January has been a lot of fun to say the least.
Bump in the Road – EX436 Exam Cancelled
I spent all January studying towards EX436 and going through all exam objectives, putting around 2 hours into homelabbing every day. It was an intense month to be honest, but I’m glad I’m done with it, because I’d like to stop having dreams about distributed lock manager and clustered LVM. I’ve compiled a list of useful notes and put them on GitHub so that I can always come back and refresh my memory.
I had my exam booked for the 15th February, however, it’s been cancelled by Red Hat (not enough candidates apparently). That was a bit of a bummer, but no damage done. After getting in touch with Red Hat I was advised that a refund will follow, and that I’ll need to place a new order and re-book the exam.
It looks like Red Hat are notorious for this sort of thing, although my previous experience with EX200 and EX300 is poles apart. I didn’t think that exams could get cancelled, but that’s lack of research on my part to be honest. There are far less candidates taking RHCA level exams. Looking on the bright side, now I know what guaranteed-to-run exams are for.
I’m a bit reluctant to take an individual (aka Kiosk) exam, mainly because I had really good experience with class-based exams, however, if there is no availability for EX436, I’ll look into EX436K.
Second RHCA Exam – EX407 Ansible
While I wait for my EX436 things to get sorted out, I started preparing for the second exam – I plan on spending the next 6 weeks studying Ansible.
Unlike HA clustering which I have experience with, I never actually used Ansible (I’m that Puppet guy). I’m not going to start on how amazing Puppet is, because this may upset certain readers (you know who you are). I figured that it would be good to learn something new this time.
That’s another conundrum altogether really, and the reason why I’ve not got five RHCA exams set in stone yet. At the moment I’m making these decisions as I progress with my studies. In reality, it would be a no-brainer to stick to technologies that I use daily and choose the exams based on that, but there are tools that I’d like learn that are particularly interesting. It’s never that simple, I know.
Time to focus on the task in hand and write some playbooks.
I’ve run into your scenario a few times myself with Red Hat cancelling the exam due to lack of participation, however after learning about the kiosk / individual exams I’ve never looked back; it was always disappointing putting the study time in for the exams and then having to wait another month or so to take the exam after you reschedule it. The kiosk exams are no different than the classroom exams aside that you’re by yourself in a room with a camera or two on you while you take the exam.
I took the Ansible exam about a month ago and it was a fun test. Like you said in another post: practice, practice, practice. The more you can commit to memory the faster you can whip through this exam. Good luck!
Hi Ed, thanks for sharing your experience, really appreciated. I’m aware of the individual exams as well as caveats surrounding them. I read that the security check right in the middle of the exam is very annoying?
I checked with Red Hat, and it looks like the next available EX436 classroom exam will be in May (!), so I’ll be looking into taking the kiosk one. Well, you learn something new every day.
I’ve spent a couple of days playing with Ansible already, and so far my experience has been nothing but positive (dynamic inventory with AWS is the thing!)
I really think it heavily depends on location. For example in kiosk in Prague, if you take class exam you have 18inches monitor with standard 105 keybard. If you take kiosk exam you have Lenovo E50 laptop with 16inches screen and laptop keyboard (not worst choice)
I dont know how you, but for it is big disadvantage. My typing spped on laptop is much slower and if you working with terminal, every extra inch on monitor is needed (on kiosk you have also windows with chat)
I would recomend anyone who want take test in kiosk to inform in advance about equpment in kiosk, so you will not be shocked.
Thanks Martin, my experience with classroom exams is similar. I even had dual monitor setup when I took my EX200 in London.
Hi Tomas, I’m glad that you’re going for Ansible, I think you will like it a lot!
Kiosk exams are a bit of a mixed bag, it depends on where you take it. There are all sorts of problems reported with the individual exams, from systems being very slow to network outages, from browsers being stuck and requiring you to restart it several times to broken laptops. While I agree that kiosks offer more flexibility, they also have a higher risk of things that can go wrong. Also, they stop you when you are in the middle of the exam to do a security check. It’s annoying, but at least you know what to expect.
Hi Mike, I took the one in Manchester, and thankfully, I had no issues. The proctor told me that there will be a random security check at some point during the exam, it was fine. I was expecting that so it didn’t come as a surprise.