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  1. Junior Member
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    Linux+, Project+, A+, CCNA, CCNA Voice, CCNA Security, CCDA, CCNP
    #1

    Default CCDA - Failed (25 points shy)

    Hey folks!

    Just wanted to share my experience with everyone, and hopefully get some feedback as well.

    I've read countless horror stories of folks failing this exam and speaking of how unfair it is. Seems like if there's 1 person that says it was pass-able, or even easy, there's 10 people claiming how ridiculously convoluted it is. Just so you have some background on my qualifications and experience, I've been in the networking field for a little over 4 years, I have a 2 yr degree in networking and my certs include: CCNA, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice and CCNP RS. I've also been studying for the CCNP Security.

    I'll be honest, this exam humbled me. I thought I was going in prepared after reading everyone else's input and horror stories, but apparently I was wrong. I watched the CBT Nuggets videos and read the OCG and highlighted what I felt to be relevant material - 2 weeks prior to scheduling the exam. During these last 2 weeks, I've gone through the CBT Nuggets twice, re-read all the tables, exam topics and highlighted material. I don't even know how many hours of studying I put in these last 2 weeks.

    Here's the bad part - I'm not sure what to do differently to pass. I read about people complaining about material that wasn't even in the OCG. I don't feel like I got any of those questions. I feel like I got the "easier" version of the test (if there is one). For the most part, I thought I KNEW all the answers. I would say there were a lot, maybe even half, of questions that were incredibly vague, or poorly written though.

    So, what can I do differently to pass this? Everything on my score sheet was passing except a 78% and a 50% (routing protocols). I didn't even have any "hard" questions on routing protocols per se - nothing like OSPF LSAs, etc. I was really surprised to see the fail sign at the end.

    Hope you guys can help... I'd hate to give up on this guy after investing so much time in it already, but on the other hand I don't want to flush another $250 down the drain.

    Thanks so much!

    mitch
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  3. Senior Member koz24's Avatar
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    #2
    Sorry to hear that. Have you checked out CCDA Simplified by Daniel Gheorghe? It might help you on your next attempt.
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  4. Junior Member
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    #3
    That's ok.. just an ego crusher is all! I've never failed a cert before, my wife told me I was overdue (and she was right, just like always).

    No, I only used the OCG and CBT Nuggets. Is the CCDA simplified pretty good? Wondering if I Need to pick that up and/or the FLG.

    But like I said, I didn't feel like I got blindsided by anything, like material I wasn't familiar with. That's what has me worried about the re-take.
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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchflossin View Post
    That's ok.. just an ego crusher is all! I've never failed a cert before, my wife told me I was overdue (and she was right, just like always).

    No, I only used the OCG and CBT Nuggets. Is the CCDA simplified pretty good? Wondering if I Need to pick that up and/or the FLG.

    But like I said, I didn't feel like I got blindsided by anything, like material I wasn't familiar with. That's what has me worried about the re-take.
    Failure isn't always bad
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  6. Member
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    #5
    The CCDA is very different from the CCNA/NP. I did the NA and NP, and then followed up with the DA, and I came to a similar realization as you: this is not a straightforward exam. Whereas for the NA/NP realm you typically have a clear, correct answer, the DA is a design exam, and falls into more of the choose the best solution category.

    Take the feedback they gave you, and go back to the books again. Learn and think the Cisco way - their ideas of where certain architectures are appropriate, etc. For this exam there is commonly more than one correct answer for each question, so it's figuring out what Cisco thinks is best. I would make a list of topics you were asked, and then go back to the OCG and search for insight in there.

    Good luck, and keep at it!
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  7. Junior Member
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    #6
    Just got back from the testing center and passed it by a pretty big margin this time.

    However, this exam seriously needs to be revisited and/or overhauled. There were probably 10 questions that I left comments on that were so vague you had to guess at what you hoped the test writer was looking for. One in particular I literally had no idea what the question was even asking. I was hoping I could infer it from the answers, but none of the answers even made sense.

    I'm a big fan of Cisco and their certifications, but this exam really isn't the same caliber/quality of the other ones I've taken. I'm by no means a genius, but I do consider myself decent when it comes to routing and switching (I have my CCNP in RS). Even though I passed the CCDA this time, I scored 70% in IP Addressing and Routing Protocol design. Ironically I aced the sections that I have little to no experience in. There were just so many questions that felt like they needed more information, or needed to be reworded so they made sense. I couldn't tell you how many times I thought to myself "What does this even mean? or What are they asking?"

    This is the first exam I've ever failed, and even after passing, I'm not sure how much I learned besides a bunch of buzz words and sales jargon. I guess it improved my rote memorization skills at least.

    Unless you need to have this certification immediately, for whatever reason, my advice would be to wait until it gets revamped before taking it.


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  8. Member
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    #7
    Congratulations on the pass! CCDP next?

    Keep in mind, this track is not the CCNA/CCNP/CCIE Design, it's the CCDA/CCDP/CCDE. That's a very deliberate and significant difference. The CCNP R&S focuses on the technical capabilities and limitations of various protocols, not on how a network should designed using them.

    I have found the exact same as you. I have a CCIE in R&S, and while I won't claim I know everything, I feel comfortable saying I have a solid grasp of the material. I'm taking the ARCH CCDP exam this coming week, so I have been studying that content, and have found that a lot of the IP/routing content is stuff I have not yet encountered on my CCNA/NP/IE R&S journey.

    Case in point, how many times did you go to the command line to try something out while studying for your CCNP? I bet a lot. And how about for the CCDA? Probably not so much. This isn't a technical exam in the same way as the NP series are.

    Good luck, and keep it up!
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  9. Junior Member
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    VCP5-DCV, VCAP5-DCA/DCD, CompTIA A+, Server+, Cloud+, Storage+, MCSA 2003, MCSA 2008, NetApp NCSA
    #8
    It sounds very similar to the VCAP-DCD exam, it has humbled many many people. I think its partly the fact its a design exam, and design an environment has so many what ifs and it depends. Designing an exam around it is tough, and you have to do it as Cisco deem correct. When it comes to designing something there can be multiple correct ways of doing it, but which is the one that best fits?

    Normally when designing you'd go ask the customer more questions and for clarification, and you cant do this in an exam and its annoying as hell!
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  10. Junior Member
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    #9
    Thank you! Just glad it's behind me now.

    I actually wanted to pursue the CCNP Security, which is my real passion, but it seems the SENSS book was delayed again. My NP expires next October so I want to get an early start on it one way or another in case there are setbacks.

    I bought the ARCH book already, and Jeremy C. is doing ARCH nuggets currently, so maybe it is a good time to knock it out. The material seems waaaaaaaaaay more interesting than the CCDA, so at least it won't be boring.

    Let me know how your exam goes and what you think about it. Looks like there's a heavy focus on DC which I have very minimal experience with. I May need to look at some CCNA DC stuff before I try taking on ARCH.

    Good luck to you too!
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