Passed my RHCSA exam! But not the RHCE

I am proud to announce I just received the results for my RHCSA and I passed with a score of 300. It’s my understanding that is 100%! unfortunately I only got a 91 for my RHCE.

Before anyone asks, I won’t say what’s on the test. I worked hard to take them, and I personally think this is one of the Best testing methods I have seen. If microsoft and other vendors would get away from their multiple-choice formats and follow this testing style, then their certifications would mean a lot more.

There are two general areas that I feel I was completely unpreparred for: iptables and selinux. Not only did I struggle to get these working properly during the exam, it would explain my exceptionally low score. Evrn though I think i accomplished most of the individual requirements, the security aspects could have limited accessibility. If I get a computer working 100%, but you can’t access it, then all the work is for nothing.

At least now I know where I stand, and I know what I feel comfortable with. Time to reschedule my retake!

70 thoughts on “Passed my RHCSA exam! But not the RHCE

  1. Congratulations! I took both exams last week and I do have one question for you without specifying any specifics… On your RHCSA exam, one of the questions related to a user named 'julie', were you able to complete this question? Our entire class was told to skip it because the testing machine was not configured properly so it would have been impossible to complete. I was just curious if it was a problem with the overall exam or with just our install.

  2. I don't recall the specific questions and users, but I do know that I completed the RHCSA exam quick enough to thoroughly review each section and confirm that I achieved the desired result.

  3. Congrats on passing the RHCSA…

    Yes, RHCE is more challenging, plus you also really need to understand the wording of each question. For Selinux, the RHEL 6 document called "Managing Confined Services" is very valuable…

    It is also fun that Red Hat is now using LDAP as a full replacement for NIS…

  4. Hi,

    I installed vmware workstation 7 on my PC and then I installed RHEL 6 to practice for RHCSA and RHCE exam. I can't install virtual guest on my virtual RHEL 6. Do you have any suggestion?

  5. From what I understand, RHCSA has 2 steps:
    1) Configuring a system so that it up and useable. That is the troubleshooting part.
    2) Performing tasks on that system

    Do the score the exam based on both steps or just step 2?
    It seems to me that the troubleshooting part deserves some credit.

  6. Mr. G –
    A tip I picked up from someone in the know (but I haven't applied yet): if all else fails in the test, disable the firewall. If the app you're testing on doesn't work, you get a zero. If the app works but there's no firewall, you get more points.
    I think the same could apply to selinux.
    If others have different knowledge, jump in please! Who else is studying for RHCSA/RHCE 6?

  7. Re: I can't install virtual guest on my virtual RHEL 6. Do you have any suggestion?

    Your CPU has to support virtualization. As root, run "cat /proc/cpuinfo" and see if vmx is listed in the flags section. If it is not there then you can not run virtual guests. The virtualization platform in RH is awesome, but you have to have the proper hardware extensions available.

    Also, I had to modify BIOS on one machine to enable virtual extensiosn.

  8. i just took the exams today – passed both the rhcsa and rhce… i thought i aced the first exam, everything was all working, double and triple checked – but the score was like 240/300… i have a feeling i may have lost points for not disabling iptables as it wasnt required in the exam… thus the "grading" script may not have been able to connect to my configured services correctly. By default the rhel6 firewall is on, and rejecting all incoming connections except ssh… so i figure it was that..

    but i blitzed the rhce one, 275/300 – was very happy, since i was initially thinking of taking the sysadmins II course LOL.. glad i put the time and effort into this one. Not sure where i may have lost the 25 points in… but i dont care 🙂

    Good luck on the retake if you go down that path again

  9. Just a few tips…

    1. Do not disable the firewall.
    2. Yes, SELINUX must be in enforcing mode. Also, many of your configurations like samba(cifs, etc) will also be testing your knowledge of selinux.
    3. Setup 2 or 3 machines, and practice, practice, and then practice some more.
    4. The biggest challenge on both exams will be your ability to manage your time. This is even more important now because both exams are given on virtual machines…and also the actual test instructions will be on the screen. This means you will be flipping through different windows very often, which can be a huge time waster if you are not careful.
    5. Oh yes….you must be very comfortable with RHEL 6 KVM setup. And just to be fair to Red Hat…they kind of gave us the hint…it is right there on both objectives…you must know how to use a KVM virtual machine.
    6 . Here is the kicker – you must know how to restrict access to machines and servers. Iptables can do a decent job of this but please don't forget about tcp_wrappers and the /etc/hosts.deny and /etc/hosts.allow config files. Again, nothing new here because it is right there in the Red Hat objects. Essentially, if you can't restrict access to machines and services properly then you are guaranteed to fail the RHCE exam, because most of that exam is about network services.
    7. Almost forget this one…Know how to setup/configure iscsi. Again, it is right there in the objectives.
    8. Yes, as mentioned above setup at least 2 machines – better if they are virtual and practice, practice, practice, practice…..

    9. 2 hours seems like a lot of time for the RHCE, but it goes by pretty quickly, so make sure you are well organized, and save every second that you can, even if it means using lots of cut & paste.

  10. I am studying for the RHCSA exams and I already made up my mind that I will disable both SELINUX and Firewall (IPTABLES) and a bit disappointed that doing this will take away points, presently we do not use Iptables and Selinux as we have strong firewall (Cisco) that protects our server iptable is useful for very small companies. also I want to know if kickstart is part of the exams and how can one remember all the syntax? How often does the exam contain building own repository and rpms?

  11. I am the last person who gave my concerns about the need to disable Selinux, my concern is the fact that it will be very challenging to know which Selinux Boolean to disable for the various stuff. Also aside from Damian Tommasino book what other material can one use? Please advise.

  12. Question please for those who have taken this RHCSA. I am not sure how one is expected to remember how to configure and move all the first for Automating Kickstart using PXE boot and TFTP server. this does not make sense as there are many directories to create and many files to cp over under the tftpboot and subdirectories under tftpboot. Does the exam just expect candidates to just trouble shoot already set up environment?

    Thanks in advance.

  13. I am going to give RHCE+RHCSA exam soon,bt my laptop dosent support virtulization.
    my configuration oof my laptop is:
    1.core2duo processor
    2.500 GB hard disk
    3. 2 GB ram

    anyone please tell me,is there any need of virtulization persist while giving the exam,i have heard that exam will take on virtual machine,but i havent much knowledge about kvm or qemu or so,because i havent do it by practical because my laptop dosent support it.

    does anyone tell me is there any need of configuration or so in exam,or they just give me the installed virtual pc over which i just have to exam or nothing extra installiation or configuration required for virtulization

  14. I am going to give RHCE+RHCSA exam soon,bt my laptop dosent support virtulization.
    my configuration oof my laptop is:
    1.core2duo processor
    2.500 GB hard disk
    3. 2 GB ram

    anyone please tell me,is there any need of virtulization persist while giving the exam,i have heard that exam will take on virtual machine,but i havent much knowledge about kvm or qemu or so,because i havent do it by practical because my laptop dosent support it.

    does anyone tell me is there any need of configuration or so in exam,or they just give me the installed virtual pc over which i just have to exam or nothing extra installiation or configuration required for virtulization

  15. Should the firewall and selinux be disabled for the RHCSA? Also how has anyone set up virtualization via vmware with RHEL6 as a guest o/s on a 64bit virtualized AMD processor (lenovo ideapad Z565, 64bit AMD)..

  16. On the subject of virtualization and hardware: Red Hat gives their compatible list, on their website for appropriate hardware for RHEL 6. Last time I checked, it is all newer hardware and more expensive. If you google "RHCSA SELinux", there is another guy, that installed virtualbox in Windows 7, then was able to install RHEL6. I tried RH's live access lab, still can not get that to work either.

  17. Congrats!!!

    I am planning to take RHCE and RHCSA. I am very comfortable with RHCSA material, but not RHCE with RHEL6.

    Can someone please help e-mail a pdf version of the scanned official course material/book for the 2011 RHCE?

    Thanks much.

  18. I just want to ask to whoever passed the RHCSA exam, did you turn-off the Firewall?

    I failed in my exam with score 199/300. but I dont know which portion I did wrong and Red Hat would not tell you either.

  19. hi.. I m karan.. unfortunately I could not be able to find the book of RHCSA/RHCE in affordable price, SO I decided to print it by PDF.. so Will u guys please help me, if you having a PDF file of this RHCSA/RHCE linux study guide of michael jang – 6th edition. please mail me at jasvanee_karan(at)gmail(dot)com

  20. is better for a selfish person to failed his exam .Who didn't study hard for exam . So wish u failed again and make Redhat earn your money one more time

  21. Cant divulge whats ON the test, but can give a few test taking tips.

    It's not that hard. Seems lots of people are concerend about selinux and the disabling the firewall.

    Selinux MUST be set to enforcing mode.
    It does not hurt to turn it off to TROUBLESHOOT, but make sure that after a reboot, it comes back up.

    Dont forget that anything configured must pe persistant across a reboot, so chkconfig on everything you do.

    Consider resetting SElinux to it's default context recursively. know how to change a context using a reference context, and how to list all the aviallbe boolians and grep through them. Installing setroubleshoot may be a very good idea, and of course make sure you restart the audit deamon and syslog deamon afterwards. One might want to flush the firewall rules, and only block what needs to be blocked to achieve the test objectives. Dont forget to SAVE you new firewall config so that it is persistant across a reboot.

    Take the skills assessment test on redhat's website.

    Rehdat apparently does ntocare HOW you acheive an abjective, other than by disabling selinux. It should take about an hour and half or two to do most of the objectives, and spend the remaing time checking your work after a reboot.

    Make sure you check everything after a reboot.

    Read all the objectives carefully, BEFORE you sart to do them, as you may be able to "group" some objectives together so that you only have to reboot once or twice.

    make sure everything is persistant across a reboot.

    Oh yeah, just in case you have not figured it out.

    Make sure it is persistant after a reboot.

  22. I was under the impression that RHCSA is a hands-on exam only. Is it comprised of 2 parts? Pen and paper exam and a hands on exam as well?

    If so, how much time are you given for each exam? I'm thinking of taking the course with the exam… have been for a while… but I'm afraid 🙁

  23. If you don't take the RedHat class DO NOT TAKE the RHCSA exam!!! I just came out of the RHCSA exam today. If you just pay to take the exam, your nothing but a Walmart Feeder Fish to take money from. First, to actually start the exam requires students to double click on a desktop icon that has a name like "VM Exam" or something… that is ABSOLUTELY NOT provided in the instructions!!! I told the instructor I would tell Redhat the VM images was not loaded and walk out of the exam. THEN HE SHOWED me the missing steps just to start the exam. The other students took the class so they had "highlights" that let them take the exam. You can study Redhat until your blue in the face but without the "highlighs" your not going to pass the test unless your a super Redhat Guru type already. RIPOFF SETUP!!!

  24. I laughed at the guy 2 comments above mine, man I've been an RHCE since version 4 and never took a single course…

    I need 2 more exams to be an RHCA and yet…

    If you can't click a damn icon on a desktop maybe you should consider a career @McDonald's or something like that as IT is not really for you…

  25. i went for my RHCSA this morning but failed by 40 marks. I went for the training, and true while alot of pointers were given, they seem to differ from what is given here. Like for Selinux, my instructor said that it was OK to set it to permissive as long as it wasn't disabled! I mean when i first started, right after resetting root password the first thing I did was to do a getenforce. I screwed up with my LDAP and autofs, because they had like 2-3 questions just based on that and you have to make sure that your network interface is setup correctly at the very beginning of the exam, as well your yum repo and yum install everything, from ftp, httpd, kernel update to policycoreutil-phyton package for the boolean parameters to work. some questions were relatively easy, others I had to spend time doing it.

  26. Hi guys, please can someone send me a copy of michael jang – 6th edition………to my email

    And possibly any pointers…..i'm planning on taking RHCSA and also RHCE……..

    and please is there a particular one i have to take first…..i'm sorta a newbie to Redhat..


  27. Dudes. You're paying $400 for the test. Don't be lame. Pay $40 for the book to study for them.

    And most of you are too lazy to even search for the PDFs. Geez. You need me to take your damn test and do your job interview for you too? — AD

  28. And another thing, dammit. Being a sysadmin requires a certain set of ethics. You're being given root privs – the possibility to see all the files on the system, snoop network traffic etc. If you don't have the character to pay for a study guide, you don't deserve the certification. I hope you fail. – Adam D

  29. hi we dont want to know the questions but you could tell us about the setup

    How were you seated ? Is there 2 monitors ?

    are there computerized questions or is it all practical ?

    is there any thing we should note tips hints some one said if you set selinux to permissive its ok

  30. RHCE is a really tough exam. I passed it last friday but went home thinking I failed! It's the
    2 hour constraint that makes this examen tougher than most others. It leaves you dealing with stress and lots of difficult decisions to make that do not really have anything to do with your knowledge level. I decided that I wasn't going to spend too much time testing my configuration and that worked out just fine for me. If your config fails and there is no obvious fix then move on to the next question and return later. Try to avoid reading man pages that you are not already familiar with : you need to know how to fast forward to the section that you're interested in or you will be wasting too much time. This exam isn't for everybody, even your typeing speed can make a huge impact on your final grade : I had a really aweful keyboard and it cost me a lot of precious time, typos galore!

  31. I am RHCE in version 3.0 which is 7 year old.. now i am planing to upgrade with current. I am prep for RHCSA and i have question about whether they have same pattern like in old exam they had recover ROOT password and recover system from kernal penic etc.?? does they have same way?

  32. hii…..
    Congratulations to you sir .
    i gave the both exam last month. but i failed in both exam because i did lots of mistakes in my exam time, like that i did more time reboot and some so many time check the questions it was consuming my time . and seriously i am sharing my bad expreince in RHCE exam i was doing best my in exam question but as soon as i reched the packages question like that make the repo and download the packages and samba nfs mail apachy server , i did lots of stuff but i didn't make the repo.and i got fail………… hard ,,,,,neeet it for Linux..

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