Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How to pass the RHCE

All Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) participants are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to taking the test, so I can only give broad suggestions on how to pass the RHCE.

1. Take the RH300 course.

This 5-day rapid-track program includes 4 days of Red Hat Linux training, with the 6.5 hour RHCE test on the 5th day. The course material is excellent, and our instructor had 14 years of UNIX experience along with extensive Red Hat Linux knowledge.

If you are able to take the course, make sure to preread the next day's slides every evening! There is a wealth of information in your handout materials, particularly in the notes section below the printout of the slides. Make sure you read every page the night before, as you will not have time to read the notes during class.

The course is expensive if you are not sponsored by a corporation, so if you cannot attend formal training, or wish to gain an added edge:

2. Buy the RHCE Linux Exam Cram.

If you have a solid Red Hat Linux background and want to prepare yourself for the test in the shortest amount of time possible, this book is for you. Although the book will likely be a release or two behind the actual Red Hat version being tested, the outline of the book follows the outline of the course materials almost exactly.

If possible, I suggest reading the book and taking the practice exams before formal classroom training.

I think the key question you should ask yourself is "Can I pass the RHCE without formal training?" Although I have used Red Hat Linux for several months at work as my primary operating system, I have some doubt if I would have been able to pass the test without taking the RH300 course. I believe the troubleshooting and installation/configuration portions of the exam focused on areas of Red Hat Linux that I was not very familiar with prior to training. If I bought several preparatory books and studied for many hours, I don't think passing the exam would have been a problem. My advice: take the RH300 course if at all possible.

Remember, the instructor will do all he/she can to prepare you for the test without jeopardizing its integrity. You will be presented with questions and problems during your classroom training that are very similar to those that you'll find on the exam.

According to our instructor, about 60% of first-time test-takers pass the RHCE, while over 95% succeed the second time. This is because the cost is a significant barrier to retaking the test; only those that are truly qualified are going to pay around $750 to take the exam twice.

Best of luck to all who take the RHCE exam!

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