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These exams seem to do more than test your knowledge

I'm finally CCNA certified and realized something interesting in retrospect of the experience. When I took each exam, I was very prepared. I mean I thought I had more info down than I needed and had even went out of the way to go past the objectives in some aspects. I had never been more prepared for any other academic exams in my life.

Then I actually took the exams. In both instances there were multiple times I thought I wouldn't be passing. The wording was trickier than I expected. I was well aware of what to expect using Boson exams and in the instance of ICND2, having ICND1 under my belt. Still the Cisco word trickery is at level 9000. You also have stuff scattered in that doesn't even fall into the objectives. The part comes where your score appears and you get that feeling of watching a car crash, you almost want to look away but you can't. Even after experiencing this with the ICND1, I knew if I passed the ICND2 it would be with an 811 on the dot....

However this was not the case. I received 900s on both exams. In the case of ICND2, nothing was higher than 82% in the breakdown, going all the way down to 50%. Then it dawned on me. Cisco knows what they're doing with these exams. We're all used to traditional evenly weighted exams and Cisco preys on this. Their weighing of things is very much not even and all over the place. They use that to throw you off your game and add even more stress to the situation. This can translate directly into a real life high stakes scenario on the job and how you handle it. So they use the exam to test you not only on knowledge but your ability to cop with stress.

That's just my take on it anyway. Maybe I'm totally reading into something that isn't there. I hadn't really seen this logic mentioned anywhere. Any body else have thoughts on it?

11 comments
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I don’t think that’s intentional, nor do I think it effectively accomplished that goal. I know some certified individuals who simply do not handle stress well. In critical situations I’ve had to literally look one in the eye and tell him to listen to me, then talk him down because he was panicking and making some horrible decisions. But that guy does great on tests.

I think the tricky wording is more about trying to make sure people know the information instead of just studying the test.

Original Poster1 point · 5 months ago

That's true. It's defiantly not a surefire thing to test on but I'm still suspect that the weighting has some correlation to what I mentioned.

Meow 🐈🐈Meow 🐱🐱 Meow Meow🍺🐈🐱Meow A+!
5 points · 5 months ago

Eh it’s more about trying to test your ability to read and interpret questions and making sure you fully understand things which is why they might ask you to pick the things that OSPF doesn’t do etc - it makes sure you are paying attention and it makes sure you can which the logic around....like a networking sobriety test where you have to do the alphabet backwards.

I don't know how intentional it all is, but all I know is I was convinced that I failed in both ICND1 & 2, then wound up easily passing. It's your mind playing tricks on you or something.

Original Poster1 point · 5 months ago

Some of it is defiantly the weighting though. My ICND2 break down numbers were 81%, 82%, 50%, 63%, and 78% and yet I still got a 904 which would translate to a 90 in the traditional grading system.

CCNP R&S
2 points · 5 months ago

I don't know if it's still this way for the CCNA or any of the other exams but it used to be that you got 300 points just for sitting the exam.

This is why you see percentages in the 80s and overall scores in the 900s.

Take 300 off 900 = 600

Which means you have 700 points that you can actually get, since 300 of the 1000 are already given to you.

600 / 700 = 86%

According to Odom in OCG, Cisco scores from 300 to 1000 range indeed.

I’m scheduled to take the ICND2 this month. But I felt he same way when I took the ICDN1, there were probably 6 or 7 questions on the exam that I just didn’t know the answer to, so I guessed the answers to the best of my ability. But there is a certain degree of stress I think that comes with taking test/exams, ICND1 was the biggest exam I took and I paid for it so I was pretty anxious, I thought my heart was gonna hop from my chest. But after I prayed and took a couple of deep breathes I just told myself I know I studied, I put in the work and whatever happens, happens and I ended up passing with an 894 on the ICND1 which isn’t amazing but I expecting to fail, or barley pass.

i always think of tests like a tunnel of smoke to distract you but u always keep your eye on goal which is the end of the test and seperating the nonsense from the real question their asking.

Recently took test and can confirm the 300 point thing is true.

CCNA R&S
1 point · 5 months ago

I very much agree. There is no doubt that the first time I took the ICND2, I had studied enough, yet I failed. Throw in a little test anxiety and awfully worded questions, and I failed with 790/810. The 2nd time, I came in with a "fuck it, if I fail again, I'll just take it again" attitude that helped. I also got many of the same questions again. I can only hope that the CCNA Cyber Ops questions are worded better, but I have little faith. I am dreading the CCNP Routing and Switching in the future as well.

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