When you arrive at the exam testing center, you must sign in with an exam coordinator and show two forms of identification ”one of which mush be a photo ID. After you have signed in and your time slot arrives, you will be asked to deposit any books, bags, or other items you brought with you. Then, you will be escorted into a closed room. Typically, the room will be furnished with from one to six computers and each workstation will be separated from the others by dividers designed to keep you from seeing what is happening on someone else's computer.
You will be furnished with a pen or pencil and a blank sheet of paper ”or, in some cases, an erasable plastic sheet and an erasable felt-tip pen. You are allowed to write any information you want on both sides of the sheet. Before the exam, memorize as much of the material that appears on the Cram Sheet (inside the front cover of this book) as you can and write that information on the blank sheet as soon as you are seated in front of the computer. You can refer to your rendition of the Cram Sheet anytime you like during the test, but you will have to surrender the sheet when you leave the room.
Most test rooms feature a wall with a large picture window. This permits the exam coordinator standing behind it to monitor the room, prevent exam takers from talking to one another, and observe anything out of the ordinary that might occur. The exam coordinator will preload the appropriate Cisco certification exam ”for this book, that's exam 642-521 ”and you will be permitted to start as soon as you are seated in front of the computer.
All Cisco certification exams allow a certain maximum amount of time in which to complete the work (this time is indicated on the exam by an onscreen counter/clock, so you can check the time remaining whenever you want). Exam 642-521 consists of 65 “70 randomly selected questions. You can take up to 75 minutes to complete the exam. To pass, you are required to achieve a score of 825 or better on a scale of 300 “1,000.
All Cisco certification exams are computer-generated and use a multiple-choice format. From time to time, you might be prompted to enter actual configuration commands into boxes or into actual PIX simulations. It is important not to abbreviate the commands in any way when this type of question is posed. Although this might sound quite simple, the questions are constructed not only to check your mastery of basic facts and figures about Cisco PIX firewall configuration, but also to require you to evaluate one or more sets of circumstances or requirements. Often, you will be asked to give more than one answer to a question. Likewise, you might be asked to select the best or most effective solution to a problem from a range of choices, all of which are technically correct. Taking the exam is quite an adventure, and it involves real thinking. This book shows you what to expect and how to deal with the potential problems, puzzles, and predicaments you are likely to encounter.