Review of CCIE Wireless v2 Written BETABy CWNP On 10/10/2011 - 19 Comments
I sat for the CCIE Wireless v2 Written BETA exam last Thursday (10/6). I went in cold turkey, no studying. For me, the exam had a twofold purpose; the first was to do a bit of recon on the exam itself for my own future study prep, and the second was to evaluate and learn from the exam quality since I am in the exam and content business.
Having taken only a few Cisco exams in the past and having had good experiences on them, my expectations were fairly high. My general thoughts were this: I expected the CCIE to be almost insanely deep and difficult; I expected the questions and answers to be very precisely written and worded; and I fully expected to “strike my colors.” I want to share how the actual BETA exam matched [or not] my expectations. Respecting the NDA process, I’ll tow the line about exam details, but hopefully I can avoid being so generic as to render my article useless.
My first surprise in the exam room was that the test was not as difficult as I expected. Sure, there were some questions covering important minutiae (oxymoron?) that requires detailed product knowledge. However, the majority of questions were, in my opinion, of medium/moderate difficulty, with several relatively easy ones in the mix. If you understand the technology from a vendor-neutral perspective (CWNA+) and have some amount of hands-on experience with the Cisco products, you should be able to reason through a number of the questions. Others simply require that you read the manuals and design/deployment guides.
Pass/fail results are unknown until several weeks after the BETA phase, but I expect to fail—since I didn’t study. :) Even so, I believe that the exam difficulty is on the mark for a CCIE written.
In terms of language usage, style, and clarity, most questions were OK, but far too many questions and answer options were rendered as if written by an ESL student. No offense to non-native English speakers/writers, but for a premium certification from Cisco, I expected a higher standard of writing. Of course, you could tally up a few deficiencies as simple BETA shortcomings, but I felt that for paying customers ($50 is no big deal really), even the BETA exam should be written and edited with a little greater attention. The exam was fairly raw, containing some questions that were completely unanswerable.
Final Comments and Suggestions (FCS)
My compliments to Cisco for building such a successful and well-respected certification program (aka - mindshare empire). The CCIE written exam does a fine job of testing important, detailed content that demonstrates an engineer’s knowledge of the Cisco products and to a lesser extent, the technology. My experience of the wireless BETA exam was mostly positive. Questions were on target, covering the breadth of blueprint topics in a meaningful way. But, even considering that it's still in BETA stage, it didn’t match the quality of my previous Cisco certification experiences. I give Cisco some grace for BETA, but I’d certainly expect them to discover and smooth out the many kinks, delivering a solid final CCIE Wireless exam, which I will review in a few months.