Where do I go and what do I need to take an exam?

Exams are delivered online and can be taken from anywhere in the world. Candidates need to make sure they meet system and identification requirements. Please review the Candidate Handbook for full details.

What are the system requirements? How can I test my machine?

Candidates are expected to provide:

  1. Front-end hardware (e.g. laptop or desktop) with Chrome or Chromium browser installed*
  2. Stable and high-speed internet access
  3. A webcam and microphone.

*Please note that you will need to enable 3rd-party cookies when you take the Exam. These cookies can be disabled as soon as the Exam is completed.

To test the system you plan on taking the exam from, use the compatibility check tool provided by the Exam Proctoring Partner to check if your system and testing environment meet the minimum requirements. Select “Linux Foundation” as the Exam Sponsor and “LFCS” or “LFCE” as the Exam.

If you already registered for an Exam, you can also login to My Portal and click on the Check System Requirements step to be directed to the compatibility check tool.

What are the identification requirements?

Exams are proctored remotely and include a check-in process with the proctor prior to an exam being launched.
Watch this video to learn about the proctoring process.

During check-in, candidates must present non-expired Primary Identification, containing photo and full name, to the proctor to verify their identity.  If the Primary ID contains non-latin characters, then the Candidate must also provide a non-expired Secondary ID containing their full name in Latin Characters OR a notarized English translation of their Primary ID along with the non-latin character Primary ID.

Primary ID (not expired and including photograph) IF Primary ID has non-Latin characters then: Secondary ID (not expired and Candidate name in Latin characters)
Government-issued driver’s license/permit
Government-Issued local language ID (plastic card with photo and signature)
National Identity card
State or province-issued identity card
Debit (ATM) Card
Credit Card
Health Insurance Card
U.S. Social Security Card

Exams may be administered to citizens of a sanctioned country listed below PROVIDED the citizens are tested OUTSIDE the sanctioned country and their exam registration and current ID show an address OUTSIDE the sanctioned country. 

  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • Syria
  • Sudan
  • North Korea
  • Crimea Region of Ukraine

What is the format for the exam?

The LFCS and LFCE exams are performance-based and require all work to be done on the command-line. A server is provisioned for the candidate’s use during the exam, the candidate does not need to setup their own server. The server is provisioned using the candidate’s distribution selection and will be made available to the candidate within a web-based exam console. This exam console can be accessed from either a Chrome or Chromium web browser (please review the system requirements).

For exam security, candidates are monitored by a proctor during the exam session via streaming audio, video, and screensharing feeds. The screensharing feed allows proctors to view candidates’ desktops (including all monitors). The audio, video, and screensharing feeds will be stored for a limited period of time in the event that there is a subsequent need for review.

A chat function located in the exam console allows for candidates to communicate with the proctor during the exam. Communications with any other individuals or entities during the exam is strictly forbidden.

Be sure to review the Candidate Handbook for more detail.

Which distributions are available for certification exams and how do I choose a distro for my exam?

Currently, the following distributions are available for the LFCS and LFCE exams:

  • CentOS 7
  • Ubuntu 18

You will be prompted to select from one of the available distributions for your exam during purchase. A server will be provisioned for your use based on your selected distribution, you do not need to provision your own server for the exam.

If you already purchased an exam registration, you can verify your distribution selection in the Exam Info panel of the Certifications tab in My Portal. You can also use the Change Distribution link located in the portal to request or make changes to your selection.

You may change your selected distribution for an exam as often as you wish prior to scheduling an exam reservation. Once an exam reservation is scheduled, you can submit up to two (2) requests to change your distribution. The request must be made at least three (3) business days before the Exam reservation date. You will receive a confirmation if your request can be processed. Until such confirmation is received, you should assume no change has been made to the distribution selection for your Exam.

How do I schedule, reschedule, or cancel exam reservations?

Once you purchase an exam registration, you will have 12 months to take the exam. That means you may schedule a reservation date to occur within 12 months of purchase only. After 12 months, your exam registration expires and you will no longer have eligibility to schedule or sit for the exam.

  • To schedule an exam, just login to My Portal and click on Schedule Exam for the exam you purchased. This will take you to the Exam Proctoring Partner’s scheduling site where you will be prompted to search for your purchased exam by its code (e.g. “LFCS” or “LFCE”) or sponsor name. If you get a message indicating you don’t have eligibility, you may want to check that you’re searching for the correct exam code by checking the code listed in the Exam Info panel on training.linuxfoundation.org/portal. Please also note that it can take up to 30 minutes for a new exam purchase to be processed by the Exam Proctoring Partner’s site before it can be scheduled.
  • You may cancel or reschedule an existing exam reservation when there are more than 24 hours before the scheduled start time of a reservation. At 24 hours or less, no changes will be allowed and you must either take the exam or forfeit the exam.

Additional notes on scheduling:

  • Timeslots are subject to availability. We recommend going through the scheduling process at least 3 weeks before a desired Exam date.
  • Exam reservations require a 24-hour lead time and the earliest date you will be able to select for your Exam reservation will be the next day.
  • The latest possible date in the scheduling calendar is sixty (60) days out. If a later reservation is desired, you will need to wait to schedule until your desired date is within 60 days.

Are there any exam pre-requisites?

There are no prerequisites for either the LFCS or LFCE certifications, and it is not required that you pass the LFCS exam prior to taking the LFCE exam.

How can I prepare and study for the exam?

LFCS Practice Questions are available, and please be sure to review the Certification Prep Guide for resources and tips for both the LFCS and LFCE exam. Although encouraged, any courses offered by The Linux Foundation or our training partners are optional and are not required to take the exams.

What resources or tools are allowed or forbidden during the exam?

The following resources are allowed during the exam as long as they are used by Candidate to work independently on exam objectives (i.e. not used for 3rd party assistance or research) and are accessed from within the exam console on which the exam is delivered (resources that cannot be accessed from within the console are not allowed):

  • Man pages
  • Documents installed by the distribution (i.e. /usr/share/doc/)
  • Packages that are part of the distribution. (May also be installed by Candidate if not available by default.)

As long as it fits the above description of allowable resources, Candidates may choose to install and use any tool to complete an objective.

The following resources are forbidden during the exam:

  • External web pages
  • Text-based email clients
  • Browsing the Internet using installed tools such as Vim and Emacs
  • Communications with other Candidates or outside resources
  • Use of devices other than the exam desktop
  • Notes
  • Documentation
  • Notepads
  • Course manuals
  • Devices external to computer on which they are taking the exam, including but not limited to: mobile phones, PDAs, wearable computers, smart glasses, smart watches

What score is needed to pass the exam?

  • For the LFCS Exam, a score of 66% or above must be earned to pass.
  • For the LFCE Exam, a score of 57% or above must be earned to pass.

How are exams scored and how soon will I get my results?

Exam scores will be made available via email and My Portal within 36 hours of the Exam being completed. Do note that it’s 36 hours from time the exam was completed, not started.

Exams are scored automatically and are graded for results. There may be more than one way to perform an objective on an Exam and unless otherwise specified, the Candidate can pick any available path to perform the objective as long as it produces the correct result.

Exam items have different point-values. For example, some questions may be multi-part and so tend to be worth more in points. Additionally, some questions will involve tasks or skills that are considered more difficult and/or more time-intensive; such questions will be weighted more than a question that is simpler and/or involves basic skills only to complete.

The score report you receive will provide you with the score (in percentage) that you earned on the Exam. It will also indicate the minimum score (in percentage) that was needed to pass the Exam. (Both these pieces of data will also be available in My Portal.) At this time, we are not able to provide a breakdown on scoring by knowledge Domain. However, we are working on adding this to the data available to candidates.

The Linux Foundation and the Exam Proctoring Partner will review Exam records for scoring accuracy, for evidence of possible misconduct, and for response patterns that may suggest any other irregularities.
The Linux Foundation will also use statistical analyses of exam data (“Data Forensics”) to identify patterns indicative of test fraud including cheating and piracy. The Linux Foundation reserves the right to invalidate an Exam score and certification result if review of an Exam record reveals scoring inaccuracies (attributable to The Linux Foundation or the Exam Proctoring Partner) or response patterns indicative of possible misconduct or measurement error. If The Linux Foundation determines that an Exam score is invalid due to issues that are beyond the control of the Candidate, the Candidate will be advised of options to retake the Exam at no charge.

What data/information is made available about my Certification? Can you verify if someone has active Certification?

The Linux Foundation provides a verification tool on its website that allows individuals with active Certification(s) to market their Certified status to potential employers or clients. To submit a query on this verification tool, a user must enter the Certificate ID number and the corresponding Last Name as listed on the Certificate of a successfully Certified individual. (The Last Name must be entered exactly as listed on the Certificate, including any special characters.) The results for a successfully submitted query will include the full name of Candidate, Certification title, status of Certification, and the date that the Certification was achieved.

How can I renew my certification and keep it active?

Candidates may keep Certification valid by completing one of the renewal requirement options below. Renewal requirements must be completed prior to the expiration of the Certification.

  • Retake the exam. Candidates have the option to retake and pass the same exam to keep their Certification valid. The Certification will become valid for 3 years starting on the date the exam is retaken and passed.
  • Achieve a higher-level Certification. On the date that a Candidate with an active LFCS Certification achieves LFCE Certification, the expiration of their LFCS Certification will be extended for 3 years so that both their LFCE and LFCS Certifications expire on the same date. The date on which their LFCS Certification expiration is extended (i.e. renewed) becomes the Renewal Date. (For example, a Certificant holds an active LFCS Certification expiring on August 20, 2019. The Certificant then achieves LFCE Certification on March 1, 2019. Their lower-level LFCS Certification will be extended for 3 years effective March 1, 2019 and both their newly achieved LFCE and renewed LFCS Certifications will have the same expiration date of March 1, 2022. March 1, 2022 becomes the Renewal Date for their LFCS Certification.)