Tips on How to Self-Study for Red Hat Exams


Like many, most of my learning has been self-study - here is the rough approach that I take when eyeing up an Exam. In this example I am going to use EX413 Server Hardening.

0. Print out Course Outline and Exam Objectives.

1. Firstly I would look at the Course Outline and do the following:
1a. Main Aim - see the areas that have the most focus (chapters), predict/guess which areas seem the most important.
1b. Have a rough Hard/Medium/Easy guide to how difficult I think each item would be to learn.

2. Secondly, look at the Exam Objectives
2a. I try and ask myself "If I were Red Hat, How would I test this with the 90% rule i.e. quick tests that check 90% knowledge rather than 100%
2b. Identify the big hitters, in EX413 I would choose PAM, IdM, File System Security. This is based on a guess, but it's a good place to start.
2c. I would identify scary topics like PAM, areas that I do not know - and would look to see if there are any online guides for them.

3. The Critical Part - Comparison.
3a. I (literally) draw lines between Course Contents to the Exam Requirements.
3b. Identify any orphans, areas on the course that are not listed in Exam Objectives. I would assign these a lower priority.

Once I have the above, I then try and investigate each area - looking at Red Hat Guides and the Internet in general.

Hope the above helps someone


  • VeritiesVerities Posts: 1,162Member
    Excellent outline and approach. Most definitely create a VM strictly for testing PAM since one wrong move and you can brick your system (talking about /etc/pam.d/system-auth). Setup SSH and connect over it while having a separate local console up so you can verify changes like login restrictions. I learned the hard way when I was going through a STIG and making all of the PAM configuration changes when I could no longer SSH to the server. We recovered it through local console in vSphere, but I learned my lesson :P.

    Also..not sure if you're familiar with this, but on RHEL 7 a symlink from system-auth to system-auth-ac gets created so you can modify the -ac file and if any changes cause an issue with the system you can break the symlink.
  • junilinuxjunilinux Posts: 43Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    What a great guide. Personally I think what listed steps by steps above could be applied to other certs with no problem at all.
  • asummersasummers Posts: 157Member
    Thanks guys, Hope people find this guide useful :)
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