How much of ICND1 is practice/labbing and how much is memorization?

phdillardphdillard Member Posts: 86 ■■□□□□□□□□
CompTIA exams have a lot of "What does XYZ stand for?" Is there a lot that on Cisco exams, or is it mostly simulated labs?


  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,775 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I am curious about this also. It seems like the simulations are a little more practical knowledge. I hope to take my first exam in January.

    I am just getting started but my plan is to do a lot of labs during all of my review studies.

  • DissonantDataDissonantData Member Posts: 158
    I want to know this. It seems everyone is saying that I need to familiarize myself with the commands, but I'm not sure how much I need to know. I always thought of these exams as being more memorization based with a bit of application. Understanding the comands is more important when you actually get a job, I think.
  • smcclenaghansmcclenaghan Member Posts: 139
    You know to know which 'show' command to use to diagnose this or that.

    You may get some questions asking which command will display which info. Memorization/lab familiarity will help there, but I wouldn't expect more than a question or two.

    I think labbing is critical for ICND2 and to help cement some concepts for ICND1, but less critical for ICND1.

    'show' commands are pretty important though. You should know those. Be able to determine which ports a frame will be forwarded based on MAC/port info as given by various show commands.
  • SerpenteSerpente Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Go to the Cisco website and do the exam tutorial. It will give you an idea of the style of the exam, but not the content.

    There are different types of questions:

    You have multiple choice which ask you to select one answer or more than one (the question will always specify how many boxes to tick).
    The multiple choice can be simple and straight up, with a one word answer, or they can be more complex: you can get an output form a router and be asked a question based on it, you can be asked which commands are correct or what command you should use, you can be shown a diagram and be asked a question based on it. They vary; some can be simple memorisation, others are more about interpretation and selecting the correct or best answer.

    There are drag and drops.

    There are simulations where you will be asked to complete a series of tasks on simulated Cisco hardware. This is the main reason why it's highly recommended that you buy some lab equipment or utilise a simulator; you will be tested on your practical configuration ability.

    Lastly, you have simlets which are a bit like simulations but you can't change anything. You get asked a series of multiple choice questions and you need to use your practical knowledge of the CLI to find the answers.

    That's about as specific as I can be without breaking any Cisco or forum rules. Your best bet is to get good course material (I recommend CTB nuggets + the Odom book) and go through it. As you go through your material you will see what practical knowledge is required and you can follow along and practice on your lab or simulator. Video tutorials are particularly great for following lab exercises.
  • instant000instant000 Member Posts: 1,745
    In general, on Cisco tests:
    1. Missing the lab simulations usually means that you just had an expensive practice exam. :D
    2. Clearing the lab simulations usually means that you are going to pass that day.

    To all the certification candidates out there, I'm about to reveal the greatest secret about certification preparation ever:
    I am going to tell you exactly how prepared you need to be, prior to taking a test, so that you will KNOW that you will pass it.

    Here it is: Be able to teach the blueprint. That's it.

    So, what do I mean by being able to teach the blueprint?

    Be able to whiteboard it. Be able to give presentations on it. Be able to write papers about it. Be able to give lengthy explanations on how it works.

    If you can get on a whiteboard, and explain this topic for example:
    Describe how VLANs create logically separate networks and the need for routing between them.

    When whiteboarding it, you will probably draw pictures, and show how different VLANs establish differing broadcast domains, and you might find yourself describing how broadcast domains work. Then, you might start into the limitations of this, and how routing would be required between VLANs.

    Here's another one:
    Configure and verify VLANs

    This one here is obviously something that involves configuration. In this case, you need to work on labs that require configuring as well as verifying VLANs. If at all possible, you can relate it to a prior task, whereby you can demonstrate how devices in separate VLANs will not have communication, except that you enable routing. (There is a way to get devices placed into differing VLANs into the same broadcast domain without enabling routing or changing the equipment configuration, but I believe that CAM table attacks might be covered in CCNA:Security.)

    Source used for practice exam topics: 100-101 ICND1 - IT Certification and Career Paths - Cisco Systems

    If you would like to gauge your preparation with practice exams, then I would recommend Boson, based on my experiences with them in the past.

    Cisco Network Simulator | IT Practice Exams | IT Training |

    Another point is that I'm not sure if CCNA digs that far into a packet-level look at how some of these technologies work, but my personal experience has been that once I understood how the packets looked, then I understood a lot better how the technologies worked. This requires a bit more preparation on the front end, but it is ooooh, so useful on the backend. I feel that it actually shortens your overall preparation time, only it makes it a little slower, getting started.

    Here is a great website for these notes:****-sheets/

    ^^ To be clear, these are not the shady **** sheets that you can lose your Cisco certs over (unless you take them to the test with you, then they really would be "****" sheets). These are just some really good notes. I'd consider them quick review study notes that give a decent overview of a topic.

    Since I was spouting off about VLANs so much, here's a link on his site about those:

    This question about the difficulty of the CCNA, and gauging your preparedness was actually discussed a few years back, in a series of posts by Wendell Odom. Reading these might give you an idea of what you're up against. (Note that these were written when the CCNA curriculum was less difficult than it is becoming.)

    Why is Passing CCNA so Difficult?
    Why CCNA is Difficult, Part II
    CCNA Difficult? Part III - CCNA Time Pressure and Exam Options
    CCNA Difficult, Part IV
    CCNA Difficulties 5: How to Approach Sims
    CCNA Difficulties, Part VI (and last): Simlets

    Hope this helps!
    Currently Working: CCIE R&S
    LinkedIn: (Please connect: Just say you're from TechExams.Net!)
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    It's both, which is what makes it challenging. A person who has enough work experience to have used all the necessary commands could still fail if he's weak on theory, and a person who only knows the books will fail because he isn't familiar with Cisco IOS.

    Though, a quick review of the exam topics will tell you that ICND2 is heavier than ICND1 when it comes to practical application.
  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    phdillard wrote: »
    CompTIA exams have a lot of "What does XYZ stand for?" Is there a lot that on Cisco exams, or is it mostly simulated labs?

    You should know what "XYZ" stands for, be able to explain when and when not to use it, and be able to configure and troubleshoot it at a basic level. Accomplishing this will usually require understanding, memorizing key facts (meaning, command name, some fundamental operational details) and practice to help reinforce those facts. ;)

    This is an entry-level exam, so the depth needed will be far less than on the CCNP or CCIE.
  • phdillardphdillard Member Posts: 86 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Okay, so my foundation here is A+ and having read Mike Meyers All-In-One Net+ Guide.
    Currently reading Lammle's newest CCENT guide with the included simulator, and I have access to a Linksys 5-port switch that I picked up at a yard sale (unopened for $1!). Assuming I study properly and retain the information, this should be enough to pass, correct?
  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    The Lammle of Odom guide plus labbing are usually sufficient. Can't comment on the quality of his simulator. If it lets you practice a large percentage of the commands you learn in the book, should be okay.
  • theodoxatheodoxa Member Posts: 1,340 ■■■■□□□□□□
    phdillard wrote: »
    Okay, so my foundation here is A+ and having read Mike Meyers All-In-One Net+ Guide.
    Currently reading Lammle's newest CCENT guide with the included simulator, and I have access to a Linksys 5-port switch that I picked up at a yard sale (unopened for $1!). Assuming I study properly and retain the information, this should be enough to pass, correct?

    Linksys switches are intended for Home use. They are unmanaged and do not run IOS. For CCNA, you would want a Cisco Catalyst Switch [that runs IOS]. The 2950 is probably the cheapest option. I see the 2960 [which is the best option for a Layer 2 Switch] from time to time for a good price. There are also Layer 3 switches which can somewhat double as a router (They support some of the material like routing protocols, but don't have any serial ports). The 3550 is the cheapest of these.
    Security: CCNA [ ]
    Virtualization: VCA-DCV [ ]
  • theodoxatheodoxa Member Posts: 1,340 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Trying not to say too much...there are different kinds of simulations. One is "configure this". But, another is "you have this network, use some commands on one or more routers/switches to answer the following question(s) about it". The latter type is where show commands come in really handy. You probably (almost certainly) will NOT be able to do "show running-config". You will need to know the correct show commands or at least have an idea of what commands to use. There is also a third type of simulation that is really just a variation of the second: Troubleshooting. For TS, you would use show commands, [rather than determining some unknown aspect of the network] discover why something isn't working right.

    1) Configuration
    2) Information Gathering
    3) Troubleshooting
    Security: CCNA [ ]
    Virtualization: VCA-DCV [ ]
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