F5 BIG IP – 201 exam – TMOS administration (Tips and tricks)

Yesterday, I cleared my F5 BIG IP 201 exam and am now a F5 BIG IP certified administrator.

Honestly, the f5 certification is very different than the other vendors exam. It is not easy, there are no books in market but once you cross the river, you would feel proud of yourself.

If you need the tips and tricks for F5 BIG IP 101 exam Application delivery fundamentals, refer to my other blog F5 BIG IP – 101 Exam Application delivery fundamentals

Below are some tips and tricks required to crack this F5 BIG IP 201 exam (TMOS administration)  :

  1. Stop searching for book on the internet. I tried a lot but could not find one single book which covers all the topics of 201 exam.
  2. Refer the F5 BIG IP 201 – study guide for preparation. Do not forget to go through the links given in this guide. This is the only and main material which covers most of the part of this exam.
  3. Videos at CBT nuggets can help to speed up your learning the F5 LTM product. But just watching the videos and doing tutorial in the lab may not be sufficient to pass this exam.
  4. Do you know what is BIG-IQ ? If not, read it. There were 2-3 questions on it. Do not leave any topic assuming it to be not important.
  5. Get used to seeing the network map screen, nodes, pool or pool member screen. There are several questions with the snapshot taken from these screen.
  6. Understand the status symbols and when will the node/pool member etc will get the traffic or not.
  7. Try the backup and restore command multiple times via the command line so that you know the syntax.
  8.  About 3-4 questions were based on priority and ratio in virtual servers. So it is important to understand the division of load with priority and ration set.
  9. Few questions will have log files snippets. Fortunately the information in the logfiles snippets are not difficult to interpret. The options given in such questions are very easy. So it is quite simple to get to the right answer.
  10. Read about the priority and what you will be providing to the F5 support. For example, if you are suspecting some hardware failure, you would give the F5 EUD log files. If you created a new virtual server and it is not passing the traffic, this should be opened as priority 3 incident case with the F5 BIG IP. I hope this will give hint as what kind of questions to expect 😉
  11. There are good number of questions on HA sync issue or software updates.
  12. Which port is required to fetch the logs from the mgmt GUI by the admin ?? Oops such tricky questions may appear where you have to use logic at that moment only.
  13. Tick tick tick….watch out the time. You may run out of it. There are some questions with story in it and many questions with the screenshots. Such question can eat your time. If you stuck, move ahead.

I hope the above tips and tricks may help. Unlike F5 101 exam, in the 201 exam, it is quite simple to rule out the wrong options. So if you can get to the right answer by just reading the question, try removing the worng answer.

All the very best for the exam and would love to hear the feedback from you 🙂


Update 27 Jan 2017 : Here are the tips from Avi. Thanks Avi for sharing

order of virtual servers
port used for GUI
priority and ration based algorithm
where does system error files get saved.
when to provide EUD.


Update 27Feb 2017 : Below are the tips from NG. Thanks NG for sharing

  • there are total two guides – StudyGuide_201_TMOS_OfficialF5 and Certification_Study_Guide_201_v2
  • go through all links in both guides. which are mostly Ask5 and some Devcentral… they have very good information from both exam and knowledge point of view
  • hands-on practice is very helpful
  • questions on VS selection with order of preference
  • Pool member status, which pool member will be selected..timeout,2-3 IQ questions,Analytics,Cookie persistence…VS types,monitors and their settings,load balancing…
  • keep watch on time and if question is more descriptive then mark and go to next question and do this in last


Update 20 May 2017 : Below tips are shared by Ed. Thanks a lot for sharing as I am sure it would be helpful for other.

– Get used to reading the configurations in text mode as well, some question will show you a fragment of the config (in text) and ask based on that
– Make sure to understand the difference between status of a node and pool member. For example what happens if pool member reports status OK and node monitor down. Practice all the possible combinations in your own lab
– if a fan speed is slow where the log is reported? /var/log/messages is not an option 🙂
– Watch the BIG-IQ video on F5 University (under v11 Overview Modules > Getting Started with F5 Products). It will give you a great summary of what you need for the exam in less than 30 minutes
– Understand user roles and what permissions have each of these.
– make sure to understand when to use troubleshooting tools such as ping, netstat, curl, etc. sounds simple, but in some questions you might thing in two possible answers, you need to thing the BEST.
– tcpdump, they will describe scenarios and you need to understand where is the best interface/vlan to run this tool
– Assuming there is a UCS locally stored, from what directories the bigip.conf can be pulled (Think of two options)
– Test and read port lockdown and how to give admin access to a self IP
– Get used to common default settings. Some questions say “assuming default settings…”
– Study Guide is not enough… Go through the links and have additional reading.
– few questions (for not saying none) of iRules and SSL Profiles, actually these are not part of the blue print
– Good number of questions of clustering (SYNC, configuration groups, etc) make sure to read “Managing Configuration Synchronization” in the clustering guide https://support.f5.com/kb/en-us/products/big-ip_ltm/manuals/product/bigip-device-service-clustering-admin-11-4-0.html
– All the topics for the exam are on the Study guide, do not spend time searching for exam dumps or additional non-F5 material


Update 24 July 2017 : Below tips are shared by Ramesh :

  • If you have F5 Partner account, then please go through all the LTM video trainings, practice Vlab, study all Veritable Networks links.
  • Practice in Vlab( how to create user account in cli, curl command, tcpdump, nslookup, dig, how to analyze network map, dashboard gauge statistics output?, how to generate qkview file in cli, how to upload and save ucs files).

Update 11 Apr 2018 : Below tips are shared by Vmal :

  • Read about SNAT, Address and port translation options on VS configuration(understand when to use and what is correct way to use this )
  •  logs of power failure will be saved in /var/log/ltm or /var/log/sys or /etc
  • couple of questions on health monitor (ex half tcp-open) playing with advanced configuration options on these monitors
  • understand when to use server SSL and client SSL. especially error clients may get when using or not using server SSL
  • order of Packet processing on F5(self ip ,VIP,NAT etc)
  • packet filter rules vs multiple VS address selection priority in scenario questions
  •  how should EUD file should be taken out of a production device when F5 case is opened
  • multiple scenario based issues when virtual server options are incorrectly or correctly configured like SNAT, all vlan & tunnel options , address & port translation ,fastl4,auto last hop
  • persistence mask required in certain scenario
  • Failover and software upgrade scenario
  • different type of scenario questions on vlan ,self ip and interface in respect to production environment and how it effects client return traffic
  • compression offloading from server
  •  node vs member load balancing method under certain situation#
  • logs snippet which contains TMM,HA etc
  • resource provisioning along with licensing (one question)
  • user role and learn few tmsh commands for user creation and UCS

Learn the basics from available study guide and have hand on experience or atleast go through each configuration items in VS,monitor and other ltm configuration items and how it affects traffic when enabled or disabled.

Time is the real problem. Almost all question we need to spend time in thinking and understanding the scenario . So knowing each & every aspect of LTM or f5 configuration can go a long way.