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Thread: 640-554 Failed

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    #1

    Default 640-554 Failed

    So I failed by 21 points....SUX

    I hate that the passing score is so HIGH, which makes it very tough. I had roughly 6 questions that I was unsure about or felt that it could have been another answer and sure enough after the exam I googled the topics and I know for sure 4 I missed. Below is my break out...

    Common Security Threats: 100%
    Security and Cisco Routers: 60%
    AAA on Cisco Devices: 75%
    IOS ACLs: 89%
    Secure Network Management and Reporting: 83%
    Common Layer 2 Attacks: 89%
    Cisco Firewall Technologies: 89%
    Cisco IPS: 86%
    VPN Technologies: 44% (seems like I remember 3 of the 4 I felt I bombed were under this objective)

    I've been studying for this exam before I started WGU in September. I've used the FLG, Cisco Official Cert Guide, my job's Skillsoft training, forums, and plain ole' real world experience, I've watched CBT Nuggets and youtube on areas I felt weak on. After taking the exam, I now feel like I wasted too much time on stuff that wasn't even on the exam, although I know that there's always a possibility that it could appear. I could go into deeper detail but I don't want to violate the confidentiality agreement, but lets just say I commented on 3 questions due to what I felt were typos on Cisco's behalf.
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    #2
    Quote Originally Posted by fjhesq View Post
    After taking the exam, I now feel like I wasted too much time on stuff that wasn't even on the exam, although I know that there's always a possibility that it could appear.
    That sounds like a certain Microsoft exam I took some years back. There were multiple topics from the Syllabus that I wasn't asked a single question about (that I had spent substantial time studying) and there were two topics that were by my estimates 75-80% of the exam. I knew another person who took the same exam around the same time I did and they indicated they were tested heavily on a topic that I didn't even receive one question on. So, it would appear to be luck of the draw. Though, I would have hoped Cisco would be a little better than Microsoft and try to spread the questions evenly over the entire syllabus.

    As for the passing score...unfortunately, the CCNA: Security got a reputation for being a [too] easy way to recertify. So, Cisco raised the passing score. Hopefully, they'll lower it back with the new 210-260 and just make the material more difficult (more CLI, less GUI).
    Last edited by theodoxa; 10-08-2015 at 11:42 PM.
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    #3
    I will be curious to see what the passing score will be on the new 210-260? I remember when the 640-554 came out the passing score was in the low 800's. I get a free voucher if I fail it next week so I basically get a free lap around the track and will have a good look at it. I will keep everyone posted.
    “The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you can’t always be sure of their authenticity.” ~Abraham Lincoln
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    #4
    I have the 640-554 scheduled for Tuesday morning. I completed 3 practice exams from the Pearson Official Cert Guide premium edition and I've had a score higher than 850 on all 3 of them. Got back to the book on the areas where I felt I was weak on. Hopefully I'll be ready by Tuesday as I heard the passing score is pretty high and that the exam is really not a walk in the park.

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    #5
    I'm curious if I'll see the same exam again, scheduling it for 10/14 or 10/15...it was pretty brutal and I felt like I did great/well good, but the passing score is so HIGH...smdh
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    #6
    Don't get too frustrated. A lot of people have had to take the exam multiple times because of the passing score being what it is. Most tech exams are a luck of the draw because you get X amount of questions out of a huge amount. The good news is that for Cisco you don't have to wait a long time before retrying and they are fairly reasonably priced. Also think about questions you were fairly sure about just to make sure you didn't mess those up...every point counts.
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    #7

    Angry I feel your pain

    I feel your pain. I just failed the test as well yesterday morning. I had a good dozen questions that I don't remember seeing anywhere in the material that I studied. It was so frustrating. I did look up a few questions that I guessed at when I got home and I was right on several but still missed that high pass rate. If it was CompTIA or any other certification I would have made the pass score.
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    #8
    It's a difficult exam, but you can do it. Look at it this way its better to fail, get back on your feet and try again. It feels great when you succeed. I can't tell you how many times i have failed an exam, yet i kept going.
    Those who have been intoxicated with power... can never willingly abandon it.
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Hondabuff View Post
    I will be curious to see what the passing score will be on the new 210-260? I remember when the 640-554 came out the passing score was in the low 800's. I get a free voucher if I fail it next week so I basically get a free lap around the track and will have a good look at it. I will keep everyone posted.
    When are you sitting for the exam? Mine is scheduled for the 24th. Please let me know either here, or better yet PM, how it went, etc. Good luck!
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    #10
    I failed the exam on Tuesday. The exam was definitely hard but now that I know what to expect, I'm confident my second attempt will be better. The questions were definitely tough but I did remember reading about it. While I do have to admit that maybe 5 questions I had no idea as I had never seen the topic in either the Official Cert Guide and in the CBT Nuggets.. maybe it's Keith Barker the problem as he did both

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    #11
    Well, this is just great... I just booked the exam, and now everyone seems to be failing. Have they started testing on the new syllabus or something?
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by JasminLandry View Post
    I failed the exam on Tuesday. The exam was definitely hard but now that I know what to expect, I'm confident my second attempt will be better. The questions were definitely tough but I did remember reading about it. While I do have to admit that maybe 5 questions I had no idea as I had never seen the topic in either the Official Cert Guide and in the CBT Nuggets.. maybe it's Keith Barker the problem as he did both
    Which version did you attempt?
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    #13
    I attempted 640-554.

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    #14
    After studying hard over the weekend, I barely passed the exam with a score of 903. 90% of the exam questions were the same as the one I did a week ago.. A good thing I studied on my weak areas.

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    #15
    Congrats! Only with a Cisco exam that you can get an A- and feel like you failed.
    “The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you can’t always be sure of their authenticity.” ~Abraham Lincoln
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by JasminLandry View Post
    After studying hard over the weekend, I barely passed the exam with a score of 903. 90% of the exam questions were the same as the one I did a week ago.. A good thing I studied on my weak areas.
    @JasminLandry: Congrats on your pass it was pretty tough!!

    @fjhesq:I can feel your pain as I had the same thing happen to me. I had to take the exam twice before I passed the exam. I felt there was material on the exam that was not included in the Cisco blueprint. A few topics which I discovered between my attempts. I find the biggest topics on the exam included ASA firewalls and the CCP GUI.

    It was also my last class to graduation besides my Capstone/Technical Writing classes so it was even more frustrating lol..

    Good luck buddy you got this!!
    Last edited by Dakinggamer87; 10-23-2015 at 10:55 PM.
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    #17
    I also found that the 640-554 exam is far beyond scope of the Official Book by Cisco Press. I spent a year studying using the book prior to taking my first shot at the exam. Failed with 790 points. I was in a state of shock returning to my workplace.

    Many of the questions was referring to elements not even found in the Table of Contents of the book. What was I supposed to do? Studying the book wouldn't help. Tried that already.

    While still in my short term memory I sat down and wrote all the exam questions causing my confusion. Lucky I actually memorized all of them.

    I spent one week full-time studying not only the cbtnuggets 640-554 videos as a add-on for the book, and more specific the new areas I was exposed to.

    Fast forward - one week later sat down to my 2nd try at the certification. Baaang same thing happened. This time 792 points. So only 2 points better.
    All new questions and again far beyond my knowledge. And it was not just the topics but also the level of detail.

    This was when I simply gave up and said this certification is not worth it. I did all that could be done to prepare myself and yet I failed twice.

    I didn't have this experience when doing the CCENT or CCNA back a few years ago.

    Now I hoped to try the 210-260 but after reading other peoples similar difficulties with out-of-scope material I really don't know.
    Actually got me thinking that Cisco exams are more about making profit for the companies behind(Cisco, Pearson etc.) than actually validating the knowledge of the student.

    Another thing which I found ridiculous was the fact that the passing score was changed along the way. That's not fair - it should be the same rule set for both student A and student B. Because some idiot uses braindumps for cheating shouldn't cause the required knowledge level for a CCNA exam to become CCNP or CCIE.

    I talked with the writer of the OCG and he fully agrees with me. I also talked with Cisco Certification Authority - they dismissed my complaint totally. Everything is within blueprint. Yeah right, blueprint of every Cisco Security Exam combined. I may have been a bit aggressive on cert authority, so they actually ended up blaming Cisco Press Division of not covering the material in the book. So right now I have a complaint open with Cisco Press. They offered me the new 210-260 book for free, but I already bought that.

    I feel like David and Goliath on this one...
    Last edited by jimmyhendrix; 10-27-2015 at 07:59 PM.
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    #18
    I scrapped my scheduled test for this exam and decided to refocus on CCNP:R&S. It will be more beneficial anyway. But I did order my 210-260 book to work on later. Hopefully that test will not be so jacked up.
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheebahawk View Post
    I scrapped my scheduled test for this exam and decided to refocus on CCNP:R&S. It will be more beneficial anyway. But I did order my 210-260 book to work on later. Hopefully that test will not be so jacked up.
    Not a bad idea, actually. I found there to be a lot of overlap between SWITCH (642-813) and CCNA:Sec so far. So if you study for switch first, you basically have all the L2 security stuff covered already.
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by creamy_stew View Post
    Not a bad idea, actually. I found there to be a lot of overlap between SWITCH (642-813) and CCNA:Sec so far. So if you study for switch first, you basically have all the L2 security stuff covered already.
    I knew some folks who had taken CCNA: Security (before they raised the passing score and changed the material) and they said it was basically CCNP: SWITCH's security section with a few extra topics. I should have taken it back then when I had the chance.
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyhendrix View Post
    I also found that the 640-554 exam is far beyond scope of the Official Book by Cisco Press. I spent a year studying using the book prior to taking my first shot at the exam. Failed with 790 points. I was in a state of shock returning to my workplace.

    Many of the questions was referring to elements not even found in the Table of Contents of the book. What was I supposed to do? Studying the book wouldn't help. Tried that already.

    I talked with the writer of the OCG and he fully agrees with me. I also talked with Cisco Certification Authority - they dismissed my complaint totally. Everything is within blueprint. Yeah right, blueprint of every Cisco Security Exam combined. I may have been a bit aggressive on cert authority, so they actually ended up blaming Cisco Press Division of not covering the material in the book. So right now I have a complaint open with Cisco Press. They offered me the new 210-260 book for free, but I already bought that.

    I feel like David and Goliath on this one...
    Yep I had the same experience last month with the 640-554 exam. I opened a complaint with Cisco and convinced them that the exam was out of scope considering the blue print. They reviewed it, which they said would take about a week and finally offered me a voucher for my next exam. So I was happy

    Best of luck!
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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion66six View Post
    Yep I had the same experience last month with the 640-554 exam. I opened a complaint with Cisco and convinced them that the exam was out of scope considering the blue print. They reviewed it, which they said would take about a week and finally offered me a voucher for my next exam. So I was happy

    Best of luck!
    I'm considering taking the exam for 640-554. I've been though a lot. If I fail the exam, because the questions are out of scope, I'd appreciate knowing exactly what your argument was such that I can parrot it, add my own two bits, and abandon it in favor of 210-260.

    I've read though all of the 210-260 cert book, however, I concerned about taking the 210-260 exam since Hondabuff states that official cert book doesn't offer enough depth. Also, all my study and training has been over 640-554. I'm just nervous about going 210-260.
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    #23
    Failed the exam today with a score around 710 . There was atleast 7 question i truly didnt ever see or heard whilst reading the 640-554 book or the two sets of video practising. Pretty gutted but i will give it one more go before it expires.
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    #24
    Just to update , I have managed to pass the exam at the 2nd attempt with a score of 903. I had to go over some CCNP topics to understand the questions I previously struggled with (which I obviously cant mention) . I got lucky in that both sims were ones I had done previously.
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by DPN1 View Post
    Just to update , I have managed to pass the exam at the 2nd attempt with a score of 903. I had to go over some CCNP topics to understand the questions I previously struggled with (which I obviously cant mention) . I got lucky in that both sims were ones I had done previously.
    Nice, I've read where others also ended up looking at CCNP vids to get the CCNA Security. I will keep that in mind.
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