Feedback for Cisco

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Sep 5th, 2007
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I took the CCVP GW/GK course yesterday and failed. Got 770 and needed 825 to pass. In the end I ran out of time and with 60 questions I got to the simulation question near the end (57th question as I recall) with only 3 min to spare. While I knew the config by heart and was making good progress on it I couldn't complete it before the exam ended. In the end I had to cut it short to take wild guesses at the last three questions which I didn't even have time to read. I can live with not passing the exam the first time around. I'm fairly confident I will pass it next time.

The first thing that upsets me is the usual mismatch between the test content and the recommended Cisco Press Book for the exam. (Side note: Without giving anything away there are several scenario questions which seem to require you to know some obscure ISDN configuration commands that are not mentioned anywhere in the Cisco Press GW/GK book.)

Some will point out that the Cisco Press GW/GK book is not "officially" an "exam certification guide" but for most of us who can't afford to take the official course it is our principal reference souce. Cisco should recognize the obvious and tailor the contents of its exams to specific recommended Cisco Press study guides. All test takers would benefit.

What I really want to vent about however is something entirely different. When I got back to the office and mentioned that I failed the exam one of my colleagues discreetly sends me an email with "some sfuff that will help you pass". Not sure what it was I opened the attatchment and it turns out to be the TestKing "study exam" for the GK/GW test. It was like looking at a carbon copy of the exam I just wrote!!!

In my mind the availability of these brain dump exams has completely compromised the value to cisco's associate and professional certification programs. Let me put it more bluntly... any idiot can now easily get any cisco professional level certification for the cost of a few brain dump exams.

As someone who has made an honest effort to learn this material the hard way I'm angry about how meaningless the credential is going to be once I finish it.

I would like to offer the following feedback to the folks responsible for cisco's certification program...

1) Your certification program is badly broken at the associate and professional level. These credentials offer no assurance to any employer that a candidate has any of the expected level of expertise.

2) Are you suing the hell out of the companies provided these brain dump exams? If not you should be.

3) You are on the right track with adding simulation questions to your professional level exams. If anything more of these are needed. I for one would support a new exam format featuring say 15-20 simulation questions over a 2-hour period drawn at random from a pool of say 200 simulation questions. (As opposed to the current typical exam model which seems to be 60 or so multiple choice questions with one or two simulations thrown in.) The typical multiple choice questions are to easily compromised. This approach would stop brain dump users dead in there tracks and restore some credibility to the program.

4) Worth mentioning that this is the first exam I've written at a Peason-Vue testing center. Based on the "What to expect at the testing center" presentation on your website I went in their expecting that they would take a biometric finger print reading, my digital photograph, a recording of my signature on a digital pad, etc and that I would be "monitored" by an observer the entire time I was writing the test. In fact none of this stuff happened. Other than having to present the usual two pieces of ID it was no different the any exam I've ever taken with Prometric.

5) I hope cisco will take these complaints seriously. As an organization that seems to pride itself on its professionalism I would hope that addressing this kind of nonsense will be made a corporate priority.


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