CCNA Practice exams an accurate representation?

Answered Question
Jun 14th, 2007

Hello everyone, :)

I took the 640-801 for the first time the other day and failed to complete the test within the 90 minute time limit. I did not get to answer the last 14 out of the 53 total questions I had, and finished with a score of 649. I have to admit that I was feeling pretty confident going into this exam, given that I have read, and understood to a satisfactory degree, both Cisco Press titles by Wendell Odom. I have also taken just about every practice test available on the CCNA Prep Center, until I was scoring in the 90's on them. I am now feeling that I may have been wrong to gauge my knowledge based on those practice exams.

When I sat down to take the exam, the questions being asked seemed to be much more intricate and detailed than those on the practice exams. I felt like everything I had studied evaporated at that moment and I was second guessing myself over topics I had felt so confident with just a day before.

When I told my co-workers of my failed attempt, one of them made a good point:

Sometimes when we are taking an exam for the first time, we go into a bit of shock. The questions we are seeing, and the formats in which they are presented, are new to us and can throw off our concentration, which causes us to panic and forget things.

I realize that I need to manage my time more efficiently next time around, however, I was wondering if anyone else had any thoughts on whether or not the practice exams on the CCNA Prep Center website are a healthy way to gauge your projected performance on the actual exam.

I respect all of your opinions very much and thank you for taking the time to read post. :)

Bobby

Technowledge Networks, Inc.

Correct Answer by christoph.ditte... about 9 years 8 months ago

Hello Bobby,

I think the practice exams on the CCNA Prep Center helped me a lot. But you cannot use them as your only gauge.

Both the Cisco and Sybex books have questions at the end of each chapter. They helped me more than the practise exam on CCO.

I also asked several colleagues who passed the test. One was a huge help, because he passed it just two weeks ago.

Three weeks ago I tried the test exams and could answer about half of the questions.

This was pretty much what I expected - even if I hoped for more. The results showed me my strong and weak areas.

For weak areas (mostly WAN) I read and summarized the chapters in the Cisco and Sybex book. For the strong areas I just read the chapters and took some notes. I also memorized the configurations I don't do every day (ACL, NAT, ISDN-DDR).

In addition I practised subnetting and wildcards until I could answer the questions in a few moments.

A week ago I tried the Prep Center again and had about 80-90% correct.

This time it showed me which details I missed.

Yesterday I could answer all questions correctly.

Please don't forget the practise exam from Thomson, it has different questions than the Cisco ones.

The result was that I passed with 949/1000 points, today. I also had a lot of time left.

I was a bit afraid of the simulations, but they were no problem at all.

I had one with an ACL and another with VLAN and switch troubleshooting.

Some tips at the end:

Read the exam questions carefully (I nearly missed a negation).

Read all answers (even if you're sure you have the correct one(s), already)

Check everything again before you click "next".

If you are nervous it can help if you take notes, before answering.

I hope you'll pass the next time.

best regards

Chris

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Correct Answer
christoph.ditte... Fri, 06/15/2007 - 10:28

Hello Bobby,

I think the practice exams on the CCNA Prep Center helped me a lot. But you cannot use them as your only gauge.

Both the Cisco and Sybex books have questions at the end of each chapter. They helped me more than the practise exam on CCO.

I also asked several colleagues who passed the test. One was a huge help, because he passed it just two weeks ago.

Three weeks ago I tried the test exams and could answer about half of the questions.

This was pretty much what I expected - even if I hoped for more. The results showed me my strong and weak areas.

For weak areas (mostly WAN) I read and summarized the chapters in the Cisco and Sybex book. For the strong areas I just read the chapters and took some notes. I also memorized the configurations I don't do every day (ACL, NAT, ISDN-DDR).

In addition I practised subnetting and wildcards until I could answer the questions in a few moments.

A week ago I tried the Prep Center again and had about 80-90% correct.

This time it showed me which details I missed.

Yesterday I could answer all questions correctly.

Please don't forget the practise exam from Thomson, it has different questions than the Cisco ones.

The result was that I passed with 949/1000 points, today. I also had a lot of time left.

I was a bit afraid of the simulations, but they were no problem at all.

I had one with an ACL and another with VLAN and switch troubleshooting.

Some tips at the end:

Read the exam questions carefully (I nearly missed a negation).

Read all answers (even if you're sure you have the correct one(s), already)

Check everything again before you click "next".

If you are nervous it can help if you take notes, before answering.

I hope you'll pass the next time.

best regards

Chris

bobwencke Mon, 06/18/2007 - 07:03

Thank you, Chris. :)

I am going to take your advice on going through the pratice questions at the end of the chapters. They seem to be more open-ended and will challenge my understanding of the topics a bit more.

Taking notes before I answer is also a good tip. :)

Thank you for your thorough response and the time you took in providing it. :)

Bobby

mark.j.hodge Mon, 06/18/2007 - 08:19

If you have the Cisco Press/Wendell Odom books make sure you get the updates, I used them as the basis for my study and was getting 75 - 80 % on average before the test. Which I passed with a score of 974.

Also do check your answers very very carefully. On one of the simulator question I had entered the IP address wrong, I hadn't noticed as I had issues elsewhere with the command. Fortunately I double checked the answer and corrected the situation.

bhavdeepsingh Mon, 06/18/2007 - 14:44

one of the tip which i can give you in your prepration is that, the topics which you think you are lacking.(like WAN). i think its always helpfull if you prepare those topics by writing them in your notepad ,cause that helps to memorise the things easily.. ANd another thing...

lets say you are not able to understand the concept of one perticular topic example, CSMA/CD and its not clear enough for you to understand in your book , search it on google. I found most of my topics on Wikipedia , its amazing.. really good language and good explaination.

i cleared my CCNA 4 days back.. and i was done 10 min before my time was getting expired..

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