CompTIA’s Linux+ exam is notoriously challenging. If you can’t afford to pay for tons of books and exclusive online courses, the prospect of passing the exam at all might seem impossible. You don’t have to give up on your dreams of becoming Linux certified, however.
Many Linux experts across the web have created impressive learning resources as passion projects. If you complete the tutorials and challenges provided by these resources and apply yourself to studying, you can become a skilled user and prepare yourself for the Linux+ exam in no time.
The Structure of CompTIA Linux+
Understanding the structure of the CompTIA Linux+ exam is important because it will allow you to divide your time effectively. There are four sections you will have to be familiar with to pass the exam:
Weightage in Exam
Scripting, containers, and automation
Each section has subcategories. For example, system management includes Linux fundamentals, file management, and storage configuration as standards.
The following section will provide a comprehensive list of resources for all sections and subcategories.
Study Resources for System Management (1.0)
The first category, system management, is the broadest of all the categories included in the exam. It also comprises the largest portion of questions you will encounter in the exam at a whopping 32%—so thoroughly studying system management is vital to passing the exam.
One of the best resources for familiarizing yourself with the basics of Linux is Linux Journey. This free course covers many of the substandards in 1.0, including the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS), the basic boot process, package management, and the basics of Linux networking.
You can’t forget to use flashcards, either. While hands-on experience is vital, flashcards are great for memorizing the commands—and if you consistently apply yourself in studying flashcards, you’ll find yourself getting stuck in the CLI less and less.
Quizlet and Anki are the best flashcard applications you can use to make home learning more effective. Quizlet has many comprehensive Linux+ flashcard sets that are free to access on the web with ads. Anki doesn’t have as many decks available, but you can find many good sets available for download through AnkiWeb Decks.
Anki is particularly useful for studying because it utilizes spaced repetition. In other words, it will recognize which cards you’re struggling with and show these cards to you more often than the ones you’re familiar with. The best part about Anki is that you can even download Quizlet decks using the importer plugin.
You should also consider checking out a free Linux+ study series on YouTube. Shawn Powers offers an in-progress Linux+ video series that covers nearly every sub-objective in Linux+. Watching the entire series will leave you with many of the same insights that you would gain from a paid course.
Finally, it’s important to note that not all paid resources are cost-prohibitive. You can purchase courses like the Complete Linux Certification Learning Path for as little as $29.99 when a sale is taking place—and you can enjoy the benefits of these courses for a lifetime.
Study Resources for Security (2.0)
The second section you will encounter in the exam is security, a topic that comprises 21% of the questions in the exam. Luckily, the security objective has a fairly narrow focus as long as you’re able to familiarize yourself with each of the five subcategories.
You can learn some important security concepts for free on Cybrary. Their Linux Hardening course goes in-depth on many security concepts and includes fun labs on subjects like securing the kernel and reducing the attack surface on a server.
They also offer a course titled Linux Fundamentals for Security Practitioners. While it doesn’t go as in-depth as the Linux Hardening course, it does cover helpful topics like Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and intrusion detection.
You can also get practice with many of the vital concepts in the Security portion of the exam through the Linux Upskill Challenge on GitHub. This skill game covers subjects like user management and remote system management.
You can even complete this game with peers if you join the Linux Upskill subreddit and begin the game on the first day of the month.
You can also use free YouTube videos to learn about many of the most important concepts in the security section. HackerSploit’s YouTube series on Linux Security is particularly high-quality and covers topics like Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) and SSH well.
Study Resources for Scripting, Containers, and Automation (3.0)
The third category on the CompTIA Linux+ exam is scripting, containers, and automation. This topic represents the smallest portion of questions on the exam at just 19%, but it shouldn’t be underestimated—many of the subcategories of section 3.0 are among the most complex on the exam.
Thoroughly understanding the shell is vital for this section of the exam. While it isn’t designed to cover all of the concepts on the exam, you can build a high level of familiarity with working in the shell by completing the Bandit wargame on OverTheWire.
You should also try the three free Linux Fundamentals courses on TryHackMe. This gamified course also encourages reliance on the CLI and will familiarize you with topics ranging from SSH to file system interaction.
Make sure to take a course on shell scripting as well. edX offers a Shell Programming course that you can audit for completely free. The course will allow you to gain hands-on experience with shell tools and awk scripts within just a few weeks.
ProgrammingKnowledge also offers an impressive (and extremely comprehensive) series of shell scripting tutorials for beginners on YouTube. You can familiarize yourself with almost every topic in this section by following along with the tutorials in ProgrammingKnowledge’s series.
Study Resources for Troubleshooting (4.0)
The final section you will encounter in the Linux+ exam is troubleshooting, which represents just over 28% of questions on the exam. The troubleshooting portion of the exam has a broad topical focus and requires in-depth reasoning, so studying it thoroughly is important.
If you want to dive right into troubleshooting, one of the best applications you can use is Trouble-Maker. This application randomly selects an issue from a predetermined list and causes it to happen on your system. You’re left with the task of solving it.
Of course, you’re not completely on your own with this application. It also creates a /tmp/trouble-maker directory with files meant to help you. The /rescue/DETAILS and /rescue/TROUBLE-SCRIPT files provide detail on what was done to your system if you find that you can’t figure it out and need to reverse it.
Even if you aren’t able to solve the first few issues that Trouble-Maker produces on your own, going through the process of fixing them with documentation will help you memorize important steps in the troubleshooting process.
You should make sure to review the Linux+ Certification Exam Objectives provided directly by CompTIA, too. If you treat the objectives provided in section 4.0 as a checklist, you can familiarize yourself with every issue you’re expected to know with just a few Google searches.
Make the Best of Your Study Time
There’s no doubt that CompTIA’s certification exams are extremely challenging. If you want to have the best chance of passing one of their exams, you will need to apply yourself to studying for weeks or even months.
Passing the Linux+ exam isn’t impossible, however—and if you use the right study tactics, it’s completely achievable.