Now a CCNA, All Study Materials reviewed

odysseyeliteodysseyelite Member Posts: 504 ■■■■■□□□□□
This morning I wrote the ICND2 exam and passed. I took the ICND1 on July 14 and 6 weeks later I took this one. The exams are tough but are not impossible with enough time invested. Below is my review on the materials used.

1.) Real hardware lab. Yes it was expensive but I knew I was going to go for CCNP and spent the money on it. I used 3460, 2600xm, 2600, and 2500 routers. I also had 2950's switches. I liked this over packet tracer because nothing can replace the real thing, plus PT does not do switch labs. 2500 routers would have be enough for the CCNA. I did all of Chris Bryant's labs on them with the exception of the 2600 as a frame relay.

2.)Packet tracer: used it at work, for ICND is was decent because it was basic setup. Good to have at work when you have some free time to study.

3.) Odom's books: I really liked his books. Yes, they were dry in some places and went into alot of details. I read the ICND1 book twice and everything started to "stick".
Amazon.com: CCNA Official Exam Certification Library (Exam 640-802), Third Edition (Containing ICND1 and ICND2 Second Edition Exam Certification Guides) (9781587201837): Wendell Odom: Books

4.) Todd Lammle's book: Also a great book. Geared towards CCNA composite exam. The new edition is broken up for ICND1 and ICND2 if the test taker decides to go that route. His writing style is more laid back. I try to read more than one resource, so I chose both his and Odom's book.
Amazon.com: CCNA Official Exam Certification Library (Exam 640-802), Third Edition (Containing ICND1 and ICND2 Second Edition Exam Certification Guides) (9781587201837): Wendell Odom: Books

5.) CBT Nuggets: They are great, enough said.

6.) 31 Days Before Your CCNA Exam: decent book. I read it in a week instead of day by day. Good study plan inside you decide to follow it, referances Odom's books. I usually read a exam cram book after reading my main books, I used this instead. Great to have for lunch breaks at work. You can review a chapter you have studied already in a short amount of time. I read bits and pieces just before my test at the coffee shop.
Amazon.com: 31 Days Before Your CCNA Exam: A day-by-day review guide for the CCNA 640-802 exam (2nd Edition) (9781587131974): Allan Johnson: Books

7.)Cisco Academy: I took the classes. They are decent depending on the instructor. I needed someone to push me to study, the instructor had a laid back teaching method. He read the powerpoints and showed us CBT nuggets. Not all courses are like that, my friend's was the opposite. Not to bad mouth the instructor, he went the route he did because he knew most of us were working professionals and sometimes did not have time for school. I accept the fact I slacked off when taking the classes.

8.) Chris Bryant's CCNA Study Guide: Awesome material. Its 25 bucks, and one of the best study guides I found. Chris is great as you can ask him a question on facebook or email and he responds! I bought it a week before the exam because I was only getting 70's on my pratice exams. I needed something else to fill in the blanks and reading the entire books again was not an option. Also came with the CCNA-S study material. I also liked his free tutorials on his page and yourtube. Great to watch when eating dinner, taking a break from reading, taking a break at work. Who doesn't have 5 minutes to spare in the day?
CCNA CCNP Cisco Security Certification Exam, CCNA Boot Camp CBT

9.) Boson Examsim: I used the one with Odom's book. Great pratice and makes the price for the book worth it. For ICND1 I was hitting 90+% and they were much harder questions than the real exam.

10.) I forgot one book. CCNA Portable Command Guide : Its cheap and good to have on the shelf. Great to have when you mess up and forget how to set the register or wipe the flash and need to xmodem the IOS over. Not that I did that 8:) I plan on keeping this book around for future use.


Taking the Cisco Academy out of the time frame (because i didnt pay enough attention), I passed the two exams in about 5 months. I studied for 3+ hours after work, all day on the weekends. Some days spending 8+ hours. There were some days I did not study because I had to see family or spent time with the GF. I did not keep track of lab hours, and I could have used more but I had a goal to finish this by labor day. When they say you need to eat, sleep, live Cisco they are not kidding. I knew I was ready at the end because I was tired of reading the same information and I was dreaming about STP...not kidding here.

Next for me: I am building my CCNP lab. I plan on finishing my MCSE by March. 2 months to prepare for each exam. It is mainly to help market myself as I work with 2003 Server all the time. I am debating on taking the CCNA-S before CCNP. My other goal is to have CCNP by next fall.
Currently reading: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Comments

  • choobysoochoobysoo Member Posts: 35 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Great Reviews, thanks
  • BlobbyBlobby Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    That's really helpful, thanks. Would you mind if I asked for a ballpark of what you spent overall? I'm trying to figure out if I should go self study or do a class at the local community college. The class has the benefit of a structure, and they have labs available. But it's $2k+ which I'd prefer not to spend... If it's just an instructor showing videos & access to a lab, I might as well buy the Nuggets, set up my own lab, and buy a few books. (It's really annoying that the books the college requires are $115 each, impossible to find elsewhere, and there are 4 of them. The Odom boo which everyone recommends is under $40.)
  • SdotLowSdotLow Member Posts: 239
    I knew I was ready at the end because I was tired of reading the same information and I was dreaming about STP...not kidding here.

    LOL! That's how I knew I was ready for ICND1. I was so tired of reading the material, as it all felt old. I could remember the 2 weeks leading up to my test date I would dream about Cisco stuff, mainly visualizing data moving from one host, through a switch, over a network into another host.
  • odysseyeliteodysseyelite Member Posts: 504 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Blobby wrote: »
    That's really helpful, thanks. Would you mind if I asked for a ballpark of what you spent overall? I'm trying to figure out if I should go self study or do a class at the local community college. The class has the benefit of a structure, and they have labs available. But it's $2k+ which I'd prefer not to spend... If it's just an instructor showing videos & access to a lab, I might as well buy the Nuggets, set up my own lab, and buy a few books. (It's really annoying that the books the college requires are $115 each, impossible to find elsewhere, and there are 4 of them. The Odom boo which everyone recommends is under $40.)

    I spent something like 800 bucks on my lab, but I bought more than I needed, plus I messed up and bought older equipment without research...2500's good for the ccna but not so much for CCNP. You can build a lab cheaper for just CCNA. I have 3x2500's, a access switch, a 3460, 2 x 2600xm's, 1 x 2600, 4 x 2950's. You could get away with 3 2500's, a 2600 with a 4 serial card for frame relay and a couple of 2950 switches. PT will do most of the labs as well. I did all of Bryant's lab on my 2500's and a frame relay swich and three 2950 switches. The reason I used the 2500's was simple: they had more serial ports than my current routers.

    I barely even read the books from the class, but like I said I slacked off. I got the books from amazon for decent price. My friend's instructor was strict. They took their exams in class and had to time to do labs. SO like I said it depends on the structure. If I was going to do it all over, I would stick with getting my own lab, the cbt's and atleast one of the two main books I mentioned. Or just start off with Chris's material, seriously its worth it. You then can lab all you want without having to drive to school and hopefully use the classroom. I knew I was going to do CCNP, and you have to have a lab anyways.

    The books all together (no including the acad books) probably 100 bucks. Maybe a bit more. The nuggets were from a friend. I forgot to add one book, the CCNA portable command. I'll update the post.
    Currently reading: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
  • alxxalxx Member Posts: 755
    If you want a cheap lab for $150 to 250 - just take your time , be careful and and read the fine print (and check the sh version output of what ever you are buying) and be patient buying the equipment

    3x 1721/1751 , 3x 2950 and 3x wic2t's and associated cables

    or bit more expensive add a 3550 switch(L3)
    or go for 1760's as they can be rack mounted.

    If you want to go on to CCNP go with the 3550's (or at least a couple)

    Don't waste your money on 2500's unless you can get them for free(or for a beer)

    avoid the 1720 and 1750's due to very limited flash
    avoid the plain 2600's as not enough ram or flash for recent ios images, the 2600xm's can take 12.4(15T) with 128MB ram and 32MB flash


    Cisco Cert Zone: CCNA Lab Series 2011: Overview
    Lab Gear
    Goals CCNA by dec 2013, CCNP by end of 2014
  • lrblrb Member Posts: 526
    Don't write off the 2500's too easily! The 2511-RJ makes a great access server for a home lab and the 2522 makes a good frame relay switch. Both of these items would still be worthy additions to a CCNA right up to even a CCIE level home lab.
  • BlobbyBlobby Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
    alxx wrote: »
    be careful and and read the fine print (and check the sh version output of what ever you are buying) and be patient buying the equipment

    Thanks for your reply - I am really leaning towards doing it myself. In the sh version, I should be looking for 12.4, is that correct? I'd hope to be sitting the exams by Jan 2012.
  • whatthehellwhatthehell Member Posts: 920
    Congratz on your pass and fantastic review!

    +1 for you!
    2017 Goals:
    [ ] Security + [ ] 74-409 [ ] CEH
    Future Goals:
    TBD
  • YuuYuu Member Posts: 17 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Really great review, thanks for sharing and congrats icon_cheers.gif
  • alxxalxx Member Posts: 755
    IRB for the price some 2500's are going for you could get a 1721 or 1751 with wics which could be used for frame relay if needed.
    Just sold a 2514 on ebay which went for $41(US$44)
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/290602131944?ssPageName=STRK:MESOX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1559.l2649#ht_934wt_954

    An access server is a different matter, well worth getting
    especially once you have four or more routers and switches

    Blobby wrote: »
    Thanks for your reply - I am really leaning towards doing it myself. In the sh version, I should be looking for 12.4, is that correct? I'd hope to be sitting the exams by Jan 2012.

    You can upgrade the ios version yourself so its not critical.
    12.4 or 12.4T depending on the hardware so need to look at the ram and flash.

    There is a difference between the T train series or images and the standard 12.4

    Cisco Cert Zone: CCNA Lab IV: Choosing the IOS Version and Feature Set

    To look at which ios versions have what features and the hardware requirements(ram,flash etc) http://tools.cisco.com/ITDIT/CFN/jsp/index.jsp
    Goals CCNA by dec 2013, CCNP by end of 2014
  • cpohladcpohlad Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I realize the last update to this thread was in September, but Chris has lowered the price of his CCNA Study Guide to $9.99
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec CISSP SSCP GSEC EnCE C|EH Cloud+ CySA+ CASP+ PenTest+ Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 12,409 Admin
  • DigitalDivaDigitalDiva Member Posts: 5 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Very thorough and detailed, thanks for this information
  • ciscoman2012ciscoman2012 Member Posts: 313
    alxx wrote: »
    IRB for the price some 2500's are going for you could get a 1721 or 1751 with wics which could be used for frame relay if needed.
    Just sold a 2514 on ebay which went for $41(US$44)
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/290602131944?ssPageName=STRK:MESOX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1559.l2649#ht_934wt_954

    An access server is a different matter, well worth getting
    especially once you have four or more routers and switches




    You can upgrade the ios version yourself so its not critical.
    12.4 or 12.4T depending on the hardware so need to look at the ram and flash.

    There is a difference between the T train series or images and the standard 12.4

    Cisco Cert Zone: CCNA Lab IV: Choosing the IOS Version and Feature Set

    To look at which ios versions have what features and the hardware requirements(ram,flash etc) Cisco Feature Navigator - Cisco Systems

    I also purchased this study guide the other day and was thoroughly impressed. Hell, for $9.99 how can you go wrong for a CCNA study guide as well as CCNA:S study guide.
  • xbuzzxbuzz Member Posts: 122
    JDMurray wrote: »
    And don't forget Cisco's $9.99 eBook Deal of the Day.

    I think that book might be abit advanced for us lowly CCNAers, or would it be usefull to have anyway? :p

    The book a day deal thing seems pretty good!

    Picked up Bryants CCNA guide. I agree, cant go wrong at that price!
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    The CCNA is rather an advanced exam actually. A CCNA well learned leads to anything you want in networking. A CCNA poorly learned leads to nothing.

    Look at books by Stevens and Stallings and Perlman. Not exam centric tomes these, but hard miles during those fundamental years will stand you in great stead in your career. You only learn the fundamentals and rudiments once or not at all, so learn them well before you get over your head and hijacked by a CCNA in the future who did :)
  • JustFredJustFred Member Posts: 678 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Turgon wrote: »
    The CCNA is rather an advanced exam actually. A CCNA well learned leads to anything you want in networking. A CCNA poorly learned leads to nothing.

    Look at books by Stevens and Stallings and Perlman. Not exam centric tomes these, but hard miles during those fundamental years will stand you in great stead in your career. You only learn the fundamentals and rudiments once or not at all, so learn them well before you get over your head and hijacked by a CCNA in the future who did :)

    Could you provide their fulls names? It will make things easier to search for their stuff on Amazon :p
    [h=2]"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." Spock[/h]
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