Calling all current CCNP SWITCH candidates....

vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
There seem to be a pretty fair amount of us that are on the PATH to SWITCH right now and many have already passed ROUTE. Just wanted to start a common thread to see what study materials/methods everyone is using. What kind of lab are you using? If your lab doesn't support all the features you need, what are you doing to work around that? Also, if anyone that has taken SWITCH recently has any information they want to share that's within NDA, that would be helpful as well.

I am using the FLG, OCG and CBT Nuggets to study along with the CCNP SWITCH Cisco Net Academy LAB Manual.

I have been going in the following order (not 100% but most of the time)

1) Lab the topic
2) Watch CBT Nuggets and take notes
3) Read the FLG Chapter and make flashcards

I'm saving the OCG for final prep along with Boson EXSIM MAX.

My lab consists of 2x3550-24 (POE Model) and 2x2950-24. Anything I haven't been able to do on that lab i've been scheduling time at PacketLife for.
Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
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Comments

  • bermovickbermovick Posts: 1,134Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'm using CBTNuggets and the OCG, with the occasional foray into some INE videos or google when I get stuck. I just finished my first pass through the OCG last night and took the practice exam from the CD. Scored 720 which is about typical for my first attempt. I'll be doing a 2nd go-round of everything with a heavier focus on labs, and maybe schedule at the end of the month or early Feb.

    I have 2 2950's and a 3550 for my lab, and use GNS3 for multilayer stuff whenever possible (HSRP, etc). I may sign up for a couple hours of packetlife next week. I'm still debating allocating time for that.
    Latest Completed: CISSP

    Current goal: Dunno
  • blackninjablackninja Posts: 385Member
    When I took the SWITCH, I used the Cisco Press books, INE videos, my lab (2 x 3550 & 2 x 2950 & Dell T5400 workstation for GNS3) and my lab at work ( 4 x 3750G & Dell T7500 workstation for GNS3).

    I can't recommend the INE videos enough. I'm using them for the CCIE R&S too.
    Currently studying:
    CCIE R&S - using INE workbooks & videos

    Currently reading:
    Everything. Twice ;)
  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    Been doing a little research on the SWITCH exam and found some interesting things regarding the more esoteric planning components of the foundation blueprint. Apparently PPDIOO, SONA and Implementation and Verification plans are all covered more extensively in the CCDP curriculum. I am trying to find some resources short of buying a CCDP book that include more examples of Implementaton and Verification plans, what components Cisco considers important and why.

    If anyone has any CCDP resources on these topics to share, please post them here so we can all benfefit from them.
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • blackninjablackninja Posts: 385Member
    I've learned from previous experience, to concentrate of one exam at a time, as the weeks will turn into months, thats for sure.

    Apart from googling said topics or buying the book, got nothing, sorry.
    Currently studying:
    CCIE R&S - using INE workbooks & videos

    Currently reading:
    Everything. Twice ;)
  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    blackninja wrote: »
    I've learned from previous experience, to concentrate of one exam at a time, as the weeks will turn into months, thats for sure.

    Apart from googling said topics or buying the book, got nothing, sorry.

    Maybe I was a bit unclear. I'm just trying to fill in some of the gaps for CCNP SWITCH since the blueprint is heavy on planning type tasks but the content in the SWITCH OCG and FLG don't seem to have near the amount of coverage needed on these topics if the blueprint is any indication. Also, having passed ROUTE and seen some of the disparities between the blueprint and the actual exam, i'm capitalizing on that experience to focus my studying on topics that I don't deal with day to day or are more in the "fluff and trivia" category.
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • blackninjablackninja Posts: 385Member
    Don't spend too much time on it, what's in either of the Cisco SWITCH books is more than enough for the exam.

    Best of luck.
    Currently studying:
    CCIE R&S - using INE workbooks & videos

    Currently reading:
    Everything. Twice ;)
  • MoeeedMoeeed Posts: 24Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I used CBT Nuggets and FLG.

    I think those are more than enough.

    One advise is please get some real hardware and then do some labs. Even after passing the Exam I still do the labs.
  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    Well that makes me feel better since I have FLG, OCG and CBT Nuggets. I've read multiple horror stories about the SWITCH exam when it first came out and it seems like they have worked to address those issues. For those of you who have taken it recently, did you find it to be a straightforward exam without major sim glitches or misspellings?
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • MoeeedMoeeed Posts: 24Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    There are no misspellings however I found the exam hard because I have no wireless equipment or anything to test Private Vlans. So the main issue is also the questions regarding Design, Planning and Implementations. I think every company has their own way to design their network.

    I found the Route Exam to me very entertaining.
  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    Moeeed wrote: »
    There are no misspellings however I found the exam hard because I have no wireless equipment or anything to test Private Vlans. So the main issue is also the questions regarding Design, Planning and Implementations. I think every company has their own way to design their network.

    I found the Route Exam to me very entertaining.

    Hehe entertaining is not the word I would use for the ROUTE exam...torture is probably closer icon_smile.gif

    It seems to me like Cisco lets the CCDE/P guys write the design questions for the other CCNP exams which is why they always seem so foreign and difficult to study for. I muddled my way through them on ROUTE because I was able to narrow down what it was they were looking for, but it's such a time suck when the core of what they should be looking for is proper implementation and verification and not subjective "design" questions.
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    jtecs wrote: »

    How helpful did you find the 3560 config docs?
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • ITtech2010ITtech2010 Posts: 92Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    In the cisco lab manual do they have labs with like 3-4 routers or do they show a whole topology?

    If so how do you implement your lab to kinda match theirs?
  • pildpild Posts: 12Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I am using CBT & Cisco Press.
  • CucumberCucumber Posts: 192Member
    Im a bit rusty I guess, what you guys means with FLG and OCG?
    I hate pandas
  • MonkerzMonkerz Posts: 842Member
    Foundation Learning Guide

    Official Certification Guide
  • CucumberCucumber Posts: 192Member
    thanks!!
    I hate pandas
  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg Posts: 2,472Member
    BlackNinja. Thank you for your recommendation.
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    Pictures:
    Office / Lab
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • Cat5Cat5 Posts: 297Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    blackninja wrote: »
    I can't recommend the INE videos enough. I'm using them for the CCIE R&S too.

    Pardon my ignorance, but I'm familiar with CBT Nuggets and Trainsignal videos, but INE?
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    Cat5 wrote: »
    Pardon my ignorance, but I'm familiar with CBT Nuggets and Trainsignal videos, but INE?

    CCNP Routing & Switching Courses

    $299 is a small price to pay.
  • ddcengineerddcengineer Posts: 23Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I'm using CBT, OCG, and Paul Browning's free 101 labs. For labs, I've got PT (working on switch) and live equipment.
    Achievements: CCNA Nov 2011 | CCNP Route Jan 2012 | Switch June 2012 | TSHOOT July 2012 CCNP | CCNA Voice Oct
    Projected Timeline: CCNP Voice CVoice Oct | CIPT1 Nov | CIPT2 Dec | TVoice Jan | CApps Feb :cheers:
  • 416_guy416_guy Posts: 70Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm using CBT, OCG, and Paul Browning's free 101 labs. For labs, I've got PT (working on switch) and live equipment.

    Your using Packet Tracer for CCNP Switch? Is Packet Tracer "strong" enough for Switch? I think it might be lacking some content which is required for Switch no?
  • MrBrianMrBrian Posts: 520Member
    I'm currently in the CCNP SWITCH boat now after recently passing ROUTE.

    vinbuck, I like that method for studying.. lab the topic, watch the cbt nugget vid/INE vid, and then read the topic. I like this method because sometimes it's hard to follow technical material from a book if you haven't implemented it before. So doing the labs first is something I like to do. That way when I start reading about it I feel more familiar.

    Anyways as for my lab, right now I only have 2x 2950's and 1x 3550. I know that's enough, but I still want another 3550. If for no other reason to be able to follow along with the Cisco Press SWITCH lab manual exactly (as their labs always consist of 2 access switches, and 2 multi-layer switches). Also, I just love getting new equipment lol.

    I see your signature says you test March 13th (good luck btw!). Do you have any pointers for the new SWITCH candidate, from your perspective of just going through the material? As of now, I have a good grasp of VLANs and STP, but that's about it.
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg Posts: 2,472Member
    Where do you get your labs?
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    Pictures:
    Office / Lab
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • vinbuckvinbuck Posts: 785Member
    MrBrian wrote: »
    I'm currently in the CCNP SWITCH boat now after recently passing ROUTE.

    vinbuck, I like that method for studying.. lab the topic, watch the cbt nugget vid/INE vid, and then read the topic. I like this method because sometimes it's hard to follow technical material from a book if you haven't implemented it before. So doing the labs first is something I like to do. That way when I start reading about it I feel more familiar.

    Anyways as for my lab, right now I only have 2x 2950's and 1x 3550. I know that's enough, but I still want another 3550. If for no other reason to be able to follow along with the Cisco Press SWITCH lab manual exactly (as their labs always consist of 2 access switches, and 2 multi-layer switches). Also, I just love getting new equipment lol.

    I see your signature says you test March 13th (good luck btw!). Do you have any pointers for the new SWITCH candidate, from your perspective of just going through the material? As of now, I have a good grasp of VLANs and STP, but that's about it.

    The biggest advice I can give is to take notes/flash cards as you go so you will retain the material better and have a reference for final review. That was the biggest mistake I made on ROUTE. It takes longer to get through the books, but I really feel that it shortens your overall study time. I'm gonna do my best to test on March 13th, things keep popping up that derail my study schedule, but i'm kinda used to it now after a year on the CCNP track. Now, I just roll with the punches and study when/where I can.

    Also, definitely pick up that other 3550 so you can build the lab out to match the SWITCH lab manual...
    Cisco was my first networking love, but my "other" router is a Mikrotik...
  • MrBrianMrBrian Posts: 520Member
    vinbuck wrote: »
    The biggest advice I can give is to take notes/flash cards as you go so you will retain the material better and have a reference for final review. That was the biggest mistake I made on ROUTE. It takes longer to get through the books, but I really feel that it shortens your overall study time. I'm gonna do my best to test on March 13th, things keep popping up that derail my study schedule, but i'm kinda used to it now after a year on the CCNP track. Now, I just roll with the punches and study when/where I can.

    Also, definitely pick up that other 3550 so you can build the lab out to match the SWITCH lab manual...

    Yea I made lots of flashcards for the ROUTE exam.. even had em organized in their own bundle by eigrp, ospf, bgp, ipv6, ip policy routing, etc. The thing that made this easier was that I had the OCG, so I just made flashcards for most of the "key topics." However with SWITCH I'm using the FLG so it's not as easy lol. I love reading the FLG's as opposed to OCG though, it's just that the OCG really made flashcards easy. Oh well.

    And yea I've been looking around on ebay. There's a decent looking 3550 now that has a bunch of bids. It has a couple days left and the price will probably jump way up at the end. I'll probably just go for a buy it now from a good vendor. Thanks for your input
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Posts: 2,338Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'm using:
    How to Network's SWITCH Book for Kindle ($10)
    Transcender practice questions ($109)
    Boson NetSim 8.0 ($70/exam)

    According to the Amazon review, the Cisco OCG was missing several exam topics (the author has been trying to make up for this on his homepage) and the FLG has quite a few errors. I didn't see a recent Lammle/Sybex book and this one had rave reviews! Well that, and I read the CCIE library a decade ago before my certs expired and I now prefer non-Cisco writing whenever I can get it. :)

    I feel confident about my book and practice tests. I do worry whether the dozen NetSim labs will be enough!
  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Posts: 2,338Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I feel confident about my book and practice tests. I do worry whether the dozen NetSim labs will be enough!

    Signed up for an online rack plus labs. Hah! I will slice through this exam like butter. :)
  • waragiwaragi Posts: 72Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Racks configured for the switch exam?.
  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Posts: 2,338Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    waragi wrote: »
    Racks configured for the switch exam?.

    A rack with two 3550s and two 2950s. Alas, they don't configure them for us. icon_wink.gif
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