Friday, 12 September 2008

The Waiting Game

I went to my local test centre and took my written exam today and I have a preliminary pass (yippee). However it is not an official pass as Cisco have implemented these new security measures that I mentioned in an earlier post. So when you are given your score sheet there are some instructions on it that tell you to logon to a Pearson Vue site, so that you can check your results. It can take up to 72 hours after you have taken the exam for your result to be confirmed. So it looks like I will be waiting for a while. I will post my experiences of the exam when I am confirmed as having passed. Quickly I will say that I thought it was a good test the questions were not as out there as some I encountered on the CCNP track and the English was okay. I only complained about the wording on one question and used the comment button to send my feedback on it to Cisco.

On the subject of exam security though I have always been in favour of the new measures Cisco is introducing but today I had pause to think. When I was talking to the examiners after the exam about the new security features Cisco has implemented. I realised that I had not had my photo taken and added to my score report. I asked them why this had not been done and they explained that it was only a requirement for test centres to take photos by the end of October.

However to implement the photo requirement they explained they would need to have a seperate room, buy an expensive camera and probably hire an extra member of staff to process the signing in of candidates. So since they were not getting any financial support from Pearson or Cisco then they had decided this was an expense they could not afford and they would be shutting down as a test centre. Which is very bad news for me as it means it would be very expensive to go do any certification exam as the nearest test centre would be over 26 miles away (one direction not far for you Yanks I know but the traffic here is murder and the price for fuel well do not get me started on that). I remember when my city used to have five or six test centres ah the good old days when I was but a wee lad :-) Over the last couple of years as I did my 2003 MCSE, renewed my CCNA and then did my CCNP I have seen them all close down. Now it looks like the final one which is already quite a trek for me to get to is closing down as well.

From most of the exam centre staff I have spoken to I understand that they do not make a great deal of money from being a test centre. Apparently most of the money goes either to Pearson or Cisco (Prometric and Microsoft or so on) . I am not sure of how exactly makes the money if someone can enlighten me that would be great. I mean someone must be making some money out of this stuff because the exams are not cheap. So it would be good if the big boys Cisco or Pearson (whoever makes the money from these exams) had a program for helping the small test centres fund the equipment they require to stay an exam centre. That way they could retain local test centres and allow more people access to their exams as well as allowing the additional benefit of a certain Ferret to take more exams :-)


Joey B said...

Agreed about the test centers getting shut down. Not only is it quite a shame, it's a PITA.

The school I attended used to be able to test for all certs, now they are down to Cisco and CompTIA I believe. A lot of extra hassle since the school also teaches Microsoft classes. Unfortunately, I don't think the Vendors ultimately care, as those of us in the field realize you gotta have/get the certs to progress in any sort of reasonable fashion.

The Ferret said...

Half the time I wonder if the vendors really care about the certs at all. I know they seem to be taking exam security a bit more seriously now days but how many years has it taken them? I think to their sales teams certs are just another way to generate cash from the exams and associated products. Not to mention that the cert holder becomes a great marketing tool for the vendor, so for them the more people that have the cert the better.