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7 Tips to Pass Certified Kubernetes Administrator Exam

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam is the most popular Kubernetes certification, provided directly by the Linux Foundation.

Unlike most other certifications, CKA is a practice exam. You don’t need to choose the correct answer in a multiple-choice test. Instead, you need to use your skills to solve 24 tasks similar to what Kubernetes actually does. In this sense, Certified Kubernetes Administrator is similar to the exams provided by Red Hat, and they are always practice exams. I really like practice-centric certifications because they eliminate the element of luck. Either you do your homework, or you don't, no guessing.

I will not discuss why you should or should not get this certification. My guess is that if you are reading this article, then you have made up your mind.

Therefore, without wasting more time, here they are my 7 tips and techniques to pass the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam.

Tip 1: Practice

You may be wondering if hands-on experience using Kubernetes is required to pass the exam.

No, having a hands-on experience using Kubernetes is not required to pass the exam. When I had more than 4 years of experience using Kubernetes in real projects, I took the exam. That is why the exam was easy for me. Since Certified Kubernetes Administrator is a practice exam, you won't be able to just memorize the theory and pass the exam without any practical experience.

That said, I think you can practice on your own, even if your current company doesn't use Kubernetes. Setting up a local Kubernetes cluster is fairly easy, and there are many exercises, both paid and free.

Tip 2: Understand the Concept

During the exam, you will be able to visit the official Certified Kubernetes Administrator documentation website. This website has all the required information including a lot of code example, and all theoretical information covering complete aspects of Kubernetes.

This means to you that it is meaningless to remember every little detail of every API resource. What really makes sense is to truly understand various concepts. You need to know what features Kubernetes provides, but you don't need to remember every little detail, you just need to know how to find it in your documentation.

For example, if we talk about CronJobs, you should know that it is a special type of resource that tells Kubernetes to create new Job based on the schedule you provide. The Job is a pod that Kubernetes will try to run to competition.

But what you don’t have to remember is:

apiVersion: batch/v1beta1
kind: CronJob
  name: hello
  schedule: "*/1 * * * *"
          - name: hello
            image: busybox
            - /bin/sh
            - -c
            - date; echo Hello from the Kubernetes cluster
          restartPolicy: OnFailur
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Remembering the entire YAML structure will waste your brain's resources. Do not do that. Understand concepts and learn to find information in documents.

By the way, it also applies to real life scenarios. It is always better to have a deep understanding of how things work and how to find information than to blindly memorize large amounts of information.

Tip 3: Learn How to Use kubectl

kubectl will be your main tool for the exam, and learning how to use it is very meaningful.

I assume that you are aware of creating objects from YAML files by using kubectl creat -f and kubectl apply -f. But these commands require a YAML file, and try to avoid creating YAML files from scratch during the exam. 3 hours may seem like a lot, but it does not mean that there will be time available to waste.

I found some particularly useful commands:

kubectl create deploy will create a new deployment. You only need to provide the image name, implementation name, and some other content. You will get a fully configured implementation that you can modify further to attach volumes to containers, add initContainers, etc.

The kubectl expose will create a new Service that connects to the existing deployment. You only need to specify the port and the name of the future service. If needed, you can also provide the type of service.

kubectl create is especially useful for creating new secrets. You can create an env file and then create a secret from that file without messing with yaml.

kubectl explain is a built-in method to view the specification of any Kubernetes resource. You can run kubectl Explainpersistentvolumes.spec.hostPath to see how to use the hostPath volume type.

In addition, I am accustomed to using other kubectl commands to list and modify resources, and pay close attention to the different ways of filtering and formatting and recovering data. I repeat, but I spend time practicing different commands. It will be worth it.

Tip 4: Re-use YAML Files

Writing YAML files is something that you cannot avoid entirely. To avoid too much typing, you can keep some template files, which you can copy for different tasks. Keep some files with basic pod definitions, then copy them, modify some parameters and apply them.

Nothing prevents you from copying and pasting YAML files from the documentation website. However, considering the time constraints, I suggest optimizing this process.

Tip 5: Get Some Basic Linux Knowledge

It is impossible to become a Certified Kubernetes Administrator without knowing Linux.

You should know how to debug the system services with the help of systemd and journald. Of course, if you know how to use basic tools such as find, grep, curl, etc., then there is nothing wrong.

Tip 6: Learn Vim

This tip is a bit controversial. Like tips 3 and 4, the goal of this tip is to save time.

Trust me, you don't want to waste time copying and pasting text between Notepad and the terminal window. And you don’t want to accidentally delete something or make stupid typos all the time.

You will never have to leave the terminal window if you just simply learn how to use Vim. Creating and changing any file will take the best time, leaving some room for you to think about tasks and check documents.

Tip 7: Don’t forget Practice Tests

Before you go fully into attempting Certified Kubernetes Administrator Exam, spend some of your time on practice tests. Honestly, I had been preparing for my exam for almost 6 months but even after my preparation I was not fully confident. I then chose to do some practice on practice tests.

I found Study4Exam to be the best one among this option. Their Certified Kubernetes Administration questions were so realistic in practice tests that I almost felt invincible. My time on their practice tests made me confident.

I highly recommend them. 


Good luck to your Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam!

You may have noticed that the main focus of my advice is to save time and focus on the important things. I was able to complete my exam in 2 hours instead of 3 hours, mainly because I was really over-prepared.

But in a way, this is also due to the simple optimization technique I just shared with you. Hope you find them useful.

I wish the exam success. I would love to hear your experience with Certified Kubernetes Administrator Exam in the comments section.

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