How to know when you are ready

crrimsoncrrimson Member Posts: 36 ■■□□□□□□□□
I recently set my sights on getting my CCNA certification. I bought Todd Lammle's CCNA study guide, and have spent hours each day for a month reading every chapter, and doing labs on simulators. I completed the book, and I know there are maybe a few things I need to nail down just a bit, but...

How do I know when I'm ready to take the exam, since I don't know exactly what is going to be on the test?

Are there are any practice tests out there similar to the CCNA in questions that would really gauge whether I'm ready or not?

I'm also curious how much of the exam is simulator. I have no problem setting up most things, but the WAN stuff, and VLAN switching stuff I need to study a bit more.

Thanks for these great forums, the Lammle book definitely seemed like a pretty good book(recommended on the FAQ on these forums).

*edit: I recently found this link http://searchwarp.com/swa47106.htm which says the best time to schedule your exam is right away, I know I have a pretty firm grasp of most of the material, I think maybe I'll give myself 2 weeks to really get the rest of it in my head and I can hopefully pass!

Comments

  • dwtherockdwtherock Member Posts: 40 ■■□□□□□□□□
    When you puke from studying so hard and your there slapping the floor dry heaving, "Is it over yet" Then you know you have been studying too long. :)

    Sorry for the graphic content but I have your attention and you know where I am coming from. Now I am ready for my test and shopping a time between home projects, cheap vouchers and jury duty.

    I have used the Cisco Press Odom (skip his frame-relay) Chris Bryant (aka Cisco God) I am going to post a better way to subnet here in a moment that I got from a user here. It beats all ways of learning, even Chris Bryant's. However I use the best of them all when I test. Also I never use the whiteboard, (One more time for the 604-802) Do it in your head.

    http://subnettingmadeeasy.blogspot.com Let me tell you I am def laughing at the Cisco Press way. Slap more of the floor please......

    Use this sites test engine when possible. It's a lil old but they don't miss a beat except for STP questions.

    I did buy The Ultimate CCNA Study Guide from Chris, I'd suggest you do the same. He has 550 questions and flash cards to pick from. Master those and you are ready. GNS3.com is another good place to drive it home.

    Me think 12-12-2008 The Rock becomes CCNA and layeth the smack down on Juniper Network's Candy Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaapple :)

    Hope this helps.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Only you truly know when you will be ready, but I usually go with the gauge of if I am tried of the material and reciting it without issue time to take the exam. I'd say that a month isn't quite enough, as I've seen that most people go about a month and a half of solid study for the ICND1 exam. I'd look into CBT Nuggets and go through it, know most of that info and you'll be ready to rock! Good luck!
    WIP:
    PHP
    Kotlin
    Intro to Discrete Math
    Programming Languages
    Work stuff
  • miller811miller811 Member Posts: 897
    crrimson wrote:
    I recently set my sights on getting my CCNA certification. I bought Todd Lammle's CCNA study guide, and have spent hours each day for a month reading every chapter, and doing labs on simulators. I completed the book, and I know there are maybe a few things I need to nail down just a bit, but...

    How do I know when I'm ready to take the exam, since I don't know exactly what is going to be on the test?
    !

    You need to find more resources, it is easy to get burned out when you only use 1 resource.
    Find a couple more resources, it gives a different approach to the material and you will learn more. Chris Bryant's approach is give yourself a reasonable time frame, book the test date and then prepare to meet that date. Nothing gets me more motivated than having a deadline to hit.

    Good luck
    I don't claim to be an expert, but I sure would like to become one someday.

    Quest for 11K pages read in 2011
    Page Count total to date - 1283
  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Member Posts: 1,480 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Setting a reasonable date to sit the exam is a great idea for a lot of people, works great for me as it motivates me significantly more to stick to it. I also agree with using multiple resources. Usually when I am preparing for any topic I tend to watch some videos first as they are easier for me to sit and watch instead of reading first. Once I work through the videos for a particular topic I tend to gravitate towards books on that topic. I keep going through the process of video, then whichever chapter in a book corresponding to the video until I work through all of the material making sure to do any review questions and/or lab scenarios if applicable along the way. As I near the time to sit the exam I usually go through the book front to back again, sometimes the videos as well depending on how comfortable I am with things.

    This process works well for me, and generally I tend to know fairly well if I think I am ready for the exam or not. My opinion is basically that if you have to ask when you know you are ready, then you are probably not ready. You can get a good gauge of what may appear on the exam by checking out exam topics on Cisco's website and if you feel you know the material listed there well, then you should probably consider booking a date and going through your final review.

    Good luck!
  • crrimsoncrrimson Member Posts: 36 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the replies. I think I am just about ready, I know a month may not seem very long to study, but I didn't have a job so I had a lot of time on my hands and it sounds crazy but a lot of days I would study for 4+ hours, and did all the review questions, labs, etc. I think I may give myself 2 more weeks to really hammer out the WAN protocols, switching material, and some of the things I can't always remember like the details of each routing protocol, cost, metrics, etc., and get some confidence.

    I just wish I had a practice exam that I knew would be very similar, that if I could come close to acing that I would know I could pass the CCNA :). But for now I'll just do all the practice exams I find and note down the questions I'm not sure about.
  • /usr/usr Member Posts: 1,768
    I found the Boson practice exams to be quite similar to the real thing. They're a bit pricey...around $200, but you get around 180 questions. If you can go through those, you're most likely ready to take the exam.

    http://www.boson.com/Product/26.html

    There are questions for the whole CCNA and ICND1 / ICND2.
  • dwtherockdwtherock Member Posts: 40 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Miller811, good to see you.

    Crimson, yes it was Miller811 that helped me out with the subnetting.

    Sybex has a good guide to study from. I think I found a fast facts from preplogic too....gotta be careful sometimes those fast facts have misleading info esp cabling types between devices etc.

    Happy Thanksgiving all.
  • crrimsoncrrimson Member Posts: 36 ■■□□□□□□□□
    icon_cry.gif

    I took the CCNA today, and I scored 813, I needed 825! I about cried.. There was 5 minutes left and I was on a simulator question that I knew I could do, but with 5 questions left I knew I wasn't going to solve it in time.... So I skipped it, and answered the last 4 and failed by 12 points.

    I'm so discouraged, all the practice exams I took were so easy compared to the real exam, I need to take a break and find some different study material I guess.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,312 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I know a fail sucks, but skipping a sim and a question and only missing it by 12 is pretty damn good. It sounds like you just need a some review and a little better time-management the next time around. Hang in there!
  • MikeInMoseleyMikeInMoseley Member Posts: 48 ■■□□□□□□□□
    crrimson wrote:
    icon_cry.gif

    I took the CCNA today, and I scored 813, I needed 825! I about cried.. There was 5 minutes left and I was on a simulator question that I knew I could do, but with 5 questions left I knew I wasn't going to solve it in time.... So I skipped it, and answered the last 4 and failed by 12 points.

    I'm so discouraged, all the practice exams I took were so easy compared to the real exam, I need to take a break and find some different study material I guess.

    Yes mate, the time factor is the major killer for me to. I suggest a quick first time answer on the multi choice questions. No reviewing or comtemplating over them, its not the way i like to do things but it is the only way to be sure you have time on the sims.
  • mrobinson75mrobinson75 Member Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I took the test for a second time today and I thought that I was ready. I have been studing for about 4-6 months and I still cant pass.

    I studied Tod Lemellas matterial and I have been hitting hard with Packet tracer to get the router config under raps. I also went over 666 801 test questions and created a study sheet for the information that I got wrong.

    The real pisser is that I thought that my score would increase after I studied more after my first failure but my test score stayed the same.
  • miller811miller811 Member Posts: 897
    I took the test for a second time today and I thought that I was ready. I have been studing for about 4-6 months and I still cant pass.

    I studied Tod Lemellas matterial and I have been hitting hard with Packet tracer to get the router config under raps. I also went over 666 801 test questions and created a study sheet for the information that I got wrong.

    The real pisser is that I thought that my score would increase after I studied more after my first failure but my test score stayed the same.

    What were your weakest area's on the exam.
    The breakdown should detail the area that you need help on.
    What were your sources of study material?
    I don't claim to be an expert, but I sure would like to become one someday.

    Quest for 11K pages read in 2011
    Page Count total to date - 1283
  • mrobinson75mrobinson75 Member Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    1. Describe how a network works
    1ST 42% 2ND 66% Increased

    2. Configure, verify and troubleshoot a switch with VLANs and interswitch communications
    1ST 33% 2ND 46% Increased



    3. Implement an IP addressing scheme and IP Services to meet network requirements in a medium-size Enterprise branch office network.
    1ST 37% 2ND 50% Increased



    4. Configure, verify, and troubleshoot basic router operation and routing on Cisco devices
    1ST 47% 2ND 14% DECREASED



    5. Explain and select the appropriate administrative tasks required for a WLAN
    1ST 100% 2ND 33% DECREASED BY 66%


    6. Identify security threats to a network and describe general methods to mitigate those threats
    1ST 67% 2ND 67% STAYED THE SAME


    7. Implement, verify, and troubleshoot NAT and ACLs in a medium-size Enterprise branch office network.
    1ST 28% 2ND 60% Increase


    8. Implement and verify WAN links
    1ST 33% 2ND 33% STAYED THE SAME


    by all accounts my score should have increased a little in all areasicon_sad.gif Now I a going over 640-802 questions and hitting packet tracer again.
  • crrimsoncrrimson Member Posts: 36 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Today I passed the CCNA! I scored in the mid 900's out of 1000 so am feeling pretty good.

    Sorry to dig up an old thread here but I was really discouraged a few years ago when I posted this and didn't want to touch a Cisco book after failing the exam. I got a job at an ISP and decided to try again.

    How I passed:

    Studying:
    Instead of the 1 month, hours a day approach I took in 2008 when I failed,

    I spent about 5-6 months and took my time. I would spend 30 min to 2 hours a few nights a week studying. I would study one topic, then use Packet Tracer or Wireshark to really analyze and become familiar with it for a day or 2 after reading the topic.

    Material:
    This time instead of the Lammle book (which I still think is good), I watched CBT nuggets to get me through the boredom of reading material I already knew, and the Wendell Odom Official Exam Certification Guide (ICND1,ICND2) books for the real substance needed on the topics I wasn't 100% on (Frame Relay, EIGRP, etc). I also bought 1 Cisco 2950 12-port switch because I knew I needed more practice on switching (VTP/STP) and the details.

    These official books were not as easy to read as Todd Lammle's, but are packed with exactly the info that Cisco is looking for you to know on the test, and the Boson exam simulator CD included in the books is EXCELLENT, and really helps open your eyes to how tough the CCNA questions can be, and where you need to focus. The CCNA was actually slightly easier than the questions on that CD, so I highly recommend it.

    I also really recommend Cisco Packet Tracer over any of the software router simulators I tried. GNS3 could also be a good resource, but I don't recommend buying a router simulator because they can be buggy and have less features/options and don't behave as a real router/switch does.

    I'm really happy to get this certification today, and I wish everyone studying the best of luck.
  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    congrats!
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewislampkin (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
  • earweedearweed Member Posts: 5,192 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Congrats on your new cert!
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • crrimsoncrrimson Member Posts: 36 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thank you! Another good resource I found was actually on the Cisco site:
    https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/groups/ccna-study-group?view=documents

    There are some really good troubleshooting packet tracer labs you can download in the documents section.
  • mikej412mikej412 Member Posts: 10,086 ■■■■■■■■■■
    crrimson wrote: »
    passed
    Congratulations!!
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • mrchips2452mrchips2452 Registered Users Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Congratulations !
  • -DeXteR--DeXteR- Member Posts: 130
  • jwashington1981jwashington1981 Member Posts: 137
    Congrats crrimson!!! I recently failed the CCNA last Saturday by a few points. Since this information is still fresh in my head, I've rescheduled to take the exam on Monday. I know that I'll pass it this time.

    I used mainly the Todd Lammle book to study from with the addition of testing software from ExamForce. I also have the Cisco Press books by Wendell Odom, but I use those if I need further clarification on a concept just as you mentioned that you did.

    So hopefully next Monday, I'll be able to add CCNA to my resume.
  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIMember Posts: 1,854 ■■■■■■■■□□
  • crrimsoncrrimson Member Posts: 36 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Congrats crrimson!!! I recently failed the CCNA last Saturday by a few points. Since this information is still fresh in my head, I've rescheduled to take the exam on Monday. I know that I'll pass it this time.

    I used mainly the Todd Lammle book to study from with the addition of testing software from ExamForce. I also have the Cisco Press books by Wendell Odom, but I use those if I need further clarification on a concept just as you mentioned that you did.

    So hopefully next Monday, I'll be able to add CCNA to my resume.

    I wish you the best! Glad to hear you didn't get discouraged and are going to retake it again soon, this is what I should have done the first time around.
  • MickQMickQ Member Posts: 628 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congrats! And congrats to you jwashington when you pass on Mondayicon_thumright.gif
  • AD227529AD227529 Member Posts: 82 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I can only speak for myself, but I thought I was ready for the real exam when I felt like I was not longer learning anything new by continued studying. I was scoring in the high 90's on the Boson practice test that came with the Cisco Press book, and felt like I could pass the real thing. I had burn-out from studying for months on end and figured, "just go take the thing". I knew that even if I failed, it wouldn't be by much and at least I would know my weak areas so I could pass it on the second attempt. My biggest enemy on the exam was the clock. I knew the material, but the clock and my nerves fought me the whole way. My advice is if you feel like you are ready, you probably are. Do some last minute studying on the areas you feel weakest in, and go take the exam. Don't spend more than 10 minutes on a sim or you will run out of time. Take some of the practice exams you find on this site and others just for a refresher. Good luck!
    CCNA, CCENT, A+, Net+, Security+
  • alan2308alan2308 CISSP, MCSA 2008, MCSA 2012, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security Ann Arbor, MIMember Posts: 1,854 ■■■■■■■■□□
    AD227529 wrote: »
    Do some last minute studying on the areas you feel weakest in, and go take the exam. Don't spend more than 10 minutes on a sim or you will run out of time. Take some of the practice exams you find on this site and others just for a refresher. Good luck!

    Only read the first post? icon_mrgreen.gif
  • jwashington1981jwashington1981 Member Posts: 137
    crrimson wrote: »
    I wish you the best! Glad to hear you didn't get discouraged and are going to retake it again soon, this is what I should have done the first time around.

    Best to do it while the information is still fresh in your mind in my opinion. I'm just going to keep using this practice test software I got from ExamForce to keep my mind sharp.
    MickQ wrote: »
    Congrats! And congrats to you jwashington when you pass on Mondayicon_thumright.gif

    Well, lets wait until I have the good news first. I do have to pass it first. He he he. icon_thumright.gif
    AD227529 wrote: »
    I can only speak for myself, but I thought I was ready for the real exam when I felt like I was not longer learning anything new by continued studying. I was scoring in the high 90's on the Boson practice test that came with the Cisco Press book, and felt like I could pass the real thing. I had burn-out from studying for months on end and figured, "just go take the thing". I knew that even if I failed, it wouldn't be by much and at least I would know my weak areas so I could pass it on the second attempt. My biggest enemy on the exam was the clock. I knew the material, but the clock and my nerves fought me the whole way. My advice is if you feel like you are ready, you probably are. Do some last minute studying on the areas you feel weakest in, and go take the exam. Don't spend more than 10 minutes on a sim or you will run out of time. Take some of the practice exams you find on this site and others just for a refresher. Good luck!

    That's what got me on the test. This is how I did on my test.

    Objectives:
    1. 88%
    2. 62%
    3. 83%
    4. 77%
    5. 100%
    6. 100%
    7. 0%
    8. 100%

    Without giving specifics for obvious reasons, I'll just say that it was time management that kicked my butt. If I had managed my time better, I would have passed. I'll keep that in mind about not spending more than 10 minutes on that type of question.
  • Dakinggamer87Dakinggamer87 Gaming Tech Expert Silicon Valley, CAMember Posts: 4,016 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Congrats on pass!! icon_thumright.gif
    *Associate's of Applied Sciences degree in Information Technology-Network Systems Administration
    *Bachelor's of Science: Information Technology - Security, Master's of Science: Information Technology - Management
    Matthew 6:33 - "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

    Certs/Business Licenses In Progress: AWS Solutions Architect, Series 6, Series 63
Sign In or Register to comment.