Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Exam Guide


CKA Exam Preparation Learning Path
CKA Exam Guide

The course is part of this learning path

CKA Exam Guide

This lecture gets you ready for taking the official Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam. You will learn about the exam procedure and important documents that explain more about the exam.


May 30th, 2019 - The CNCF has announced that the CKA certification is now valid for 36 months and not 24 months, as was previously the case.



May 30th, 2019 - The CNCF has announced that the CKA certification is now valid for 36 months and not 24 months, as was previously the case.



You are now near the end of the learning path. You have developed your skills in each of the CKA exam domains and they're almost ready to schedule your exam. This short video will explain some important details about the exam to make sure you don't have any surprises on exam day. I'll start with a brief overview of the exam. 

It is a practical exam meaning you will be issuing commands in a shell to perform various tasks. The exam tests your knowledge in the following 10 domains. Application life-cycle management, cluster maintenance, core concepts, installation configuration and validation. Logging and monitoring, networking, scheduling, security, storage and trouble shooting. The exam is taken online in a browser. Your screen and your webcam will be recorded to ensure that it is you and only you taking the test. You have two hours to complete the exam starting from the time the proctor releases your exam. It shouldn't be necessary, but you may find it comforting that you get one free retake when you purchase an exam. 

Before you can take an exam, you will register from the official exam website which we'll see soon. During registration you will select and available time slot and pay the exam free. 

On exam day, you will sign in using a link provided in your registration confirmation email and click start to begin the check in process. You have you to 15 minutes after your scheduled exam time to start the procedure, otherwise you'll be marked as a no show and are ineligible for a refund. 

During the check in you'll be contacted by a proctor that will verify your government issued photo ID and also ask you to pan your camera around the room to verify that your workspace is clear and no people are with you. They will review a few points and then release your exam. During the examination you have two hours to complete the questions. You can request breaks, but the timer doesn't stop if you take a break. You will have the exam interface open in your browser. It shows the questions on the left and a browser based Linux shell connected to a Ubuntu machine where you will issue commands to complete the questions. Each question shows how much it is worth of the overall exam score. Avoid spending a lot of time on questions that are not worth much of the total. Budget your time and move on after a minute or two if you get stuck. You can always return to it later. The timer is always shown so you can see how much time you have left. You can also write as many notes as you want in the exam's notepad feature. 

Results will emailed to you within 36 hours from the time that the exam is completed. If you passed you will receive a virtual certificate and earn the use of the certified Kubernetes administrator title. If you don't pass, remember that you get one free retake with your exam fee. Run through the learning path again and get familiar with the documentation of anything that you're not very comfortable with. 

You should always consult the official exam website for the most up to date information. Let's navigate over to it now. I put a link to the website in the transcript for this video. On the website you'll find a link to register for the exam as well as some details for the exam including the weedings of each domain. At the bottom are several valuable exam resources. 

The first is the exam candidates handbook. In here you can find everything including the registration procedure, the grading system and appeal procedures. What I want to highlight for you now is the first candidate requirement that states that you need to use Chrome or the Chromium browser. The exam uses a Chrome extension to record your screen and you need to install if before starting the exam. There is a link to a website where you can go to test your system to ensure that it meets of the requirements and the hardware compatibility check section. I've also added the link in the transcript. The other section I want to highlight is the tips for using the browser based shell terminal. You can read all of them on your own but I want to make sure that you how to use sudo -i to obtain root permission and know that your usual keyboard shortcuts might not work. One important example is Control + C and Control + V for copying and pasting. They are not supported. This is particularly important for Windows systems. To copy and paste from the shell terminal you should use Control + Insert, and Shift + Insert. Lastly, you can open up multiple shell tabs so you may want to familiarize yourself with a tool like tmux if you think you will benefit from splitting the shell to have say, a shell prompt on the left and a VI editor on the right. The course curriculum shows all of the domains for the exam as well as included topics for each. This learning path has been designed with all of those topics in mind, but you may want to review the topics and ensure that you have some idea about each. 

The exam tips document repeats some of important parts from the candidate handbook, but I want you see the cluster table. They tell you how many and some configuration information about the clusters you will be using in the exam. You can infer what you like from this table. You can also see what version of Kubernetes the exam environment is using at the very bottom. 

The last exam resource that I'll review is the FAQ. Again there is a lot of repartition but one question you can keep an eye on is what resources are allowed during the exam. Currently it says that you are allowed one additional browser tab where you can access official Kubernetes document at, or official Kubernetes blogs at Not that long ago it didn't allow access to the blog, so this is subject to change. Keep in mind you are responsible for now opening links that navigate outside of the allowed areas. 

I've encouraged you to review the documentation as you go through the learning path. One page you might not have came across that could be useful in the exam is the kubectl cheat sheet. Here you can find a list of many useful commands for you to search through. Again, you should be familiar with most of this but if the exam pressure gets to you, you might consult this or other documentation pages. 

That's all for this summary video. I'll wish you good luck with the actual exam but I think if you followed along and understood everything in the learning path you won't need luck. Do be sure to read through the official exam documents before taking the exam and perform the system tests so you don't have any surprises on exam day.

Next up in the learning path is the final exam that measures all of the CKA exam domains. Feel free to repeat the content in the learning path as many times as you need to prepare for it. When you repeat labs, try to achieve the goals of each lab step, only referring to the instructions when your really need to. In that way you can simulate the actual exam environment.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Logan has been involved in software development and research since 2007 and has been in the cloud since 2012. He is an AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional, AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional, Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert, MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, Google Cloud Certified Associate Cloud Engineer, Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS), Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA), Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD), and Certified OpenStack Administrator (COA). He earned his Ph.D. studying design automation and enjoys all things tech.