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BlueWolf's Howl

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June 21, 2009


Well, I'm sure thousands of people are checking this site to see how I did. Yeah. But anyway, I guess I should finally post that I blew that exam. There goes $250...

It actually came as quite a surprise. I knew the material thoroughly. I was a little short in the area of the SDM, but that didn't matter. I sucessfully navigated the simulations and found the screens that I needed to answer the questions. Navigating it was a bit rough at first, but I got it. I know I got those answers - and the little printout at the end of the test confiirmed it. I did reasonably well on that section. However, I took so long on navigating the SDM that I know I was falling behind on time. But I put a move on it and finished all the questions. I clicked next on the last question and was very disappointed. I thought I had passed. There was no material on the exam that I hadn't gone over before. I've even read the recommended reading books before I saw the recommendation. It was a heartbreaker.

Fortunately, they resumed the performance report section of the exam report. I did very well on knowing the security threats, securing Cisco routers, and mitigating common Layer 2 attacks. That was expected. I did reasonably well on the * - using SDM sections. Where I tanked the test was in the area of ACLs.

??? What ??? ACLs? I've been working with (and testing on) ACLs since 1998. How could that have possibly been a show-stopper? So then I sat and thought about it for a while. Yeah. Rushing. That's never good when looking at an ACL.

I went over the SkillSoft Express Guide for the exam. The Express Guide is actually a slideshow of all the slides used in the instructor-led class. I didn't see anything in there that I hadn't already digested while reading the Cisco Press book. And at least I know there's not an overwhelming amount of sims, testlets and drag and drop questions. I think that now knowing how to navigate the SDM - it won't take me so long on that part and I can slow down a bit and look at the questions more closely. I'm going to wait my 5 days and go for it again. I should be fine with a bit more time for each question.

Speaking of SkillSoft Express Guides... I started looking for materials for the next test. Out of the 4 exams it would take to get the CCSP, the next one I'm shooting at is the IPS exam [642-533]. This was a bit discomforting.... The book doesn't exist. Luckily the Express Guide for the exam is on the SkillSoft site. The class is $3000. Not an option. I guess the 533 version of the test is the newest one and they haven't written the Study Guide yet. My next step was to look for the 642-532 Study Guide. Well, hells bells - it's out of print! The closest I could find was a book on Intrusion Prevention Fundamentals - and the only one of those I could find was through a B&N reseller. However, in my search I ran across an online copy of the Fundamentals book -- on Safari. And dontcha know - that's the only place the 532 study guide is available too...

Safari was a very big expense last time I subscribed. Then again, I also had an aversion to reading a book online at that time. Since then I've devoured quite a few. I rejoined - but at the lower rate. Granted, I'm limited to 5 books a month - but with the huge books that I'm reading... well, how many of those can you really read cover-to-cover in a month anyway? And I think the $9.99 is much more reasonable than the $40-50 a month that the full Library subscription requires. And the good news is : I don't have to deal with a ton of heavy books piling up on me and the hassle of getting rid of them.

Posted by BlueWolf on June 21, 2009 11:59 AM