My First Certification Exam Experience (Cisco 100-105 ICND1)

Andrew Fox - My First Certification Exam Experience

In 2019, I took my first certification exam, which was for the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1 100-105) certification. Unfortunately, after traveling 1 hour to the closest testing center, I failed the exam. Looking back at this experience, I now know the mistakes I made while preparing for and taking the exam. Although this certification is no longer available to get (retired), this experience was very important to me.

How I Prepared

I was lucky to be attending a local technical education school at the time, where I was in a computer networking class. This class followed the exact format to prepare us to take this certification exam. Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad) gave us all the material we need to prepare for this exam. I also used online resources for practice questions, but did not use them often.

Taking the Exam

The testing center provided me with a small whiteboard to write notes on if needed, and that was all I was allowed to have. I decided to write down as much important information that I can remember on the board, which benefited me while going through the exam. The exam had about 70 questions (multiple choice and performance-based), and once you answer a question you cannot go back. As soon as I saw the first question, I panicked. These were the most confusing and detailed questions I have ever seen. My confidence dropped after reading each question. After I completed the last question on the exam, my score was immediately shown on the screen. I was devastated.

What I learned

There are two things I learned from this experience. I first realized that not only should I focus on the material, but I need to focus on doing practice questions. Reviewing practice questions will help you understand how Cisco words their questions. Cisco tends to throw certain key words into questions to throw you off. Since I was less focused on doing practice questions, I didn’t know what to expect going into the exam. The second thing I learned was that Cisco likes to hide important details within paragraphs that are really important. I did not realize how important reading every single paragraph from the NetAcad course was until I took this exam. Yes, reading everything is time consuming, but understanding everything within each paragraph is super important. Overall, this experience taught me and has now prepared me for future certification exams I will take in the future. With my Security+ certification exam coming up (as mentioned in my previous post), I feel more confident with how I am preparing for this exam.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *