CKAD Exam Tips & Tricks

Written by: Bagus Facsi Aginsa
Published at: 08 Jan 2022

I started this new year (2022) by taking CKAD Certification Exam, and Alhamdulillah I pass the exam. In this article, I want to show you some tips and tricks on how I can pass this challenging exam. I hope you get the benefit from this article.

CKAD Certificate

What is the CKAD exam like?

The CKAD exam is consist of 20 hands-on lab questions, with 2 hours duration. There are no multiple-choice or essay questions. It is an open book (but limited) exam. From my point of view, the exam is rather difficult, even after taking the Udemy course and scoring 100 on the Mock exam. You get one free retake if you fail the first attempt.

5 competencies are tested in the exam (Early 2022 Version):

  1. Application Design and Build
  2. Application Deployment
  3. Application Observability and Maintenance
  4. Application Environment, Configuration, and Security
  5. Services and Networking

Exam Preparation Tips & Tricks

  1. If you are new to Kubernetes, don’t rush to take the exam. I take 3 months of preparation before taking the exam but do enroll & pick the schedule early. You can schedule the exam 3 months from now but pick the date right away. By setting a target exam schedule, you will be more enthusiastic about practicing. Trust me, it works!
  2. Take the Kubernetes course. I highly recommend these 2 courses from Udemy: Kubernetes for the Absolute Beginners - Hands-on & Kubernetes Certified Application Developer (CKAD) with Tests. Don’t just watch, but follow all the lab practices. Try to finish both courses in 2 months (1 month each).
  3. Spend Your last 1 month of preparation to practice writing the Kubernetes command & YAML file. The Kubernetes Certified Application Developer (CKAD) with Tests course will provide you 4 exam training (2 Lightning Labs and 2 Mock Exam). I did 1 exam training every day and repeat them until I scored 100 on all of the exam training.
  4. Practice using aliases for kubectl until you get used to it. Before doing each of the exam training, do this command: alias k=kubectl. Once done, you can use all kubectl command using just k, for example:
    k get pod
    k run nginx --image=nginx:1.18.0
  5. Practice using Kubernetes object short name. This will make you type faster and avoid typos. These are the short name you will use often:
    # deployment -> deploy
    k create deploy mynginx --image=nginx:1.18.0
    # services -> svc
    k get svc -n mercury
    # persistentvolumes -> pv
    k get pv
    # persistentvolumeclaims -> pvc
    k get pvc -n saturn
    # configmap => cm
    k create cm myconfig --from-literal=username=admin
  6. Practice Kubernetes imperative commands especially to create objects. Yes maybe you will still need to modify the YAML file, but it really saves time. These are the commands you will use often:
    # Create Pod
    k run mypod --image=busybox
    # Create Pod, but need more advance customizaion
    k run mypod --image=busybox --dry-run=client -o yaml > mypod.yaml
    nano mypod.yaml
    # Create Deployment
    k create deploy mydeployment --image=busybox --replicas=2
    # Create Deployment, but need more advance customizaion
    k create deploy mydeployment --image=busybox --replicas=2 --dry-run=client -o yaml > mydeployment.yaml
    nano mydeployment.yaml
    # Expose Pod
    k expose pod mypod --name=myservice --port=80 --target-port=8080
    # Expose Deployment
    k expose deploy mydeployment --name=myservice --port=80 --target-port=8080
    # Expose Deployment, but need more advance customizaion
    k expose deploy mydeployment --name=myservice --port=80 --target-port=8080 --dry-run=client -o yaml > myservice.yaml
    nano myservice.yaml
    # Create Configmap
    k create cm myconfigmap --from-literal=username=root
    # Create Secret
    k create secret generic mysecret --from-literal=password=mypassword123
  7. You will be given another mock exam that can be accessed 2 times via the pre-exam dashboard. This mock exam is even harder than the exam training on the Udemy course. Take this mock exam after you can score 100 on the Udemy course.

On Exam Tips & Tricks

  1. In every question, there will be a prompt to use the kubectl config use-context command to make sure you are in the right Kubernetes cluster. Just COPY & PASTE that command every time before you do the exam question.
  2. Use alias, short name, and imperative commands. If you follow the preparation tips & tricks, you will already get used to it.
  3. Be aware of the namespace. If you have done the question but in a different namespace, you will not get points.
  4. Use the Flag feature to mark the question that you think is difficult or needs more time to complete, go to the easy one first, and back to them later.
  5. If you forgot some imperative command options, use --help. For example:
    k create configmap myconfig --help

That’s it. These are my tips & tricks to pass the CKAD Certification Exam. For those of you who are planning to take the CKAD exam, I hope you can pass smoothly.