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Lesson 16:57

Overview of the CKA Curriculum

This lesson provides an overview on the CKA/D exam from the Linux Foundation. In this lesson, we’ll cover the basics around the CKA exam itself, how it is taken, and the overall experience.


Olive Power

Olive works on upstream Kubernetes, and helps customers design and build their Kubernetes platforms.

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Hi, my name is Olive Power. I work at VMware. I’m part of the cloud native applications business unit. Today we’re going to talk about the Kubernetes certification program from the CNCF, namely the CKA exam. CKA stands for Certified Kubernetes Administrator. In this lesson, we’re going to go over the curriculum and exam format of this particular exam. This is with a view to streamlining and optimizing your study time in order for you to pass the exam.

We know time is precious, not just time within the exam in which every second counts, but your own study time that you’re investing in order to pass this exam. So let’s dive right in and have a look at the exam. Exam in length is three hours. That’s great. So you’ve got 180 minutes to answer enough questions that you need to answer in order to pass the exam.

The exam itself consists of 24 questions. So now we’ve got 24 questions to answer within three hours in order to pass the exam. So within the exam you need to plan your time effectively so you can achieve that pass mark in the time. What is that pass mark? Currently this is set for the CKA exam at 74%, so this means you need to answer enough questions with enough scoring behind them to get you 74%. Great. Okay.

Lastly, the final thing I want to mention about the exam, this is really important, is that you can sit the exam remotely. This is great. This means with a webcam, or a laptop, or a desktop, you can literally sit the exam anytime, anywhere. This is low as a barrier of entry for you scheduling the exam because you can make it fit in with your home and your work life, so this is great news.

Okay, next section, the actual curriculum of the exam itself. Now as you can see, there’s a lot of information on this slide, and this covers the whole range of concepts in and around making you a competent Kubernetes administrator. So you’d expect these topics to appear on the exam. You’ve got everything in there from core concepts, to logging and monitoring, to other key concepts like storage, networking, and scheduling. So we need to have a look, when we’re preparing for the exam, at what sections that we are more comfortable with and what sections we need to study.

The other thing to note when we’re trying to decide on which sections we’re comfortable with and which sections we need to study is the percentages associated in and around each section. So as you can see there, core concepts is 19%. This means that 19% of the exam is dedicated to that section, so questions within that section, questions on that section, are going to total 19%.

Okay, so this will help you streamline and study your exam. How are we going to do that? Well, I recommend that you figure out your strengths. There’s different personas that use Kubernetes on a day in, day out basis. You might be a persona, for example, that’s involved in scheduling and installing clusters for consumption within your organization, so you’re provisioning clusters for other teams to consume and use. So in that type of persona, you might be very familiar with installation, troubleshooting, monitoring, logging of clusters, but not so familiar perhaps with networking, with storage, with application life cycle.

On the other hand, if you’re a developer, you will be very familiar with application life cycles, fairly familiar with storage, and fairly familiar with scheduling. So in order to figure out your strength, you need to understand what you’re good at so that you can streamline your study. You’re good at certain sections, not so good at other sections, so streamline your study in and around those sections that you’re not so hot at.

You need to understand the difference between what you know and what you don’t know, and how far what you do know will get you towards passing the exam, and how are you going to make up that deficit. So pick the topic areas that’s going to make up that deficit that is absent in your current arsenal of Kubernetes knowledge. Okay.

So I’m going to delve a little bit more now in detail into the questions because, if you’re streamlining your study areas, you need to understand something about the questions themselves within the exam. Now, as I mentioned before, there’s 20 questions, but I’ve got an extra point here in that the questions are unrelated. Now this is very important: no one question affects another; they’re independent. This means that you can answer questions in any particular order. You can leave questions halfway through, return to them later, and it’s not going to affect how the next question or the previous question looks.

Another very important point to note is that the questions are scored, so each question has a percentage or score beside them. In this example I’ve given here, question one is 5%, question two is 4%, et cetera, et cetera. With the point above that the questions are unrelated, this allows you simply to answer and add each question in your own order, in your own priority as you go along. So if you’re comfortable with certain sections, like I mentioned before, core concepts you might be very comfortable with that, 19% of the exam is on that. You might want to find the questions that are related to core concepts, pick out the percentage, the higher percentage ones that you know, and get those ones answered first.

So you’re literally answering questions that you’re comfortable with and keeping a tally. So you know exactly at any point in the exam, you can do a swivel and understand exactly where you are, how much points you think you’ve accrued, how many more questions you need to answer, and at what score in order for you to achieve the pass rate. It’s very important to understand that.

In summary, I urge you to study the curriculum, understand what your strengths and what your weaknesses are, and the areas that you really need to zone in and focus on to understand, to study, so that you can maximize your time and focus on those areas that are lacking, comfortable in the knowledge that your strengths lie in certain sections and not with others.

Once you actually come to sit the exam, I urge you to check each question and check the scores beside them. Try and do a tally of which questions you’re going to answer first, how many points they’ll get you, what scores that will get you, what sort of questions you need to answer in order to achieve the pass mark. Perhaps there will be some questions that you’re going to leave and you can’t answer, so you need to understand that by foregoing those questions, you have enough questions in your bag to be able to pass the exam.

Answer and add to questions as you go along. I can’t emphasize that enough. As you go along, you should be able to figure out the point at which you have enough questions covered to end to exam and hopefully that will be in the exam time. So with all those summary points, I hope you are feeling a little bit better prepared for the exam and good luck. Thank you.

Have questions about the material in this lesson? We’ve got answers!

Post your questions in the Kubernetes community Slack. Questions about this lesson are best suited for the #cka-exam-prep or #ckad-exam-prep channels.

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