The main areas of the Systems exam are computer architecture, programming languages, and software engineering. The reading list for the Systems exam is as follows:
John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson, Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, 4th edition, Morgan Kaufmann, 2007.
W. Stallings, Operating Systems: Internals and Design Principles, 6th edition, Prentice Hall, 2008.
A. Grama, A. Gupta, G. Karypis, and V. Kumar, Introduction to Parallel Computing, 2nd edition, Addison-Wesley, 2003, chapters 1-9.
R. W. Sebesta, Concepts of Programming Languages, 9th edition, Addison-Wesley, 2010.
Stephen Schach, Object-Oriented Classical Software Engineering, 8th edition, McGraw Hill, 2011.
Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides, Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, Addison-Wesley, 1995. (Chapters 1 and 2, plus the following patterns: Abstract Factory, Singleton, Adapter, Composite, Decorator, Façade, Chain of Responsibility, Command, Observer, Visitor)