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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default *Update Passed!!Advice Needed - Just failed BSCI second time

    Hello. Well I just failed 642-901 BSCI again, (the first time I failed was the first cert test I had ever failed).

    This time I got a 777, so close.

    So I need some help. Obviously I'm missing something, but I don't know what it is. Here's what I"ve been using to study:

    Cisco Press Authorized Self-Study Guide BSCI 3rd edition
    Cisco Press CCNP BSCI Official Exam Certification Guide, 4th Edition
    Cisco Press CCNP Quick Reference Sheet Bundle
    Dynamips/dynagen (have completed all labs in the self-study a couple of times)

    I've been through all of these resources numerous times. now

    I feel that I've got the basics down, especially OSPF, EIGRP, ISIS, even for the most part adv routing features (redistribution, etc). But I think I'm lacking a little bit in BGP, Multicasting & IPv6.

    The problem is that none of the above resources have very detailed information about Multicast specifically and it seems like I'm being hit with stuff that isn't included in the study materials which are put out by Cisco.

    Any other resources, tips, tricks, etc that anyone can provide that might help me get over the hump on this exam would be much appreciated.

    Is anyone aware of any legitimate practice exams for 642-901? I really have not been able to find anything outside of what is provided with the Exam Certification Guide.

    I am taking the exam again next Thursday and I really don't want to just keep studying the same way I have been for the past week because it hasn't worked. What should I be doing? Please help, I need to pass this thing!

    Thanks
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  3. Village Idiot dtlokee's Avatar
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    #2
    Are there any links at the ends of the chapters you can use in addition to the books? If not I would say hit the doc CD www.cisco.com/univercd and there are additional examples of BGP, multicasting, and IPv6 you can use. Also the Routing TCP/IP vol 1 and 2 by Doyle are very helpful (but not free).
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    #3
    Sorry to hear about the fail. It's really disheartening to come across material that you know wasn't covered in the resources you used.

    It looks like Transcender offers practice exams for all the CCNP exams: http://www.transcender.com/dept.aspx?dept%5Fid=120200
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    #4
    Or if you are feeling a bit cheap you can use Self Test Software http://www.selftestsoftware.com/ They have the same questions as Transcender and are made by the same people it is just there is less questions and they are cheaper.

    For BSCI I also used the Bryant Advantage stuff which I found really useful.
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  6. Senior Member LOkrasa's Avatar
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    #5
    I dont know if you are planning to retake right away but I guess after 2 attempts you should maybe step back and re-evaluate, which is what I think you are doing. I would suggest buying the CCNP BSCI lab manual that comes out at the end of this month and doing some labs. Re-reading the books and maybe making flash cards... I never believed in flash cards until I took my CCNA and somehow now I dont think I will ever take another exam without em. When you have many MANY details to remember flash cards are the way to go and labs so you really understand it. Hope that helps.
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by LOkrasa
    I dont know if you are planning to retake right away but I guess after 2 attempts you should maybe step back and re-evaluate, which is what I think you are doing. I would suggest buying the CCNP BSCI lab manual that comes out at the end of this month and doing some labs. Re-reading the books and maybe making flash cards... I never believed in flash cards until I took my CCNP and somehow now I dont think I will ever take another exam without em. When you have many MANY details to remember flash cards are the way to go and labs so you really understand it. Hope that helps.
    I'm actually planning on taking next Thursday. I failed the first time in June, so there was quite a bit of time between the two tests. When I got back into studying for this exam this time there was a lot of stuff I had to spin my self back up on. My plan is to take it as soon as I can while everything is still fresh so I can avoid that happening again.

    I was ok on the labs actually so I don't think I'll be waiting on the lab manual. The first delay was actually me waiting for the Exam Certification guide to come out. I'm pretty sure I got both of them right. (made a small dumb mistake on the one, which I'm not sure if they deducted on or not - do they give partial credit on Labs?)

    I know that there were at least 2-3 questions which I just plain didn't know and guessed at, so if I can go back figure out what I did wrong it should get me at least one of those points back. Then I just need to get better and make sure I don't make any dumb mistakes.

    Maybe this approach is completely wrong, but to be honest I can't stretch this along any further. My job is very busy right now, and home life is as well. I just need to get this done so I can move on. I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I don't pass it this time, hopefully I don't have to make that decision.
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  8. Senior Member LOkrasa's Avatar
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    #7
    Dont rush back to soon. If you feel you are ready then go for it but if not dont do it. Dont simply take the exam because you were close and you want it to be fresh. I made that mistake before and it wound up being a worse score then before.

    Yes you do get partial credit for Labs.
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    #8
    For general advice on how to take these tests, I would do a search on posts made by dtlokee. He gives the best advice and the cold truth most of the time.

    Here is what I have learned the hard way as well. Although I haven't failed a test yet, I always am very dissatisfied with my score and was getting hit with a few questions that were like sucker punches to the groin because it was 'new' material that weren't in ANY of the books and other materials that I used to study. As dtlokee has said a few times, for any CCxP exam, you really are going to have to dig into the cisco documentation. If you think BSCI is bad, don't even think about attempting BCMSN until you have given the cisco documentation the respect that will be necessary to really be prepared for these exams.
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    I appreciate all of the responses. Deadmaster I will keep that in mind. It's maddening cisco does this, but at the same time it's not a bad thing. They're making people work for their certifications. I just wish they were more upfront about it. It's very tough to gauge when you're ready to take the exam.

    I've evaluated all of my options and have decided to use the Self Test Software. But more importantly I'm going to dig into the UniverseCD site, which to be honest I'd never done except for when I was trying to implement something or solve a problem at work. Again, I didn't really know it was necessary for these exams, as it never was for any of my previous exams. I guess I'm in the big leagues now though.

    So I'm going to keep plugging away. I've already scheduled my exam for 12/21, which I think should be enough time to realistically get ready. The thing is I feel that I know routing protocols at this point, but I guess not quite as well as Cisco would like. This is just all very frustrating, but in the end once I accomplish CCNP it will definitely be worth it. Deadmaster, I will take your advice to heart for BCMSN though, because I already knew that exam was going to be tougher to study for because I don't currently have any applicable switches and dynamips does not work for it. I may have to bite the bullet and buy some of ebay. You gotta spend money to make money right?
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  11. Senior Member
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    #10
    As far as univercd goes, what exactly should I be looking for?

    It seems like Internetworking Technology Handbook is right, but I'm not sure:
    http://www.cisco.com/univercd/cc/td/..._doc/index.htm

    Is it valuable to look under the IOS 12.4 Documentation?

    I think univercd + Self Test Software is going to be be the ticket. I already found one question I got wrong. I was considering Bryant, but I kind of don't want to start at square one. I will keep his solution in mind for the future though.
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  12. Senior Member
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    #11
    Bryant is good for general preparation. Absolutely worthless if your at the point where you are just getting screwed on details and those 'sucker punch' questions.

    I would actually say the same thing for practice tests. Seems the practice tests are based on the content of whatever study guides are presently available, which means they will lack the sucker punch questions. Plus overall they seem much easier than the actual test. I think the questions that come with the CD in the Exam Cert Guide are just as good as practice tests requiring more money.

    One other thing I have noticed. When we study for these exams, I think we tend to want to master the core material, meaning routing protocols for BSCI and switching for BCMSN, etc. But it seems that what Cisco wants you to know is quite different. It seems they kinda assume you already have that pretty much mastered and they are more concerned with some fancy thing that is popular at the moment or what they are trying to hype up at the moment. Meaning you get hammered with multicasting and IPV6 on BSCI, and Wireless and Voice on BCMSN.

    This might sound like a complaint to some, but really it's not. Just something you should definitely keep in mind while preparing for these things. I keep hearing the same things when people say they fail: "I felt I knew the material well" "I am confident with the routing protocols!" "The sims were actually easy, it was the multicast questions!" and so on. So, maybe what you need is just a change in perspective!
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  13. The Colosus of Clout Paul Boz's Avatar
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    #12
    My suggestion is to read as many google links for "ipv6" and "multicast" as possible. Study the docCD and read the RFC's if you need to.

    Are there specific topics in multicast and ipv6 that are giving you trouble?
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  14. Senior Member
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Boz
    My suggestion is to read as many google links for "ipv6" and "multicast" as possible. Study the docCD and read the RFC's if you need to.

    Are there specific topics in multicast and ipv6 that are giving you trouble?
    That is pretty is pretty much what I plan to do. I dug into the docCD for multicast yesterday and it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be Also, I did end up purchasing the Self Test Software, and so far I like it. The great thing about it is they have very detailed explanations (although I found one error - bgp summarization is NOT enabled by default, oh well) But they also have links directly to the relevant Cisco unvercd page. A nice touch.

    The one thing that I really honestly am having trouble finding information on is multicast debug. I can't find anything on this anywhere. Does anyone know where I can find resources for this?
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  15. Village Idiot dtlokee's Avatar
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    #14
    Some of the show commands are here:

    http://www.cisco.com/univercd/cc/td/...c/mcbverfy.htm

    Most of the debug command will be under "debug ip pim" "debug ip igmp" and "debug ip mpacket" (you will need to turn of route caching for this to work, "no ip mroute-cache" on any ingress interfaces.)
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  16. Senior Member
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    #15

    Default I passed!!!!!

    Wow, do I feel great. I have never felt so great after passing a test. I still didn't quite kill it (809), but I passed!

    I just want to thank the people in this thread for the excellent suggestions. Self Test Software and Cisco Univercd were key to me passing this exam, and because of both resources I feel that I really do know this material very very well now (which is the point of all this, right?).

    I now know that Professional level Cisco exams are no joke. I just had no idea how much more difficult these exams are than CCNA/MCSE exams. Now on to BCMSN...it never stops does it?
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  17. Senior Member
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    #16
    That's an awesome Christmas present. Congratulations on the pass.

    I often see others say that while the CCNP is more difficult than the CCNA, each specific test was easier than the CCNA because of the narrower focus. Did you not find this to be the case?
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    #17
    ^ I would have to agree with that. Obviously these tests go into huge depth, but I mean look at the objectives between BSCI and ICND2. Its basically indepth routing vs routing, switching, IOS, etc etc.

    Much easier to focus on IMO, the downside is you have to do it 4 times to get through CCNP.
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  19. Village Idiot dtlokee's Avatar
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    #18
    Congrats!

    I find the BCMSN is more difficult for people because it includes wireless and many people don't have exposure to it at work and can't afford t obuy all the necessary parts to practice with the hardware. It becomes a game of brute force memorization with little practical work to make it stick.
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  20. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #19
    Very cool, congratulations on the pass. Feels good when you see that big "CONGRATULATIONS!" banner after not giving up, doesn't it? Enjoy your post-pass celebration, your holidays, and good luck on the BCMSN road.

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  21. Senior Member
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    #20
    We have a Cisco Wireless Access Point at work, I'm not sure what model it is. Hopefully it's a relevant model.

    I just ordered the Self Study guide for BSMSN. Luckily Amazon isn't shipping it until Dec 26. I need a couple of days off . Passing BSCI was the best Christmas gift I could have received.

    As far as BSCI vs CCNA. I hear what your saying one topic vs many, and had read a similar note before I started studying for BSCI, however I completely disagree.

    Yes, on its face BSCI does have less broad topics (think switching, routing), however it's not really true.

    EIGRP, OSPF, ISIS, BGP, Multicasting, IPv6, and general routing techniques are the large topics of this exam, and yes most of those terms are mentioned in CCNA and you have to know of them for the exam. However, you need to know every single detail of them in BSCI. So essentially BSCI may in some people's opinion not be as broad, but it's is much much deeper. You can't get by just glancing over the topics and having a trivial knowledge of them. You need to pick up just about every detail and command that is mentioned in the book (and some that aren't - see above).

    Well those are my thoughts. Now it's time to kick back relax and celebrate passing this exam. It's odd being able to be home and not feel like I should be studying. I am going to enjoy it for a few days .
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  22. Senior Member
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    #21
    Congrats on the pass!

    I'm planning on taking this guy in about two months - and pretty much have the same study materials as you.

    How many hours would you say you put into this test?
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  23. Cisco Moderator mikej412's Avatar
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    #22

    Default Re: I passed!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by skaeight
    I just had no idea how much more difficult these exams are than CCNA
    Congratulations!

    I usually say that each CCNP exam is about 2.5 times harder than the CCNA exam

    But the new exam may be 3 times harder
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  24. Senior Member
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    #23

    Default Re: I passed!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by mikej412
    Quote Originally Posted by skaeight
    I just had no idea how much more difficult these exams are than CCNA
    Congratulations!

    I usually say that each CCNP exam is about 2.5 times harder than the CCNA exam

    But the new exam may be 3 times harder
    Thank you very much. I would not disagree wtih 2.5 - 3 x harder than CCNA. I think I could take CCNA with a blindfold at this point after taking BSCI. I honestly think that the best way of putting CCNA is that you know some trivia about Cisco Routing / Switching.

    As far as the question as to how many hours i've put into this, that's incredibly hard to say. This was my 3rd time taking the exam. There was a long period after my first failure where I did not touch a cisco book (combination of first ever exam failure and a borderline obsession with the red sox brought this on). So I don't know, but I'd say I put in 3 solid months of study time. It's very inexact, but that's the best I can do. Good luck to you on this exam. If you've already began studying for the exam and you're thinking 2 months out, that's a good and a bad thing. The good being it may take 2 months to study, the bad being, it can be tough to keep focus for two months. My advice, schedule the exam for 6 weeks out. Study hard planning to take it then, rescheduling is not an option.
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  25. Senior Member
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    #24
    skaeight - thanks for the advice. I'm hoping that I can keep this pace up - I'm trying to put in 18-20 hours of study time a week, and so far I've completed EIGRP, OSPF, and will finish IS-IS before the New Year. I'm hoping that two months will be enough to complete BGP, Multicast and IPv6.

    I know I haven't taken the actual test yet, but I have to say that I'm enjoying the BSCI more than the CCNA. CCNA like you mentioned was like playing Trivial Pursuit and you have to know a little bit about every subject, but nothing in depth. Almost like undergrad intro classes.

    The BSCI so far is much more interesting, a much more focused area of study, which I prefer. Of course, once I hit IS-IS and BGP I know I'll probably change my tune :P

    Good luck on the BSMSN - thats where I'm heading next too.
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  26. Senior Member
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by bmauro
    skaeight - thanks for the advice. I'm hoping that I can keep this pace up - I'm trying to put in 18-20 hours of study time a week, and so far I've completed EIGRP, OSPF, and will finish IS-IS before the New Year. I'm hoping that two months will be enough to complete BGP, Multicast and IPv6.

    I know I haven't taken the actual test yet, but I have to say that I'm enjoying the BSCI more than the CCNA. CCNA like you mentioned was like playing Trivial Pursuit and you have to know a little bit about every subject, but nothing in depth. Almost like undergrad intro classes.

    The BSCI so far is much more interesting, a much more focused area of study, which I prefer. Of course, once I hit IS-IS and BGP I know I'll probably change my tune :P

    Good luck on the BSMSN - thats where I'm heading next too.
    Yeah the one thing that I felt when studying for the CCNA is, "so when are they going to tell me how to implement this?" I felt that way for every single topic. I was afraid they might ask how to do it on the test, but of course they didn't in most cases.

    BSCI is great from that perspective because you walk away knowing how to implement all of the topics (for the most part, you can always go deeper with some of this stuff). I didn't quite approach studying the way you did, spending an extended period of time on one topic. That might be a better approach, but I think it will be important to do a review as you go along to keep everything fresh.

    But then again, I failed this exam twice, so I may not be the best person to talk to for exam preparation tips. I'm just hoping I can do things better the first time moving forward and I don't have to do any more retakes.
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