Tips for


CNE Tests

Alex Yu, Ph.D., CNE

Watch out Simulation Questions

Some people criticize that many license holders of Novell are just "paper CNEs" for their lack of work experience. Actually, in CNE tests some questions are performance-based i.e. in a simulated Netware environment you are asked to perform administrative tasks. They are difficult for those who don't have hand-on experience. Even worse is that in CNE tests you cannot skip questions. If you do not click on the right area of the simulated environment, you cannot proceed to the next question. For example, if the question is about assigning trustee rights in Netware Administrator, clicking on the pull down menu which is unrelated to trustee rights is not counted as giving an answer. In other words, even though you give the wrong answer, you must give it in the right area.

When I took the CNE test the first time, I could not answer some performance-based items. I was panic because I got stuck and saw the clocking ticking. At last I realized that I have to be wrong in the "right area." Then I gave up to find the right answer. Instead I just found the area relating to the question and clicked anywhere to get released for the next question. I passed the test but I missed those simulation items, of course.

The best weapon to attack this problem is to get real experience in Novell. But if you don't have opportunities to do so, consider to buy CNEQUIZR sample tests because the tests include movie clips showing you some Novell's task procedures. I have a dozen of CNE sample tests and I consider CNEQUIZER the best.

Use Common Sense to Make an Educated Guess

It is impossible for you to learn everything. If you encounter some questions that you don't know, don't panic. Some questions can be answered by using common sense. For example, in one test some questions are about the website or FTP server address of Novell. Even if you don't know the answer, you should know the host name convention is like WWW.XXX.COM and FTP.XXX.COM. Logically, the correct answers should be WWW.NOVELL.COM and FTP.NOVELL.COM.

In another test one question is about using NESPRO or Micro Tech Library to find out which controller can support more than two hard drives. If you use a Mac before, you may know that in a Mac system you can set up a SCSI chain to support up to seven devices. Thus, without looking up NESPRO or Micro Tech Lib, you can tell that the answer is "SCSI" rather than "IDE."

Bring two Reliable Calculators

In the test TCP/IP Transport the calculation of subnet masking is very time-consuming and error-prone. Nevertheless, you are allowed to bring a hand-held calculator to the test center. Make sure that your scientific calculator has the following functions:

When you use a calculator, watch out missing leading zeros. For instance, the binary equivalence of the demical number "123" should be "01111011." But the LCD display of a calculator may show "1111011" instead. In my experience, I found Texas Instrument models very easy to use. Check the battery of the calculator before you go to the test. If possible, bring two calculators.

Note: Starting from IntraNetware, Netware TCP/IP Transport is no longer an elective for CNE. Instead it became a test for Master CNE.

Register for the exam first, study later

Probably procrastination is the biggest hindrance from getting a CNE. At first I told myself that I would register to take the test when I am ready. But after almost a year I didn't take any test! Later I changed my strategy: register first and study later. When there was a definite deadline ahead, I forced myself to study. This strategy is also used by the German software company, SAP. SAP tends to announce the date of its software release, and then works around the clock to make it happen.

Retake the Test Right Away in Case of Failure

If you fail a test by shorting 10 points or less, retake it a few days later when you can still remember the materials. I know a person who failed the test Networking Technologies and passed it the next day. My case is even more extreme: once I failed the test Netware TCP/IP Transport in the morning but passed it in the afternoon. And my score in the second test is 100 higher than the previous one.

However, if you score is way below the passing score, probably you are not ready and you should spend more time to prepare for the test.

Teach while you learn

Stephen Covey, the author of The seven habits of highly effective people, said that the most effective way to learn is to teach. In a similar vein, Scott Adam, the creator of "Dilbert," also states that a healthy organization should make teaching as a regular responsibility of employees. I totally agree with them because this concurs with my experience. If you really want to digest the CNE materials, teach what you have just learned to your coworkers. By teaching others, you can

Which Selective?

Which selective test should you pick? I recommend Netware TCP/IP Transport. First, for the growing popularity of the internet and intranet, TCP/IP is very important. Indeed Novell is paying more attention to TCP/IP rather than its own IPX. Second, if you want to get both the licenses of CNE and Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE), knowledge of TCP/IP is helpful because both exam include TCP/IP.

Look for Less Expensive Training

There are many Novell Authorized Education Center across the country, but usually they are very expensive. Some community colleges may offer Novell classes at a much lower cost. I know some friends who prefer self-study to classroom training. But they still enroll in those courses to get the textbooks published by Novell. You are not allowed to buy the textbooks unless you enroll in a Novell certified course. After my friends bought the books, they dropped the class. I do not agree to their action (I swear that I never do this), but I can see the reason. Although there are many CNE self-study guides, those books, including some published by Novell Press, are not as concise as the course books.

Other Resources

Besides Community colleges there is a wide variety of channels for you to get connected with Novell learning. For instance,

NetWare Users International (NUI): NUI is the association for Novell networking professionals. You may ask your employer to get a corporate membership. As a member, you can receive the magazine Netware Conection. I found the magazine very helpful.

Novell Seminars: Novell Inc. has branches in every major city. They always offer free seminars. You may call Novell at 1-800-892-2922 for more info or pick up the Yellow Page to locate a local Novell office.
There are many resources on the net to help you on learning Novell materials and taking CNE tests. Janyne Kizer has compiled a list of those resources.

Good luck!



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