Failed Switch twice - devastated

blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
Hi everyone,

I am totally confused. I failed the switch exam the first time with a 770/1000. This time I failed with a 781/1000, but I felt a million times more prepared and I was already familiar with the labsims and felt that I was a million times better.

The weird thing is that the tiny amount of "feedback" that Cisco gives you at the end of the exam is inconsistent between the tests:


test one:

implement vlan based solution, given a network design and a set of requirements 56%
implement a security extrension of a layer 2 solution, given a network design and a set of requirements 100%
implement a switch base layer 3 services, given a network design and a set of requirements 56%
prepare infrasturcutre to support advanced services 100%
implement high availability, given a network design and a set of requirements 75%




test two:

implement vlan based solution, given a network design and a set of requirements 69%
implement a security extrension of a layer 2 solution, given a network design and a set of requirements 50%
implement a switch base layer 3 services, given a network design and a set of requirements 56%
prepare infrasturcutre to support advanced services 100%
implement high availability, given a network design and a set of requirements 83%




Feeling very bummed and don't know where to turn to next. icon_cry.gif

Comments

  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Looks like you are pretty weak all around going by your score reports. What materials are you using to study? Using a lab?
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
    Pretty much the same way I prepared for all the other Cisco exams (all of which I passed on the first attempt): home lab with three switches and three routers (2*2950s,1*3550, and 3*2610s) cisco nuggets videos and the official cisco press book, in this case by Hucaby, the latter I feel didn't really help prepare me at all.

    I only missed by 2% and 1% respectively but the second time I really felt that I had everything down...
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Sounds like what I used to study for all of my Cisco exams. How have your study habits been? Are you understanding everything you are learning?
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
    Well thats the confusing thing: I feel like I have been studying more intense with Switch than I was for Route. Conceptually, I even find it easier, I think. Plus for the CCNA level I always got 100% on the VLAN stuff whereas I never aced the WAN stuff, so its pretty confusing for me all around....

    Plus on the test today, I could ping everything that was supposed to be pinged in the labs, so I was pretty surprised about the result...
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I'd try giving a read through the Foundation Learning Guide rather than the Exam Certification Guide that you are using now. The Learning Guides are geared more towards helping learn the topics rather than just reviewing them like the Exam Guides.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
    Thanks for the suggestion. I didn't know about this book. Honestly the official certification guide didn't do much for me.
    I can't understand why all the tests before this were so easy and now I feel like I am facing an impossible task.
    Perhaps reading this book you suggested will help.
    If there are any other ideas I am all ears.
    Thanks.

    PS- the Amazon reviews don't look promising: http://www.amazon.com/Implementing-Switched-Networks-Foundation-ebook/dp/B003UBAYX4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361555835&sr=8-2&keywords=Implementing+Cisco+IP+Switched+Networks+%28SWITCH%29
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    I did the CCNP when it was still the BCMSN so I can't really comment on the book. Try doing a search and read through some of the SWITCH pass threads here. Poeple usually list their materials used and how helpful they were.

    Good luck, I'm sure you'll get this one knocked out.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • earweedearweed Member Posts: 5,192 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Looks like you're really close and should get it next time. One friend of mine who took it spent a LOT of time doing different scenarios and stuff using GNS3 and that helped him (he had a really good real hardware lab set up, too) as he could even work on it while at work during down time.
    Those reviews on that book look really bad.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
    Well, the thing about GNS3 is that its pretty much useless for switch.
  • prtechprtech Member Posts: 163
    Get the lab book if you don't have it and go through that. How to Master CCNP SWITCH by Rene Molenaar is pretty good as well.
    If at first you do succeed, try something harder.
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Banned Posts: 2,359 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Don't feel bad- I feel I'm pretty strong with routing these days, but back when the ROUTE was BSCI I failed it not once..not twice, but three times. They had a promotion to offer a free retake if you failed, so I took the first one way before I should have. Failed, but rescheduled my free retake for 2 weeks later. Failed.

    Scheduled my third attempt for 30 days after that and hit the books/lab hard and came out on top. The lesson is don't give up- by the time you pass you'll be amazed how much better you are compared to your first attempt.
  • blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
    Mrock4 wrote: »
    Don't feel bad- I feel I'm pretty strong with routing these days, but back when the ROUTE was BSCI I failed it not once..not twice, but three times. They had a promotion to offer a free retake if you failed, so I took the first one way before I should have. Failed, but rescheduled my free retake for 2 weeks later. Failed.

    Scheduled my third attempt for 30 days after that and hit the books/lab hard and came out on top. The lesson is don't give up- by the time you pass you'll be amazed how much better you are compared to your first attempt.

    Thanks for the encouraging words.

    I do admit, I took the exam one week exactly after the first.

    I also admit that I am getting impatient, and am in a sorta CCNP doldrums where all I can see is getting this done with. I know I should find happiness one day at a time or whatever but I really have my eyes focused on one thing and this sure was a like a body shot to the liver.
  • Mrock4Mrock4 Banned Posts: 2,359 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I understand. I hate failure, and I KNOW you'll read these next few words and think "he's on crack"- but hear me out- I now view failure with regards to tests as more of a positive than a negative. When I took my CCNA (I also failed that once before passing), I was devastated at a fail. I felt all I needed was my CCNA and I was set...and by failing I ruined that. The truth is, be failing it I had to take a look at my TRUE skillset/knowledge, and be honest with myself. As a result, I realized I simply wasn't ready yet. THAT is what pushed me to study hard and pass.

    So, I know it's not much help, but those fails DO ultimately make you a better engineer...of course a pass would be nice, but that's just how I view it! Take a step back, re-evaluate where you're at and what you need to work on..then hit the books/lab and you'll be good.
  • keenonkeenon Member Posts: 1,922 ■■■■□□□□□□
    when i passed the bcmsn it took me about 6 months of studying not counting the fact I had a couple of years of experience and a home lab. IMO your almost there but I would suggest spending more time labbing over the topics areas where you have repeatedly not been able to pass them.
    Become the stainless steel sharp knife in a drawer full of rusty spoons
  • webspongewebsponge Member Posts: 119
    Looks like you are pretty weak all around going by your score reports. What materials are you using to study? Using a lab?

    I had to comment on this, telling someone they are pretty weak doesn't help at all with the dilemma.

    I`m doing the security ccna and its all sinking in, but I`m petrified of the exam, but you cant tell what the exam focus`s on, can you not help in a more constructive way? without saying how easy it was for you?
    CCDP Next
  • webspongewebsponge Member Posts: 119
    Mrock4 wrote: »
    Don't feel bad- I feel I'm pretty strong with routing these days, but back when the ROUTE was BSCI I failed it not once..not twice, but three times. They had a promotion to offer a free retake if you failed, so I took the first one way before I should have. Failed, but rescheduled my free retake for 2 weeks later. Failed.

    Scheduled my third attempt for 30 days after that and hit the books/lab hard and came out on top. The lesson is don't give up- by the time you pass you'll be amazed how much better you are compared to your first attempt.

    Now that's better encouragement and advice ;)
    CCDP Next
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    websponge wrote: »
    I had to comment on this, telling someone they are pretty weak doesn't help at all with the dilemma.

    I`m doing the security ccna and its all sinking in, but I`m petrified of the exam, but you cant tell what the exam focus`s on, can you not help in a more constructive way? without saying how easy it was for you?

    So we should sugar coat? There is no one area in the score report with a low score that he could quickly get up to speed on to pass. All areas were weak and need help. People come here for honest opinions and advice. What good would a simple 'oh you can do it keep trying' do to help them?

    And where in there does it say the exam was easy for me? I've never even taken this exam.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • spicy ahispicy ahi Member Posts: 413 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I wouldn't sweat it man. Most everyone has horror stories when it comes to Cisco certifications. I personally failed ICND2 twice and actually got the exact same score on the first 2 tries before finally passing it. I'm getting back into the networking game myself after a quick flirtation with security and I can tell you right now I'm probably going to fail once or twice (maybe three times) during this CCNP journey. But hey, I always say that the pain of defeat makes victory so sweet.

    Or maybe it's a good time to take a week or two off from studying? Sounds like you might be burning out, which makes studying tougher. Are you under a time line to complete it? If not, maybe a break from the books will help you refocus on the task at hand when you return.
    Spicy :cool: Mentor the future! Be a CyberPatriot!
  • blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
    spicy ahi wrote: »
    I wouldn't sweat it man. Most everyone has horror stories when it comes to Cisco certifications. I personally failed ICND2 twice and actually got the exact same score on the first 2 tries before finally passing it. I'm getting back into the networking game myself after a quick flirtation with security and I can tell you right now I'm probably going to fail once or twice (maybe three times) during this CCNP journey. But hey, I always say that the pain of defeat makes victory so sweet.

    Or maybe it's a good time to take a week or two off from studying? Sounds like you might be burning out, which makes studying tougher. Are you under a time line to complete it? If not, maybe a break from the books will help you refocus on the task at hand when you return.


    Thanks for the encouraging words. My time line is all self imposed and the burnout feeling is always alleviated after knocking another one down, which makes this a unique time so far in my cert journey.
  • cisco_troopercisco_trooper Too many Member Posts: 1,442 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Make sure your labs are complex enough to cause issues that cause you to learn. Also, the "Key Topics" highlighted throughout those books are spot on. If you see something marked as a key topic pay special attention to it. I've seen that stuff appear on exams word for word sometimes. Also, make sure you are using the Cisco documentation on the stuff. I've seen that stuff appear on exams word for word as well. Cisco wants you looking at this stuff. They tell you specifically to look at it, and if you don't it is much harder to pass an exam even when you know the material very well. It is just the way they are written.

    Oh, and don't get burnt out. If you are feeling burnt out finish the test then take a break. If you get TOO burnt out it takes a long time to rebuild your motivation as it becomes a "sore" spot in your brain. Literally. You begin to associate displeasure to the activity and you learn that you don't want to do it anymore. Been there done that, as MRock can attest. He saw me do it. Twice.
  • DPGDPG Member Posts: 780 ■■■■■□□□□□
    There is a good reason why there is such a huge drop off from the number of CCNA's to CCNP's. The professional level exams are no joke.

    Keep plugging away and you will get it next time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrD0pglTtdE
  • JustFredJustFred Member Posts: 678 ■■■□□□□□□□
    So we should sugar coat? There is no one area in the score report with a low score that he could quickly get up to speed on to pass. All areas were weak and need help. People come here for honest opinions and advice. What good would a simple 'oh you can do it keep trying' do to help them?

    And where in there does it say the exam was easy for me? I've never even taken this exam.

    I think what he was trying to say is that, sometimes you come off too harsh, i have seen you do it in the CCNA forums as well. Sometimes a little encouragement from a good teacher goes a long way. The guy failed and he's obviously down and we know some things in life do not come easy and that we need to work hard at it. Thing is it's not what you said but how you said it. Anyway that's just my perspective reading through this.

    Blue,

    Just keep studying and give it your best, in the end you will succeed and will come out more knowledgeable and better prepared for your job in the future. Good luck and have fun
    [h=2]"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." Spock[/h]
  • blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
    Thanks for all the advice guys. I guess its really a psychological issue. I am sure some people here can understand how much you want something like this and how frustrating it is to miss by 2 and 1 percent.

    I just wish Cisco gave more precise feedback so I would really know what to do next.
  • blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
    prtech wrote: »
    Get the lab book if you don't have it and go through that. How to Master CCNP SWITCH by Rene Molenaar is pretty good as well.

    I am thinking of buying this book. I wish it had amazon reviews but its not on amazon so if you say its so good I will check it out.
  • blueberriesblueberries Banned Posts: 138
    websponge wrote: »
    I had to comment on this, telling someone they are pretty weak doesn't help at all with the dilemma.

    I`m doing the security ccna and its all sinking in, but I`m petrified of the exam, but you cant tell what the exam focus`s on, can you not help in a more constructive way? without saying how easy it was for you?

    I think the most alienating thing for me is that Cisco gives really really vague feedback and I wish they would tell you what questions you got wrong so you could correct it by doing research.

    Now I really don't know what to focus on...
  • phoeneousphoeneous Go ping yourself... Member Posts: 2,333 ■■■■■■■□□□
    prtech wrote: »
    Get the lab book if you don't have it and go through that. How to Master CCNP SWITCH by Rene Molenaar is pretty good as well.

    Agreed. That ebook was my favorite study material for switch.
  • routergodsroutergods Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Well, the thing about GNS3 is that its pretty much useless for switch.

    Actually it's not. One of the big things in CCNP SWITCH is understanding spanning tree and being able to quickly predict where the root/designated/blocking ports will be.

    In GNS3, you can throw the 16-port ethernet module into four routers and voila, you have a basic switch lab. Basic vtp works, adding vlans works and spanning tree works.
Sign In or Register to comment.