This article is going to be an overview of the enterprise core exam from cisco number 350-401. So, First of all, What is the encore or enterprise core exam, And why should you care? Well, This is a professional level, Cisco written exam and the little asterisk next to the professional level is just because not only is it valid for professional level certifications, It's also valid for expert level lab attempts as well, And so it's sort of this almost in between Type of an exam, But it being a required exam for the professional level certifications. I call it a professional level exam, There's kind of three main use cases that you're going to use this exam for number one. It is a required exam to achieve the ccnp enterprise certification. You have to pass two exams to get that certification. This is the required exam, And then you have an a choice of optional concentration exams.

On top of it, It is a required exam to take the ccie enterprise infrastructure or ccie enterprise wireless lab exam. So if you have hopes to take the lab exam for either one of those two tracks, This is the qualifying written exam that allows you to schedule. The lab exam and finally, We can use this for re-certifying existing certifications. It would be worth 80 points if you pass this exam, So that would be enough to single-handedly recertify any ccna or ccnp level.

Certification ccna, I believe, Needs 40 points. Um 30 or 40 points. Ccnp needs 80 points, So you're good for all of those levels by just passing one exam and if you're looking to recertify a ccie level certification, It gets you 80 out of your 120 points that you need leaving only 40 more points by passing some other exam Or continuing education credits or whatever you need, So it's a really great exam to do a lot of great things.

So some details about this exam. So this is a proctored exam. You will be either attending a physical location with the proctor or going through the on view online proctored certification process, Either way, You're being readed, The cost is 400 us. I believe this is the case everywhere in the world, You'll be given two full hours to complete the exam.

Now cisco does not publish the number of questions, And the number of questions in your exam could be slightly different. So it's not like there's always x amount of questions every single time but combing through the internet and pers based off of my own personal experience. A range of somewhere between 100 to 105 seems to be a pretty common number range there. There is also no advertised passing score when you sit down to take the exam. You will be told what the passing score for your particular exam is but again combing through the internet.

Personal experience 825 seems to be a pretty common number. What does that mean I'll I'll give you an estimate a little bit later, Because that's just a sort of an arbitrary number at this point right now, Once you do pass the enterprise core exam, That exam will be valid for three years to either help you achieve The ccnp enterprise certification or allow you to take the ccie enterprise infrastructure or ccI enterprise wireless labs. You get three full years of this, Helping you out for either one of those two use cases. All the questions that you're going to get inside the enterprise core exam are non-interactive in that there is no simulation type exams, You're, Never typing in answers, Or you know trying to configure anything yourself in a guI or something like that.

Everything is going to be either multiple choice with one single answer allowed and usually there's if you've ever taken a cisco exam. You kind of know this there's usually four answers to choose from more often than not you're going to choose one or you got the multiple choice, Multiple answer: where there's again very often, You have four possible answers to choose from and t'll tell you how many correct Answers there are to select it's probably two - maybe it's three, But on a multi-answer with only four possible solutions: you're not usually choosing too much more than two, And then we have drag and drops, And those can come in many different formats. You know, For instance, Like a categorization, Type format you might . You know, Drag over all things that describe this protocol or have to do with this protocol, Or it could be like an order.

Type of thing, You know, Rearrange these things in a particular order. You know you know, Prioritization type order would be a good example of them. There's a lot of places where prioritization can come into play.

I've even seen things like drag and drop some keywords into commands, And so you know maybe there's a number of lines of configurations and you know there's some blank spots in the lines you just need to take. Some of the keywords that you find down below, Choose appropriate ones and put them in the appropriate spots in the command, So lots of possible ways that t can do drag and drop. But that's that is the type of a question that you're going to go ahead and see as far as the blueprint goes.

Why don't we go ahead and jump on that here? So here we have the the blueprint from cisco. If you go to learningnetworkciscocom once you're in here simply go under communities and we would look for enough communities, I'm sorry certifications and you want to see the ccnp enterprise and from here it's going to show you all of the possible exams that go into this certification. What we're looking at is right up at the top.

You go into exam topics and then inside here you can either look at it within here expanding out or you can download a pdf right from there. So we can see we have six overall sections and there's a weighting on each section, So you can kind of see well in the grand screen scheme of the exams, You know expect 15 to to do with automation expect 20 to do with security. So that's the weighting of those and then t dig into individual topics here. So I'm not going to go ahead and just read through everything. But one thing I do want to point out as you look through the blueprints here and maybe you haven't really paid attention.

If you've taken other cisco exams but notice, There's always like a verb that starts things off, Explain: analyze differentiate! If I come down here, Configure what else troubleshoot so you'll see these different verbs and when you look at the verbs it kind of gives you an idea of . Do I just need general information about these different topics? I call it these. Like trivia related information, T're kind of just little facts that you memorize and then you can use those facts to answer questions, Or are you actually going to need to know how to configure something, How to verify something? What can go right? What can go wrong with those, And that and the keywords here will often tell you the types of information that you're going to need to know.

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So, For instance, If you see configure not only do you need to know per se, What verbs are what gre and ip tunneling or sorry ipsec tunneling looks like you're going to need to know some of the configs that go along with it and oftentimes. If there's config there's also verify that goes along with that as well, So you're, Not applying configurations in the exam, But absolutely t can show you configurations and you need to understand. Well based off of this configuration. This is what I expect to be happening, Or maybe it's which one of these configurations is correct, So that'll kind of identify the type of knowledge you need for each of the different topics that show up underneath this list here. So absolutely give it a read through and that's going to give you a really good idea about the types of things you're going to need to know and what types of knowledge for those specific things you need to know for the exam.

So some of my observations from having taken the exam I took the exam in august 2021. I believe, Was the the month that I took this exam. It wasn't all that long ago, For me at the moment, So one t did a decent job at spreading out questions across the blueprint sections based on those weightings. So indeed, When you look at the weightings of the different six high-level sections, I feel like there was a reasonably accurate percentage of questions in each one of those high-level sections.

I would also say that t did a pretty decent job at having questions addressing most of the individual topics within the sections, And so it's not like you are going to you know, Come in here and be like , Well, There's . Ten percent of this has to do with virtualization, But. You know if there's a little over a hundred questions.

Let's just say that, There's a hundred questions - it's not like, T did nine questions on this one subtopic, And then there was one question about something else: t did a fairly good job at you know making sure that there was questions about you know most each individual Thing going down the list here so expect to see most every blueprint - topic - probably represented by one potentially two or three just depending on the topic and if it had subtopics or whatever expect to see at least a question about almost every last bullet point on this List here I would say for most people time is not going to be an issue. Now we have a 220 minutes. We have a low number of 100. You know 100 to 105 type questions you have over a minute for each individual question and since you're not doing configurations, You know some questions might take a little bit longer because you are having to analyze. You know maybe a diagram, Some configuration, Maybe some code or something like that on some of the automation type questions sure.

But then again some of the questions are, You know one or two sentences, Pretty obvious type . You know you either know the answer or you don't you can move on, And so I would say it's probably pretty rare that you're going to run out of time. I I wasn't able to complete the exam because I was doing the online version of the exam and I ran into technical issues and my exam actually ended with about 20 questions left to go, Although, Surprisingly enough, I still answered enough right to pass the exam. So I didn't actually get to go all the way to the end of the exam, But at that mark I had basically almost a full hour left at the end. So time absolutely was never going to be a problem for me and I don't think most people will have a problem with time.

A few of the negatives with the exam I mean not everything's roses right. So most of the the issues in the exam are are fairly common across most every cisco written exam. If you've ever taken one in the past, There's always going to be a few questions that could have been written better right and oftentimes. Like the the deeper knowledge you have about something, Sometimes the more you realize it's .

Well, T need to fill in a few more gaps. For me to accurately choose between a few of these topics, You can usually assume what it is that t're getting at and and probably make the correct choice, But sometimes you know you just realize . This could have been written a little bit better.

I personally question the importance of the automation section of the exam. So what's in the automation section of the exam that's section six, And so that's things like getting into understanding python scripts, Json, Encoding yang apis are in here some of the stuff. I, I think, Is completely fine, Like embedded event manager, Cool understanding, Agent and agentless orchestration tools. Um, You know.

Some of this is appropriately high level enough. Some of this gets maybe a little bit more detailed and not to say that these aren't important things in a network I mean this is where things are are moving to. Automation is becoming a more important thing. It's just that most .

If I understand you know me talking to people, A lot of the automation that we tend to do is just sort of baked into the tools that we purchase. It's not like. We are creating python scripts, Most of the time or we are making our own specific ap apI calls analyzing the results and then programming them to to spit the results into something else. It's just the tools that we we tend to use did this did the work for that for us, And we just get this nice cool gooey front end to use, And we we get the easy button and a lot of this stuff is really kind of under The hood type stuff, And so, While sure for a small subset of people, T might actually dig deep enough into this.

But I think this is just kind of an overall push that cisco is having, I think, Kind of across most all of their tracks, Where t're trying to bring in more of this automation, This. You know the software scriptability apI type stuff across everywhere, And so I understand it, I just didn't feel like it was. Maybe the most important thing that we need to be. You know digging deeper into, But other people might disagree and then the last thing is.

I sometimes wonder why certain minor topics get multiple questions every once in a while. You know you're just like , There's a question about that: , Whatever there's another question about that, There's another question about that: what in the world? Why are t harping on this particular thing? That really doesn't seem to be super important as far as you know, Being a network engineer compared to some of the other things I'm used to seeing and getting questions on. But again you know it could just be my perception, Maybe t're just hitting on a topic that I don't feel is important but.

You know other people might be feeling the same thing too, But it is what it is, And it's not going to be enough to to cause you to fail the lab, If you're, Adequately prepared on some of the other more important topics. I would say in terms of passing the exam, So that 825 score, You know again. What does that really mean? Well, Technically, The the score ranges.

If I understand it right are from 300 to 1000. It's an odd score range. I know, But in terms of how many, What percent do you need to answer correctly? I think that's a more applicable number that people would care about. I would say low 70 correct seems to allow for a passing score, Because that's what I ended up having in my score report again I I missed out on like 20 whole questions that I didn't get to answer so I'm just assuming t counted all those Wrong which fair enough but . So I think, My if I take the the percentages and multiply it by the weightings of the different sections and it ended up like 72 and so low 70 percent at least from in my experience, Was an acceptable passing score.

So use that . How you will you'll see many questions that have supporting diagrams so get very comfortable, Just being able to analyze diagrams and oftentimes. The diagrams are not all that complex, But you know showing you know, A handful of switches, A handful of routers and how t're connected, Or you know, Dying, Diagramming out some routing protocols like say if it was ospf, You know maybe you're seeing a few different areas. If it's bgp, Maybe you're seeing a couple different autonomous systems, You know things like that and being able to use that information as you analyze you know what which answers are correct, Which answers are not be very comfortable. Looking at configurations, You know when we looked at the the blueprint you know all those things that talked about configure.

You know, And I have that on the last blueprint you know, Construct verify, Diagnose troubleshoot interpret. Those are the types of things that you might need to be able to look at a piece of configuration and understand. You know: is that configuration correct? Is there a part of it? That's causing a problem? What is that configuration attempting to accomplish so that I can properly answer questions for that and then sometimes it might be. You know, Output, Like verification commands logs that type of stuff. You know just again just being able to understand those types of things you know not just factoids about stuff, But actually real world configurations verifications logs to again answer questions effectively getting hands-on with topics I think, Can definitely directly benefit your learning experience.

There's! I don't know, Maybe it's like about 50 60. I would say of the questions I think . Your ability to answer them could be enhanced by having some hands-on practice with those particular technologies, And so I'm not saying that you have to do hands-on practice. You know if you're reading articles that show how to configure things show how to verify things common logs that type of stuff sure you can just kind of remember what those things are and even though you didn't configure it yourself, When you're presented with that type of Information, You can probably remember it enough to answer enough questions to pass, But doing the hands-on practice.

Yourself is really going to help lock that information in and just make it way easier to to recall that information and identify what it is that t're showing you compared to having only just readed or read about the information there. So if you are interested in studying for the enterprise core exam network, Dojo is definitely here to help you out at the moment of this recording. We are underway creating materials right now, But expect those to be available over the course of october and november 2021, Starting with the articles and quizzers and then building on top of that. But what are we going to be having here? The idea is to be effectively a one-stop shop for all of your study needs. You don't have to be. You know, Grabbing materials from there.

You know many different places you can come here, Get everything you need to know to pass the exam in one system effectively. So absolutely at the forefront is a very robust article series going through all the different topics that you need to know: quizzers, To help sort of lock that information in gauge, If you're, Remembering things appropriately we'll have a workbook to give you guided hands-on practice. If you do want to do hands-on practice, Type studies really lock that stuff in well we'll have a study plan for you to follow so you're, Not having to figure everything out on your own. You'Ve got all these materials we'll tell you how to use it and how to work your way through it to the best effect and finally, A community chat server.

If you want that sort of group feel where you can come in, You can ask questions, You can find study partners just sort of be a part of a community of other people, Also working their way through the same exam as you.

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