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Meow 馃悎馃悎Meow 馃惐馃惐 Meow Meow馃嵑馃悎馃惐Meow A+!
1 year ago
Archived

The facts about the Composite

Hi all,

With the exam cutoff looming there have been a ton of questions lately about if people should take the composite exam. The short answer is....no, probably not.

Generally speaking the composite is only for the experienced network professionals who are used to certification exams. It is really meant for convenient switching to the R&S track from say Juniper.

Why not take it? It's just considered to be a much more difficult exam because:

  • It doubles the number of topics you can be tested on, this makes it so you must have mastered everything in the CCNA since it is fair game. This also makes repeat attempts harder since the question pool is large enough that if you do badly on say IP Services, you might instead get a security focus the next time.

  • You have a smaller margin of error: with ICND1 and 2 you can get say...10 questions wrong to pass with the minimum score so you can get 20 questions wrong and still be a CCNA. With the composite you can only get 10 wrong before failing

  • There is less padding questions, icnd1 may also you 10 subnetting questions but the composite may just ask a couple and move on the next topic. This makes things harder since your more likely to hit a hard question rather than get a few easier ones.

  • Cisco assumes your a network professional so they may hit harder than with the other exams.

Based on my own observations from watching this sub and talking to people, I would say a junior has about a 90% fail rate for the composite and it typically takes them about 3 tries to pass it. Incidentally they also tend to be bitter with Cisco after paying for so many failed exams. Long story short, it isn't worth it, I should also point out that you get the same CCNA no matter what path you take. The only difference is that with the two exam method you get the CCENT as well, which means you can get up to two kitty gifs!

34 comments
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CCNA
7 points1 year ago

Welp. I'm going to admit that this was not what I wanted to read five minutes after booking my Composite.. Wish me luck :(.

Meow 馃悎馃悎Meow 馃惐馃惐 Meow Meow馃嵑馃悎馃惐Meow A+!
Original Poster4 points1 year ago

You don't have to book the composite :)

The cost between the composite and the two tests isn't all that different

CCNA
4 points1 year ago

I did have to. My university gave me a discount voucher :-)

Meow 馃悎馃悎Meow 馃惐馃惐 Meow Meow馃嵑馃悎馃惐Meow A+!
Original Poster2 points1 year ago

Ah well good luck

I know that this is fairly subjective and that I'm the only one who knows if I'm ready or not. But, I have to say, I've seen you post about how taking the composite is a mistake for non-network professionals and I'm freaking out now. I'm in need of a little reassurance!

I'm in a college course focused on networking and over the past year we've gone through the four CCNA courses in NetAcad, done countless Packet Tracer labs, hands-on real equipment labs and whatnot. Since the last semester ended, I've started studying for the CCNA around 4-8 hours per day to really hammer in the information.

When you say that Cisco assumes you're a professional and they'll hit you harder, you mean they may go off the rails of the exam outline or what? I can explain, configure and troubleshoot nearly every bullet point on that outline (and closing in on my gaps as we speak).

I guess what I'm saying is, at what point does sheer student study match the level of "assumed experience" you say Cisco bases this exam on?

Meow 馃悎馃悎Meow 馃惐馃惐 Meow Meow馃嵑馃悎馃惐Meow A+!
Original Poster3 points1 year ago

It sounds like you are fairly prepared but you should also keep in mind that there is nothing preventing you from still doing the two exam method. Even if you booked the exam you can still cancel it and get a refund as long as the exam isn't within 24 hours away.

What I mean by Cisco can hit harder is very subjective, it can mean they may give you a comparatively harder OSPF question, a question that may assume more real world knowledge of things, or you may simply get a couple non-graded questions that explore your skill set a bit. Though you would only really be able to tell if you did all 3 exams.

As for experience, it is more about certification experience then professional in this context. If the composite is your first exam you'll have a hard time because you'll be stressed and you won't understand how certification exams work. If you have experience and wrote even something simple like the Network+ then you will get the jist of how to read questions properly and understand a bit more about common pitfalls like the "most correct answer". You'll also be more used to things like eliminating wrong answers and different question formats.

I have the A+ certification and I'm pretty used to having to use the power of elimination to get through multiple choice exams. That is definitely reassuring to hear. I suppose I'll go ahead and hope I make it. If not, I'll go the two exam route. Thank you!

6 more replies

CCNA RS/W, BCNP, BCvRE
12 points1 year ago

If you do a search in /r/ccna for "failed 200-120", you get 11 posts within the last month.

Heed this advice, save your money and your time. Go for ICND1+ICND2.

1 more reply

CCNA R&S
5 points1 year ago

I passed the composite about 4 years ago. Failed the first time and passed the second time...barely. /u/CBRjack is right. I'm re-certifying my certificate (because I was silly and let it expire) but I will be doing the two separate tests this time around.

2 points1 year ago

my brother kept persuading me to take the ccna, glad i did not head his advice. now i feel validated because 1. i have my ccent 2. confident that i can pass the icnd 2.

CCNA R&S
1 point1 year ago

I've been studying for the composite from almost the beginning. I have Lammle's book that covers the ICND 1 & 2 and I've got Boson NetSim. I've REALLY been focused on studying and understanding the material. I've taken and passed the A+ and Network+ exams so I'm familiar with how exams like these go but you made some really solid points here especially with the combined 20 questions wrong...

I'd pre-ordered Odom's new 200-125 book a while ago and just cancelled it. Grabbed Lammel's 100-105 and Odom's 200-105 books instead.

When I did the math I'm paying $15 more by taking the two exams and ordering the two books than if I'd purchased the 200-125 book and taken the composite exam. I feel like I've mitigated a bunch of risk and probably saved $295.

Thanks for your post!

A+, Net+, Sec+, CCENT, CCNA.
1 point1 year ago

I'm taking the 200-125 on Feb 10th - I have been in a networking related job role for over 5 years - I let my CCNA expire a couple of years ago (silly decision). I would recommend that if you are new to Cisco, take the two test route. Yes, you do double up on the amount of questions. However, Cisco is more about practical knowledge - you'll actually use these skills as a network engineer. Don't skimp. I believe the composite exam is good for people who have been CCNA's and are just re-certifying.

Meow 馃悎馃悎Meow 馃惐馃惐 Meow Meow馃嵑馃悎馃惐Meow A+!
Original Poster1 point1 year ago

Generally speaking the composite is only for the experienced network professionals who are used to certification exams. It is really meant for convenient switching to the R&S track from say Juniper.

:)

Well came here looking for some help and confidence boosting. Wasn't disappointed; however, I wish I saw this prior to failing 200-120 3 times in 6 weeks. Now the new tests are coming out, I'll focus on the new changes, schedule for the icnd1 and feel more confident.

Note to self: let go of the ego at all times!

1 point1 year ago

I have taken the composite exam and I agree with both /u/the-packet-thrower and /u/cbrjack

In addition to what has been said, the first attempt at the composite I took, I barely passed, and that was with 7 years experience in Cisco routing and Switching (my switch-fu was weak though).

[deleted]
1 point1 year ago

My experience recently exactly confirms this. Failed composite twice, easily the hardest test I've ever taken.

Took ICND1/2 and got >900 on both, on my first attempts.

I wish I had done this. I took the composite a few years ago and I think I missed 12-14 questions. I gave up after that sadly. Now I'm a bank teller, fml.

5 more replies

1 point1 year ago

Is there any particular time period to appear for the ICND2 exam after passing the ICND1 exam?

Meow 馃悎馃悎Meow 馃惐馃惐 Meow Meow馃嵑馃悎馃惐Meow A+!
Original Poster1 point1 year ago

Nope you can write both on the same day if you so choose

1 point1 year ago

Alright

OK so if it's easier, Is there any difference with the certificate at the end of it?

Meow 馃悎馃悎Meow 馃惐馃惐 Meow Meow馃嵑馃悎馃惐Meow A+!
Original Poster1 point1 year ago

Nope CCNA is CCNA. The only different is you get the ccent as well with the two exam method.

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