Getting Ready for the CCNA

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Getting Ready for the CCNA

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 12:37 pm

Hey all, so I've taken a couple fast-track classes for the CCNA and I felt it didn't quite get me up to snuff for the actual test. Which was a good call, because I don't think anyone came out of those classes with passing the actual CCNA. They were quite handy, but they were also cram type classes and I think there needed to be a longer amount of time covering the material, and probably a little more time on the routers and switches.

So my question is:
Does anyone have any suggestions for good CCNA books? Something up to date, reasonably well written, and thorough?

My plan is to comb it over and use it to help study for the tests. I also have Packet Tracer to play around with.
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Re: Getting Ready for the CCNA

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 12:43 pm

It's been more than 10 years since I got my CCNA and just as long since I mucked with any Ciscos so I can't really add anything except good luck!
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Re: Getting Ready for the CCNA

Postposted on Fri May 10, 2013 12:48 pm

Let me preface this by stating that I do NOT have my CCNA. However, I actively administer a Cisco based TPC/IP IPv4 network, so I picked up a CCNA study guide as a reference, which has proved invaluable. I have on my shelf: CCNA Study Guide Sixth Edition by Todd Lammle published by Sybex. Check it out!
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Re: Getting Ready for the CCNA

Postposted on Sun May 12, 2013 3:02 pm

I took the two exam combo last year. You should be aware that there is now a new version of the CCNA exam; the old one will be retired later this year.
For books, there are two camps: Odom and Lammle. Odom is dry and Lammle is superficial. Most people buy the CCNA study books to pass the exam, and Lammle is more than adequate for that. Personally, I found myself referring back to Odom enough to study using his book exclusively.

For hands-on/sim training, your options are a couple of old switches/routers off of ebay, GNS3, Packet Tracer, or other sim vendors. I used the Cisco Learning Labs service and thought it was a pretty good value for money.

Exam strategy: Time management is important. Many tasks can be puzzled out given enough time, and Cisco makes a point of not letting you piddle around. The gotcha of ICND1 is subnetting, and if you can't do that quickly enough, you won't have much luck with ICND2 either. Speed comes from practice, not being lectured in a classroom. The new CCNA will throw even more material into ICND1, so unless you're already doing networking for a living, I'd shoot for knocking out ICND1 first.
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Re: Getting Ready for the CCNA

Postposted on Sun May 12, 2013 4:09 pm

Contingency wrote:Exam strategy: Time management is important.


I second that. It's also worth noting that checking your work in the simulations is pointless and will just eat up valuable time. The exam simulations are so limited that they really only allow you to complete the task, not to validate that you completed the task successfully. So you need to be confident and to show attention to detail when executing a simulated task.
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Re: Getting Ready for the CCNA

Postposted on Wed May 15, 2013 11:59 am

Thanks a lot for the info. I heard similar things from my classmates who took it.
Our classes were 50% lab, and our instructor probably had us do some form of subnetting on every single quiz and test... However, time has passed since. I'll make sure to spruce up on the subnetting.

Thanks for the book references, I'll check into them!
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Re: Getting Ready for the CCNA

Postposted on Wed May 15, 2013 4:10 pm

Yeah, Todd Lammle seems to be the go-to guy for Cisco study guides.

Don't forget, they have the option of taking the ICND1/ICND2 tests separately, each about half the price of taking the full on CCNA exam. Once you pass both, you have your CCNA. If you take the first and fail the second, you still have your CCENT. It won't get you very far, but it should get your foot in the door if you're willing to put serious effort into finding a job and prove that you're willing to expand your cert collection. I'm pretty much in the same boat, except I took four term-long courses as part of a CCNA prep program at my local state college. Failed the last class for some admittedly stupid reasons, and until I can take it again in the Fall I plan on taking the ICND1 test so I can have my CCENT until then.

Also keep in mind that they offer practice tests.
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Re: Getting Ready for the CCNA

Postposted on Wed May 22, 2013 2:15 pm

Aha! I have heard the ICND1 was a lot easier for my classmates than the ICND2, but I had no idea that the one would technically get you a certification as well. Even if the CCENT may not be excessively impressive to employers, it's one more thing to be able to show for my efforts at least.

I'll snag a copy of this book within the next couple of weeks.
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