Preparations for Cisco exams

Career Development
Networking certifications
I am preparing CCNA exam. I have studied from 2 cisco press books. I have found out that I had beed studying for long duration to master the whole concepts of the book. I have found no time to spend with my frineds just to play sport or read newspapers or spend some time with my family. My question is, do I realy need to study the whole book to pass the CCNA exam or other cisco certifications? some people told me that studying for solving problems which are available at the moment better than studying the whole book. What is the best technique to pass cisco certifications and mastering problem solving techniques without the need to stay for long time on the table doing nothing but studying cisco.

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It has been awhile since I took the CCNA exam – but I do recall that they are adaptive tests – so if you have a weak area – that’s going to get tested the hardest. I too just did book learning to take the exam – granted I was working with a CCIE at the time – so when I had concept issues, I could at least ask him. But from what I remember – they tend to cover all the main sections in the book. They had “labs” where you had to type in the correct configuration commands or hook up equipment properly. So knowing the syntax is important.

The bottom line is if you feel comfortable with your level of knowledge then take the test (If you can answer all the book tests 100%, then go for it) You may not pass the first time – but it will give you a look at the test and how it works and tell you what your weak points are so you can review them. Honestly – I think I took the stupid test 3 times before passing – each time was an improvement. There are sites out on the internet that provide some CCNA partial tests – they are a great place to test your knowledge ( – don’t know anything about them – I only did a search)

Good Luck!!


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  • Tbitner
    I took the CCNA exam in Oct 2005 and it was very difficult. I studied for two months straight using the Sybex CCNA Prep book and the Virtual Lab that allows you to setup and configure these devices. I had the whole book memorized but failed my first time. The Sybex book didn't cover Natting which appeared on the exam and caused me to fail with an 81%. I studied NAT then passed with an 91% The exam has a very high threshold for have to get an 85% or better but there's only about 60 questions, so if you get 9 wrong, you fail. Sometimes it's better just to go take the test to see where you're weaknesses are. Even at $125 an exam it's well worth it. After passing, I was able to move into a entry level Network Engineering position with minimal experience and increase salary by $6,000. My previous job was mostly help-desk with some server/network administration.
    510 pointsBadges:
  • Dfadness
    I agree with the previous respondents. It is a difficult test. I studied by signing up with a computer training company. (That's an expensive route but my company paid for it.) The text the training co. used was "CCNA Study Guide" by the Boson company. The training company had me doing labs along with studying the book (740+ pages). The most helpful thing though may have been the practise tests. The training company had about 400 practise questions to go through and because they used the Boson book, I was able to access practise questions on the Boson website that are only available if you buy their text books. Good luck!
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  • Calnox
    I think you are doing the right thing by studying long periods of time. Cisco is not an easy concept to pickup... if it was everyone would do it. I would definately use Boson and test to evaluate where you stand. You may find that you are ready to sit the exam. If you use these test as your primary way of preparing for the exam you may find that you can not do the jobs that you are certified to do. I sat the CCNA 3 years ago and passed my first time. I decided the Cisco Academy would be the way for me to go. This is a year long course offered by most tech colleges. I recertified this year by passing the CCNP switching. Good luck! Jason MCSE CCNA
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  • Sixball
    Studying the book is ok, but Cisco tests measure how well you can DO the tasks, which is WHY they're so world-renowned. Study, get the Cisco Packet Tracer and burn through the exercises to get familiar with the interfaces, commands and devices...
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