Ive taken some pretty tough tests in my life, and passed every one of them on the first try. And since Im teaching Linux system administration at my local community college, I thought I would be hot stuff when I signed up to take the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) exam. I dont think that way anymore.
Ive always done well on tests. Mensa once offered me a membership in their organization because of my SAT scores. In a former life I was a refrigeration mechanic and earned the coveted CM certification from the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society — a cert well known in that industry for requiring multiple attempts to pass — on the first try. I even passed the written exam for a private pilots license on my first try.
Then I started a new career in IT. I breezed through my MCSE a few years ago, including the notoriously difficult Exchange Server exam. Then I earned a GSEC security certification from the SANS Institute, requiring two open-book exams. I took the first one closed-book, and passed both. When I learned that the Linux Professional Institute was offering its exams for free at Linuxworld last year, I walked in late to one of them on a lark, totally unprepared. I barely squeaked through, but I passed.
RHCE was different. It was the second-toughest exam Ive ever taken.
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