I did pass the CCDA this morning, and though I am proud of myself and ready to move forward with the CCNP, I wouldn’t say I “mastered” the test by any means.This test, I feel, is more difficult than the CCNA by quite a bit because with the CCNA, you are dealing with strictly correct or incorrect answers. The majority of the questions on the CCDA are more subjective; it’s all about context and “The Cisco Way” of doing things. I would guess that only about 15% of the questions are straight factual right or wrong answers (such as the proper way to abbreviate an IPv6 address — there are rules in place that determine exactly what the correct answer is with no ambiguity). The rest of the questions are essentially testing “correct” and “less correct” though not necessarily wrong.
For example, one of the topics covers the design of data center access and distribution layers and the way they should be implemented. This includes different types of both Layer 2 and Layer 3 access, and while both methods could be used in various ways (and even mixed together), the test is seeing if you know Cisco’s preferred way of doing it, even though more than one way could be technically correct. I guess when you spell it out like that, it makes it sound easy: just memorize Cisco’s way of doing things. But when you’re trying to take all things into consideration and actually learn the material and understand what it means (and not just memorize the answers), coupled with the ambiguous wording of some of the questions, it makes it quite difficult.
I won’t know until I get there, of course, but I would imagine that when I am ready to take the CCDP exam, these kinds of things will be less of an issue because I will have been exposed to “The Cisco Way” for a longer period of time.
So in the end, I didn’t do as well as I thought I would, but I did “good enough.” What’s ironic is that the two topic areas I thought I needed the most work on, and did indeed study the most (wireless and voice), only received a couple of questions on the test. That’s too bad, because I was ready for those questions 🙂