Exam Tips and Tricks

Exam Tips and Tricks

A comprehensive strategy is required to ensure success in passing the Solaris certification exams. This strategy should be based around at least some of the following components:

  • Take the preparatory courses

  • Practice your skills on a Solaris system and/or network

  • Read books on Solaris (including this book)

  • Read man pages

  • Practice the questions in this book

  • Sign up for a simulated exam service

Without a study plan, even experienced Solaris system administrators may fail the certification exam. This is because the exams are based on the “official” Sun line on many system administration issues, which may differ substantially from what is used in the field. For example, many sites don’t use the Internet super daemon inetd to provide remote access facilities and other network services.

Taking at least some of the preparatory courses ensures that you are familiar with most of the material that is found in the certification exams. This material is prepared by Sun Educational Services, the same group who develops the exams. Thus, a certain degree of overlap should be anticipated between course materials and exam contents. However, it should be noted that not all of the course material will be examined, and that some process-based questions can only be effectively answered by practical experience using and administering Solaris systems.

This is why it is critical that, as a prospective Solaris administrator, you gain access to Solaris as a user, and preferably as an administrator. Even supervised administrative access, with a senior staff member or colleague assisting you, will give you the experience and perspective you need to be able to answer questions on operational issues.


You cannot expect to pass the exams if you’ve never used a Solaris system in real life.

You should also read widely on Solaris. This includes companion volumes such as Solaris 9: The Complete Reference, Solaris 9 Essential Skills, and Solaris Administration: A Beginner’s Guide, all published by Osborne/McGraw-Hill. These books touch on some of the same material as this book , but cover some topics in more depth and contain longer and more detailed examples.

Reading man pages is an essential review process for memorizing command options. This is because some exam questions may not just pertain to the Solaris command set, but also to the multitude of options available for each command. You should consult the man pages when you’re using commands to ensure that you’re using the most appropriate options for a specific command. However, if you’d like to consult man pages offline, UNIX in a Nutshell, published by O’Reilly, contains many annotated man pages. Note that these are not Solaris-specific, and some options may not work on Solaris 9.

It’s important to attempt the questions contained in this book as if you were taking the exam. Sitting for several two-three hours sessions under exam conditions will help you to develop strategies for best answering the questions contained in the test. In addition to the practice questions contained in this book, it may be useful for you to purchase a subscription to one of the “online” certification practice tests, offered at the following sites:

  • http://networkessentials.com/certified/sca/

  • http://www.inlink.com/~hoechstj/solaris/

  • http://www.solariscert.com/

  • http://www.solarisprep.com/

  • http://www.sunguru.com/

  • http://www.learnsolaris.com/

One excellent way to determine whether your skills are up to speed is to join the comp.unix.solaris USENET forum, and see whether you can answer some of the more frequently asked questions there!

The Internet also has some great sites. “Learn more about Solaris” is from the Sun Microsystems home page for Solaris (http://www.sun.com/solaris). Some key documents within the Sun site for Solaris include the following:

  • Solaris overview (http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/ds/ds-sol8oe/)

  • Solaris downloads (http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/downloads.html)

  • Solaris support (http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/support.html)

  • Solaris education (http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/education.html)

  • Solaris clustering (http://www.sun.com/software/fullmoon/)

  • Solaris Intel platform (http://www.sun.com/software/intel)

Possibly the most important link on the Sun site is the documentation (http://docs.sun.com/). Here, you can interactively search or browse all of the Sun documentation and/or download entire manuals in PDF format.

Part I: Solaris 9 Operating Environment, Exam I