Putting your skills to the test in a certification exam is not an easy task. In the field, you can use your trusty man pages or AnswerBook to look up command options, recall procedures, or ask a colleague for advice. During a certification exam, it's just you, the computer, and the exam questions. Even the most experienced and qualified system administrators rightly feel nervous heading into exams! After all, certification exams exist to sort sheep from goats and novices from experts, and by achieving certification you'll be recognized as an industry professional with up-to-date skills. This will make your resumé infinitely more marketable to recruiters and potential employers.
There are several largely unwritten rules about certification exams that it pays to know, especially when taking either of the exams covered in this book. First, remember that the certification exam is going to test your knowledge of the Solaris product as released by Sun. Thus, there's not much point reviewing material about non-Sun software for the exams, even if it forms an integral part of your daily sysadmin routine. For example, while you may be asked to interpret a Bourne shell script in the exam, you won't be asked to analyze a PHP script even though you might use PHP more often in real life. Second, it pays to memorize pesky and seemingly trivial command options for all of the common commands-many a test candidate has been stumped trying to recall a largely unused parameter for a command that they use regularly. Having said that, certification exams do not deliberately try and mislead you, and by examining the table of contents for this book, you'll see that many of the topics are familiar. Third, it pays to practice: use the review questions in the book after reading each chapter to see if you can accurately recall material appropriately, and use the testing tool provided on the CD-ROM to put your skills to the test in real time. Only by simulating actual exam conditions will you truly be able to evaluate your readiness to attempt a certification exam.