Binary Math DUMB?

One thing I really hate about cisco is that they force u to do binary math quickly without a calculator.

I know there are "magic" numbers one remembers and go from there, but still.

I took subnetting practice exams with a calculator and I do it much faster, and error-free. In the real world I would not trust my brain-only to configure a production router.

All I do with the calculator is dec-bin convertion. After I see the binary pattern, then the rest is easy.

Why not place most of the exam on concepts rather than a big chunk of it on being able to do binary math on one's head??? Dumb-dumb-dumb.

And what of memorizing all these router commands, where u have to type it out EXACTLY (on the exam)? Who remembers all these things EXACTLY if not used evey single day?

Should we be tested on concepts rather than memorization?

Am sure many of you have different views - lets have it.

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Maybe they are trying to discover if: you know it or you don't.

What's the 43rd host on the 21st subnet given /22 (assume subnet zero not allowed)

If one 'knows' this stuff, you could answer the questin in less time it takes to turn a computer on.

Perhaps, maybe, that is what the vendor is trying to discover? I dunno. If I was hiring someone who would be responsbile for slicing up my address space, I would want someone who knows this stuff and doesn't need calculators. It's a test. So you're being tested. Accept it.

It's also a "vendor" test. So a vendor attempting to discover if you know the products' command structure isn't unreasonable, I think.

2 cents.
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John Agosta

Oh boy, are we going to start this one up again? Why not just search the achives and yo will find every certificatio argument, both pro and con, ever thought of since the beginning of certifictions. It's all been hashed out before. Again and again and again. And the bottom line is: Certfications are here to stay. And the cerifyng body, in this case Cisco, determines the how, what and where of the exam. Absolutly no consideration is given to wether we like it or not.

If you don't like it, don't take it. Nobdy forces any of us to sit for the exam.

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Oh no, I am not against understanding, I don't mean to use a programmable calculator where all the find-subnet formulas are already in and you just punch in the requirements.

All I am complaining is the time to take to do brain-binary math. I can guarantee you I can pass with 100% if given unlimited time, but 90 minutes for all those binary math stuff takes more memorization than concept.

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On Thu, 07 Apr 2005 21:33:32 -0400, NetWorker

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I am with you there.

I don't remember now but when I took my Checkpoint certification, I believe it was open book. Open book does you no good if you don't understand the subject. Wouldn't know what part of the book to open to quickly.

They are valuable in that they are what the hiring people look for (to placate you that's-life people)

Of course I don't have every cerfificate in the planet, some other vendor may do this better, actually test your concepts.

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For fun...

Have u notice all pilots carry a thick briefcase with them into the plane. THEY HAVE ALL THE PROCEDURE MANUALS THERE.

Now THAT is scary.

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eh? so you want to devalue the CCNA cert? with your view, doctors should not memorize human physiology because it's already available and more reliable on their palm pilot?


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Allowing calculators, or even open book would not devalue the certs, IMO. Real world is using calculators, command line help, open book, web, what ever resources you can, etc... My long standing opinion of certifications is that they aren't that valuable. People without real life experience can memorize, go in and pass. When I first passed my CNE (about 12-13 years ago), I would have been scared to death to actually be placed in a real life networking situation. I say make the tests REALLY hard, but let it be open resource - that is how you will weed out the pretenders and make the certs more valuable.

BTW - even doctors refer to manuals to help with diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, etc... Nobody knows everything about their field. They understand as much as they can and look up the rest.

That said.... To the OP: You REALLY REALLY REALLY need to learn binary. It is one thing to be able to use a calculator, but it is another to understand the binary and how it works. I'm not against using a calculator as long as you could do it yourself without. The calculator is a tool, not a crutch.

Just barking MHO ,


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I'm not meaning to cause offence here, but maybe cisco only want people with a certain IQ. I took me a few days with the books to nail the binary stuff and I've never looked back since, easy peasy. Maybe cisco are trying to weed YOU out!!!

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well bobb, there you give the answer yourself why it is needed to know the binary on your thumbs like you would be born with it. cisco certified peops are the pilots that come in where the crisis may be. a whole production line of a company may be standing still becourse of some network failure this means that the company is making losses at that point, so they might fire a few later on, those fired might have kids, so they are not able to feed them any longer, so they die .... you are the pilot there! it is up to you to solve the problem without any books or calculator at hand. you need to be able to act quikly even if binary math is needed. you need to be able to see the problem, feel the problem, like you where born with it and did nothing else in your live thats why experts exists, thats where they are payed for, to act quicly. if it would require you to take books or calculator before solving a problem, they could do it themselves too, so they wouldnt need you on the job then conclusion: you are not ready for this (or not willing to)

btw: if it would be me stating the needed requirements for ccna, they would be even harder

"bobb" wrote in message news:

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bobb wrote in news:

2 reasons. First this is an entry level exam. It is assumed that you can actually do the basics without a crutch. University math courses allow calculators too, but children learning to multiply still must prove that they can do it with a pencil. Secondly you should be able to do it under adverse conditions. When you get that outage call at 3AM, and you're in some customers' wiring closet, and you've forgottten your laptop do you tell them that you can't troubleshoot a simple addressing problem until you can go and get it? or do you do like the rest of us and solve it in your head or on the back of an envelope with a pencil? These are basic real world skills that you must possess to function in this field. I do alot of technical interviews for the organization that I work for, and I ask questions right off of the resume. If your resume lists a Cisco cert, its very likely that I would dream up some CIDr addressing question right there on the spot and ask you to solve it. If the answer involved a calculator the interview would end very shortly after.
Reply to
Secret Squirrel

Damn, you stole my thunder... EXACTLY !

The moment *will* come when you will need to know the stuff, and by Murphy's Law you will have no calculator on hand, besides the one between your two ears, and down time will cost per minute more that your monthly salary... Quick, what do you do .. ?

See above. Trust me on this one. You better remember the commands.

Small sideline, I was on the phone with a customer, and while we were waiting for the reboot, he informed me that he was an MCSE... Few minutes later, I asked him to do a ping and he goes ..."ping... ? how do you spell that ?" So I tried an ipconfig, and he goes "what is that ?" Thank God for the mute botton... Clear, now ? Cisco should make the CCNA even harder, present you with a set of routers boxed up, and have you start from there...

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Actually... No. It's been a while, but I don't think the Flight Operations Manual (FOM) is carried at all. Although it may be part of the manuals that are kept in the cockpit. I'm pretty sure I didn't carry it around.

Believe me; nobody reads it while flying. (Unless studying for an upcoming check.) If your engine catches fire, there is no time to read the manual. But every 6 months, if you are a captain, 12 months if you're a co-pilot, you get to demonstrate to a check pilot that you know what's in the FOM.

Most of the stuff in my flight bag was Jeppesen manuals, headsets, clipboard, weight and balance sheets, passenger manifests and such stuff.

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. (Wore the T-shirt. Got thoroughly sick of the T-shirt. Dumped the T-shirt, and the uniform shirt, and the uniform jacket and the stupid uniform hat in the trash.)

And seen enough hotel rooms to last me several lifetimes.

And this is getting waaaay off track here...

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Bit of worry if you can't double "1" eight times!!!

And you expect to work in data comms & networking?

But I guess it's where you're coming from; my introduction to the digital world (after half a career in the analog world) required pushing 1s and 0s through gates so I'm into computer systems and network Engineering, but if someone comes from the playing Doom end of town then to them it's just IT network admin and all this math stuff is probably a bit too much.



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