Just take the cert exam at home, they said…

Just take the cert exam at home, they said…
Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu / Unsplash

Today was the day the technical difficulties in taking an online certification exam were finally ironed out. Let me start by saying that it was a goal of 2022 to take and pass the Cisco Certification for Network Associates—the CCNA. The journey was long—longer than expected, with test dates getting pushed further and further back as time passed and life unfolded. But eventually, February 28th was the agreed upon test date. 

The decision was made to test online rather than in person at a testing center, as my Korean is not great, and it seemed the least disruptive to my wife’s schedule to let me clear our daughter’s bedroom and set up a desk in what would become “the testing center.”

The room was reminiscent of the rooms I had to proctor for Colorado state standard testing in spring each year; cold and lifeless. Everything needed to be removed from reach and at best from the room altogether. There was nothing more than a chair, a table, a laptop, and a whole lot of pre-test anxiety.

The scheduled hour arrived, and so did the technical difficulties. Let’s just say Pearson OnVue software needs to be updated to work with any current operating systems—you’ve been warned. The test wouldn’t load and got pushed back again until today.

With a new, old version of Windows installed, the login process went off without a hitch. And then the test broke loose.

For security purposes, I am not allowed to disclose much about the test. I can say that the things I studied were not on the test as much as I had hoped, and the things I hadn’t studied all managed to be there. It was a nightmare. By about question number 50, I was already looking forward to closing the test and scheduling a retake. After come to the last question and hitting “submit for grading,” the feeling of dread and relief were equally strong—thrilled to finally be released from purgatory and distraught at how poor the performance must have been and the thought of explaining a fail to may family. 

The test is meant to be punctuated with a note of either pass or fail with a further breakdown of the score to follow. Again, Pearson OnVue malfunctioned, leaving me with a survey and no idea of how the test had gone. Digging around on the website doesn’t reveal anything definitive either. Contacting customer service was only as helpful as learning that the official grade report will be emailed within 72 business hours. Still no word to that end—believe me, I keep checking.

All in all, I would give the testing experience a failing mark. It was awful, and I now have a fuller appreciation for the leverage gaining a CCNA certification can give you. These things are NOT easy to come by. I’ll follow up when I find out the official results. Until then, this is going to be a long weekend. But i’m glad to have the test behind me for now.