What to Expect During the Exam

This is the second blog post in my “What to Expect?” series. This blog post will discuss what happens on the day of your certification exam.
Make sure you know how you will get there. If you are dealing with heavy traffic, plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. Remember Murphy’s Law, where anything can go wrong, will go wrong. I once ran out of the door to drive to the testing centre only to discover that my tire was flat. What should you do in such a situation? Call the testing center. Most testing centers will accommodate you if they have flexibility in their testing schedule.
You will need to sign in and provide valid photo identification when you arrive at the testing center. The testing center may also take a digital photo of you. This will be compared against previous photos to ensure that the same person is taking each exam.
You are not allowed to bring anything into the testing area, including the following:
Cell phones
flash drives
Purses and wallets
Bags and backpacks
Cameras and other recording devices
car keys
The test center will take care of you if you have any of the above items.
A dry-erase pen and an erasable notebook will be given to you. These materials must be returned to the test center after you have completed the exam. Notes of any kind cannot be taken from the testing environment. If you require headphones to block out the sound, the test centre will provide them if they are available.
Your exam will be timed. You will be given a timer that will not stop if you need to use the bathroom.
After you have been signed in to the testing computer by the administrator, you will be asked for a certification agreement. Most companies will require that you agree to the following:
1. You won’t reveal anything you see on the exam.
2. You won’t be able to remove exam materials from the testing areas.
3. You have not used any unauthorized materials (such as cheat sheets or braindumps) to prepare for the exam.
4. You will not allow anyone to take an exam for you.
5. You will not falsify your certification status nor allow another person to use it.
Failure to comply with the agreement could result in your certification status being revoked and you may be prevented from certifying again in the future. Not worth it. During the exam, the administrator at the test center will keep an eye on you. A video camera can also be used to record you taking the exam.
A tutorial will be provided before the exam starts. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the exam interface and the types of questions you might encounter. You might also want to read my previous blog post, 7 Question Types on Cisco Certification Exams. It includes questions that you will likely see on the exam tutorial.
The tutorial will end and the exam will begin. The timer will also start. If you have any issues during the exam, please inform the administrator. I had a computer crash during an exam once. The administrator rebooted my computer and signed me back in. The exam resumed exactly where it had left off.
Be patient. Do not dwell on one question too much. Guessing is not penalized. If you don’t know the answer to a question, eliminate as many options as possible and make an educated guess. CompTIA and Microsoft exams allow you to mark a question and return to it later. Cisco exams don’t allow you to review past questions. You can’t go back to a question after you have answered it.
Take the time to read all of the options. Do not mark the first correct answer that you find and then move on to the next question. You might be surprised to find that one of your answers is correct.