Friday, July 11, 2008

Nice comment from Jared Scrivener about the wording used at the CCIE Lab Exam

I´ve just finished reading  this nice comment about the CCIE Exam from Jared Scrivener, CCIE2 #16983 (R&S, Security), CISSP - IPExpert Instructor - at Online Study List. Good words for us following our way to the CCIE Certification.

You can check the Original Post at Online Study List R&S Section!


Hey guys,

I thought I'd post a comment here to dispel a popular myth.

The CCIE is NOT a language exam more than a technical exam. If you KNOW what you are doing, and what it will affect, the questions are clear and straightforward.

If anything, the materials written by vendors like us prefer to err on the side of vagueness, rather than give away the answer - we do this so that in your pondering of what we are asking you consider alternative options. It is intentional, but sometimes annoying - that is why we have OSL for you to request clarification. :)

I only say this as I don't want people to feel that they have an additional battle to fight on top of the technical one - the exams from Cisco (in my experience) are challenging but clearly worded. If they use "strange" wording it is probably copied and pasted from the DocCD (much like a lot of our questions are if we do the same thing).

It is my opinion (as both a student and instructor) that for the most part the real CCIE lab exam questions are clearer but ALSO easier than ours, and the two are intertwined. We add ambiguity as a challenge and we push you harder. I could easily write a question that says "do this" and "do that" and you could follow it and configure it, but that wouldn't push you enough, nor teach you as broadly. When we write materials we often write questions
in such a way that your mind will consider many different answers.

Effectively we've tested you and trained you on multiple things, which direct questioning cannot do.

I found it frustrating at times as a student when I would configure a question differently to how the author of the PG did. But after looking at both mine and their solution, and identifying both the correct and incorrect elements of each, and realising I could interpret the questions differently and the nuances of each method the light bulb went on for me: I was ready to pass.

Some people often post questions as to other ways the question could be interpreted - keep doing that, as it stimulates discussion and forces thought.

The critical thinking ability is NOT what the lab tests for, but it IS what will ensure that you know you are ready to pass (and it will ensure that when you get CCIE-level jobs, you are prepared for them as the real world is oftentimes stranger than the lab).

As Einstein said - "Any fool can know. The point is to understand."


Jared Scrivener CCIE2 #16983 (R&S, Security), CISSP
Technical Instructor - IPexpert, Inc.
Telephone: +1.810.326.1444
Fax: +1.810.454.0130

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