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    Passing score

    Mitch

      I've called both Cisco and Pearson Vue but for some reason, nobody can answer this question as it seems to be Top Secret or something.

      WHAT IS THE PASSING SCORE FOR A CERT, such as the CCNA or ICND1?   Is it 70%? 80%?    Cisco states the following:

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      Exam Scoring

      Passing scores are set by using statistical analysis and are subject to change. At the completion of the exam, candidates receive a score report along with a score breakout by exam section and the passing score for the given exam. Cisco does not publish exam passing scores because exam questions and passing scores are subject to change without notice.

      ========

       

      Ok, so my question now is "WHY?"   Subject to change?   What's so hard about saying you need to score 85% or better to pass?  Do passing scores change on a day-to-day basis on the whim of some exec?  Cisco is not a university (although they think they are). Maybe they should get off their high horse and simply state a passing score, not some statistical analysis nonsense.

        • 1. Re: Passing score
          Chris Buscemi

          Hi Mitch,

           

          I can understand the frustration over not being able to find out what the specific score needed to pass is. However that is the way Cisco does it. The reason it can change is that the exams are not always the same questions for every exam. You and a friend could take the exam on the same day at the same testing site and have two completely different sets of questions. Add to that the fact that the types of questions (multiple choice, simlet, testlet, simulation) and the quantity of each type, is different for each exam, and each type of question is weighted differently in the number of points it is worth. All of those variables make a static passing score difficult to make fair.

           

          That being said, you should expect a score of 80-85% to be good enough to pass the different exams.

           

          Hope that helps.

           

           

          Chris

          • 2. Re: Passing score
            Kenny Taylor

            I remember hearing the 80% figure as well.

            • 3. Re: Passing score

              Some exam questions are weighed higher than others, hence there is no single passing score or percentage that will grant a Pass/Fail mark.

               

              Regards,
              Andrew

              Cisco Learning Network Moderator

              • 4. Re: Passing score
                Chris

                Hi Mitch,

                 

                I do understand where you're coming from.  That being said, try not to focus on the minimum score and focus on truly knowing the technolgies; as you'll then clear the exam and more importantly possess real world know-how.

                 

                I'm not knocking other vendors' cert. programs as I feel that they do adequately prepare an individual for that vendors products.   However, IMHO Cisco certs are much harder because you can't just muck-around in a GUI and make things work...SDM aside.

                 

                Who knows maybe someday Cisco and other vendors will create templates/scripts/GUI's/AI devices which don't require an engineer to configure...ouch!  As we humans advance technology, we continually leave behind more and more humans with the desire or ability to comprehend this stuff; we're essentially becoming "legacy" devices or FRUs.

                 

                Good luck with all your certs!

                 

                Chris

                • 5. Re: Passing score
                  Mitch

                  Hi Chris,

                   

                  Thanks for your response. I agree with what you are saying but I'm not one of those people who just know the CLI and expect to pass.

                  I don't mind the challenge and depth of material but I do expect that, when paying for an exam, I understand how well I have to do to pass or fail.

                  What I believe is happening is that Cisco is using a little bit of psychology here. By not telling you how well you have to do to pass, you will not work 80 or 90% as hard - you will give it 100%.  For example, imagine if they said that the passing grade was 65%, I'm sure many of us would skip over the minor details and focus on the main ingrediants. That's my take. Even universities don't do that or there is a curve and you are only better than the next person in the class, regardless of the total correct on the exam.  Maybe this is Cisco's version of curve.

                   

                  Regards,

                  Mitch

                  • 6. Re: Passing score
                    Mitch

                    Thanks.

                    • 7. Re: Passing score
                      Mitch

                      Chris,

                       

                      Everything you said makes sense and is fair game, however, why should one person pass a test with 80% correct and the next day, another needs 85% to pass?   They can mix it around, have different weights for the questions, etc. but also have clear pass/fail percentage.   If not, then should they grade on a curve?  I don't think that would make sense. I am paying for my exam, not my employer, so I feel this should be cut and dry and not shrouded in some algorithm that differs over different tests.

                       

                      Thanks for answer.

                       

                      Mitch

                      • 8. Re: Passing score
                        Chris

                        Hi Mitch,

                         

                        I agree.   I was dismayed when I failed the exam and how little information the score report actually gives the candidate.  I do feel the score report should provide score results more in step with the "exam objectives", which would enable a candidate to know which areas to concentrate their studies.  I do believe that Cisco has given a lot of thought and consideration for all of these concerns and decides to do what you said; which makes us push even harder to comprehend the technologies.

                         

                        Push hard and know the big picture and the details which tie it all together.  Afterall, networking and IT in general is all about providing "services" to the end-users and it's our job to configure and leverage the best technologies to provide those services.

                         

                        Cheers,

                         

                        Chris

                        • 9. Re: Passing score
                          Darwin R CCNA/CCDA

                          Hello Mitch,

                           

                          Information from a document I found...

                           

                          Item selection and cut-score setting: The results of the beta exam are analyzed to determine which items should be included in the live exam. This analysis focuses on many factors, including item difficulty and reliability. Microsoft works with a panel of experts to review the technical accuracy of questions and to determine the final item pool for the live exam. The panel determines the cut score (minimum passing score) for the exam. This score differs from exam to exam, because it is based on the difficulty of the item pool and the expected performance of the minimally qualified candidate.

                           

                          The process above is what most certification scoring is based on and the weight of each test is based on difficulty factors among other variables. To sum it up, if all test we took were the same, they could easily define a minimum score.

                           

                          Regards,

                           

                          Darwin

                          • 10. Re: Passing score
                            Mitch

                            Hi Darwin,

                             

                            Thank you for finding that document. Still, I think it's fair for Cisco to say that a passing score varies between 80 and 85%, for example. Regardless of the variance of the exams and questions, at the end of the exam, Cisco decides what percentage correct is "pass" vs. "fail". I refuse to accept what I consider excuses for not posting some number on what is considered a passing grade.   For example, how would you like it if one exam required a 90% correct to pass vs. another one 80%?   Is that impossible?  Well, how can you be so sure if we don't know if this is true?   University exams are no different in that it is clear, at the beginning of the course, what letter grade (or percentage) it takes to pass that course, plain and simple. University exams also vary.   There may or may not be a curve in Cisco exams but at the end of the day, it's about a percentage correct that is needed to pass.   If Cisco does not grade on a curve, then I expect a small range of what is a passing grade. 

                             

                            BTW, I just passed my CCENT but I am dissatisfied because I have no idea *how well* I did ("final score is based on a scale of 300 to 1000 points"). I would also like to know which ones I got wrong.   This could be shown right after the exam, right on the screen.

                             

                            Mitch

                            • 11. Re: Passing score
                              Darwin R CCNA/CCDA

                              Hi Mitch,

                               

                              I'm quite sure at least 90+% of exam takers (whether Cisco or other) agree either whole heartedly or with most of your concerns.

                               

                              I truly believe when the situation of exam integrity comes into play it's a big part of why the process is the way it is. I often think about exam questions on certain vendor test that are weighted on how much of the answer you know versus right or wrong. The variables are in a way are 'endless'.

                               

                              We may never the exact phylosophy, the how or why's behind your keen incite.

                               

                              CONGRATULATIONS!!! ON YOUR CCENT SUCCESS. I'm quite sure you'll laugh about all this when you become a Cisco Certified Architech.

                               

                              Regards,

                               

                              Darwin

                              • 12. Re: Passing score
                                Mitch

                                Thanks Darwin. I don't know if I'll be laughing but I'll be sure glad it's over. My cert is only good for 3 years?  Gee, my BSEE won't expire!  As you can see, I have many beefs with Cisco    I'll post more observations at a later time.  Enjoy!

                                • 13. Re: Passing score
                                  Alamedian

                                  Hi Mitch,

                                  Regarding certification expiration, with all due respect, I think you are missing the reason that a certification process exists. Each time you take the test, you are certified as being comptent with the technology of the day. Let's say I pass the CCNA this year and the cert does not expire. Ten years from now, an employer will look at my resume and see "Cisco Certifed". What will this tell the employer? If the certifcation is not renewed, my knowledge is dated. If Cisco did not insist that a CCNA had an expiration date, the cert would have far less value.

                                  • 14. Re: Passing score
                                    Mitch

                                    Hi Alamedian,

                                     

                                    I don't totally disagree with you - getting re-certified is an important aspect of showing how up-to-date you are with the subject at hand. This makes even more sense when the following professions are involved: legal, finance (taxes), and medicine.   That said, I think it makes less sense to get re-certified so soon (3 years is too soon, in my opinion) in the networking field.  The "technology of the day" does not change *that* drastically in 3 years, unless perhaps you are a developer, especially with H/W.   Let's face it: This is only an entry level exam - how much do you think is going to change in 3 years?  Sure, you can throw in USB 3.0, 802.11n, or IOS, but the core of the CCENT will remain the same: LAN/WAN/routing/switching/OSI model/subnetting.   If Cisco insists on a re-cert, I certainly don't think it should be as grueling as the ICND - they could focus mainly on updates to the technology and a few core items to double check that all was not forgotten.  I can't imagine taking this exam every 3 years for the next 20+ years if I stay on the technical side of things. I certainly don't have to get my BSEE re-certified - does it mean it has far less value?  Maybe it does. Maybe employers shouldn't give so much weight to Cisco certs. I don't know.

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