Chapter 1. LPI Exams

LPI Exam 101 is one of two exams required for the LPIC Level 1 (officially referred to as LPIC 1) certification. In total, ten major Topic areas are specified for Level 1; this exam tests your knowledge on four of them.

Exam Topics are numbered using the topic.objective notation (e.g., 101.1, 101.2, 102.1). The 100 series topics represent LPI Level 1 certification topics, which are unique to all levels of LPI exams (e.g., 101, 102, 201, 202, etc.). The objective number represents the Objectives that are associated with 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, the only caveat being that you cannot be awarded an LPIC 2 or higher certifications until you pass the requirements for the lower-level certification.

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. In the current version of LPI exams, all of the weighting totals for each exam add up to 60. With 60 questions per exam, this means that the weighting is exactly equivalent to how many questions the Objective will have in the exam.

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

Table 1-1. LPI Topics for Exam 101


Number of objectives


System Architecture


These Objectives cover all the fundamentals of configuring common types of hardware on the system, managing the boot process, and modifying the runlevels of the system and the shut down or reboot process from the command line.

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, managing shared libraries, and using Debian’s dpkg and apt family of commands and RPM and Yellowdog Updater Modified (YUM) package management systems.

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, and runlevels.

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.

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 exactly 60 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. Some people may get an exam with an additional 20 items. These items are used to test new questions and don’t count as part of the score. An additional 30 minutes is provided in this case, and there is no indication which items are unscored.

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 possibility of multiple answers increases the likelihood of forgetting to include an answer, even though the candidate is told in the question exactly how many answers to select. 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. Don’t let this scare you, however, since most of these items accept a variety of answers. Unless specified otherwise, they are not case-sensitive and do not require full paths in your answers.

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