Contention against Cisco

So here is Cisco's response to my request for a re-read:

"Unfortunately, if there is no option to request a read, then that means you are
not eligible for a reread. 

We encourage you to register for the Cisco
Learning Network at www.cisco.com/go/learnnetspace."

WTF is that!? What I am reading that to say is, "Oh you didn't use Cisco 360 ... well screw you."

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Edit: I realize that b/c I didn't use Cisco 360 is the reason I can't request a re-read, rather it has to do with not scoring high enough to qualify for a re-read. That is just a microcosmic of issues I have. Please read my itemized post below if you care to get "the rest of the story".

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Second Edit: One of my character flaws is a noticeably short temper ... in case that was already not evident enough. Thanks to everyone who responded calmly as I myself need to calm down a little and proceed rationally.

Comments

  • Fortunately I am a significant decision maker for Continental Airlines as the Sr. Enterprise Network Security Architect. We were considering three vendors for a significant IDS/IPS solution for our PCI segments. That list of vendor's just dropped to two. So I guess I should thank Cisco for making my decision easier.

    Infuriated doesn't even start to describe my ire at this point. If they want to play these games fine, I just won't buy their sh*t. They want to play political games and try to generate some additional training revenue? Fine, they can have their way, they will just lose 1.5 million from us this quarter... let's see if that extra $10k for Cisco 360 they are trying to get out of me is worth it then.

  • Is it possible you violated some rules on the config section?  static routes, policy routing...something like that?  If possible, maybe cisco would look at that as something that's not open to interpretation or reread.

    From my experience with the lab (finally passed on the fourth attempt) there were things hinted at, not specifically stated, that made it so only one solution was appropriate.  Maybe you didn't catch that stuff, so your configs would be incorrect, even if they functioned fine.

    I don't know dude.  Hang in there.  

    -nklhd

  • Well, first I had the exact same configuration portion that I had my first try. I read over that pretty carefully to make sure I didn't miss something. No I didn't use any static routes or policy-routing but I agree there may be something there that I didn't pick up on but I can't think of what.

    I have been going through my notes on what I was asked and the solutions I deployed and I honestly can't think of anything specific. Since I've had this lab twice now and the mental notes that I scribed into notepad are getting pretty close to what the actual scenarios were. I know Cisco frowns upon that sort of thing but they can't fault me for taking personal notes on the sorts of questions they are asking so I can study up on those topics, can they? I did not anticipate getting the same configuration section again... but I did, and I aced it, so they fail me... :s

    What is just so frustrating is simply the obvious, blatant politics going on with the program.

  • I'ld say you might have an issue with the request. Call Cisco.

    http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/ccie/policies/index.html

     

     

  • Re-read is a part of the regular CCIE attempt and has nothing to do with the 360 Program. The only reason that Cisco rejects re-read is, if your score is too low and there is no chance for changing it from fail to pass. So in fact Cisco saves your 250$ ;)

    "Only exams with potential to change from fail to pass will have the option to request an appeal, based on years of historical data"

    If you think that Cisco is completely wrong and in fact your exam should be marked "Passed", even if your last attempt score is very low, rise the case with Cisco CCIE program support.

    Cheers,

    Seba

     

  • To recap, the reason's for my disagreement with Cisco are:

    A) I found out roughly 72 hours prior to my lab that I was scheduled for the last day of the Core Knowledge, which didn't bother me too much but didn't give me warm fuzzy's either. As it turns out my four core knowledge questions were a breeze and put me in a good mood knowing I nailed that section moving onto troubleshooting.

    B) I take my lab and get the exact same configuration section as my first attempt. Gleefully I slam through it and have plenty of time to double check, verify and even do some reading on the configs guides to verify all sorts of things I was concerned with or indecisive on. I even had time to bother the proctors, I got up six to eight times to verify any thing and everything I had any question on. I leave mildly concerned about the troubleshooting section, I completed all 11 tickets with just one was still giving me problems. I leave the facility at 5:15pm, eat dinner, get back to my hotel at 7pm to find my score report waiting for me in my email... a failed score report. It took them under two hours to determine I had failed (OEQ - Pass, Troubleshoot - Pass, Config - Fail ... same as my first attempt).

    C) Shocked and somewhat horrified that I had failed the config section I immediately start writing everything I could remember from the lab and what I had deployed. I spent the next 48 hours researching via Cisco support, Google, INE material and Cisco press books to see figure out what I may have done to lose enough points to fail. Specifically the 40% on the IPv4 technologies section was very puzzling and I still don't know what I did wrong.

    D) I talked someone I had met at a recent INE mock lab bootcamp who recently sat the lab and failed (we'll call him candidate B). Oddly enough he thought he had done very well and very oddly enough we had the exact same score on 4/5 of the categories on the score report. The most curious was the fact that we had 40% on IPv4. Another oddity, I went back and checked my score report from my first attempt. I had a higher score on on the layer 2 section than I did on this try even though on my first attempt I did not find and properly correct a couple of significant layer 2 issues. 67% on my first attempt and layer 2 gave me some real fits, but only 61% on my second attempt and I had no significant issues with layer 2.

    E) Candidate B and I discuss our solutions in as NDA friendly an approach as we can. Example: Me: So I chose to use a route-reflector with my BGP config, B: I used full mesh. Me: I used the global 'connect' for frame-relay switch config, B: I did route statements on the FR interfaces, Me: I used static configuration of router IDs on BGP/EIGRP, Candidate B: I did not use static configuration. Our intent was simply to figure out how we got the same score on four sections and what we could do to improve. We often chose different methods to achieve the stated requirements in situations where there appeared to be more than one viable method. So we chose different methods, different syntax in several areas but got the same score. We also found no indication where either of us made any obvious mistakes on the infamous layer 3 section, in which we both bombed with a 40% score. He had a higher score on the layer 2 section and we figured out one area in which I likely chose the wrong configuration (I chose to do a per interface bpdufilter, where he chose a global bpdufilter). That is the one area where we could determine where one of us would have lost points.

    F) Cisco refuses my request to re-grade and instead advises that I sign up for their learning network and contact one of their training partners to get further training before my next attempt. Candidate B however has the re-read option available and is currently pursuing that. He had a higher total score than I did due to the higher scores on layer 2, which explains why he had the option and I didn't.

    However, I contend:

    If I really did actually fail the exam because I was incorrect on too many sections, I would at least like the opportunity to pay for a re-read so that I can get a human verification since it appears that may have been skipped given the fact that I received my score report so quickly.

    If candidate B or I did anywhere close to as well as I suspect we may have, the possibility that Cisco's grading procedure/script is broken or looking for specifics where there are multiple viable configuration options. Either that or because we did not use a Cisco training vendor we didn't get a fair chance.

    Whatever the cause there is some reason why such an incredibly low number of people have been passing the CCIE R&S v4. Politics and/or a broken grading procedures appear to be viable reasons to me.

  • That's pretty much how I understood it to be on the re-read policy. I know it's got to be horrible thinking you passed/aced the thing. Then get that quick turn around to see fail and think WTF. Just me, and my personality I would blame myself and say there has to be something simple I either look passed, or over ninja-neered; that broke the specs they were looking.  Not that I wouldn't ask for a re-read at some point in time due to frustration. But I would still doubt the re-read would work (in my instance).  

     

    .  

     

    Re-read is a part of the regular CCIE attempt and has nothing to do with the 360 Program. The only reason that Cisco rejects re-read is, if your score is too low and there is no chance for changing it from fail to pass. So in fact Cisco saves your 250$ ;)

    "Only exams with potential to change from fail to pass will have the option to request an appeal, based on years of historical data"

    If you think that Cisco is completely wrong and in fact your exam should be marked "Passed", even if your last attempt score is very low, rise the case with Cisco CCIE program support.

    Cheers,

    Seba

     

     

  • You guys are both correct and I am probably being significantly overly critical. I am pretty much over it at this point and ready to move on. However, that said, there have got to be reasons why so few people are passing, why they are dropping the core knowledge and how did I get the same lab twice? That is not suppose to happen right?

    I'm going to move on and take the lab again if I can't get escalation and get this human verification re-read done. I am also going to push for a free re-seat though.

    I just want to raise the awareness within the CCIE candidate community that there may be something going on behind the scenes. If enough of us "bitch and moan" enough about the problems we are seeing, hopefully Cisco will decide to fix the issue (like core knowledge).

    That's pretty much how I understood it to be on the re-read policy. I know it's got to be horrible thinking you passed/aced the thing. Then get that quick turn around to see fail and think WTF. Just me, and my personality I would blame myself and say there has to be something simple I either look passed, or over ninja-neered; that broke the specs they were looking.  Not that I wouldn't ask for a re-read at some point in time due to frustration. But I would still doubt the re-read would work (in my instance).  

     

    Re-read is a part of the regular CCIE attempt and has nothing to do with the 360 Program. The only reason that Cisco rejects re-read is, if your score is too low and there is no chance for changing it from fail to pass. So in fact Cisco saves your 250$ ;)

    "Only exams with potential to change from fail to pass will have the option to request an appeal, based on years of historical data"

    If you think that Cisco is completely wrong and in fact your exam should be marked "Passed", even if your last attempt score is very low, rise the case with Cisco CCIE program support.

    Cheers,

    Seba

     

     

     

  • As you guys know...like most of the team here, I love everything Cisco. But with that said, ummmmm - Cisco has been dropping the ball a bit lately on CCIE Cert matters it seems.

    We are indeed speaking to individuals within Cisco Cert and we all realize things will be resolved. 

    I cannot speak for Cisco (of course), but I want to personally thanks everyone for their patience - and also helping to make this particular IEOC community a place where we can share, vent, query, etc etc etc

  • Yeah, I say push for it because hey you may be right. You may have aced the exam had your shi& on lockdown. I feel you though it has to be frustrating. 

    You guys are both correct and I am probably being significantly overly critical. I am pretty much over it at this point and ready to move on. However, that said, there have got to be reasons why so few people are passing, why they are dropping the core knowledge and how did I get the same lab twice? That is not suppose to happen right?

    I'm going to move on and take the lab again if I can't get escalation and get this human verification re-read done. I am also going to push for a free re-seat though.

    I just want to raise the awareness within the CCIE candidate community that there may be something going on behind the scenes. If enough of us "*** and moan" enough about the problems we are seeing, hopefully Cisco will decide to fix the issue (like core knowledge).

     

  • I agree.  Speaking from personal experience, you need to press forward with Cisco if you feel you've actually been slighted.  It's highly unlikely that you'll effect any change in your pass/fail status, but you might be able to effect change relevant to the community at large. 

    Last year I took the v3.0 exam and failed the OEQs, but passed the configuration section.  I was certain that I answered 3 out of 4 of the questions correctly, and I protested by opening tickets, ranting in this forum, and vented on groupstudy.com.  I also participated in a CCIE-SP blueprint design session with Cisco, providing them with my 'educated' feedback on items being considered for the new blueprint.  At the end of this session, with the ear of some CCIE honchos on the phone I provided them with my unsolicited feedback regarding the OEQ section of the exam and how I had resolved not to take the exam again until the OEQ section was addressed.  I know I wasn't alone in voicing this sentiment to Cisco, but perhaps my voice along with the chorus of others in our community effected change.  Cisco of course says they removed OEQs for other reasons (TS section is effectively weeding out cheaters), but I'm certain all the negative feedback had a significant contribution as well.

    In short, everyone should feel empowered to press Cisco to do the 'right' things.  You never know what difference it could make...

  • Yeah - this is so true!

    With the Cisco 360 program hysteria and the attacks on us "grey market", I was very concerned that we (INE) would lose our influence and voice with the CCIE team at Cisco. This has not happened, and there have been intense dialogs about obvious issues with the program. 

  • so why wont cisco actually show you or tell you what you got wrong? Have they ever given an answer or justification rather than a cloak and dagger approach they use.

  • My assumption would be that it has to do with stemming cheating. If they tell you exactly what you did wrong then it would be much easier to figure out what they are looking for... and that means they would have to quit being lazy and actually develop new labs. Imagine that.

    It still boggles my mind that INE (a company of what 20 people?) can develop 27 labs for the new CCIE v4 and Cisco (a company of 20,000 people) only has a couple of variations apparently...

    so why wont cisco actually show you or tell you what you got wrong? Have they ever given an answer or justification rather than a cloak and dagger approach they use.

     

  • An update for anyone who cares. No one? Ok, well I'll post it any way :p. My case is still alive and kickin'!

    I received a request to update my Cisco trouble ticket today. This is
    the one that was opened on the back end by my Cisco reps. Their official
    response to that back end trouble ticket was:

     

     “We understand your concerns. This policy is based on years of
    historical data records collected from previous CCIE Lab results and
    reevaluation scores. According to this historical data, the chances that
    someone with your score will be able to achieve a passing score after a
    reevaluation is not possible. Even after reevaluation, someone with your score
    would not be able raise their score enough to actually pass the exam.
    Therefore, a reread is not available to you at this time. Had there been a
    chance that you would have been able to pass with a reread, the option would
    have been available to you.”

     

     To which I responded:

     

     "This
    policy is based on years of historical data records collected from previous
    CCIE Lab results and reevaluation scores. According to this historical data,
    the chances that someone with your score will be able to achieve a passing
    score after a reevaluation is not possible."




    -Rules are made to be broken.

    -There is a first time for everything.

    -Never say never.




    Besides the fact that your 'years of historical' data suggest that my score
    cannot be reversed, it is painfully obvious that you rely heavily on scripts to
    do the grading for you.



    I don't care how much historical grading you have... it would be nearly impossible
    for a script to be configured to account for all possible viable options.
    Therefore it is my conclusion that human grading would be 100% essential to
    accurately grade a lab exam.



    Further, your questions are all results driven. The general premise of a
    question on the lab is to attain a certain goal within a set of criteria. The
    results are what you should key in on the grading rather than the method used
    to get to the result.



    You must remember that, no matter how definite the questions, a human is going
    to think in terms of results, with a significant amount of imagination on
    subjective matters. A script only thinks in terms of absolutes.



    I want to know that a human has gone through my lab and verified FIRST that I
    attained the results requested. From there you can verify that the configuration,
    or method, was within the framework of the stated boundaries.



    I have a STONG feeling that you are grading the framework first, without much regard
    to the results; which would be a direct result of relying on scripts for
    grading.



    Again, I received my score report in less than two hours. I find it very hard
    to believe that it received the human attention one would expect in that time
    frame.

     

    All
    I want is to be able to pay for a re-grade so I can have the human verification
    of my lab that I feel was not done when grading my lab as I had my results in
    less than two hours after leaving the testing center.



    The proctors even told us during lunch that we would be getting our grades
    Friday night because they had to clear out the database in preparation for the
    change in lab format the following Monday (for removal of the OEQs).



    I feel that the grading was done in a hurried manner and that proper attention
    was not given in grading my lab.

     

  • At this point, I'd probably just be happy that Cisco even responded to your emails. Does their grading process suck? Yes, but its clear one hand isn’t talking to the other. At the moment, the program isn’t lining up with John Chamber’s vision of 50k CCIEs or the totally disconnected 360 program (save you’re money). Jump back on the bandwagon and make your way back as soon as possible. The technology is still fresh, so don’t waste any more time battling the evil corporate beast. Tackle a few INE mock labs and re-confirm your skills are inline.

  • I agree.  I spent (aka wasted) a lot of time doing the same pretty much just out of principle.  It sucks not having control over something so significant in your life, but that's the truth baby...  Crack the books, mock some labs, and schedule your retake.  It very well may take a few more attempts until you pass.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

  • Thanks for the encouragement. I agree that I can't spend too much time and effort worrying about if I was slighted or not. I am planning for my third attempt, probably mid-July. I am just waiting to see what the resolution on this case is prior to booking.

    As far as why I am still pursuing the case, I didn't want to just roll over accept it. I wanted to raise my issue to Cisco as well as share my experience with the CCIE community in general. My hope is, if there are issues with the CCIE program, that A) if the community as a whole gives enough credence to the issues then Cisco will likely be more apt to respond and B) elevate the situation with Cisco itself in the event that my issue, or others which are similar, was due to oversight on their part then Cisco could respond in accord.

    I'm currently going back through lab book II. I'll get my number eventually, one way or another!

  • I'm glad you're keeping up on it myself. I think even if it is a complete useless (as in you failed sorry your score just aint going to change) giving someone that peace of mind that their attempt was looked at appropriately is important. Making sure your grading program is functioning correctly is also important. I see it as a quasi check and balance sort of item. Say enough people notice the issue, address the issue, and it gets resolved. Without features like the re-grade and without people of ilk to just not let go of an issue you aren't going to maintain the high quality you need. So bitch on my friend, bitch on. :)

     

    Like I said before, I think I would start second guessing myself. One of my worse known qualities. Anyhow, good luck with it man.  

  • We should not question Cisco with the results of the lab exam. Bottom line "Cisco is our god"!!! J/K [<:o)]

    Yeah you should do whatever necessary to have justice for your case. Good luck dude!

  • Cisco responded this morning and they are going to authorize a regrade of my lab! All of that fuss I put up was worth it! Let's see what happens now...

     

    "Brandon

    As manager of CCIE lab operations your case has been
    forwarded to me.  First, I want to apologize for the delay in my response, I was
    out of the office   when the case hit my queue on the 26th

    I am writing you to let you know that I am going to
    authorize a reevaluation of your exam.  Therefore, I am going to request that
    customer service process your request.  Please understand that a reevaluation is
    a completely manual regrade of your exam.  The only information that you will be
    provided is whether or not you passed or failed as a result of this process.  As
    it is a fully manual process, it does take us up to 3 weeks to complete.

    Please let me know if this is satisfactory to you.

    Regards,
    Kathe"

  • Hope you get a positive outcome.

  • Good luck Brandon. This could be your chance to get on the board with your number. The fight clearly isn't over and your odds look much better now. [:D]

     

    For all we know, the autograde could've been using an incorrect rack number or something as simple as that. Get the number!!!

     

    Cheers!

  • Well, I received my results back and as I expected, no change. I am prepping up for my third attempt now. It seems like more people are stating to pass lately, so I am encouraged by that.

  • so that sucks. but hey study like mad and kick ass

  • Well - the third time was the charm for me - good luck!

    Well, I received my results back and as I expected, no change. I am prepping up for my third attempt now. It seems like more people are stating to pass lately, so I am encouraged by that.

     

  • Hey Brandon,

     

    I'm not sure if this helps, but I think you're in a great position to pass this thing.  If I fail, I would far rather have left my exam center convinced I passed than certain I failed with a laundry list of things I needed to work on.  A CCIE I knew took it four times, and his third time was very similar to yours - he said he was done in about 4 hours (v3 pre-OEQ) and had the entire rest of the day to double-check his work, and he still failed.  So he flew out, took it again, same experience, except this time came back with a pass.

     

    In the end, if we're to the point that we can "ace" the lab every time we take it, then we just need to keep taking it until Cisco agrees with us :)  Best of luck!  And I'm still planning on that Starcraft II night, haha.

     

    Jeff

     

  • Thanks Jeff for the encouragement and I am looking forward to the Starcraft II INE game night as well! StarCraft 2 is going to be my new study break activity :D.

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