Observations on the BCMSN exam

Fish!Fish! Member Posts: 42 ■■□□□□□□□□
I passed the BCMSN exam today after a few hard weeks of study. BCMSN covers a LOT of ground with switching, security, voice+QoS, and wireless. I did not expect to feel 'ready' or to be taking the exam so soon. When I sat down week before last and started studying for BCMSN I found much of the material to be VERY familiar. Turns out I have been studying for BCMSN for the last few months without even knowing it. Having hammered through CCNA:Security, CCNA:Wireless, and CCNA:Voice recently, BCMSN was a light review on these topics.

Like I have mentioned before, I had never felt 'ready' for any of the CCNA specialization exams, but went and took them anyways, mostly because of the free retake available through the Vue 'SPECIALIZE' promotion. Each time I figured I would get a taste for the exam and a 'free' analysis of where I was weak so I could go back and study some more. Instead I found myself successfully cleaning up the CCNA specializations at a crazy pace.

So I was surprised when I found myself feeling 'ready' yesterday. I have read about people studying for MONTHS and not passing this exam. I threw caution to the wind and scheduled the exam for today. I figured with all the money I have spent on books, CBT's, and lab gear, worst case if I failed $150 was a drop in the bucket.

I used both CBT Nuggets and Train Signal for this exam. Having the opportunity to use both was VERY enlightening. Jeremy Cioara covers the exam from a more practical real-world approach. Chris Bryant definitely 'teaches to the test' and hits more details that are covered in the exam. I was glad to have had the budget to use both, but if I had to pick one, it would be Train Signal.

Both CBT series left some holes that were filled in by my previous studies in the CCNA specializations, as well as the BCMSN lab portfolio. My FAVORITE study aid however was the CCNP Video Mentor with Kevin Wallace. For some reason I just 'clicked' with the way the material was presented and labbing right along with Kevin was really valuable. The price seemed a little steep at first but I figured when amorized over all 4 CCNP exams it really was a great value, so I went ahead and got it before I started down this CCNP path. I am glad I did.

I bought the Cisco Press BCMSN Authorized Self Study guide and while I found it to be valuable I did not read it cover to cover. I dove into specific sections where I felt weak such as STP.

This exam was really challenging, and you have to thouroughly understand the topics to succeed. Though this was my lowest score on any Cisco exam to date, I still did surprisingly well, scoring above 900.

Once I jumped into the material and found a lot of overlap with the CCNA specializations I was glad I chose to do BCMSN first. I was going to hit BSCI first like is generally reccomended, but I decided to do BCMSN first with the plan to turn around and clean up the CCDA before moving forward and finishing the CCNP. At this point I think I am going to move ahead with BSCI, mostly because I fear it. If there is anything that I HAVEN'T done an extensive amount of in my 14 year carrer working with Cisco gear it is routing protocols. Turning around to clean up CCDA would be an excuse to avoid BSCI at this point and I just can't let my anxiety over this affect my course.

Comments

  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,086 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Congratulations! icon_cheers.gif
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • shednikshednik Member Posts: 2,005
    Congrats on the pass!!
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Banned Posts: 2,359 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Fish! wrote: »
    At this point I think I am going to move ahead with BSCI, mostly because I fear it. If there is anything that I HAVEN'T done an extensive amount of in my 14 year carrer working with Cisco gear it is routing protocols. Turning around to clean up CCDA would be an excuse to avoid BSCI at this point and I just can't let my anxiety over this affect my course.

    First, congrats on the pass. Good choice on pursuing the BSCI if you go that route. I think the key to becoming a better tech (regardless of specialty) is to target your weaknesses, and attack them. It seems rough at first, but once you get into it, you'll realize there was nothing to be afraid of. Plus, in the future you'll have more confidence heading into unknown technologies. Best of luck.
  • MCL.NicolasMCL.Nicolas Member Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congratulations !

    I think I'll pass mine in May or June :) Hope I'll be ready ...
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,741
    Excellent news on the pass!

    And a good review of the exam as a whole. I am sitting the BCMSN on the 30th, and am looking forward to it. I've taken the BSCI and have read a lot of opinions that suggest the BSCI is the hardest of the 4 exams, but dont let that put you off. With your extensive history in working with Cisco equipment I would expect that you will have no problems with BSCI, but then, I don't know exactly what you have been doing!

    I myself have only been working with Cisco equipment since June 2008, and already have picked up so much... am hoping the BCMSN will be plain sailing. From what you have suggest, I should be OK.

    Congratulations once again with whatever you choose to do next

    David
  • NetwurkNetwurk Member Posts: 1,155 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Congrats!!!

    Good luck with the BCSI

    :)
  • PCHoldmannPCHoldmann Member Posts: 450
    Congrats on the pass!
    There's no place like ^$
    Visit me at Route, Switch, Blog
Sign In or Register to comment.