Get ready for Piscine! How to prepare for Ecole 42

Tobias Bernhammer
4 min readFeb 21, 2021


I am writing this Post after three weeks of my Piscine. I will give some recommendations how to prepare if you’re one of the preparing sort. I basically didn’t prepare at all and you really don’t need to. But I know that some people like to be prepared. I will add more and more tips and advises. Basically you can’t prepare like you could for an exam in university so just give it a go. You will have a lot of fun if you just jump into the Piscine and learn to swim ;)



For the remote version you should have a stable internet connection. But I really recommend having two screens 24" each (or bigger). Get a good headset or even better a wireless one. Last but not least get a good webcam and don’t use the one built in a laptop.

Get some swimming wings

The Piscine tests if you have the perseverance to fail over and over again. Even if you get through pretty good you will fail at a certain point. This is totally ok. Just get up again and keep on going. You’re not alone! I stopped counting how often I failed due to stupid things. But those moments where the moments I learned the most.

Take time off

The Piscine is a marathon not a sprint. Get ready for it. It’s open 24/7. Even on the weekends there are tasks which want to be solved. I know a guy who managed to work beside the Piscine but you will sit more than 8 hours in front of your computer. There is not much space for more. I averaged 15 h a day, whereas I did up to 20 h some days. You should at least have 10 h+ per day for four weeks. This is only my recommendation. Nothing is mandatory. You decide when, what and how.

Be open and communicative

Well the whole Piscine is quite different from what you might have seen so far. The whole education model differs quite a lot from a normal university. Keep always in mind there is (almost) no competition between you and your peers. You’re in this together and only together you can learn to swim. Try to make friends from day one on and be open for new things and most important new people. You are shy? No worries you will loose your inhibitions during the Piscine. Rather you have to loose them.


Most of the communication with peers and staff happen through discord. Get familiar with it and download the client version instead of the browser version.


Basically every meeting will happen in Zoom. Do yourself a favor and download the client instead of the online version.


If you really want to prepare for coding tasks you should learn 3 things. But I really wanna emphasize that you don’t need to and I wouldn’t recommend it!!! Just give it a go. You won’t regret I swear.

  • Unix File systems
    Some basic terminal commands like cd, ls, grep, wc, rm, man, etc…
    You already heard of them? Well you should be prepared enough. Want to learn more? I can really recommend “The Linux Command Line” by William Shotts
  • Version Control Systems
    git clone, git commit -m “”, git add looks familiar? Great you’re good to go. No? Go figure it out. This is your first day of learning
  • C
    As the whole Piscine will be about C you should learn the very basics like loops, conditions and functions. There is a great course from the Harvard University called CS50x. It’s really beginner friendly and the course is amazing. You can find it by google it. It’s completely free of charge. What a bargain!


Buy some food beforehand and get some snacks. Stay hydrated and get some headache pills ;)


Tell your friends that you will be less active on social Media, Whats App and so on. It will be a hard time. My friends did understand it even though I had do explain a lot of times what it is about and why you don’t get any certificate

Prepare for a lot of fun

Yeah really, this is what is it all about. No one really knows how they decide who gets in but I definitely know that you need to live the spirit of 42. You will find out in four weeks if 42 fits you and you fit 42.

Don’t trust rumors

.. they will be wrong in 99 % of the cases.

Get familiar with time management

There are some great techniques when it comes to time management. I focused on something called Pareto. It helped me focusing on the important things and don’t waste to much time for unnecessary topics. There are tons of great time management techniques

Questions to me? Get in contact

You are a former or future Pisciner or you have questions in general? You just wanna chat? >>> Connect with me on LinkedIn and get in contact <<<



Tobias Bernhammer

Hardware Engineer enjoying the freedom of being self-employed