On the day after Christmas I decided to sit in on Cisco’s 642-813 CCNP SWITCH exam. I had left work earlier than usual to make it for the last Cisco exam of the day for a testing center that was 40 minutes away from my workplace. Unfortunately, I did not pass the exam.
I scheduled my exam at 2:30pm at the United States University in San Diego, CA. It looked like a newer facility and can hold about 15-20 people at one time for exams. Your picture is taken and everything in your pockets deposited into a plastic bin.
The computers ran Windows XP and I was given 3 sheets of paper and ear plugs. When you’re given ear plugs I suggest you wear them. Put them on before touching the computer. Why?
A woman next to me started freaking out because Windows Updates had been installed and the countdown to restart started ticking away. She couldn’t do anything to stop it. The ruckus did bother me a bit and that’s when I realized I should have worn my ear plugs.
The proctor was no where to be found so you could easily hear this woman walking around yelling “Hello!? Is anyone here in the testing center!?”
Pearson Vue Exam
I felt good during the exam and thought I was getting questions right. The exam itself was fair. Nothing out of the ordinary from what I’ve seen on forums. There were a few questions that were “tricky”. Wording could have been better or either I need to read the questions more thoroughly.
I need to get out of the mindset of what I think is right and switch it over to WWCD, or “What would Cisco do?”
It’s the typical question where you need to select the best answer and all of them sound like the best answer. In regards to the exam, it’s whatever Cisco thinks is the best answer.
Next time around I may schedule time off work to take the exam. On the day of, I got pulled into a support ticket and left 15 minutes later than I had planned. With the testing center 45 minutes away I was rushing to get there in time.
I came into the testing environment on edge and not relaxed.
I recommend scheduling the exams in the morning. The exam was looming over me the whole day. I felt like I couldn’t get any work done because the exam was on my mind.
Pick a nearby testing center. You don’t want to be like me and scramble. Since this was my first time testing at this location I wasn’t sure if they’d allow me to take the exam if I was just 10 minutes late. Another good reason to take the exam on your day off.
Practice exams. I’m a terrible test taker. I knew the material but I wasn’t fully prepped for taking an exam. What I’m referring to is reading into the questions. Paying attention to the question asked is very important. Sometimes reading it a couple of times will trigger the light bulb.
For that reason, I recommend Boson. I felt they were very close to the real world exam.
No one wants to fail. Sure, it’s very demotivating but that should say something about Cisco exams. I didn’t feel like they were cheating me. It was fair. The quality was good. Last time I failed an exam I quit studying for months. This time I’m determined to pass. Don’t let the failure let you down. Sure it’s $200 per exam. It’s a big investment for me since I’m paying this out of my own pocket. It’s the price we have to pay. Make that another motivation to pass the first time around.
How was your Cisco exam experience?