In the past, the ? mark has usually been permitted. I have no problem saying that because I watched a video from Cisco where Cisco actually encouraged the use of the ? during a test. Now, that was a couple of years ago. Over time, things change.
There are a few possibilities.
1) the question mark is no longer permitted.
2) the test had a glitch in it and it should have allowed you to use it.
3) the question mark may be permitted is some tests but not others.
Did you leave comments in your test about the question mark not working? This is something we may want a moderator to chime in on.
Another option, is that they simply didn't build the context sensitive help (the "?" option) into every level of every command.
In the real world, context sensitive help is there "most of the time" as well. Some of the newer features, don't have fully cooked context sensitive help as well.
Best wishes on your next attempt.
the impression I got from the sims, and yes the sims are only simulations as you say, was that the ? mark wasn't available at all from keyboard during the whole test. In the keyboard mode I used the ? mark comes from shift-"+" and this key combination didn't produce anything. This says that actually I don't know whether the help-context was available or not for the command syntax, but the fact is that I didn't get the ? mark from my keyboard. However, for example % was available by shift-5, so it seems that only shift-"+" (which produces ?) was disabled during the test.
I didn't comment the lack of ? mark in the test, which I should have done, but I thought to get in touch with the cert team if someone else would have been able to get ? mark from the new CCNP level exams, especially in SWITCH. So if anyone would have had the same problem or if someone was able to get the ? mark in SWITCH, pls let me know.
I used the Official Certification Guide from Dave Hucaby and as many other ones having this book have reported on this forum I'd say the same, that is misses some topics such as IP SLAs, SNMP and syslog. However, Dave noticed the lack of some topics himself and he opened a blog to publish the missing parts. The blog address is http://dhucaby.wordpress.com/and you can find the missing sections and other nice info there. Also, I had the Cert kit from Cisco press and it included the SWITCH quick reference book, video mentor (which I found useful) and the online flashcards.
I think I'll try the SWITCH exam again after the summer holidays and for the next time I thought to order the SWITCH Foundation Learning Guide as well. I read that this book covers the planning topics better than Official Cert Guide, and I think that would be useful although the planning question require just a little bit common sence.
However, I'm still missing the answer whether anyone else has been able to use the ? mark to get help on the configuration commands. Raise your voice.. Anyone?!?
I'm not sure about the ?, but that would make the exams a bit more interesting if it is not allowed. I remember taking the CCNA exam at the beginning of last year and the ? seemed to work on some questions, but not others. Like wise some commands were invalid in particular instances, although I know they should have worked. Maybe the ? is disabled in specific questions????
Thanks for the link to Hucaby's blog by the way, that has been a huge gap filler.