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October 13, 2017

My LFCS exam experience


I wanted to talk a little about my LFCS exam experience. I've taken it twice now (the initial exam and re-take) and unfortunately, failed both times (the re-take by the slimmest of margins).

I have some frustrations about my testing experience. They can be broadly classed into 2 categories - the test environment and, to a lesser extent, the test content itself.

Before I get into that, I have to ask - why can't I see what exactly I got wrong on the test? Given how much these classes and exams cost, this omission is just baffling to me.

The test environment (as far as I could tell, these issues weren't related to my bandwidth or environment):

* Outages - the first exam had an outage of about 20 minutes. The re-take had 3 or 4 brief outages of no more than a minute or two. This was frustrating.

* Intermittent browser/plug-in/environment issues - At a particular point during the re-take, commands would appear to be entered but nothing would happen. A specific example is when a question asked for a file to be xzipped - easy enough, but instead either nothing would happen or a weird error would be displayed in the terminal. For some reason, cding out of the directory and cding back in fixed the issue. I entered the correct command probabaly six or seven times before this "fix" and nothing happened. This issue is especially frustrating  since it creates a level of uncertainty for the person taking the exam: "If this command isn't really getting entered, what about all the other questions I've answered already?"

* Strange errors upon doing things as simple as copying files. I can't remember specifics but it was the same experience as above - errors initially but upon trying the same thing again it worked fine.

Due to these issues, I'm hoping to get another free re-take. Although I'm not sure who to contact about this.

The test content:

* The questions tend to waver from very specific and explicit, to very vague - some almost feel obfuscated. One question had something to do with the user not being prompted for a password when running specific commands. Does the question mean no password, period? Or that the user doesn't have to be root (and can sudo - they will still be prompted in this case). I took this to mean make the user a sudoer.

* Questions that assumed that specific tools would be installed. Questions like this left me thinking - is using yum to install  the tools part of this question, or is something up with the environment? Based upon other issues experiences during the test, it felt like something was up with the testing environment.

These content issues could simply be a lack of knowledge on my part, or just my misunderstanding what was being asked. I still think that greater - or more consistent - specificity in the questions would've helped a great deal.

Thank you.

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