Embarking on my CCNA journey...

lazsterrlazsterr Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
Good morning all,

Similar to what Spiegel did, I wanted to make a thread regarding my work towards my CCNA. Looking through the net at various CCENT/CCNA sites, I came across this forum, where I found some pretty sweet tips and advice on the cert.

I made the bad mistake of not using the few weeks after I graduated college (with an Associates in NETWORKING...) to brush up on what I didn't know and just take the CCNA, because...hell, I got a 78% on that practice exam that Cisco lets you take, so I'm sure I was REALLY close. I already had a job lined up and had some other stuff in the mix, but looking back on it I had more than enough time to study up.


I've got a decent job in IT, and have finally put my foot down and said 'okay, it's about time I get this cert'. I've decided to take the two-part path, as it'd be a bit cheaper if I were to pass Part I on my first try (I'm hoping.) and then saving half the price if I fail Part II. On top of that, I'll still have the CCENT under my belt until I pass. I'm aiming for the CCENT before the end of the year, and the CCNA in the first quarter, give or take a few. I'm a meh-tier studier.

I've got a few things that I'm planning to utilize to get the CCENT, and eventually the CCNA.

1) Bryant's UDemy course - I suck when it comes to flat-out reading. My mind wanders, I skip paragraphs, I get bored. Being able to listen is definitely a plus for me.
2) Cisco's free ICND1 course I somehow found. Because you can't go wrong with another video resource.
3) The Odom Cert Guide book. Yes, I said I hated reading, but...I gotta do it. My coworker so graciously gave me his ICND1 book to look through.
4) NetAcad. Already took the four-part CCNA course, so I have that available to me as well.

For labs, well...I'm kind of short on that. I have Packet Tracer, which is great, but no physical equipment. I'll probably just use Packet Tracer labs from the NetAcad course to sharpen my skills - as I am so much better at learning by doing than learning by listening or reading.

Unlike Spiegel's well-put together post, I don't have 'phases' to my studies. I'm probably just going to go through every ICND1-related thing I have, take that when I feel like I'm ready, and then hit the books for the actual CCNA.

Now, one thing I do want to hit on are weaknesses I'm aware of...
1) Motivation - After graduating, I wanted NOTHING at all to do with any form of studying whatsoever. I still kind of don't. It's the equivalent of trying to make two North-sided magnets stick. I'd rather do literally anything else, even sit there and be bored.
2) Note-taking/remembering the important info - I'm a poor, poor note taker. I'll either write down too much, not enough, or everything I don't need to know.

Any advice, tips, whatever will be INSANELY appreciated, as
even the thought of taking these tests makes me nervous. icon_silent.gif

Maybe if I keep posting here, I'll stay motivated to keep goin'. Hopefully.

Cheers, all. Look forward to seeing myself with a thing that says CCNA on it in my name someday!


  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Your in the right place for motivation. The world around you is full of people that don't really want to encourage you. That is the part of the world that does not get certifications because they don't prove anything. Ignore them and keep coming back to this form.

    As for not liking or wanting to study. To bad. Set a goal and do it so you can move on.

    Personally I think you can use packet tracer for CCNA. You can probably lab 80% of the exam inside packet tracer. If you really get into it you can move to GNS3 and real equipment as you go. I would suggest getting a really cheap lab if you plan to do more networking in the future.

    My only tips for reading.
    1 - watch a video series first. I find I read faster if I already have some understanding of the content.
    2 - Read in small blocks. If I find I can't focus I just read a few pages and get up and do something else for 5 minutes.
    3 - Try reading out loud. I find I read headings and commands out loud and it helps me focus. Not everything just whats important.
  • AvgITGeekAvgITGeek Member Posts: 342 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I started studying for this one before they recently changed to the new objectives. My career was more focused on MS so I dropped the CCNA and now that I've changed jobs, I'm slowly getting more and more Cisco time so I felt it was time to dust off my routers, buy the new books and get this one finished.

    One thing I've heard over and over again and it hasn't changed since my first go is that when you think you are getting close, invest in the Boson test exams. The other thing I'm going to take into my current CCNA studies is that I also invested in a PluralSight subscription which helped with my MS certs and I hit up Microsoft TechNet (or Microsoft Docs now) VERY heavily when studying a topic. I'd suggest the same with the Cisco objectives... research the objectives, read the Cisco documentation and most of all LAB, LAB, LAB. Packet Tracer will get you through the CCNA. It's amazing what it can do.

    Best of luck on your Cisco journey!
  • SpiegelSpiegel Member Posts: 322 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Hi lazsterr! Great to see someone else hop on board the CCNA train. I wish you all the luck on this exam. Let's work together to achieve this goal. I'll try to impart whatever nuggets of info I can find that can assist you.

    Some tips I can offer you with regard to not having a physical equipment. In my research as I prepped to begin for my studies I found that for the ICND1 it's not necessarily required to have a physical equipment. Will it help? Yes. However, not having it will not be hinder you. Packet Tracer should be enough for the CCENT.

    Having the physical equipment would be advantageous for the ICND2 as they deal with MPLS and BGP which according to some sources is not supported by Packet Tracer.

    My recommendations for this. Perhaps save up for a physical lab while you study for the ICND1. I found mine at a decent price on eBay. You can by the whole set or in pieces. Alternatively, you can also utilize GNS3. Similar to Packet Tracer but much more powerful. It doesn't similate a network setup but emulates, so essentially you can build a very real and functional virtual network. This video will break it down.

    As far as taking notes is concerned I recommend lots of videos from varying sources. Udemy has a lot of them at affordable prices. CBT Nuggets of course. They are indeed pricy which is why I'm waiting until the last month of my studies to activate their videos and pay for them one time since I can't afford them on a consistent monthly basis. Also, if the book you have has the CD then I recommend doing the exams and focus on the areas you're weak in and write notes from those topics.
    Degree: WGU B.S. Network Operations and Security [COMPLETE]
    Current Certs: A+ | N+ | S+ | Cloud Essentials+ | Project+ | MTA: OSF | CIW: SDA | ITIL: F | CCENT | CCNA R&S | CCNA | LPI Linux Essentials
    Currently Working On: JNCIA-MistAI

    2022 Goals: JNCIA-MistAI [ ]
    Future Certs: CCNP Enterprise
  • williebwillieb Member Posts: 108 ■■■□□□□□□□
    YMMV but here's what I do. Kind of a "How to study" post:

    1.) Obtain and list resources in most favorite to least favorite order.

    Notes: The purpose for this is, you will be more motivated, have more fun, and more likely to study while going through resources you like first. As you go through the first ones you will have gained feeling of accomplishment to help push through the ones you don't like, such as reading. Plus, the more you learn beforehand helps the reading go by faster and you will be taking less notes.

    2.) Gauge how long it will take you to go through all resources and go ahead and schedule the test.

    Notes: This is an important step to apply pressure (If you can't handle the pressure you should choose a different career.) and help hold motivation. Don't sweat it too much on your time estimate. If it gets close and you aren't quite ready you can easily move the testing session as needed. I moved my last exam session twice. Don't worry about rescheduling it too many times or too far ahead either, because in the end you will want to get it over with to get the monkey off your back.

    2.) Start from the top down only going through 1 resource at the time, while paying very close attention to the publicized Cisco Exam Topics.

    Notes: When reading the exam topics look out for words such as describe, configure, verify, troubleshoot, etc. You can become overwhelmed and frustrated if you try to go through too many resources at a time so stick with one at the time.

    3.) As you go through each resource take notes only on what you think is important that you don't already know or have a good solid hold on.

    Notes: Take notes separately for each resource. Trying to keep them all together is a pain.

    4.) Whenever you feel is appropriate, go through your notes for each resource.

    Notes: After a resource is completed may be a good time. As you go through them highlight or mark the most important info (timers, commands, etc), anything you know or feel is important to know for the exam. Scan all notes right before your exam paying close attention to the highlighted or marked items.

    5.) Take the exam.

    Notes: Even if you schedule your exam early, get there at least an hour before and scan your notes one last time.

    Final Notes: Not mentioned in the steps are labs, which are very important. So make sure you understand all concepts on the exam topics that say configure, verify, and troubleshoot. You should be able to configure, verify, and tshoot each of those topics off the top of your head. You can use IOS help in most cases to help but the more solid you are on it the faster you will be, hence giving you more time for the test.
    [X] CCENT ICND1 100-105
    [X] CCNA ICND2 200-105
    [X] CCNP ROUTE 300-101
    [X] CCNP SWITCH 300-115
    [X] CCNP TSHOOT 300-135
    [ ] CCDP ARCH 300-320
  • 10Linefigure10Linefigure Member Posts: 368 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Lazsterr "1) Motivation - After graduating, I wanted NOTHING at all to do with any form of studying whatsoever. I still kind of don't. It's the equivalent of trying to make two North-sided magnets stick. I'd rather do literally anything else, even sit there and be bored."

    That can be hard to solve. Here is what I do, go to indeed and type in the cert you are earning and search jobs. See all of those, they are potential if you buckle down and get it done. Also try to break it up. Say okay, I wont check my phone or get up to do dishes or anything until I hit X goal (say finish a chapter, take a practice test, do 2 labs, whatever). Then finish your objective, take a break (my favorite is to call people, catch up, let them do the talking, really takes my mind off of studying for a bit). Then, set goal #2, knock it out. If you can conquer a series of smaller goals, like hiking a tall mountain, eventually you will get to the top.
    CCNP R&S, Security+
    B.S. Geography - Business Minor
    MicroMasters - CyberSecurity
    Professional Certificate - IT Project Management
  • lazsterrlazsterr Registered Users Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□

    REALLY appreciate all those tips and what-not I was given - they'll DEFINITELY come in handy. I've been watching Bryant's videos over the time I hadn't posted anything here, which is a decent start. Right now, I've just been going from the beginning since 4 months takes a lot out of my mind. One other (very small) thing I did was print off the list of ICND1 exam topics, and crossed off what I knew through and through - which obviously will lessen my load.

    Right now, it's just...keep chuggin' away!

    @Jon_Cisco - Those tips are probably what I'm going to be doing, since I can tolerate watching a video a million times more. Reading aloud also ensures that I don't skip over anything subconsciously or forget right after I read it.

    @AvgITGeek - PT has been really good for the assignments I had over my college courses. As for the Boson tests, depending on how much they cost, it might or might not be worth it. If it's as much as one of the exams, I would say I should just go for the exam. If not, different story.

    @Spiegel - Let's do it. As for equipment and PT, BGP does actually work in Packet Tracer (at leastr from my experience). Though I'm not sure about MPLS, as I've barely touched on it, even throughout my college studies. And if CBT nuggets is as expensive as people are saying it is, I may have to save up for a while to get that course.

    @willieb - That post is fuckin gold for me there, man. I really appreciate that. I know people say to schedule the test in advance so you kind of pressure yourself, but I don't know what's all going to get in my way or how long it'll take me. Though if rescheduling it isn't a hassle, there's no reason for me not to do this, honestly.

    @10Linefigure - That's a method that resonates. I tend to get tunnel vision on something I've been working on, so those goals would actually be a good idea.

    Again, thank you all. Been a busy week for me, but I keep goin' in the end.
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