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Tips and Tricks to Pass Certified Kubernetes Application (CKA) Exam

Kazakov Kirill Hacker Noon profile picture

@kksudoKazakov Kirill

DevOps with love. Certified Kubernetes Administrator. I also enjoy riding a motorcycle.

Kubernetes is the most popular orchestration tool globally, and the CNCF (Cloud Native Computing FoundationCKA exam is the most popular exam to check your skills in the k8s world. The CKA it's a first step in the k8s certification way. 

CKA exam isn't hard, but some questions are critical to understanding. That's why mock questions could help you. I have compiled a list of valuable tips to pass the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam.

Tips Before You Go to the Exam

Learn a lot - practice, practice, and practice.

You shouldn't just know the basic concepts; you should know where to find a particular case in the official documentation.

  1. Study the official cheat sheet page well. There are a lot of commands used in the exam. You should know them.
  2. Create useful bookmarks for quick access to specific information. It's handy to use these bookmarks in your mock tests. Here are my top bookmarks. Feel free to import these to your browser.
  3. You will have only ~6 minutes on each question. Practice a lot yourself to complete them within the time limit. Ideally, you should spend ~5 minutes to complete each question and ~ 1 minute to verify yourself and resolve the issues if it is necessary.
  4. Create a predefined list table with all questions (16-20). It's useful to understand:
    - How many questions completed?
    - Which question has more weight?
    - How many scores you have (a score of at least 66% was required to pass)? Here's the template:
    - # A question number.
    -
    weight
    Individual weightage of questions.
    -
    total score
    Sum of your question scores.
    -
    correct
    Are you sure about your answer? If not, you shouldn't add to the total score. Deal with it again at the end of the paper if you've enough time.
    #| weight | total score | correct (+ or -)
    1 6 6 | +
    2 3 9 | -
    3 3 12 |
    4 3 15 |
    5 6 21 |
    6 6 27 |
    7 3 30 |
    8 3 33 |
    9 6 39 |
    10 6 45 |
    11 6 51 |
    12 6 57 |
    13 6 63 |
    14 6 69 |
    15 6 75 |
    16 2 77 |
    17 6 83 |
    18 6 89 |
    19 5 94 |
    20 6 100 |

  5. The tmux is not useful because you should change the k8s context for each task, and when you have two terminals, you may forget to change the context in one of the terminals.
  6. Use the alias only if it is necessary. Here are the aliases from the official cheat sheet page. You can create one with dry-run:
  7. 
    alias kdr='kubectl run --dry-run=client -o yaml'

    Then you can use it to create a new pod template like this:

    kdr --image=nignx > pod.yaml
  8. Remember the flag combinations for the 'run imperative' command to generate yaml for different objects quickly.
  9. Learn the vi editor very well.
  10. You should know how to read Linux system logs and get the correct information via pipes.
  11. Sometimes the JSONPath can be useful (I didn't use this option before).
  12. Do not skip the official docs like FAQs.
  13. Attempt the Kubernetes The Hard Way Quiz by Kelsey Hightower. 

Helpful Tips During the Exam

Don't worry. Panic has not helped anyone yet; focus and just do the same thing as during the practice.

  1. Go through all the questions and note the weightage for each in your notepad.
  2. Start with questions that have a higher weightage.
  3. Before you answer the question, take a little time to understand it.
  4. Recheck the attempt.
  5. Pay attention to the time you have left and the time you spent on each question.
  6. Use the imperative commands, it's a faster way.
  7. Use abbreviated resource names instead of a whole name:
    k get ns # for namespaces
    k get deploy # for deployments
    k get pv # for persistentvolumes
    k get pvc # for persistentvolumeclaims
    k get svc # for services
    k get no # for nodes
    k get po # for pods

Note: You can check other abbreviates using kubectl api-resources.

Conclusion

I passed my first CNCF exam recently. It was useful to my company and myself. It helped reinforcement of my knowledge and learning a few new tricks. However, getting the certification is one thing; knowledge of the Kubernetes is another. The certification way is not for everyone. Also, the exam costs $300.

Good luck with your CKA exam! Remember, practice makes perfect. Believe in yourself, practice more, and you will succeed. No pain, no gain.

Useful Resources:

Disclaimer

I tried hard not to share any private exam content from the CKA exam. If some data/content is wrong or should be removed, please email me at k@kazakov.xyz or message on LinkedIn.

Kazakov Kirill Hacker Noon profile picture
by Kazakov Kirill @kksudo. DevOps with love. Certified Kubernetes Administrator. I also enjoy riding a motorcycle.Read my stories

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