ROUTE – Epic Fail (#1?)

I took the ROUTE test today and failed like I usually do.  That makes me 3-4 on these P-level tests if you’re scoring at home.  Don’t worry, though.  I’m not giving up.  🙂

In atypical fashion, I must say that the ROUTE test was a good test.  Let me say that again.  The ROUTE test was a good test.  I said good, though…not great.  There were a few problems with it that I’ll get to, but, overall, this is the best test I’ve ever taken for a Cisco cert.  The questions were very well-written and there were no obvious omissions or wrong details.  I failed this test because I simply didn’t put in enough work.

It wouldn’t be a complete test experience without a workstation crash, though, and I had one right away.  The test guy logged me in, and I started the test.  Like all of the Cisco tests, this one started with the same tutorial that walks you through how to use the interface and whatnot; I’ve gone this enough times, so I didn’t need to look at that again.  I clicked “End Tutorial” and was asked to confirm.  When I clicked “Yes”, the desktop (sans icons) was showing unexpectedly, and nothing was happening.  I waited for 3 minutes before asking for help.  This center hadn’t ever given a Cisco test (they just got the stuff to give Vue tests), so they called up Vue’s support for some answers.  It seems that this is a known problem (with this test?), and a hard reboot would fix it.  It did, and I found myself back in the game.

Like I said before, the test was good.  I might even give it a very good if not for the lockup.  Every question was clearly written by what seemed to be an English-speaking author.  There were no difficult phrases that I had to read over and over again to interpret.  When I read the question, it was obvious what I was being asked to do.  I didn’t have to guess like a lot of the questions on the SWITCH test, and, let me tell you, having a verb in every sentence makes things easier.  I also only had one or two questions where I had to infer a piece of missing information.  It usually helps if you have all the information, and this test did a really good job of doing such in comparison to the last 8589248 tests I’ve taken.

There was one particular question that I found annoying, though, and I let someone have it in the comment section.  A diagram showed a about 10 routes all interconnected in various patterns with the Internet and data center connected into the mesh.  Each link had a number on it with no description of what it was…it was just a number.  The question asked how many possible paths there were from the data center to the Internet if a certain setting change was made (I don’t want to violate NDA here).  Well, the setting had a lot to do with routes submitted to the RTM, and question didn’t ask about routes.  It specifically said paths.  I counted 18 different paths from one end of the network to the other.  Too bad the answers were in the low single digits.  I just guessed at that one since I had no idea what they were asking.

As you figured out by now, this is yet another testing center.  I think this makes the 7th one I’ve tried over my testing career, and it was a duesy.  This one is only 30 minutes away, so it’s much more convenient than all the others, so it’s got that going for it.  The building it’s in is pretty old, but the room is well insulated from the outside.  On top of that, the town it’s in is a sleepy little fishing/tourist village, so all the traffic is at the other end of the road which makes for a very quiet facility.  The people were great, too.  They were helpful and apologetic about the lockup (even though I assured them it was a Vue problem like I’d seen in the past).  Plus, do you know any testing center with a view like this?  🙂  I’ll definitely go back there again for my tests.

Moral of the Story:  Cisco put out a good test, but I’m too lazy to pass it.

[audio:http://aconaway.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/ROUTE-Epic-Fail.mp3|titles=ROUTE – Epic Fail]

Aaron Conaway

I shake my head around sometimes and see what falls out. That's what lands on these pages.

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9 comments for “ROUTE – Epic Fail (#1?)

  1. July 8, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    sorry for you and admire your powerful will
    good luck at 2nd chance – is this the last one for NP?

  2. July 8, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks, Rofi. Yes, this is the last one. I’m just going to power through this one and get rid of the looming deadline. 🙂

  3. Chris Bennett
    July 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Sorry to here Aaron – your notes have been such a good resource for myself and I’m sure others. Was it failing to remember particular pieces of information, or the general difficulty of the questions?

  4. Jason
    July 11, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Hi Aaron. Sorry to hear about the test. I would venture to guess that it’s fairly common for people to take Cisco certification tests at least twice before passing. Three out of the four tests I took twice and was only a few points from passing on the first failed attempt each time. The BCMSN test was the only one out of the four that I passed on the first try. By the way, you keep mentioning the deadline, but I didn’t think it applied in your situation. Even though you took the ISCW, ONT, and BCMSN, they are still valid after July 31st (you just can’t take them any longer). You could pass the ROUTE test in August and still get the cert. The only way you’d be in a pickle is if you had passed the ISCW and were going for the ONT or vice versa. If you didn’t finish the second of the two tests before July 31st, you would then have to start studying for and take the TSHOOT, which would mean wasted time spent on the ISCW and ONT. Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong. On another note, is that Chris Bennett from MTM?

  5. July 11, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Chris: Again, I’m glad that someone is reading the notes other than me. There were a handful of questions that were harder than I expected, but I think most of the problem was from my not knowing the materials completely enough. I’ll get it next time, I’m sure.

    Jason: Thanks for the words, my friend. I am in the same boat myself; I only miss each failure by a few points. I’m definitely keeping at it, though. I think the BSCI and BCMSN tests will be valid for 3 years after passing them, but the ONT and ISCW test will expire on 31 July and no longer be valid. Several Cisco presentations I’ve seen/read all make a distinction between the R&S tests and the ONT and ISCW, and our training provider also makes that distinction. I’m fine, though, since I have many more chances to pass the test before the deadline. 🙂

  6. Jason
    July 12, 2010 at 8:28 am

    I see what you are saying about the ONT and ISCW not being valid after 7/31. I logged into the Cisco Certification Tracking System and for the BSCI and BCMSN I see “Valid beginning 04/01/2007” with no end date. For the ISCW and ONT, I see “Valid 04/01/2007 – 07/31/2010.” I’ll have to make sure to check this in the future when Cisco is in the process of changing tests.

  7. Chris Bennett (cgb)
    July 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Aaron: Thanks for your response. It’s frustrating to fail the exams, as you psyche yourself up entering the exam, and then exit deflated… 🙂 I missed the BSCI by a few points last month, and have subsequently passed it… Now I’m just planning the BCMSN booking before 31 July. Your notes have been helpful to me as you enumerate loudly through the set of questions that expand your understanding – it’s helped me to do the same through the content I’m focusing on.

    Jason: must be another Chris Bennett – I live in Australia.

  8. July 12, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Aaron,

    Sorry to hear that you didn’t pass. Maybe I’m just not good at taking tests, but I’ve never passed a Cisco test on the first try. I’ve also never taken a test more than twice either. Whither I pass a test or not, it always feels good to get it over with. The 2nd time around is never as bad. I’m a lot less stressed.

    I hope you do well on the next one!

    -Blake

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