I passed my CKA exam recently and had a great time preparing for it. I cleared the CKAD a week before. You can check on how to prepare for CKAD, in my earlier blog. In September, the CKA is getting an update. It totally depends on you which one you want to take. You are going to be awarded the same certificate.
- Started with Mumshad’s course on CKA in mid-April.
- I finished the course in 3 weeks then started studying for CKAD. Many topics in CKAD overlapped with CKAD so I managed to finish it in about a week.
- Booked the CKAD for 2 weeks from the day I finished the course
- Practiced for 2 weeks using Mumshad’s practice test and Labs, Linux Academy practice test, also found some useful free labs on the Kubernetes.io website with KataKoda playground.
- I also used KodeKloud’s game of pods for improving my Kubernetes concepts.
CKA Exam Info:
- Time: 180 minutes ~ 3 hours
- Price: $300
- Total no of Questions: 24
Tips for CKA Exam:
1. Use alias and autocomplete for alias
complete -F __start_kubectl k
You can also make custom aliases for your ease. I made aliases for common commands that I knew I will be using a lot definitely.
alias kg=’kubectl get pod’
alias kga=’kubectl get pod –all-namespaces’
alias kc=’kubectl create -f’
alias kd=’kubectl delete -f’
NOTE: if you ssh into another node, these aliases won’t work
2. Use documentation effectively. This is where solving problems from the mock tests will help you. The answer to your questions are given in the documentation, you just need to know where.
3. Use the –dry-run command. This command is used to check whether your command is correct and if it is you can use -o yaml flag to get the yaml code for the component and store it in a YAML file.
4. The exam uses the latest version so better if you read the latest documentation as the courses I have mentioned use bit old versions of Kubernetes.
5. In the exam, there will be multiple clusters like k8s,n8s,d8s. There will be commands to change clusters. First, read the question and see which cluster it is working on and if it is different then copy and paste the command from the question to set the cluster. A precautionary method will be to copy-paste the command for every question if you don’t know which cluster you are on.
6. Try to use imperative commands to create resources. Practice will help you in knowing what can be done through commands and what cannot be done.
7. I suggest attempting the troubleshoot and managing clusters in the end after you are done with other questions as they take a lot of time.
8. When you ssh into a worker node, Kubectl may not work. So use docker commands to see if the containers are up.
9. Practice troubleshooting well and remember that in the exam the changes made during troubleshooting and installation are permanent and you cannot revert back to the state it was before you attempted the question.
10. In case you need to delete and recreate any Kubernetes resources, store a backup in case you mess up you can revert the changes.
11. Know where you are in the cluster. Some questions require you to ssh onto different nodes. When you do sudo -i on the node you need to logout twice to return to the previous node.
12. Use Kubernetes cheat sheets from Kubernetes docs they have a lot of commands that are helpful. You can search for cheat sheet in the search box and goto first link
I have created a Kanban board to help students out in their CKA/CKAD journey. For people unfamiliar with Kanban. It is a board with a number of columns. Each column shows the state of each task. Most famous is with 3 columns: Task/Todo, Doing, Done. You pick a task you like and you drag it and put it in doing column and start doing the work. When you are finished you pick up the task and put it in the done section. I have added useful links in the description as well as tips for clearing the exam. Here’s a preview of how the Kanban Board looks. Sign up for free and start using it. Click on “Create a Board from Template”. This board has all the resources you will need to clear CKA/CKAD.
Q. Can I access Kubernetes documentation in the exam?
A. Yes, you can but there are links leading outside of kubernetes.io and you must not visit them. You are also given a notepad in the environment to make notes.
Q. Are partial marks awarded for completing 1 step?
A. Possibly, as I completed 81% worth marks correctly and had done partial completion of 4 other questions worth 19 marks. I got 85% total which makes me conclude that yes they do award marks for steps.
RELATED: Preparation Tips for CKAD
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Author: Ankit Dongre is a life long learner and a cloud enthusiast with 3x AWS,2x OCI,1x Azure, CKAD. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.
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