Yet Another Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Exam Guideline

Gökhan Kızıltepe
Jul 8, 2020 · 4 min read

Don’t mind the title. Most of the articles on Medium and posts on Reddit about CKA gives similar information about the exam, which you can find on the handbook, curriculum or tips. I will try my best not to repeat them.

I will group my notes about the exam 4 parts.

CKA Logo
CKA Logo

Preparing For The CKA

  • I bought training from Mumshad Manambath on Udemy first. You can consider this one as a pseudo standard for the exam. This is the best training for the practical part. It provides you an online environment, which helps you to focus only on practicing test subjects. Not on environmental problems or minikube issues.
  • In the first section Mumshad will mention about a prerequisite course. As the name suggests, this is for the absolute beginners. I mean . If you know the general concepts about K8S don’t buy it. Because, first section on “Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) with Practice Tests” will cover almost any of the subject that is in prerequisite. But it is not so long. So if you want to repeat the concepts and make sure you don’t miss a thing, you can consider buying it.
  • I know it’s not as popular as the first one, but I found the theoric part of the course by Zeal Vora on Udemy better. And the exam preparation practice test on the last section is the closest to the real exam by far. Even the exam preparation section of this course (~2 hours) is enough to decide to buy it.
  • I bought the training that is bundled with the exam (LFS258). But the format is so tedious compared to Udemy trainings. So after the first 2 sections, I decided not to complete this one as I feel confident enough to take the exam.

Some Notes About The Exam

  • People will keep telling on Reddit or Medium that the exam is very hard. This is a practical exam. This makes people feel like the exam is open-ended. As a matter of fact it’s not. On the contrary, you can validate your answers during the exam using a terminal. That makes the exam easier.
  • I don’t use K8S on my daily work but I was aware of the concepts in general. It took at least 4–5 weeks to prepare for the exam for me. And this mostly does not include working hours. I repeated the practice tests 4–5 times and the theoretical part once using courses I mentioned earlier.
  • I strongly recommend that the time you spend preparing for the exam is continuous. Otherwise you’ll have to spend some time repeating the same subjects unnecessarily.
  • When you finish LFS258 (if you can endure) and Udemy courses and repeat the practices 3–4 times, you are ready to go. Don’t hesitate to take the exam. Because, you will never feel 100% confident. And finishing the whole process without a break will make it easier.

Some Notes About The Questions

The subjects are stated but questions are random. So you may have a different experience.

  • The nearest to the open-ended questions are the ones related to cluster problems. For this focus on first. It may not be active or it might have a configuration problem. But kubelet stands as a prerequisite for other control plane units. So figure out what can go wrong about Kubelet before the exam.
  • The setup of cluster is done using Kubeadm. I did ‘The Hard Way’ practice on Udemy course, but I didn’t use it for the exam. As an exam taker I don’t think it’s necessary, but for a K8S administrator I think it’s mandatory. So if you have time limitation for preparation you can skip it.
  • TLS Bootstrapping is still on the curriculum, but I didn’t encounter a question about it.
  • Udemy courses are based on 1.16 currently. But the exam uses 1.18. There are differences on imperative deployment and pod creation. These are the things that you’ll do most for the exam. So be familiar with differences using cheat sheet.
  • If you ssh into an instance to answer a question, be sure the exit to the main node (node-1) after you’re done. For some questions you’ll have to switch to the root user. So you may need to exit twice for the main node. I forgot this requirement in the exam and I had to solve a question twice. But be sure to exit on node-1 :)

Some Notes About The Results

  • It took approximately 30 hours to get the results. You will get separate emails for badge, note result and certification result.
  • My name contains non-english characters but the guideline says you must enter your name as written on I.D. It’s mandatory for taking the exam but the PDF generated was not OK. I sent an email to support to replace non-english characters and they did it in 24 hours.

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