RHEL7 RHCSA Main reasons for failure

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Failure at the RHCSA exam is not something rare. With the increasing number of candidates, feedbacks regularly happen, so reasons are becoming easier to narrow.

  1. Lack of practice:
    • You can expect to pass the RHCSA exam without a long experience, but not without a good practice of most of the objectives.
    • Spending the exam to search for command options or examples is the best way to fail. Time constraint is not as severe as for the RHCE exam but you need to know your stuff.
  2. Inability to reset the root password at boot time:
    • If you can’t reset the root password at boot, you won’t fulfill any of the other exam objectives and you will fail with an humiliating note of zero. This objective is critical and requires extra care.
    • There is nothing complicated but you need to practice (see point No 1).
  3. Lack of knowledge about disk management:
    • You are supposed to know how to deal with volume groups, physical and logical volumes but it’s not enough. You need to become an expert at partitioning, at dealing with swap space and filesystem size increase and reduction.
    • Since several months many people have reported tricky situations: lack of available partitions, not enough space to create the requested volume, etc (some answers could be filesystem or swap size reduction). Some of these situations triggered impossibility to reboot (wrong /etc/fstab: never forget to type mount -a after each and every change to the /etc/fstab file) and therefore failure at the exam.
    • The Red Hat certification team knows that people can get exam questions & answers from the Internet. However, according to a scenario (lack of free partition, no available space, etc), the same questions can lead to completely different solutions. You must be prepared in order to succeed (did I mention to see point No 1?).
    • As for the RHCE exam, many people think disk management tasks should be processed first.

Since mid-2018, Red Hat has finally started providing a breakdown of performance across a number of topic categories after each exam (more details here).

Red Hat has written at least two articles advising candidates:

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RHCSA7: Task of the day

Allowed time: 10 minutes.
Archive and compress the content of the /opt directory (create files if none exists).
Uncompress and unarchive the resulting file in /root

RHCE7: Task of the day

Allowed time: 10 minutes.
Set up a caching-only DNS server to forward DNS queries.

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