As I already mentioned through a few channels, I failed my first attempt. And since I don’t like to jump to premature conclusions, I wanted to wait for the feedback from the Cisco case before writing a bit more about it. Today I got it and now I fulfill the promise and write a few lines about the exam day. I know most people would like to know more, but the NDA won’t allow to get into any specifics.
I went to my closest testing center (Brussels) the afternoon before the exam. Had a good dinner at the hotel, did go a last time over some topics and got a good night sleep. The morning was a bit more busy than I had planned as i got a call from a colleague to help out on a urgent matter with a customer at 6:45 in the morning which caught me for about 45 minutes. So there was just time to head down for a quick stop at the breakfast buffet and then straight over to the Cisco office. The Check-In was without any troubles and just on time the proctor collected us and walked up to the testing facility. My day in general was mixed between a good start in the morning. But at around half time before lunch I did hit an equipment failure and could not access a vital system in the afternoon. The most important part was that I mentioned the problems immediately to the proctor. He could solve the first problem within 20 minutes. But the second problem (which did cost me a substantial amount of points) couldn’t be solved on the day and he asked me to open a Case for that afterwards. Especially the second problem got me to a stress level where I didn’t follow my usual routine and didn’t continue with my planned approach. Also both problems did cost me together about 45 minutes of troubleshooting and testing. I have to mention here that the proctor was absolutely professional and did support me in any way he was allowed to. Around one hour before the end I was certain that I had failed the exam. After the exam I left the location with a mixed feeling like “would I have passed without the problems”? I used the evening to have a good dinner, recap the exam and most important: Open a support case for the exam for Cisco to look into. Later that evening I decided to abandon the thinking about “what would have been” and started making a plan how to attack the next attempt. When I woke up the next morning I got the confirmation that I did fail. But at that point it didn’t matter anymore. I was already into the plan for the retake and what I have to do to get it on the second attempt. The only question was, what would Cisco’s feedback be about me problems with the Infrastructure?
Well today I got the answer. Cisco did deal with it in a professional manner, checked my claims and as a final result they granted me a Free-Retake. Also I was told that they took measures that there will be a quick fix if the problem, that i had encountered in the afternoon, would happen to anybody again.
To finally close this chapter and come back to the title: No it wasn’t just an expensive lunch in Brussels. It was a very valuable experience and did show my weaknesses (especially under the extra stress with all of the infratructure problems). Also I know now where I have focus in preparation for the next attempt. So for the next weeks, all the free time is dedicated to fill up the gaps to make sure the second attempt will be successful.