My #FAIL at #CLUS and Cisco Testing RANT

I’m about to publicly humiliate myself by sharing today’s private humiliation. To make a long story short, I took 640-554 (CCNA Security) and got the “We Regret to Inform you, blah, blah, blah…” Actually after I’d seen the first 10 questions or so, I expected the fail. Why is this so embarrassing? Well for one, I am a CCIE Security and I’m expected to know this stuff.

So what went wrong?

The primary issue for me and this exam is that you must know the correct answers to the questions on said exam (tongue in cheek). This would include all items on the blueprint. For example, familiarity with Cisco Configuration Professional (Cisco’s current iteration of management GUI’s) is very important. I basically NEVER use CCP because I find it annoying. Additionally, there are a few REALLY subjective questions. I’m sure asking industry proven security experts these questions would result in different BEST answers.

The bottom line is that I didn’t prepare adequately and shouldn’t have assumed I didn’t need to spend significant time doing so. Fortunately, the exam was free. Like any Cisco exam, preparation (er indoctrination) is important. Luckily, it doesn’t really matter to me (other than hurting my pride a bit).

My final score was 1% from a pass mark and I believe the areas I came up short in are out of alignment with things I need to know. Therefore, I probably won’t retake it. So instead of pouting and complaining further, I bought myself a CCIE Fleece Jacket at the Cisco Live Store. Because, I still am a CCIE (hope Cisco doesn’t decide to re-evaluate that).

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About Paul Stewart, CCIE 26009 (Security)

Paul is a Network and Security Engineer, Trainer and Blogger who enjoys understanding how things really work. With over 15 years of experience in the technology industry, Paul has helped many organizations build, maintain and secure their networks and systems.
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4 Responses to My #FAIL at #CLUS and Cisco Testing RANT

  1. bigzaqui says:

    haha that’s funny :). as many have said before, Cisco sometimes needs you to think like them, and not to really know about the topics…

  2. Jerod says:

    I was wondering how many CCIEs could pass the new CCNA since they cram the newest things into it and to your point not everyone uses what’s in the test. CCP is great if you have zero CLI experience. Otherwise it’s a hinder to getting the device confg’d.

    • Paul Stewart, CCIE 26009 (Security) says:

      CCP is just a frustrating thing to me. In all fairness, it was on the blueprint.

  3. Hi Paul, I feel your pain.

    I did pass the new CCNA Security last summer. On the other hand, I have used CCP a bit – it helped me get some particularly complex (DMVPN plus IPsec VPN (remote access and site-site) plus IOS ZBFW plus QoS plus EIGRP and BGP) ISR G2 router configurations all working together.

    But it took two tries to pass the CCNP Security VPN test – and that was after having taken the 5 day class just before the first try. I failed to pass the CCNP firewall test on my try before it was retired last month. And that’s for a guy who’s been working with ASAs in many environments most days of the week for several years! You’re definitely right that you need to follow ALL the blueprint topics.

    Sorry I wasn’t able to make it out to SFO and join you all at the VIP event. Here’s hoping to next year already!

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