640-811 Exam Engine Problems & Ran out of Time.

joegranejoegrane Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
EXAM: 640-811

ISSUE: I experienced slow response time from the test software, internet connection or some other technical problem. I ran out of time with more than 10% of the questions remaining.

CERTIFICATION HISTORY: I have passed 11 exams in the past 3 years with 1 previous failure. Certifications include MCSA (Win2000), CCNA (Scored 956 in 2001! ), etc.

SLOW RESPONSE TIME FROM THE TEST ENGINE OR NETWORK?: Before the test starts Cisco gives you the opportunity to get a feel for it's router simulation software. This was very helpful. Unfortunately when I was using the simulator the response time was very slow. I could only type about 2 or 3 characters per second! Unfortunately I did not complain to the proctor of the test. This sluggish performance continued during the lab-type exam questions and while dragging choices. It could take 1 or 2 seconds for an item that was dragged to settle into place. The lab question that probably cost me recertification was ugly. It required much more typing than the longest lab simulation question in the practice exam from the cdrom bundled with Cisco Press' book . I held the <backspace> down to try to erase a word but it slowly erased half of a command line! Again the typing speed was very slow.

TIME MANAGEMENT ISSUES: I had previously finished every one of the 11 certification tests I had taken. After half of my time had expired during this exam, I had completed over half of the questions and felt good about my chances and my knowledge of the material.

Cisco says not to spend more than 10 minutes on any of the labs but I did spend 10 min on the lab mentioned above--it probably cost me a passing score. Based on my score and the # of questions I did not complete, it appears that I had more than a passing % for the questions I did complete.

Test prep books sometimes contain tips for taking a multiple choice test, such as reading the question and multiple choices twice and selecting a question for review rather than spending too much time on any one question. Of course, this exam does not let you review questions after you answer them! I also remember one question in the beginning of the test that required considerable amount of time to do the mathematical calculations for all of the 4 choices. However, it seemed to me that that choice "a" was the correct answer. I was tempted to just select it and move on, but instead, examined each of the 4 choices since my time situation looked good at that point. Do you think Cisco designed the test and it's time limit expecting us to confidently select the first correct answer we find and move on? Are the remaining choices really a time trap? Any suggestions on time management or Cisco's philosophy of time management? Do you think they are using time limitation as a way to improve their bottom line?

SHOW COMMAND OUTPUT ANALYSIS: As you are studying the "show" commands, try to understand how you could use the information provided to troubleshoot issues. They can be a creative but fair source for data required to complete a multiple choice question. I did not think the books I used prepared me very well for this but maybe I did not pay enough attention to them.

# OF LAB SIMULATION QUESTIONS: Is there more or less a standard number of these to expect on the exam? I expected a few more in contrast to the number on the practice exam on the cd in the cisco press book.

Exam Prep Materials Used:

Cisco Press text book for the 640-811. This book goes into somewhat greater detail than is required but I can recommend it. I was not particularly fond of the router simulation software that is on the cd. The practice exam on the cd was the best practice exam I took. The lab questions give you a decent feel for what to expect, but they were considerably easier than what I experienced. I scored 90% on the practice exam yet failed the test! In 2001 I scored aprox 75% on the practice test in the Cisco book but scored 20%points higher on the ccna exam! I thought the questions at the end of the chapters in this book did not reflect the level of detail required for the actual exam. Overall I recommend this book in preparing for the test, but it is not the best book to keep as a reference book.

Sybex Textbook for 640-801. I liked this book not only for test preparation, but this is the one to keep for future reference. The lab simulation software was not bundled with this version of the book. Again, I thought that the level of detail required for the practice questions were not quite as hard as on the exam. My score on the practice exam on the cd was similar to my estimated % for the questions I did complete on the exam. However, it does not prepare you for the lab questions as well as the cisco press book.

Exam Cram2 CCNA. I have used Exam Crams for nearly every one of the certification exams I have taken and have found them to be very helpful. My impression is that this one would be better for the Intro exam than the ICND. The book's contents and practice exams seem weak on the more powerful routing protocols.


  • GurminderGurminder Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Same thing happened to me this morning; I took CCNA 640-801; Got 792; I got 56 questions; and was only able to attempt 49 questions; If I would have attempted all questions, who knows scenerio would be different. Simulations took forever; When I was typing the commands, the backspace was taking about 15-20 seconds;
    Later on I came to know that the Exam center was using old Pentium-II PCs; It really sucks; These Testing centers are making money, and they don't want everybody to pass these exams; It doesnot matter for A+ or MCP Exams; Passing scores are not high; But it really makes a difference for Cisco Exams, which has a really high passing score;

    I am going to a different testing center next time.
  • 2lazybutsmart2lazybutsmart Member Posts: 1,119
    So is there anything in place for candidates who've experienced difficulties with the testing center's equipment? Loosing valuable time because of sluggish testing center equipment performance should be arguable right? If you fail a test becuase you didn't perform well, you can't blame anybody. But if your failure is due to problems the testing center won't admit (like they could easily argue that the other candidates had no problems with their computers..), what's to be done.

    Exquisite as a lily, illustrious as a full moon,
    Magnanimous as the ocean, persistent as time.
  • joegranejoegrane Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I doubt that a Pentium II would cause such slow response. The problem reminded me of a program I wrote in Basic in the late '80's on an old Commodore 128 with less than 7mhz cpu! Could there be so much encryption being used for security that a PII could not handle it?

    I complained to Vue but have not heard from them yet, less than a week later.
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