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1.1. Exam 101 Overview

LPI Exam 101 is one of two exams required for the LPIC Level 1 certification. In total, 14 major Topic areas are specified for Level 1; this exam tests your knowledge on 5 of them.

Exam Topics are numbered using a level.topic notation (e.g., 1.101, 1.102, 1.113). In LPI's early stages of development, Topics were assigned to exams based on a different scheme than we see today. When the scheme changed, the Topics were redistributed to Exams 101 and 102, but the pairing of Topic numbers to exams was dropped. As a result, LPI has 1.x and 2.x Topics in both Level 1 Exams. In the 2002 revision of the Objectives , LPI decided to reformat the numbering scheme to be more scalable for its multiple levels of certifications. Therefore, the exams now use an x.y.z numbering scheme where x equals the LPIC level (e.g., 1 or 2), y equals the Objective Topic (e.g., 101, 102, 201, 202, etc.) which are unique to all levels of LPI exams, and z equals the Objective number within the Topic area (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on).

The Level 1 Topics are distributed between the two exams to create tests of similar length and difficulty without subject matter overlap. As a result, there's no requirement for or advantage to taking them in sequence.

Each Topic contains a series of Objectives covering specific areas of expertise. Each of these Objectives is assigned a numeric weight, which acts as an indicator of the importance of the Objective. Weights typically run between 1 and 8, with higher numbers indicating more importance. An Objective carrying a weight of 1 can be considered relatively unimportant and isn't likely to be covered in much depth on the exam. Objectives with larger weights are sure to be covered more heavily on the exam, so you should study these Topics closely. The weights of the Objectives are provided at the beginning of each Topic section.

The Topics for Exam 101 are listed in Table 1-1.

Table 1-1. LPI Topics for Exam 101


Number of objectives


Hardware and Architecture


These Objectives cover all the fundamentals of working with common types of hardware on Linux. The Objectives included configuring PC system BIOS and IDE hard drives, installing plug-and-play-based modems and sound cards, setting up SCSI-based devices, and configuring USB hardware.

Linux Installation and Package Management


Objectives for this Topic include the basics of getting any LSB- compliant Linux distribution installed and installing applications. Some of the basics include partitioning hard drives, installing your choice of boot managers, installing programs from source, managing shared libraries, and using package management systems such as Debian and Red Hat (RPM).

GNU and Unix Commands


This heavily weighted Topic addresses the most utilized command- line tools used on standard Linux systems as well as most commercial Unix systems. The Objectives detail working on a command line, processing text streams using command-line tools, managing files, manipulating text with pipes and redirects, monitoring system processes, managing task priorities, using regular expressions, and editing files with vi. lilo, syslog, runlevels, shutdown, and reboot.

Devices, Linux Filesystems, and the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard


Objectives for this Topic include the creation of partitions and filesystems, filesystem integrity, mounting, quotas, permissions, ownership, links, and file location tasks.

The X Window System


The X-based Objectives cover only subjects that every Level 1 sysadmin are expected to encounter. Some of these tasks include installing and configuring XFree86, setting up a display manager such as XDM, GDM, or KDM, and installing and customizing Window Manager Environments.

As you can see from Table 1-1, the Topic numbers assigned by the LPI are not necessarily sequential. This is due to various modifications made by the LPI to its exam program as it developed. The Topic numbers serve only as reference and are not used on the exam.

Exam 101 lasts a maximum of 90 minutes and contains approximately 65 questions. The exam is administered using a custom application on a PC in a private room with no notes or other reference material. The majority of the exam is made up of multiple-choice single-answer questions. These questions have only one correct answer and are answered using radio buttons. Some of them present a scenario needing administrative action. Others seek appropriate commands for a particular task or proof of understanding of a particular concept.

About 10 percent of the exam questions are multiple-choice multiple-answer questions, which are answered using checkboxes. These questions specify that they have multiple correct responses, each of which must be checked to get the item correct. There is no partial credit for partially answered items. This is probably the most difficult question style because the multiple answers increase the likelihood of mistakes. But they also are a good test of your knowledge of Unix commands, since an incorrect response on any one of the possible answers causes you to miss the entire question.

The exam also has fill-in-the-blank questions. These questions provide a one-line text area input box for you to fill in your answer. These questions check your knowledge of concepts such as important files and commands, plus common facts that you are expected to be aware of. The second release of the LPI Level 1 exams included more of these types of items since the psychometric evaluation LPI uses for exam development determined that the fill-in-the-blank type of questions were the best indicators for truly competant administrators. Don't let this scare you, however, since most of these items accept multiple answers. Unless specified otherwise they are not case-sensitive and do not require full paths in your answers.

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