Friday, August 19, 2005


I woke up this morning optimistic and somewhat excited, and now I'm bummed with a slight afertaste of hopelessness. Today I failed the test to recertify my CCNA. This is the sixth industry certification test I've taken, and the first one I have failed. A few years ago I passed the test with less studying and certainly less knowledge and experience. To be honest, I don't feel my problem is knowledge of the material. I have poor reading comprehension and I read slowly. When given questions that I know are designed to trick me, I slowly read the questions many times to ensure that I understand. This timed test has questions in many different formats, from true/false to detailed scenarios with router or switch simulations. I found early on in the test that I would not be able to read the questions enough times to truly comprehend while still having time to finish the test. I rushed through the exam with "pretty sure" rather than "certain" being my new threshold to move onto the next bastard of a question. All the while a little timer ticks away in the corner - tick, tick, tick. I ended up with around 10 questions left with just a couple minutes to finish and just randomly clicked on things in the off chance I would get one of those right. In the end I got a 792 out of a needed 849. I loose. Do not pass go, thanks for your $120. I felt rather focused when I took the test, and I think I was going about as fast as I could so I'm not so sure what the outcome of the next test will be. At this point I'm just thinking that I need to hope for different questions, different luck, or a brain transplant. Is it possible to re-train your brain to have more focus and to read in a completely new and more efficient way when you are 28-years-old?


  1. i'm sorry this didn't go quite the way we hoped... :( i can imagine how disappointed you're feeling, but i really feel that you should give it another go next week. take a couple of days to recoup, but i think you owe it to yourself and all the studying you put in to try again, especially since you're so solid on the knowledge part. maybe knowing that you have to go even faster next time will get you into an even more focused zone to make it possible. is there any option to go ahead to the next question so that you can do the ones you're sure about first and then go back to the not-so-sure ones, or do you have to go in order?

  2. The last time I took the test I was able to mark questions and return to them. This time the test did not give you an option to return to a question. This makes it much harder, especially given that some of the questions are simulations expected to take around 10 minutes. Further, they straight up tell you at the beginning of the test "hey, some of these questions won't even count, and some will be heavily weighted, good luck fucker - o'doyle rules"

  3. Ugg. Sorry to hear about that. "Go get 'em next time, fucker - O'Doyle sucks balls" or something like that. Not really sure what that means, but I hope that it helps. If in some way that sentence winds up being insulting to you - then I actually meant the opposite.

    As for a 28 y/o being able to re program their brain... Yeah, I would say so. But there is also the chance that you don't need to reprogram at all. We might be able to install a usb2 connector right to your brain stem. : )

  4. O'Doyle is from Billy Madison, one of the greatest movies ever in my opinion. It seems that the cisco forums and google groups are overflowing with rage-filled network engineers like myself. I'm still bummed, but misery loves company right?

  5. Sorry Ryan. I wish I had something else to say. I took the CCNA study classes but because I could not understand the guys english I felt unsure about taking the exam. I am in the same boat about having to re-read questions and even say them one word at a time to understand what they are asking. This is why I hate to read technical manuals because sometimes everything just jumbles together.

    I never took my exam in the fear of going through the same thing you went through and forking out the cash for what, for them to tell me I F'd up? I like to blame it on my instructor for not speaking clear enough english but in the end, it is my own fault for not re-reading the book over and over.

    Hope you make it up and pass it.