SWITCH – Epic Regression

Just because I like giving more money to Pearson Vue, I took the BCMSN test today to see how I would do.  I passed with no problem.

In my mind, the CCNP is a technical certification, so I expect to be tested on technical topics.  Are there topics beyond technology that P-levels should know?  Of course there are, but I really don’t think whole chunks of the test should be about a preparation plan and rollback procedures.  The BCMSN had a lot more technical questions at a much higher level of expertise; it seems much better suited to the CCNP track than the SWITCH test did.

I was really surprised at how many questions today were repeats from the SWITCH test last week.  Of the three lab exercises I worked, two of them were exactly the same as last week.  I would venture to guess that there were also 8 to 10 repeated multiple choice questions.  It seems that this is going against my argument of being more technical, though, doesn’t it?  If you mix in the remaining questions that were at a much higher technical level, you wind up with a pretty darn good test.

I’ve really got nothing more to say about the BCMSN.  It’s a good test with an appropriate level of technical (and paper-pushing) detail.  I’m very glad I was able to take it before the 31 July 2010 deadline, and I advise anyone who needs the SWITCH test to try and do the same.

The next stop is ROUTE (642-902) for me.  I’m taking a class on that one soon, so I’m confident I can pass it in the next 11 weeks we have left until the deadline.

Audio commentary
[audio:http://aconaway.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/SWITCH-Epic-Regression.mp3|titles=SWITCH – Epic Regression]

Aaron Conaway

I shake my head around sometimes and see what falls out. That's what lands on these pages. If you have any questions, the best way to contact me is through Twitter at @aconaway.

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9 comments for “SWITCH – Epic Regression

  1. May 10, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    at the end of the day passing is all you should care about.
    good luck with ROUTE, I hope it won’t be the same story all over again

  2. May 11, 2010 at 3:09 am

    what class are you going to take for the 902?

  3. FJ
    May 11, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I’m having SWITCH exam on Monday. Is reading of official study guide enought to cover all “design&processes” question is this exam? thank for any tip regarding SWITCH

  4. May 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Rofi: Thanks a lot. I’ve had so much trouble with the other tests that I hope my bad karma is worn away by now.

    Sebastian: Thanks. I’m taking Global Knowledge’s ROUTE class. It should help me out a lot with the material. You know me, though; I’ll complain about it if I it doesn’t. 🙂

    FJ: Good luck on your test, mate. I don’t mean to scare you, but the certification guide does not have NEARLY enough material on the PPDIOO process. I advise that you read over the link below and brainstorm as to what you would do in each situation. Think of the documents you would collect, the information you must find, and the steps you would take to put them into one place. I would also read up on IP SLA, SNMP, and syslog, as those are all on the test but not in the book.


  5. Iain
    May 14, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I am currently studying for the SWITCH exam. So far I’ve got the video material and Official Certification Guide both by Hucaby. After doing some research, I’m thinking my study materials are going to be grossly inadequate! I’m starting to get very frustrated with Cisco on this.
    Why is it that the CCNA is chock full of excellent *comprehensive* resources from 3rd party authors, but for certs beyond NA level we can must rely on poorly written and often irrelevant CiscoPress materials!?

    Is it too much to ask for a single huge book to cover a single test?! I can see why we would need a pile of books for the IE level cert, but this is NP. Is Cisco just trying to make a profit by selling us tons of fragmented cert materials? If not, why don’t they consolidate the training resources and simply things?

    My “Official Certification Guide” has zero practical instruction on PPDIOO and all the other non-technical topics on the test. How can they call it a guide if it doesn’t offer guidance on the most critical test topics?

    This whole issue just doesn’t make sense to me. I want to learn what they expect me to know to do the work and pass the test. Can’t they give us a comprehensive resource which can be used to gain the knowledge required to obtain certification?

    Instead of learning content, I spend a significant amount of time just trying to pick out all the extraneous crap that I don’t need and then identify the stuff that isn’t even covered!

    I took (and failed) the BCMSN a couple years ago. There were wireless questions on the test that were in no way covered in any of the training materials. Several of the questions involved issues that had to do with interpreting error codes in the flashing light sequences of the the Aeronet wireless PCMCIA card. I don’t care if it’s a crummy test with stupid questions. I just want my training material to *comprehensively* address the topics on the test! I think the study guide people are seriously out of sync with the test writers.

  6. May 14, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I feel your pain, Iain. If you follow my ONT path, you’ll see the same complaints from me about not having adequate topic coverage in the guides. I was bitten over and over again by the wireless questions about thing like initial configuration of WLCs and management interfaces of the APs which are not even mentioned in the book. I just chalked that up to the fact that the book was 2 years old and the test was being retired so it wasn’t cost effective to put out a new book. When me (and lots of other people) see the same problems with brand new tests and books, it makes you wonder exactly what’s going on. I don’t expect the book to have the answers to every question verbatim; hell, I want to be challenged by seeing topics from different angles. I do, however, expect that large swaths of topics on the test at least be mentioned in the books.

    Enough complaining for one post. I’ll complain more later like I always do. 🙂

  7. John
    June 2, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I’ll be buying the “CCNP Routing and Switching Official Certification Library (Exams 642-902, 642-813, 642-832)”
    [ http://www.ciscopress.com/bookstore/product.asp?isbn=1587202247 ]
    which has the “CCNP SWITCH 642-813 Official Certification Guide” [ http://www.ciscopress.com/bookstore/product.asp?isbn=1587202433 ] in it. I’m wondering if the above current Cisco Press books with get an update soon as they are supposed to contain all the material you might need. It’s a little worrying if the book content is incomplete. Then again, the lack of content might be the differentiating factor between the “Exam Certification” series and the “Foundation Learning” series of Cisco Press books.

    The increased focus on the design (PPDIOO) elements in the SWITCH exam might be because the SWITCH exam (and the ROUTE too) form part of the CCDP certification requirements as well as the CCNP. In fact, after you get the ROUTE and SWITCH sorted (and the TSHOOT to satisfy the the CCNP) it would only take an ARCH exam to become a CCDP, “Cisco Certified Design Professional”.

    I’ve just sat the CCDA but I would like to return to more technical content, so my plan is SWITCH -> ROUTE -> TSHOOT… then maybe ARCH later in the year (or early next year).

    Good luck with the exams!

  8. June 7, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Hi, John. The editors of the Cisco Press books assure me that the SWITCH book is getting an update via their website to fill the gaps. Until then, though, I consider that book very incomplete. No word on a new print version, though, so lots of people will be lost thinking the book will cover everything for them. The ROUTE book isn’t supposed to have the same problems, but I have no first-hand experience with it yet. An unnamed instructor supports the rumor that ROUTE is complete and SWITCH is worthless for the test.

  9. Jason
    October 20, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Well I just sat for the SWITCH exam and yes the book is no where near enough to pass the exam. Add to that the fact that I took the course and I have been doing switching at a 5000+ employee base company for over 4 years that is primarily Cisco, STP is heavily used, and it still was not enough. If anyone knows of a good resource other than the crappy SWITCH prep guide from Cisco, please let me know. The exam is pure garbage!!!!

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