Passing the Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer Certification Exam

Last week I passed the Python Institute’s Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer Certification exam.  The exam is part of Python Institute’s certification path for the Python programming language which also includes both associate and professional level certifications.  The exam is comprised of 30 questions and is delivered in a non-proctored online format with a 45 minute time limit to complete the exam. The cost of the exam is $59.00 USD.

Exam Objectives

The exam covers five different areas and is broken out as follows:

Basic Concepts (17%) – 5 Questions

  • Fundamental concepts: interpreting and the interpreter, compilation and the compiler, language elements, lexis, syntax and semantics, Python keywords, instructions, indenting
  • Literals: Boolean, integer, floating-point numbers, scientific notation, strings
  • Comments
  • The print() function
  • The input() function
  • Numeral systems (binary, octal, decimal, hexadecimal)
  • Numeric operators: ** * / % // + –
  • String operators: * +
  • Assignments and shortcut operators

Data Types, Evaluations, and Basic I/O Operations (20%) – 6 Questions

  • Operators: unary and binary, priorities and binding
  • Bitwise operators: ~ & ^ | << >>
  • Boolean operators: not and or
  • Boolean expressions
  • Relational operators ( == != > >= < <= ), building complex Boolean expressions
  • Accuracy of floating-point numbers
  • Basic input and output operations using the input()print()int()float()str(), len() functions
  • Formatting print() output with end= and sep= arguments
  • type casting
  • basic calculations
  • simple strings: constructing, assigning, indexing, immutability

Flow Control – loops and conditional blocks (20%) – 6 Questions

  • Conditional statements: ifif-elseif-elifif-elif-else
  • Multiple conditional statements
  • The pass instruction
  • Building loops: whileforrange()in
  • Iterating through sequences
  • Expanding loops: while-elsefor-else
  • Nesting loops and conditional statements
  • Controlling loop execution: breakcontinue

Data Collections – Lists, Tuples, and Dictionaries (23%) – 7 Questions

  • Simple lists: constructing vectors, indexing and slicing, the len() function
  • Lists in detail: indexing, slicing, basic methods (append()insert()index()) and functions (len()sorted(), etc.), del instruction, iterating lists with the for loop, initializing, in and not in operators, list comprehension, copying and cloning
  • Lists in lists: matrices and cubes
  • Tuples: indexing, slicing, building, immutability
  • Tuples vs. lists: similarities and differences, lists inside tuples and tuples inside lists
  • Dictionaries: building, indexing, adding and removing keys, iterating through dictionaries as well as their keys and values, checking key existence, keys()items() and values() methods
  • Strings in detail: escaping using the \ character, quotes and apostrophes inside strings, multiline strings, basic string functions.

Functions (20%) – 6 Questions

  • Defining and invoking your own functions and generators
  • return and yield keywords, returning results
  • The None keyword
  • Recursion
  • Parameters vs. arguments,
  • Positional keyword and mixed argument passing
  • Default parameter values
  • Converting generator objects into lists using the list() function
  • Name scopes, name hiding (shadowing), the global keyword

The Exam

Most of the exam questions consist of a code sample that will need to interpreted. You will either select the correct answer from a multiple choice list or fill in the blank with a keyword or function so the code sample will return the expected value.

Study Resources

Here are some resources to help you pass the Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer Certification exam.


Python Institute
From the Python Institute page for the PCEP – Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer Certification you can purchase your voucher for the exam, schedule your exam, view the exam syllabus and check out their study resources.

Video Courses

A Cloud Guru
A Cloud Guru’s course has several hands on labs as well as a Practice Test.

Online Training

Python Institute
The Python Institute offers a series of free training courses.


Python is one of the fastest growing, easy to learn, and versatile programming languages. It has several use cases including web development, machine learning, IoT, etc. This exam may help provide you an opportunity to learn more about Python and validate your skills!

Feel free to reach out with any questions. if you are planning on taking the exam, Good Luck!!

Thank you for reading!




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