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The Linux Professional

Linux Professional Institute Certification, Part II

07/27/2000

Welcome to the fifth article of The Linux Professional. In my April article, I described the Linux Professional Institute's Exam 101. This month I'll give an overview of the LPI's second release, Exam 102. Together, this pair of exams makes up Level 1 of the Linux Professional Institute Certification program.

LPI Exam 101 out of "beta" period

Before getting into Exam 102, recent news on Exam 101 deserves mention. The long-awaited maturation of Exam 101 out of its "beta period" occurred in mid June, 2000. This means that the wait is over for those of us who have been awaiting our test results. (I passed). However, results are not available on either the LPI or Virtual University Enterprises web sites, but were sent by postal mail on paper. This is significant, because no verification system is available to employers to check validity of examinees' certifications. The LPI plans on sending printed certificates to those who pass all of the exams for one of the three defined certification levels.

Perhaps more important than the delayed results, candidates taking Exam 101 will no longer have to wait for their results. Instead, scores will be presented immediately after the exam is complete, as we've come to expect from other certification programs. The LPI required the long delay in getting Exam 101 fully deployed in order to properly assess incoming results, adjust exam questions, and set a pass/fail point.

Exam 102 topics

Like Exam 101, this LPI exam costs $100 and is delivered at VUE affiliated testing centers worldwide. It consists of 72 questions to be answered in 90 minutes (in contrast to 60 questions in the same 90 minutes for Exam 101). Also like Exam 101, the numbers assigned to exam topics aren't sequential. For example, the first topic is 1.1, which is lower than the number assigned to the first topic of Exam 101. The scramble is due to organizational changes made by the LPI as their program developed. The numbering from their original setup remains to avoid a confusing migration. For examinees, the topic numbers should be used only as references. They do not relate to exam numbers or certification levels.

Exam 102 tests nine Linux administration topics, each containing a series of objectives:

Like Exam 101, the topics above comprise a wide range of information, some of which may be new to you. More detail on these topics is available from the LPI list of objectives and their Program Objective Management System (POMS).

I found Exam 102 to be a bit more substantial than Exam 101. Some of the questions appeared to be looking for more depth or more specific information. The questions didn't try to mislead or trick you, though, and I found nothing ambiguous or poorly worded. It's clear that the LPI put a lot of effort into refining the exam questions.

Preparing for Exam 102

If you're a Unix administrator without direct exposure to Linux-related items such as the Debian and Red Hat package managers and perhaps XFree86, I suggest some study before taking Exam 102. Such preparation should soon become easier as books on LPI Level 1 preparation are coming to market this year, including my offering from O'Reilly and Associates.

The LPI has posted sample questions for Exam 102 that will help you get a feel for the nature of the exam questions you'll be facing (sample questions for Exam 101 are also available).

After the exam

Though Virtual University Enterprises does post exam results on their website, as I write, their information is stale, so don't look to VUE for your status until those problems are corrected. As mentioned earlier, the LPI will not mail your results to you until Exam 102 is past its "beta" period, after which results will be available immediately after completing the exam.

If you pass both Exams 101 and 102, you'll be awarded the LPIC Level 1 certificate, and can advertise yourself as certified.

Next Month: We'll take a look at Brainbench, a skills testing company with a twist.

Jeff Dean is an engineering and IT professional currently writing a Linux certification handbook for O'Reilly Media, Inc..


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