiner announced everything was ready we entered the exam hall. A couple of minutes were spent filling the forms and reading the terms and conditions, then the exam started. I hurried towards the first question but ended up messing damaging an important partition! ouch and I’m sorry I can’t reveal that question 🙁 the rest of the exam went smoothly until I banged my head on the last question. I knew the command but I didn’t know the correct parameter to be used with it. I though of peeking into the man (manual) pages, but there were rumors that a question would not be valued if I solved it by looking into the man pages. Finally after much struggling I solved it and left the exam hall satisfied that I completed most of it correctly.
Outside the hall an hour passed discussing how to crack the next (RHCE) exam, some were regretting for not configuring “something” properly which lead to “some” other problem (sorry again, I can’t reveal any question). So the second and final exam started, all questions were straight forward and easy except one about which I was clueless. I configured 90% of it within 1.5 hours including the firewall rules but one network service refused to work when accessed through the network so I started inserting new firewall rules till there was only 15 minutes left, I lost hope and rebooted my machine to check finally whether everything else worked. To my horror nothing worked over the network because I had messed with the firewall rules and saved them too ! gasp. My fingers ran impatiently over the keyboard deleting the existing rules and add new ones trying to make things work. Suddenly the system rebooted, the examiner go up from his place announcing that the time was over. I left the examination centre with a heavy heart not knowing how the results would turn up. Because redhat’s official website says “The unintended result of this rigorous testing method is that many candidates do not pass Red Hat certification exams the first time they take them. In fact, for some of Red Hat’s exams, the pass rate is less then 50% for first-time test takers.”
I wasn’t sure on which side of the 50% I stand. On reaching home I check my email to find the results of the first exam (RHCSA) as follows
The results of your EX200 Exam
are reported below.
Passing score for the exam: 210.0
Your score: 211
Congratulations — you have earned the EX200
I had passed RHCSA by 1 mark !!! The certificate was also attached with the mail.
I thought I did the RHCSA exam well but if I only score 211/300 what would be the situation for RHCE ? I waited for another email from redhat till 11.30PM refreshing my inbox but nothing came. The next day morning I went to check my emailbox right after waking up and I got good no GREAT news. The email read
The results of your EX300 Exam
are reported below.
Passing score for the exam: 210.0
Your score: 273
Congratulations — you have earned the EX300
Wow 273/300 means I’ve scored 91% in RHCE. The prestigious RHCE certificate was also attached
RHCE exam tips
What is the whole point of writing an article if I can’t say something informative so here are some tips from a RHCE (that’s me)
- Be thorough with each and every one of the RHCSA objectives and RHCE objectives specified in redhat’s official website
- Be an expert with “iptables” commands don’t expect to configure it through the GUI or TUI
- While preforming the RHCE exam reboot your system after configuring each service to check whether firewall rules are persistent
- After configuring firewall rules for each service check whether you’re able to access the previously configured services THROUGH THE NETWORK
- Never spend more than 15 minutes configuring anything just skip it and come back later after you’re done with the other questions
- If any installation or disk operation takes time switch over to another terminal and continue with the other questions
- Most importantly when you practice on your computer first run “yum remove man” to remove all man pages else you’ll get addicted to it and you may want to do the same during the examination
Before closing this article I’d like to express my heartiest thanks to the following websites/blogs for providing valuable and priceless content
My best wishes to all people out there who are planning to take up the RHCE exam. 🙂
Is there a GUI in the RHCSA/RHCE exam ?
A lot of people are googling around this question so here I am to answer it. YES the GUI has also been installed, you can opt for the command-line method or the GUI method for completing tasks.