[c-nsp] Certification Ethics

William McCall william.mccall at gmail.com
Mon May 11 18:06:02 EDT 2009

> I'm stuck.  I don't want to cheat.  I also don't want to have to work three
> or four times harder to achieve the same results as someone else.
>  Moreover,
> if even the moderator won't tell me what is fair and what is not, why am I
> spending all of this extra effort?
I feel what you're saying. I'm about to go take my CCIE lab. There are a lot
of "aides" out there. And I'm not talking enzyte. In reality, this is a
personal conscious thing. I'm with you 100% that cheating does take away
from the exam, but you do need to remember that life (and certifications) is
not fair. Any delusion of fairness, whether in the academic realm,
certification, or other area is nonsense. The only absolute fairness is
whether the letter selected is correct or not (and marked as such).

> My questions to the group are:
> -Am I completely out of line here?  If so, please tell me how.

No, but realize this is a moral choice. Some people will do anything they
can to get ahead on paper.

> -What is an appropriate time to study for a single Cisco test (not expert
> level)?  I understand there is a great amount of variance, but ballpark
> figures are what?  100 hours? 500 hours?  1000 hours?

I usually spent around ~50 hrs total per test. Really, its all up to how
well you truly understand the workings of the exam, the devices and,
ultimately, the answer that Cisco is looking for. Some of the answers in the
exams border on arbitrary but there is a method to the madness.

> -What practice test material do YOU think is or is not fair for preparation
> for a Cisco certification test?
I wouldn't worry on fair or unfair. Personal moral choices are personal.
Yes, cheating takes away from the value of the certification, but your goal
should be to attain mastery of the material, right? Have you mastered the
material? If so, are you being recognized for it? What is your goal in

My personal choice is to abstain from cheating on the exams, but I have a
knack for test taking and a ridiculous memory of process flows but to be
fair, I did fail the ISCW for CCNP 4 times before I passed (William and
silly GUI questions don't mix well). Some people just want the certification
to show that they know what they think they know. Do you think you know it?

> Again, sorry for being so wordy.  Thanks in advance for any insight you may
> be able to share.

You're grown. Its obviously not stopped by the people that promote the
education and provide the exam. Do what you think is right for your

> -Chris
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