When does BCMSN start getting difficult?

dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
I'm 165/551 pages through the Exam Certification Guide, and it seems like it's mostly CCNA review with a little more depth. Now that I've whined, I'm sure it'll start kicking my ass in the near future icon_lol.gif

What topics did you find most difficult to study for?

I see a lot of people aren't big fans of wireless.
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Comments

  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,741
    Don't mind the wireless, but not having access to the full Infrastructure type cisco is hard going.

    Though I'm enjoying BCMSN now.
  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    The frist few chapters of most Cisco books are boring. It will start to get good eventually though. Another thing I'd recommend is going through the study guide first. This is where you will find all of the details. The exam cert guide is more of a refresher and assumes that you know a lot of the details already. I think that is one of the main reasons people are surprised about the depth of the material on the exam compared to the exam cert guide.

    Good luck with the studying!

    Edit: The wireless does suck because its more of a Cisco marketing of wireless rather than a purely technical approach. I guess the same can be said about most of the material though....
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • down77down77 Member Posts: 1,009
    A few friends have described the BCMSN as a thorough review of the CCNA with some expansion to fill the gaps. I will be starting on the material for this exam right after I finish studying for a different high level security cert that I am hoping to take in early december.

    What are you currently using for lab gear for this exam?
    CCIE Sec: Starting Nov 11
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    The frist few chapters of most Cisco books are boring. It will start to get good eventually though. Another thing I'd recommend is going through the study guide first. This is where you will find all of the details. The exam cert guide is more of a refresher and assumes that you know a lot of the details already. I think that is one of the main reasons people are surprised about the depth of the material on the exam compared to the exam cert guide.

    Eff. I thought the Exam Guides were the ones that were more in-depth. I also have the Portable Command Reference and Transcender. Wonder if those will cover the nitty-gritty details well enough...
    Good luck with the studying!

    Thanks!

    down77 wrote: »
    A few friends have described the BCMSN as a thorough review of the CCNA with some expansion to fill the gaps. I will be starting on the material for this exam right after I finish studying for a different high level security cert that I am hoping to take in early december.

    CISSP? I can't remember...
    down77 wrote: »
    What are you currently using for lab gear for this exam?

    Two 3550s and three 2950s.
  • ColbyGColbyG Member Posts: 1,264
    I remember it being much deeper than the CCNA. Like all the redundancy protcols, and evil STP bs. PVLANs, DHCP Snooping and DAI were annoying too.

    Looking back though, I guess it wasn't all that difficult, but I did that exam first so it seemed pretty hard... until I did BSCI, lol.
  • jason_lundejason_lunde Member Posts: 567
    I thought the same thing when I started it out! However when I got into the advanced spanning tree components it started to get interesting. Etherchannel hashing was pretty good stuff too. No worries though, Im sure it will get more intriguing once you find a topic that is relevant to what you see in the "everyday," or that answers a question you have had in the past.
  • down77down77 Member Posts: 1,009
    dynamik wrote: »
    Eff. I thought the Exam Guides were the ones that were more in-depth. I also have the Portable Command Reference and Transcender. Wonder if those will cover the nitty-gritty details well enough...



    Thanks!




    CISSP? I can't remember...



    Two 3550s and three 2950s.

    Doing the CISSP-ISSAP next, though I am half tempted to postpone this one until June 2010 because of the CCNP changes coming up.

    Nice lab, we pretty much have the same gear (3 x 3550s and 1 x 2950 here).

    Colby and Jason are right though, I did forget that they added a few "fun" topics into the BCMSN like HSRP, VRRP, GLBP, and some multicasting.
    CCIE Sec: Starting Nov 11
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    BCMSN doesn't really get hard, it's a pretty straightforward exam. The only real kinks are the wireless crap Cisco forces down your throat. BSCI is the only truly difficult CCNP exam
  • yuriz43yuriz43 Member Posts: 121
    I agree with the above poster about the BSCI.



    I'm studying for the BCMSN now and I feel a lot more relaxed. It seems like there are less technologies covered, and most of them are less complex. BSCI covers 4 major routing protocols, all of which could have their own test in my mind. Not to mention all of the other topics like IPv6, multicast etc....

    Wireless was my major concern with the BCMSN, but I am starting to really like it. I decided that I should focus hard on it, since its something I was less interested in, but now I've found myself rebuilding my home network and testing all kinds of wireless stuff!. This weekend I converted my wiresless network to use WPA2 with PEAP-MSCHAP-v2.
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    My biggest complaint with wireless on the BCMSN is that the same info is more or less rehashed in ONT. Since there is now a CCNP Wireless, I'd hope they just go ahead and pull it out of the CCNP R&S entirely, though it'll probably still be on two different exams (if they include the learning for it with SWITCH, it's a pretty safe bet it'll be on TSHOOT)
  • CyanicCyanic Member Posts: 289
    I thought it was tough, but I think this was mainly because I thought I had fallen behind on time at the beginning with a SIM that got me. It set my mind off a bit for the rest of the exam.

    I also was not as prepared as much as I should have been. Needed the study guide for those details.

    For those who have not taken a professional level exam, I would not underestimate this one.
  • Ryan82Ryan82 Member Posts: 428
    I agree, I thought it was a pretty tough exam. I was labbing everything on 6 3560's that I borrowed from work and I still failed the first time I took it. I personally found adjusting stp port priorities to load balance vlan traffic was one of the more difficult topics. I found MST, Private vlans, and VACL's difficult as well. But I guess if it all comes easy to you then you get a...bowing.gif
  • billscott92787billscott92787 Member Posts: 933
    I am in the same boat as you right now Dynamik. It looks like around page 272 is when you will start seeing some new stuff, like MST, and then into multi-layer switching since the CCNA doesn't really go into much of that at all. I'm sure in the Advanced spanning tree portion there are other things that we may see as well, such as setting priority values to balance the traffic between VLANs, and many other things. and in Chapter 12 it looks like CEF is discussed as well. I'm looking forward to reading everything and building more, I'm waiting on my reimbursement from my company for passing my CCNA and then I'm registering for my BCMSN on December 10th, 2009. Good luck on your studies.

    Cynamic, I know exactly what you mean, on that, it happened to me on my CCNA exam, but all turned out well in the end. IT seems like they throw stuff in to catch you off guard like that. That way you have to rush through the exam and I guess it shows if you really know the material.
  • SysAdmin4066SysAdmin4066 Member Posts: 443
    BCMSN was pretty challenging. If you have not done any of the pro level exams yet, you're in for a rude awakening. If you're already done with the BSCI, it's less challenging, but I wouldn't underestimate it at all.
    In Progress: CCIE R&S Written Scheduled July 17th (Tentative)

    Next Up: CCIE R&S Lab
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    No, this will be my first. I just finished my CCNA a week ago.

    Sounds like I'm in for a freaking smack-down. I've tentatively got my exam scheduled for 11/30, so we'll see how things go...
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    One month for BSMSN? Wow. That is bold! I am holding the lab guide, thinking there is at least 30 hours of labs alone.
    -Daniel
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    It's actually exactly six weeks. Plus, my initial exam dates are rarely firm; I just like to have a general date to work towards.

    I'll spare you the details, but I'm completely broke because of some unfortunate events and my previous employer screwing me over on money that was owed to me. All I can afford to do at the moment is study ncool.gif

    On top of that, I feel like a total noob compared to some of the other guys at work, so now it's really on. I've done 14 hours today alone, and will probably do the same tomorrow. And since I don't really know anyone down here, I don't have any pesky friends or family pestering me to do stuff. I'm going to get so much done! icon_lol.gif
  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Dang pesky loved ones.

    Why did you move down there anyway? Family? Job?
    -Daniel
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Recently divorced and landed an awesome job as a security engineer. It's a nice way to start over. The financial situation is a bit stressful, but I'll be in much better shape in six months or so.
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    dynamik wrote: »
    It's actually exactly six weeks. Plus, my initial exam dates are rarely firm; I just like to have a general date to work towards.

    I'll spare you the details, but I'm completely broke because of some unfortunate events and my previous employer screwing me over on money that was owed to me. All I can afford to do at the moment is study ncool.gif

    On top of that, I feel like a total noob compared to some of the other guys at work, so now it's really on. I've done 14 hours today alone, and will probably do the same tomorrow. And since I don't really know anyone down here, I don't have any pesky friends or family pestering me to do stuff. I'm going to get so much done! icon_lol.gif

    Take it from me - take the time to go have some fun every once in awhile. It's much better to take a day off here and there than to burn yourself out to the point where you end up taking off more days than you should.

    But yeah, not being seen as an idiot at work is a great motivator to learn. When I started working for my current company, it was as a linux sysadmin... and I hadn't touched any form of Unix in about three years, and my skills were minimal at best. I got the job because I had a strong networking background, and because I knew some folks, so they made me a deal - I have 90 days. If my skills weren't where they needed to be after that, we'd revisit the terms of my employment.

    I lived and breathed Linux from that point forward. There wasn't really any formal training. I got help on company policies and our tools and things like that, but otherwise I was thrown to the sharks.

    Apparently I did a good enough job. Maybe too good of a job, as there was some resistance to my getting out of system administration and into network engineering. I was heavily motivated by the fact that I like to handle my own business, and havin to turn something over to someone else because I don't know how to do something does not sit well with me at all. Now a days, people come to me for advice instead of the other way around hehe

    So it's good that you're dedicated, just don't overdo it. And make sure to reinforce the studying with as much hands on as possible, otherwise your retention is going to suck.

    As far as BCMSN goes... yeah, it's a step up in difficulty from the Associate level, but it's not a 'kick me in the balls' level of step up. That honor is reserved for BSCI. BCMSN is a very easy and straightforward exam, the wireless sections are where you'll get a curveball, if anywhere.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Heh, you actually sound like me when it comes to the burnout warnings. Dude, funny thing is, I'm really enjoying it. I'm also in the middle of my OSCP, and I'm having a blast with that. I just keep alternating between the two, and that's been keeping things fresh for me.

    I enjoy tinkering with this type of stuff, and these labs are way more interesting than all that MS work I've done. I'm just soaking it up.

    I agree that diving into *nix is easily the best way to learn it; I wish I would have been forced into it earlier on. I've recently moved all my systems over to it and have learned a ton in just a couple of weeks. I'm definitely competant with it, but I really want to become much more proficient.

    My shortcoming at work is more related to BackTrack and other security tools. I'm pretty solid with the systems and networking stuff, but I just need to get acquainted with the ins-and-outs of all these tools. None of it's really difficult at this point; it just takes time to work through everything. I'm just competitive and was used to being the guy at my previous jobs, so being a noob doesn't sit well with me at all icon_lol.gif
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,741
    It is very true that you should not underestimate the BCMSN exam.

    I certainly did this back in May and failed with 600.

    However, a fail once in a while is not a bad thing. I'd had 10 passes in a row, I think it was about time I failed one..

    Anyway, the BCMSN actually isn't all that difficult, but the wireless truly needs not to be in there.

    For the majority of the work that I have covered in the BCMSN, there is no way that I can see that most SME's would bother with the full blown WLC/Lightweight setup that is covered so heavily in this exam.

    In fact, even for the business I work for, we've got 6 wireless access points, but all configured as autonomous AP's - ok great I've used some of the terminology covered in the BCMSN, but still, it just seems to go too far.

    /rant over

    Anywho, my BCMSN retry is on December 7th. Looking forward to it now. Am armed with the official Cisco Press guide, the lab guide, CBT Nuggets, 2 x 3550's, 2 x 2950's and a new tool in my arsenal - a quad port ethernet card.

    I plan to hook up GNS3 and get some crazy routing going on... :D

    Fun!!
  • miller811miller811 Member Posts: 897
    dynamik wrote: »
    It's actually exactly six weeks. Plus, my initial exam dates are rarely firm; I just like to have a general date to work towards.

    I'll spare you the details, but I'm completely broke because of some unfortunate events and my previous employer screwing me over on money that was owed to me. All I can afford to do at the moment is study ncool.gif

    On top of that, I feel like a total noob compared to some of the other guys at work, so now it's really on. I've done 14 hours today alone, and will probably do the same tomorrow. And since I don't really know anyone down here, I don't have any pesky friends or family pestering me to do stuff. I'm going to get so much done! icon_lol.gif

    If you treat the exams like a full time job (or second full time job) it is doable...That is how I attacked it.

    The 14 hours on a Saturday would be considered excessive to me though.
    Lately, I glaze over after an hour or so, I typically try 4-5 hours per day, every day, always studying something.
    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
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    Yeah, my general rule is try to do 4 hours of reading a day, no matter what. Before I begin the next days reading, I check my retention of what I read the day before, and if I find severe holes.. I read it again.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Do you guys adhere to that during the week as well or just on weekends?
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,741
    I am very fortunate - my fiancée is a Nurse hence works different shifts most weeks.

    I know what she is working until January (i.e. she's been given all her shift patterns) so I can plan in advance what days I can study while she is at work, hence keeping a nice work/study/home life balance.

    Like yesterday she worked a double shift and is working today from 1-9. I have some chores to do, but i'm hoping to get a good 4-5 hours on the lab knocked out too :)
  • billscott92787billscott92787 Member Posts: 933
    I too am fortunate, I only work 4 days a week 10 hour shifts. Two of those days are Saturday and sunday, at which I can study all day on my shift at work. Monday and Tuesday, I don't get much done during the day. But, I am off Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and normally dedicate about 3-4 hours of reading/watching videos on the BCMSN. I definitely know it will be a challenging exam, but I'm prepared to dedicate any time to study and learn, to try and pass :) my wife and daughter normally are late sleepers so I get up around 5:30 - 6:00 am and study until around 9:30 - 10:00 am. My first attempt is aimed toward December 10, 2009. My plan is to do the BCMSN, then move onto the BSCI. At studying 4-5 hours a day, how long do you guys that have the CCNP think it will take to prepare for the BSCI?
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Member Posts: 4,024
    It's pretty easy for me to keep that up. I work 12 hour shifts on Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night and every other Tuesday. Once my To-Do list is finished, I'm pretty much free to do as I will (except go home, of course) unless a major problem develops, which is pretty rare.. those all seem to happen on my off days.

    So I get plenty of studying done at work, and it's pretty easy to get 4 hours in on my offdays. I intersperse my study with non-study related activities, which is usually TV (I was so glad when September rolled around all the good tv came back!) I'm currently working my way through the seasons of CSI: Miami, so I'll study for a couple hours, watch an episode, go back to studying for a few more hours, watch another episode, web surf for a bit, and so on.
  • miller811miller811 Member Posts: 897
    dynamik wrote: »
    Do you guys adhere to that during the week as well or just on weekends?

    Every day for me....

    normally up and studying by 5:00 AM get a couple of hours in, in the morning, think about what I studied earlier, throughout the day, and then get a couple of hours in at night.... more on the weekend, but for me the first thing in the morning helps me the most, since I can think about it all day.
    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
  • miller811miller811 Member Posts: 897
    It's pretty easy for me to keep that up. I work 12 hour shifts on Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night and every other Tuesday. Once my To-Do list is finished, I'm pretty much free to do as I will (except go home, of course) unless a major problem develops, which is pretty rare.. those all seem to happen on my off days.

    So I get plenty of studying done at work, and it's pretty easy to get 4 hours in on my offdays. I intersperse my study with non-study related activities, which is usually TV (I was so glad when September rolled around all the good tv came back!) I'm currently working my way through the seasons of CSI: Miami, so I'll study for a couple hours, watch an episode, go back to studying for a few more hours, watch another episode, web surf for a bit, and so on.

    I was a slacker yesterday (for me) only studied about 5 hours, and ended up watching the entire season 6 of Entourage courtesy of Comcast On-demand. That is more TV than I have watched in last several weeks.
    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
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