ISCW Down, Three To Go

I took and passed the ISCW test today.  I was super-nervous going into it, which is weird for me, but I finally calmed down after the first few questions.  Here’s my take.  I don’t want to get into any trouble so I’m not going to include very much detail.

The testing center wasn’t very good at all.  It’s in an old building on the busiest road in town, and the noise from the street was barely dampened by the 1960s building materials.  I can tell you that there are three different pipes in the walls since their vibrations resonated through the room every time somebody flushed or brewed some coffee.  There was also a little foot traffic, which can be expected anywhere; they were working through some software problems on another testing station and were very respectful, so it wasn’t too bad.  The worst part of the whole ordeal, though, was the Microsoft class I sat through while taking the test.  They were across the hall, but it sounded like they were in the room with me.  Usually, you hear the instructor yelling at the top of his lungs so the whole class can hear, but I could hear questions being asked and papers being moved.  I think I can go pass a test of AD replication, though.  I certainly won’t be using that facility for any more tests.

The test itself was fair and pretty close to where it should be.  The questions were well rounded and covered the book from front to back.  I missed a few due to my ADD kicking in and not letting me finish reading all the answers.  At least twice, I saw a more appropriate answer just as I released the mouse from the Next button.  🙁

There were lots of interactive items- a lot more than I thought there would be or that there should be.  I can understand a few do-this-do-that things, but there were at least ten interactive questions, whether they be “put these in order”, “match the definition”, or “tell me what’s going on”.  Some of these had multiple parts that I had to click back and forth to get all the answers.  One of them in particular could have been more easily presented as an exhibit at the top of a question than a question that really zaps your time.  There were a few SDM questions, but I made it through those by clicking around until I found the info.

There were two simulations that were very straightforward and very easy.  The sim would present the scenario and tell you what the end result should be along with any details.  I found that some details had to be configured in the order the details were presented to finish the lab.  Not all of them, mind you, but enough of them to get annoying; I really expected something a little more robust.  The contextual help and autocomplete worked, though, so that’s a plus.

I had a big issue with time, and, if that happens to me, it can happen to anyone.  The test started with a multi-part interactive question that took me a long time to figure out through the nerves and discord.  I would guess that I got a simulation or interactive question in 8 of the first 11 questions, and, at one point, I looked at the clock to see I had 40 minutes and 38 questions left, so I started picking up the pace.  Luckily, after question 41, the testing gods showed mercy and ended the suffering.

Overall, I give the test an 8 out of 10.  It was very honest and frank with none of the nonesense of trying to trick me.  All of the problems I had were either from my lack of knowledge or my being so easily distracted this morning.  As Cisco goes, it’s not a bad test at all.

Send any ear plugs questions my way.