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Tim Hall has done it again! He has just released the 2nd edition of "Max Power".
Rather than get into details here, I urge you to check out this announcement post.
It's a massive upgrade, and well worth checking out. -E

 

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Thread: Failed today

  1. #1
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    Default Failed today

    Much to my annoyance I failed the CCSA R70 exam today and its left me rueing the day I decided to start studying for it. At 63% I'm not far off but the thing thats left a bitter taste in my mouth is the fact that a sizeable percentage of the questions were entirely new to me despite knowing the *official courseware* very well. For example, I was asked a succession of questions on SNX. I had never heard of this before today! Commands that arent listed in the courseware came up, leaving me down to guesswork. I'd say a good 10 or 15% of the questions were of this nature.

    I dont mind failing exams if I havent done the work required or have slacked off in my preparation, but for Check Point to pluck subjects out of the air like this is just plain unfair.

    Its left me in in something of a quandry on where to go next, i've put months of effort into getting this cert and I certainly dont want to give up on it but with CP playing dirty in the exam I dont know if I'll ever have the time to research every single check point product ever and their associated obscure command line options.

    Not very happy.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Failed today

    I'd say that if what they asked you was not in the courseware, demand a refund for the courseware and/or the exam fee.

    THIS is why I hate these certification tests. I want a real person to evaluate me and give me pass/fail. Give me an environment and tasks to perform within a certain time limit and I would never hesitate to get certified.
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Failed today

    I remember having a few questions on OCSP functionality and service/port requirements (at least three different questions) on the old R65 CCSA. At the time I had no idea what it was so I know I missed a few questions because of it.

    There were other one-offs which I've found to be typical of Check Point exams.

    Contact your SE or Sales Manager and email certification@ts.checkpoint.com to get some clarification as to why this is going on. If it's not in the official courseware, and it's not necessary to do an admin job, it probably shouldn't be tested...
    - boldin
    CISSP
    CCSE/R65

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Failed today

    Quote Originally Posted by SmashySmashy View Post
    Much to my annoyance I failed the CCSA R70 exam today and its left me rueing the day I decided to start studying for it. At 63% I'm not far off but the thing thats left a bitter taste in my mouth is the fact that a sizeable percentage of the questions were entirely new to me despite knowing the *official courseware* very well. For example, I was asked a succession of questions on SNX. I had never heard of this before today! Commands that arent listed in the courseware came up, leaving me down to guesswork. I'd say a good 10 or 15% of the questions were of this nature.

    I dont mind failing exams if I havent done the work required or have slacked off in my preparation, but for Check Point to pluck subjects out of the air like this is just plain unfair.

    Its left me in in something of a quandry on where to go next, i've put months of effort into getting this cert and I certainly dont want to give up on it but with CP playing dirty in the exam I dont know if I'll ever have the time to research every single check point product ever and their associated obscure command line options.

    Not very happy.
    I'm sorry to learn of your bad experience. I've been hearing from many people that the current exam versions have strayed so far from reality and common practice that they're no longer valid measures of anything. We've been trying to improve the exams for 13 years, but things seem to be accelerating in the opposite direction.
    Barry J. Stiefel ("Stee-ful" or "Shtee-ful")
    B.S., MBA, CCSA/CCSE/CCSE+/CCSI
    Resilience RCSE/RCSI, Fortinet FCSE
    CISSP, MCSE, NSA ISM
    Founder of CPUG
    Founder of CPUG University

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Failed today

    Barry , thanks for your note on this issue. I am getting the same feedback from my students that they are getting questions on CLI which are not even part of any course material and lot of questions which are not making any sense. We do need to write to CP so they can look into the exam pool, as the purpose is to encourage people to get certified. As you have mention it is getting very difficult to prepare students for this exam.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Failed today

    Quote Originally Posted by cooluswiz View Post
    Barry , thanks for your note on this issue. I am getting the same feedback from my students that they are getting questions on CLI which are not even part of any course material and lot of questions which are not making any sense. We do need to write to CP so they can look into the exam pool, as the purpose is to encourage people to get certified. As you have mention it is getting very difficult to prepare students for this exam.
    Writing to Check Point won't do you any good. They know perfectly well what's in the exams. We've been trying for years to get them to fix the exams but it always falls on deaf ears. They know what they're doing and these exams are meeting their strategic goals. It's just that their strategic goals are different than ours.

    It's best just to walk away from Check Point exams, like we have. Work on the exams that actually mean something, like CISSP and Cisco exams, or SANS certifications. My personal opinion is that the Check Point exams are now worthless.

    I'm sorry you had to waste so much time and effort with them, but wasting time and effort and talking to a brick wall seems to be an important part of being a Check Point customer.
    Barry J. Stiefel ("Stee-ful" or "Shtee-ful")
    B.S., MBA, CCSA/CCSE/CCSE+/CCSI
    Resilience RCSE/RCSI, Fortinet FCSE
    CISSP, MCSE, NSA ISM
    Founder of CPUG
    Founder of CPUG University

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Failed today

    SmashySmashy,

    Sorry to hear about your experience.
    I agree that sounds ridiculous for Checkpoint to pull CLI questions out of the air like that that are not even covered in the courseware or the lab book.
    I barely know anyone on this forum from Adam, but I can confidently say that many of us work with Checkpoint day in and day out and have done implementations on R70 that have been successful and we couldn't have done that if we don't know what we are doing. It's just part of our jobs. It frustrating that rather than testing you on the foundation questions and principles that you need to work with Checkpoint, that the pull out these obscure questions. To me that's not validating an exam but just being down right deceitful. Unfortunately it is what it is, but it shouldn't be so. I know we are all on the same page. I would just say that you haven't failed until you have given up. Hang in there and best of luck to you. I will be taking the test soon myself.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Failed today

    I can't say I've had this experience in my Check Point testing. Then again, I didn't use the courseware, but rather what I knew (ok just a little bit of courseware).

    In full disclosure, I work for Check Point, so I see a HUGE variety of issues.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Failed today

    Check Point is my "bread and butter" (as a co-worker put it), but with all of the problems we've seen with custom hotfixes, etc., along with DoD 8570 certification requirements, we've been seriously considering recommending that the customer migrate away from Check Point back toward Cisco or Juniper. Also, with contractual requirements, it's really hard to find folks with Check Point certifications and a clearance. Juniper and Cisco folks with clearances are much easier to find...

    (If you have a secret or better clearance and a CCSA or better, please PM me - we need you!)
    - boldin
    CISSP
    CCSE/R65

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Failed today

    Quote Originally Posted by boldin View Post
    Check Point is my "bread and butter" (as a co-worker put it), but with all of the problems we've seen with custom hotfixes, etc., along with DoD 8570 certification requirements, we've been seriously considering recommending that the customer migrate away from Check Point back toward Cisco or Juniper. Also, with contractual requirements, it's really hard to find folks with Check Point certifications and a clearance. Juniper and Cisco folks with clearances are much easier to find...

    (If you have a secret or better clearance and a CCSA or better, please PM me - we need you!)
    I think with these new exams they've essentially choked off the supply of new CCSA's. It's sad, but it's obviously more important to them to show how tough they can be. I can see how people would finally just give up on them, leave them isolated in their little customer-proof fortress, and move on with their careers.
    Barry J. Stiefel ("Stee-ful" or "Shtee-ful")
    B.S., MBA, CCSA/CCSE/CCSE+/CCSI
    Resilience RCSE/RCSI, Fortinet FCSE
    CISSP, MCSE, NSA ISM
    Founder of CPUG
    Founder of CPUG University

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Failed today

    I'm an R65 CCSA (ONLY because of a bootcamp). I refuse to waste my time studying or spend my money to sit for an exam I SHOULD be able to realistically pass while half asleep, but have little to no chance of passing on a first round. Why would I not pass you may ask??? Because I know what works in real life situations and have not committed every little CLI command (and other stupid crap like it) to memory.

    Unfortunately, real life is not being tested here and memorizing PDFs is... These questions were probably written by someone with a degree in professional writing who has never touched ANY firewalls in their entire lives. To those of us that do CP for a living, this is quite obvious.
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Failed today

    Quote Originally Posted by lammbo View Post
    I'm an R65 CCSA (ONLY because of a bootcamp). I refuse to waste my time studying or spend my money to sit for an exam I SHOULD be able to realistically pass while half asleep, but have little to no chance of passing on a first round. Why would I not pass you may ask??? Because I know what works in real life situations and have not committed every little CLI command (and other stupid crap like it) to memory.

    Unfortunately, real life is not being tested here and memorizing PDFs is... These questions were probably written by someone with a degree in professional writing who has never touched ANY firewalls in their entire lives. To those of us that do CP for a living, this is quite obvious.
    Don't underrate yourself lammbo - I was able to pass my CCSE R70 upgrade earlier this year, after spending several months riding around Patagonia, a long way away from any firewalls. Just spent a few days reading materials and looking at stuff like the practice exam. I'm sure you could pass the exam if you wanted to.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Failed today

    Smashy:

    No worries. You could be like me. I've failed twice. 53% and 58%. Which is an improvement, however, my credit card cannot withstand $200 hits every 30 days.

    I've studied old braindumps, the courseware (R70), have a virtual lab set up and work with R65 through R71 everyday.

    This exam is not a test of skill; or mastery of Check Point software/hardware, but a series of questions designed to make someone fail. Or, as I like to think of it, a money-grab.

    Not to glorify braindumps, but a quality one does not exist for this cert. For my first go-around, I had the Boson Examsim. The questions were so far off-base from Boson, that I would have been better without it. With Boson and the courseware, I got a 53%.

    Next go-around, Pass4sure and courseware. Got a 58%. I would say that of the 512 questions offered in the P4S, you will see maybe 10. If that.

    After the second go-around, I checked out some materials for the R65 CCSA and CCSE exams and found that some of the questions are in those braindumps, but it's hardly worth it to spend time with them.

    A co-worker and I have amassed 40 questions from the R70. And have what we believe to be the correct answers. He just took the test for the fifth time, and passed...with 71%.

    I can understand asking questions that are difficult. But this test strays completely from the courseware. I've seen detailed questions about clustering on both attempts. And, if memory serves, clustering is only briefly mentioned in the courseware.

    I wish this exam were more Cisco-like, in that it would test the skill of the student, versus the knowledge of some rarely-used functionality of the product.

    It's clear that this test isn't to screen for quality Check Point professionals, but to keep all but a lucky few from joining the ranks. Or should I say, those that are willing to burn $600 for the courseware and $200 per try until they pass.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    I'll step off of my soapbox now.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Failed today

    I'm sorry to hear of your troubles, but you're clearly not the only one. With the R70 and above exams, their Training and Certification department has gone completely off the rails.

    If you want to prove you're competent with the product, write a detailed technical paper on some aspect of the product and we'll be proud to publish it here.

    Barry
    Barry J. Stiefel ("Stee-ful" or "Shtee-ful")
    B.S., MBA, CCSA/CCSE/CCSE+/CCSI
    Resilience RCSE/RCSI, Fortinet FCSE
    CISSP, MCSE, NSA ISM
    Founder of CPUG
    Founder of CPUG University

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    Default Re: Failed today

    Barry:

    Absolutely agree with your statement about off the rails. 100% correct.

    As far as a technical paper, I would absolutely love to do that, but between work and school. I'm tapped for time right now :)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Failed today

    Hi guys - I took and failed my R70 CCSA yesterday. I wasnt quite sure what to expect to be honest but some questions I knew I had no chance on!

    I got 62% - and from what I have read on these forums - the R70 CCSA is a major change when compared to earlier Checkpoint versions.

    Going off the questions I encountered during the exam and the content in the courseware - they do not match up. Yes I understand that alot of the questions are scenario based but when I came across approx. 10 questions regarding specific fw & fwm commands I became a little unstuck!

    The fw sam command was referenced in detail in certain questions and it threw me off completely. Correct me if Im wrong but I dont think the fw command syntax is detailed in the courseware.

    Yes there were areas where I could have answered correctly but there were some that completely blindsided me.

    As this is my very first Checkpoint exam (and my first major exam since uni) Im going to put it down to being rusty and sign up again! hehe

    Oh and I have never seen so many 'trick' questions in my life! pain in the ass!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Failed today

    Man, sorry man, that's bad news for real. How long have you been preparing for it?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Failed today

    I think I put a few months into it. If I am completely honest with myself I didnt do enough!

    Still it wasnt a bad first attempt.

    And to my surprise I have downloaded the R71 practice exam and a large portion of the practice questions were in my R70 exam.

    Bloody money grabbing checkpoint! hehe

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