Archive for the ‘fail’ tag
It’s pretty widely known that I hate Cisco 3750 switches. We’ve had so many hardware and software failures with them that I’ve got a seriously bad taste in my mouth. Since I’m leaving for a new company, I thought I’d publish some statistics while I still have access to the numbers.
Total TAC cases opened related to 3750s: 21
Number of 3750G-12S-S replaced: 21
Number of 3750G-24TS replaced: 7
Total number of RMAs issued: 28
Total number of 3750s in the company: ~120
Failure rate: 23.3%
I can accept a handful of failures, but 23%?!?!? That’s one fine platform you’ve developed there, Cisco. Keep up the good work.
I did my standard 2ish-hour drive to the closest testing center today to take the SWTCH test (642-813). Utter failure. That’s 3 for those scoring at home.
The test was the absolute worst I’ve ever taken. I know that I complain a lot, but this is totally justified in my eyes. My 4th grade spelling tests were better than this. I’ve seen kindergarten plays with better production value.
First of all, it was poorly written. Whoever wrote those questions has a few pieces of information about English sentence structure missing from their skill set. A sentence needs a verb, right? Well, a lot of the sentences were missing those. It’s kind of important to know what the whole point of the sentence is, or is that too much to ask? The “drag this over here” exercise questions all started with the same 13-word phrase that left the question so long that it was unreadable. A couple of commas would have been nice in some. Others I just had to infer from the answers what they were trying to ask.
There were lots of spelling errors as well. Most of them were just stupid stuff like switched letters or missing characters, but, at one point, I had to figure out that I needed to look at the “router” instead of the “route”. That’s not really cool. The misspellings were so bad that they were actually misspelling the hostnames on the diagrams provided. Does anyone even try any more?
Let’s talk about the technical level of the test. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear I was taking a CCNA test. The technical material was so elementary that it bordered on comical. If I recall correctly (which I never do), there were about 3 questions on trunking which were so easy that my wife could answer them. There were about 4 FHRP questions that were out of the “Cisco for Dummies” book. I could go on, but I have better things about which to complain.
“So,” you might ask, “why did you fail it if it was so easy?” That’s a great question. I failed it because the name of the test is misleading. When Cisco says “Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks”, they really mean “Collecting Documentation About VLANs.” There were at least four questions on this test that asked what information you need to collect before implementing some unknown step of a project involving VLANs. Sometimes, the reference was to rollback plans. Sometimes it discussed IP assignments. Sometimes it even talked about collecting user requirements. It seemed that nearly half of the questions on the test discussed planning for making changes or preparing change documentation. There was very little “implementing.”
To top it all off, too, one of my labs froze. I entered a command into a router, and it didn’t come back. I couldn’t change to the other lab windows, either (the “Scenario” or “Topology” windows included), but my timer kept ticking. I could click around in the testing software, but the lab itself was toast. I got the administrator who helped me out a bit after the machine was rebooted. I didn’t run out of time or anything, but getting up to find help to troubleshoot a problem really throws you off.
How about some closing words? First of all, I have given up on the Cisco Press books and other materials. Each time I use them they have little to no coverage about topics on the test itself. The ISCW was that way, and we all know about my problems with the ONT. I figured that those were just aged text, but SWITCH is only a month or two old, isn’t it? That means the test hasn’t had that much time to change, but the materials are totally different already.
I actually have an example of the books leading the reader directly away from the test materials. I’m reading from the “CCNP SWITCH 642-813 Quick Reference” book by Donohue. On page 8, it discusses the PPDIOO lifecycle approach.
Network engineers at the CCNP level will likely be involved at the implementation and following phases. They can also participate in the design phase.
That doesn’t make any sense, does it? Didn’t I just say that there were a good number of questions on preparation (the first P) and planning (the second P). Both of those come before the design phase.
Somebody help me out here. What am I missing? Is there some magical book series that has the answers?
I should have bought testing vouchers in bulk when they were $150.
UPDATE: It seems that the idea of seeing topics on the exam that aren’t are the test go beyond just me. I’m getting in touch with as many people related to the SWITCH book as I can to let them know that this is a serious problem. I’m sure I’ll have a post or two on the outcome of that effort.
It’s not what you think.
I was talking with a buddy online last night, and he made a good point. If you keep putting off taking a test, you’ll never make any progress. I took that to heart, went online, and scheduled another sitting of ONT for today at 3pm at the closest center. I took the day off, too, so I could get some tax stuff done and get over to the center and back before dinner. I got some really good rest last night for sure, too, and had some very productive study time before heading off for my day’s adventures.
I ran my errands and headed over to Statesboro, GA, for the test. There’s a technical college over there that’s the closest testing center to the house, thought still an hour and a half drive for me. On the way over there, I was going over 802.11e stuff in my head and generally enjoying the sunny and warm day. I pulled into the school and noticed that they were repaving the parking lot up front where I usually park. No biggie. I pulled around back and noticed there were 5 cars in the whole lot. Last week when I was there, there were at least 200 people there signing up for classes, but there was no one around today. I didn’t think much of it, though; it was late in the afternoon on a Friday, and I figured everyone just bolted for home early.
It’s an open campus with buildings all around a few courtyards. I walked around the building in the back (I have no idea what building that was) and walked towards the Assessment Center where the tests are given. The long drive was taking a toll, so I stopped by the main building to heed nature’s call. The door was locked. So was the door to the next building. So was the door to the Assessment Center. It was dark. Nobody was there. I finally found a sign that said everyone was on furlough until next Tuesday. Nice.
I called Pearson and told them the story. They verified I was in the right place and there at the right time. They even called the testing center to see if they could find anyone, but, of course, no one answered. The support person with whom I spoke told me that their team would have to get in touch with the testing center to see what had happened and that they would contact me when it was all straightened out. They were very apologetic for the mixup and promised to straighten everything out.
I guess we’ll see what happens on Tuesday. Of course all of this means another half day off of work and another 150 miles on the car. Will I ever get to pass this test?
The Director’s Commentary is here again. Let me know if you like the audio, or if I should burn my terrible voice with fire.