Juniper Exams vs Cisco Exams

Juniper exams are interesting.  I’ve written before that they expect you to understand a lot of the underlying concepts before you take the exam.

The exams are entirely written.  They’re multiple choice, single answer and multiple choice, multiple answer.  This format works well, and even with this format they’re extremely difficult questions.  I, for one, am glad there are no labs or drag and drop questions.  Why?

I took a Cisco exam, the ICND1 or CCENT exam.  On this exam was a simulator.  In this simulator a question was asked inquiring about a connectivity issue.  Using the show interface <if-name> command revealed that the interface was up and up.  The problem is that this wasn’t an option in the answers.  And none of the other options were valid, either.  I was at an impasse.  Four options, none of them valid answers.  In desperation, I issued the show ip interface brief command.  I was shocked and amazed to discover that this command showed a different status for the interfaces than the show interface command.  I had my answer, but I almost missed a question because show interface and show ip interface brief showed two completely different statuses for an interface.  They should have had the same output, regardless of what Cisco was looking for.  This question was extremely unfair and very poorly designed and executed.

Because Juniper doesn’t use simulators, it doesn’t suffer from this problem.  Whether these potential bugs or “features” are the reasons for them not using simulators or not, I applaud them.  I cannot praise the simplicity of the Juniper Networks certification exams enough.  Without the complexities, there are fewer potential bugs or issues.  Yet their exams are still difficult enough to ensure their own validity and to validate the knowledge and skills of their candidates.

Juniper, please learn from this post and keep these points in mind.  I fully believe that simulators and the like can, will, and have prevented otherwise successful candidates from passing their exams.  I am even more displeased with Cisco after taking their exams.  And I’m more impressed by Juniper for avoiding the pitfalls that Cisco suffers from.

    • Marek
    • March 19th, 2012


    I am sorry, but I must disagree. I think that the simulations are the most funny and challenging thing on the exam. I am sorry for you, that you had a so bad experience with your simulation – never happened to me (taken about 8 exams). Probably I am a lucky one 🙂

    • Based on my experience, if they are challenging, it is only because of their inconsistencies. The simulations themselves (so far) have been extremely easy if you have even half of an idea what you’re doing. The Cisco exams are, in comparison, much easier than the Juniper exams.

      This is, of course, just my experience. YMMV.

  1. I agree 100%. Cisco exams are AWFUL.

    Juniper exams (especially JNCIP exams) are VERY difficult. The passing score is what, 72? That means they EXPECT you to miss a lot of questions. It’s THAT hard.

    They’re also very much more real-world. Cisco exams seem to revolve around tricking you with wording. Juniper exams are more interested in whether you know and understand technical concepts.

  2. Packettalk,
    I’m glad to read this!
    In my view, real lab exams are the best.
    Simulator needs to improve to make the exams reliable, and not a roulette.
    But I wonder how long that would take, considering that in many written certification exams there are SO MANY errors!
    Till few years ago on each exam I was getting 1-2 wrong questions or no right answers…


  3. heloo everyone,
    i m persuing and in 6th semester
    i have keen interst in networking and i m so confused to where to start with pls guide me wheather to go for cisco or juniper
    or for which course or training
    will be greatfull to u

      • Batko
      • February 1st, 2015

      If you can go through the Hell of Cisco tests Juniper will feel like a Elementary school entry test.

    • Batko
    • February 1st, 2015

    Regardless whether you guys disagree or not Cisco exams are excellent in my opinion.I am a current CCNP and I studied like a motherfucker for the past 1 and a half years going through ENT and NA to reach this level.Regardless the above I still do not feel confident to call myself CCNP, because I realize how much I still don’t know.And I deal with Cisco hardware everyday…..
    Cisco tests are the real stuff.All these online or in campus, but only theory questions are just bull shit.There are so many people that take those certs and still don’t know shit.

  4. Multiple choice questions could be very difficult to answer and really test a candidates preparedness. However, it is good the test a candidate in different perspective by using other types of questions such as simulator questions. However, such questions should be thoroughly reviewed before inclusion.

  1. August 19th, 2012

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