It’s pretty rare but I sometimes get an email along the following lines. I just had another one so I thought I’d write about it.
“I just failed my exam. The questions didn’t match your course. I demand an explanation/refund/apology.”
This particular instance was for an exam which 5 others members had passed using the exact same materials the failing student had used. I suppose I could become defensive but let’s break it down.
I check the syllabus as provided by the vendors and set up the lessons according to that. Every vendor adds a proviso along the lines of the syllabus is to be used as a guide and they can include other topics at their discretion. Here is what you get on Cisco’s downloadable syllabus:
“The following topics are general guidelines for the content likely to be included on the exam. However, other related topics may also appear on any specific delivery of the exam. In order to better reflect the contents of the exam and for clarity purposes, the guidelines below may change at any time without notice.”
I once sat the Cisco CCNP SWITCH exam and was grilled on EIGRP which is strictly from the CCNP ROUTE syllabus. I felt somewhat aggrieved but as you can see from the above statement, they are within their rights to do so.
All of our courses are created by people working as contractors or employees in the IT industry. This is the opposite approach every other training company uses. They hire a CCIE for example but if you check their resume, they’ve been teaching for 15 years. Back when Token Ring was still used and IPv6 was practically unheard of.
We teach so you can walk into any job and configure, install and troubleshoot. After we address this we then look at getting you through the exam.
You simply must do more work before taking the exam. You can’t just watch my videos and then spend $250 or so on an exam attempt. You must watch the videos, take notes, read around the various subjects (even Wikipedia is fine), do a ton of practice exams and then hands on labs (if your exam is a practical one).
DO NOT attempt your IT exam until you are getting at least 95% in my practice exams and you have done a large number of hands-on labs. Even for the CompTIA exams I recommend using free software and free trials so you can see how services such as DHCP work.
I strongly recommend you create your own cram guide or cram cards. This is yet another way to attack your brain and get the knowledge to sink in.
We all fail exams. Our dual CCIE Farai Tafa failed his Cisco CCNP four times in a row. I failed my CCNA first time and a few MCSE exams along the way.
It could be due to lack of preparation, super hard exam questions, exam nerves, not managing your time or just an off day.
IT is a genuinely tough career choice. It asks you for so much but if you work hard and work smart it will pay you dividends.
Lastly. It would be remiss of me not to mention my IT exam prep course on howtonetwork.com. It covers how to study, how IT exams work, dealing with exam nerves and more. There is also a huge coaching section for members covering memory techniques, speed reading, goal setting and around $1000 worth of self improvement training.
Please use this coupon link to get access for 30 days for $1:
Log in first if you are a former member.