Saturday, March 13, 2010

CCNP SWITCH Exam - why I failed...

So, last Friday morning I turn up to my local test centre ready to face the 642-813 Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks exam. I had done the labs, read the books (David Hucaby's Official Certification Guide and the Foundation Learning Guide that accompanies the Cisco Networking Academy course), I had also passed my CCNP SWITCH Networking academy course with flying colours. So passing the certification exam was going to achievable wasn't it...WASN'T IT?

After 2 hours I knew I had failed even before the screen pinged up with my score. Close but no cigar. After the initial frustration (taken out on the interior of my car) I ran through the exam result sheet which clearly showed the Simulators sticking out like a sore thumb. Trying to think back at the questions I had faced also revealed another area - 'Planning'?.

Finally, I did a Google search for 'Failed CCNP SWITCH exam' and it was then that 2 + 2 made 4. On forums and chat rooms across the web one acronym kept turning up - BCMSN.

BCMSN! after smacking my fore head for being such a dumb ass I came to the realisation that that was what had let me down. I had used the old CBT Nuggets videos on the BCMSN. I had sourced abridged notes on the BCMSN study material (publically available from your popular studying blogs) combining them with the official SWITCh material I thought I had every thing covered. But I hadn't.

The new CCNP SWITCH focuses on practical hands on tasks required in such roles as a Network Engineer, BUT and here is the crux of my failure, it also focuses on the Preparation, Planning, Design, Implementation, Operation and Optimisation of a network. Some of the area's were tested thoroughly on the BCMSN exam but Preparation, Planning, and Design certainly weren't.

And so there I had it. I had nailed the practical stuff but dropped short on the Preparation, Planning and Design.

So what I am going to do? Well between now and 3 weeks time when I sit this exam again I'll be looking back at Chapter 1 - PPDIOO and tailoring my lab work against each criteria. Goodbye BCMSN videos and  material and hello harder studying.

A (£117) lesson learnt. The hard way.


  1. I just failed my Switch exam, I could not believe i saw nasty simulations... I failed with a 776 with a passing score of 790.. I'm really depressed as i really got into the labs and officially took a cisco class. Well, I'll have to try harder, i seriously wasnt ready for so many simlets.. At the end, i kinda of freaked out and almost ran outta of time.. i thought i would pass... and then it pinged me "we regret to inform"... i didnt... what a bad taste in my mouth! I spent lots of money on this and I'm a network engineer... in real life, i seriously dont use as much stuff as it had...

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