I’ve Successfully Failed the F5 Certification 201-TMOS Administration Exam

Yup, you read that right. I did not pass the F5 Certified BIG-IP Administrator test I took while at F5 Agility 2017. And I’m not ashamed since it was a challenging test and I will be trying again.

Sure, I went through Eric Mitchell’s (F5er) comprehensive 201 Certification Study Guide along with the TMOS Administration Exam Blueprint. However, I probably should have taken more time ON a BIG-IP messing around…especially for tmsh commands…which is where, I believe, I got tripped up. This is key. Reading and memorizing commands along with some practicing can only get you so far. Doing it regularly is what’s needed. This is a key feature of the exams, particularly as you move up the exam expertise. The exams are designed to test real knowledge and experience, not if you can cram the night before. Pretty sure my errors came with tmsh and the UCS upgrade questions since I had limited experience in those areas.

Going in, I was a bit less confident (than from the 101) but also, less anxious. And about three-quarters through the exam I was feeling pretty good. I might pass this thing. However, the 201 Certification exam is not something to take lightly and is much more challenging than the 101. While the 101 has a 70% pass rate overall, the 201 hovers around 67% pass rate overall. 69% correct is a pass – I got 63%. I probably would have received my diploma from an educational institution but for Dr. Ken, a 63 is not a ‘pass’ with the F5 Certification Program. But that’s OK and why I like the program. At whatever level, a pass is a true achievement. You know your stuff.

At Agility 2017, the F5 Professional Certification team administered 227 exams. They had 245 scheduled so only 18 no-shows for whatever reason. When I took the exam on Monday, there was a constant flow of folks taking the exams and over the course of the event, I spoke to many who were either about to take one or had already completed theirs. No matter pass or fail, all were impressed with the caliber of the exams.

For F5 Agility week, the disposition is as follows:

So you don’t have to work out the percentages:

Slight edge to the Pass group, congratulations…but still, you got a 50:50 shot.

Even though I failed, I’m glad to have taken it and know what I need to brush up on for my next attempt. For others that also failed, don’t be discouraged. While in Chicago, I was reminded of this Michael Jordan quote:

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.


Published Aug 15, 2017
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  • BB16's avatar
    Icon for Nimbostratus rankNimbostratus

    You shown the strength & caliber, you had given your best. A very good luck for next attempt.


  • Interesting, I think is the first time I see numbers about the certification. Questions I have after reading the numbers, and my possible explanation.


    1 - 101 fails higher than 201


    I guess people just try to 101 without too much study, and they realized that work is needed. This why they go better prepared for 201.


    2 - 301a and 301b


    Interesting, people normally are more scared of the 301b than 301a. In theory, this proves that 301a is easier than 301b.


  • 301b definitely easier than 301a in my book. I failed 301a the first time and wouldn't welcome the prospect of sitting it again. I have also recently taken 301b again to re-certify with hardly any preparation and passed. My theory is, if you're working with the product regularly, you don't need to study for troubleshooting, you just know it. 301a on the other hand requires a lot of preparation.