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I'm kinda confused with the real scope of the LFCS cert. That is, what I will be evaluated in the exam against.

Basically, I completed the LFS201 but when I look at the "LFCS Domains and Competencies", I see tons of subjects that are not covered in LFS201 and whose complexity seems a little higher to be really evaluated in the exam, such as "Configure and modify SELinux/AppArmor policies", "Configure a mail transfer agent (MTA) to accept inbound email from other systems" or things like "Train team members on new technology or changes to existing systems" that I wonder how can they be tested in the exam.

Can someone that took the test clarify this? Thanks in advance!!

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    I have taken this exam and can confirm that this line of questioning conflicts with the Linux Foundation NDA.
    – Alxs
    Apr 9, 2017 at 14:04
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    @Alxs we are not lawyers and it isn't our job to interpret, much less enforce NDA agreements. Especially when you have no way of knowing if the OP even signed one. If you feel strongly about this, you can use the "contact us" link at the footer of the page to contact SE and ask them to do whatever it is you feel needs to be done.
    – terdon
    Apr 9, 2017 at 14:42
  • @terdon, I have no feelings about the post or the poster. However it does strike me as being off topic. In response to the OP's question "Can someone that took the test clarify this?", I confirm that nobody who took the exam can help him without breaking their non disclosure agreement. Acceptance of an NDA is required to sit the LFCS exam.
    – Alxs
    Apr 9, 2017 at 15:17
  • @Alxs It's not my intention to have anyone breaking the NDA, it's just a normal question to resolve the big difference between the LFS201 and the Dom & Com doc, I shouldn't be clarifying this at all but just doing it because of your points... Hope this helps you feel better about my question.
    – Ariel
    Apr 9, 2017 at 15:48
  • @Ariel: I feel fine about your question and I meant no offence. You'll understand if you hear nothing but crickets chirping in response to your question though.
    – Alxs
    Apr 9, 2017 at 16:15

2 Answers 2

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The Linux Foundation have a “firewall” between training and examination departments. I wouldn't expect any specific correlation between the LFCS exam and the LFS201 course. They say only that the LFS201 would be good preparation for anyone looking to take the LFCS exam. I would advise taking this as loosely as it sounds. They also suggest the course doesn't specifically cover the LFCS exam and may cover things not included in the exam.

With the limited information provided by the Linux Foundation I feel your confusion, and perhaps frustration. I'm not able to disclose any specifics as that would conflict with an agreed NDA. It may however be helpful to know what other preparation you are doing for the LFCS and maybe I can make suggestion.

Update based on response below:

The 101 course at Edx is excellent, and I'd suggest a required pre-req, even for experienced system administrators. It's easy to forget some of the “basics”. The exam was far too light-on though and you really should get 100% without needing to use any of the second guesses.

If you're confident with all the labs in the LFS201 you're probably not far off being ready for the exam. To help gauge what you're missing I strongly recommend this free guide by Mark Grimes. He offers some useful hints and his study guide is great.

Once you've identified any gaps in knowledge and areas you need to brush up on I can't recommend this free book enough. Linux Fundamentals – Paul Cobbaut. It is brilliant, and is probably all you will need. It's a pdf with a clickable index so it's quick to find what you need. Each chapter has exercises you can use to cement your knowledge and muscle memory.

If you've got time and about $30 for a month membership at Plural Sight, Andrew Mallett's LFCS courses are excellent. Andrew offers some of the most clear and concise instruction I've found. He's easy to follow as he doesn't 'bumble on' and basically never makes mistakes.

Actually, if you're a Visual Studio user (and probably even if you're not) you can get 3 months free access to Plural Sight and Linux Academy and a bunch of other excellent training. Check out Dev Essentials.

I hope you find this useful.

P.S There's a fairly recent blog post that offers insight into the LFCS certification. Check it out!

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    Thanks much @Alxs, appreciated. Basically, I covered edx 101's and I'm good with it, I take its final exam pretty easily, then covered completely this 201 and completed all of the labs, once following them, another pass (almost) by myself, and also took a look at several techmint's articles and did some labs from the Unix handbook. So, I'm mostly checking the Linux Foundation's fine print for the exam to check whether I'm prepared enough to attempt it and one point that stands out is the mismatch I brought up above. Knowing that no correlation exists between those docs helps though.
    – Ariel
    Apr 9, 2017 at 23:05
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    @Ariel, Yeah, the Tecmint articles are great. Do you have a free resit included with your exam? I have updated my answer above btw.
    – Alxs
    Apr 10, 2017 at 8:48
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    Hi @Alxs; yes, two attempts included.
    – Ariel
    Apr 10, 2017 at 12:21
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    @Ariel well as Mark Grimes, linked above, will tell you, "Just take it!" I got my results today and passed with 89% btw. :) Best of luck with yours!
    – Alxs
    Apr 10, 2017 at 14:41
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I just took the LFCS exam today and I fear I have miserably failed. Before I do a couple of comments on the exam itself, I want to point out that I am not here to whine, just to clearly state the difficulty of the exam and the level gap between the exam and the LFS201 course.

On the one hand, I consider myself an advanced user: I admin several machines (some of my own, others not), which I have all installed and where I set up different services (ssh, http, vpn, (s)ftp, samba, etc.). I like to write my own bash scripts. I am not a sysadmin pro, since it is not my job, but one could say I am a sysadmin amateur (an advanced one).

On the other hand, I am a university professor, so I try to be objective when it comes to evaluations.

The exam is done through a virtual terminal which is open on the browser. Because of this, all shortcuts/hotkeys are "broken" (e.g. ^W will close your browser and terminate the exam, ^N will open a new window, ^P will open the print dialog). For people like me that barely use the mouse, it is a nightmare and a great loss of time. Copy-paste can be achieved through the mouse mid-click, but it is also tricky. Since many file/folder names are of the kind "CMCOS10001541", it is hard not to commit typos.

The exam consists of 30 questions, each one of them with 3 to 5 literals (so to say). Sometimes the literals must me achieved sequentially, sometimes not. Some of the literals may require several actions, some simply one. Some questions/literals are not easily understandable. You have less than 150 minutes to complete the exam, i.e. 5 minutes per question. Taking into account that reading and understanding each question will take you at least 2 minutes, you are left with 3 minutes per question to answer them. If you use man pages, which you can, you will lose lots of time.

In terms of content, the exam goes deep into the LFS201 course contents and far beyond. Different subjects intertwine at each question, for instance you might be asked to turn on a virtual machine, make sure that it starts at boot and that it uses a file which is linked to another file and that their SELinux/AppArmor context are consistent. You might be asked to use a PAM module, which you will have to determine, in order to achieve a specific goal. You must know the basics of bash scripting and the use of common shell tools like grep, sed, find and, obviously, all the basics ls, cp, mv, rm, etc., but at a really advanced level (know most of the options of each). You must know how to install and configure to some extent well known services ssh, http, etc. Also, the order of the questions guards no relation with the order of the subjects in the course, you might be asked about security, then user management and then system rescue.

There is a big gap between the LFS201 course and the LFCS exam. I can easily do any course lab (and much more) with no help, but I had to look at the man pages at each and every exam question (even for a simple cp), which was a great loss of time and it did not always gave the answer I sought (master the use of man!). Moreover, some (several) questions are not covered in the course or, at least, not in the same detail. For instance, the LFS201 course explicitly avoids iptables, which was the 2nd question on my exam. I achieved a 40% of the exam, but I think I could have completed a 90% of it with the twice/thrice the time.

In summary, my opinion/complain: I do like the exam contents, it is complete and non-trivial, which gives reputation to the certification. So I am happy with that. However, I truly believe that (1) the environment is counter-productive (they should look for a solution on the shortcuts/hotkeys), (2) the time is not sufficient and, most importantly, (3) there should be labs at the same level than the exam. I have payed for a course which is supposed to be a preparation to an exam, but it is not, it is merely an extended introduction. It pisses me off to think I have the ability to complete the exam but I couldn't because I was not well advised.

Anyhow, I will give it another try, because I am confident I can do it. If you plan to take the exam, my advises: (1) master man-pages, (2) know the most part of the options of "basic" commands, (3) learn the basic of common services, (4) go deep into all the course's chapters and (5) try to think in intertwined scenarios.

Cheers and good luck!

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