CKA Exam Review - 2024 edition

A couple of weeks ago I did my recertification for Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA).

I took the exam originally back in January 2021 and since the exam is valid for three years time so time had come for the recertification.

I did a writeup from back when I sat the exam in 2021, you can find that here

Preparations and resources

My main source of preparations for this exam was my own blogs (shameless plug) and more importantly the blog posts I rewrote for the 2024 attempt. This gave me even more hands-on experience, especially on parts I don't normally touch as much

Certificate Handbook

The Certificate Handbook lists some general information about certifications by the Linux Foundation, e.g. how to register, payment, refund policy etc. All of this is pretty standard, the price is currently 300 USD and there's (currently) one free retake on exams.

The exam is done online with your own equipment. Review the requirements before starting the exam to be sure that the exam can be delivered without issues.

There's also a compatibility check tool available. The essentials of this is that you need a reliable internet connection, a current version of a Chromium browser, a Microphone and a webcam. Internal laptop mic and webcam is fine.

One thing to make a note of is that you are not allowed more than one monitor. The first time I took the exam I had a 16" laptop and had no issues. This time I took it with my 13,3" MacBook Air and had some issues with screen real estate. The Certificate Handbook mentions 15" as the minimum.

Testing environment

As the exam is delivered online you need to be sure that the room you're sitting in meets the Testing environment requirements.

You will have to pane your room with your webcam so that the online proctor can verify. Make sure that there's no clutter in your reach and in the room you're sitting in. There should be no paper or writing implements, no other devices besides your computer in reach. The walls in the room should be clear, paintings will probably be fine, but no print-outs, bookshelves with books etc.

The requirements specifies that there should be no bright ligts or windows behind the candidate. The point here is that the proctor needs to be able to see your face and hands without issues. I had a window behind me, but with the curtains closed and that was fine.

You need to be sure to be alone in the room at all times, and that there's no noise.

Curriculum and training

I have covered the curriculum and linked to my study notes for the same on this page so I won't go in to details about this. I will however stress that the exam is performance-based, i.e. you will solve tasks in a live environment so be sure to train for that.

Create your own Kubernetes cluster either on VMs in your homelab, run a cluster on a Cloud provider, or in your laptop with i.e. Kind or Minikube. You will need a lab environment, and spend as much time in it that you can!

The exam

The CKA exam is a performance-based exam with 15-20 tasks to be solved on the command line and you have two hours to complete it. You'll get an exam environment in a browser tab split in to a pane with the assignment and instructions, and a pane with a command line terminal running Linux.

One additional browser tab are allowed and this tab can be used to access the Kubernetes documentation. For a list of allowed assets refer to this page.

You'll have multiple Kubernetes clusters/environments to work with and each task must be completed in the specified cluster so there will be some configuration context switching. This is clearly marked in each assignment.

As with all certifications the CKA comes with a NDA so we're not allowed to discuss details about the questions/assignments, but in general I will say that you need to be comfortable on the command line, and you need to know kubectl well. Even though you have access to the documentation you are limited on time so if you need to look up every single task and command you'll soon be out of time.

The tasks ranges from "Start a pod with this specific image" to troubleshooting tasks where you need to find out why something is not running or working.

As for the tasks where you are to deploy something some of them might be solved with a simple kubectl command, others needs to be done through a yaml file to meet all task requirements.

I don't think I got tasks covering all of the sub-objectives in the curriculum, but a great deal of them. And even if you're not tested directly on a sub-objective your understanding of it will probably help you on one or more tasks.

The passing score is 66%. The tasks vary in weight as does the weight of the objectives in the curriculum. If you find that you're running out of time make sure to choose the tasks with the highest weight and in objectives that is more important.


I found the exam assignments to be fair, and it does test quite a few Administrator tasks. With a solid background running a Kubernetes cluster, or with a solid preparation, you should be able to pass the exam.

My study notes will cover a lot of the knowledge needed, but probably not all. A few of them might also be outside of the curriculum, but for me the process of doing the CKA exam was more of learning the technology than just passing the exam.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out

This page was modified on February 25, 2024: CKA 2024