Best approach to studying without overstudying

ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178

For my CCNA I primarily used Chris Bryant's video courses and E-Books to pass that exam, and thought they were very thorough, but for my CCNP I've been trying to mix some study materials and it is not working at all. I'm trying to use both Bryant's E-Book and videos for examples of the E-Book material, and also trying to read through Wendell Odom's CCNP ROUTE book as well.

I had a good momentum going with Bryant's materials, as I find them very easy to breeze through, but then I started adding Odom's book on top of that and it's brought my progress almost to a halt. I'm having trouble dissecting and organizing the information, as I get more depth from Odom's book, but the information is organized differently so it's effectively brought studying to a halt because it has been so chaotic trying to absorb two different topics concurrently.

Can anyone suggest how best to approach the material? I'd like to just use Bryant's E-Book and Videos and fill the gaps with Odom's book, but when I read through Odom's book I get a lot of little details not covered in Bryants material.

Any suggestions as to how to best approach using multiple study materials, and which may be most beneficial? I think my main problem is the amount of notes I take, and trying to organize the notes from seperate materials so they are not redundant, which I have yet to find an effective way to do this.

I also have the CCNP lab manuals from the Cisco website as well for labbing.



  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,015 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Maybe try finishing one book completely, then go and read the other, instead of trying to digest both simultaneously.

    That's the general strategy I use when going thru multiple sources.

    Specifically, for my CCENT, I read the CCENT for Dummies book completey, then read the Wendell odom book completely, before scanning thru the Todd Lammle book. Trying to go thru all of that at once would have been way to confusing for me. Not only because they are written differently, but because they present the material in a different order.
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  • tjh87tjh87 Member Posts: 66 ■■□□□□□□□□
    DoubleNNs wrote: »
    Maybe try finishing one book completely, then go and read the other, instead of trying to digest both simultaneously.

    That's the general strategy I use when going thru multiple sources.

    Or use one primary source for information and use secondary sources to follow-up with the primary. For example, use the OCG for your primary source of learning. Read the chapter(s) on EIGRP, then watch the corresponding CBT Nuggets video(s) on EIGRP. I found that it helped to concentrate on one area until you have a firm understanding before moving on. If you are using multiple sources of information, stay on one topic until you are comfortable with it. Then move on to the next.
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  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I prefer to use two books for most topics. I find it best to read one completely. Try to understand it as it is presented. Then follow up with the next book to reenforce what I learned. Topics that did not stick the first time might be easier to grasp with the second author.

    Whenever I have tried to use only one book I find I start loosing interest when I am reading it the second time.

    I am just starting to use videos so I don't know how I will work them in. Right now I have Chris Bryant udemy videos on my ipad and watch them during lunch breaks. I think I will use videos either as a start to begin a new subject or as a review after reading the material. I don't tend to retain much of the information in videos they are just a good guide for how to do specific things are give me an overview of topics.

    Remember the most important thing is to understand what you learned. I would not worry about merging notes. A big part of taking notes is it allows your brain to process the information into a format you understand. Simply taking the notes helps even if you never read them.
  • okplayaokplaya Member Posts: 199
    Use one source. They all contain the same information. Instead of reading yourself to insanity, switch it up and lab new topics. Cisco Press is okay, but not required to pass certification tests. I did not use Cisco Press material for CCNP and I was fine. Go through the labs more than once. Don't take too long to schedule the test.
  • RouteMyPacketRouteMyPacket Member Posts: 1,104
    Everyone has to find their way..I prefer to do something like this

    1. Start reading OCG
    2. Lab on particular items as I read them
    3. Read

    Rinse and repeat until I have completely read the OCG. Then I go full labbing..various scenarios and go back to the book for any details.

    I have come to take less and less notes, I still do but man when I first started I would write a ton. OneNote is your friend :)
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  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I'm leaning much more heavily to sticking with Chris Bryant for my major focus of studying, as I think he hits points very well, and it's just a bit easier of a read. Any input on using this over OCG as a negative? I know it's obviously not the Official Guide, but it's just so much easier for me to absorb, and the videos help to drive home all the stuff in the book.

    I feel like what it takes Chris Bryant to say in about 2 paragraphs, it takes Mr. Odom 2 pages to say, since I began reading both books simultaneously. Not sure if he is just skipping tons of detail, or if Wendell just beats the horse dead on every subject for the sake of being thorough.

    The thing that has brought studying almost to a halt is that I'm putting in the time to read through Byrant's material, watch videos, lab it to death, then try to read through the EIGRP section from OCG. I feel like I am investing twice the time I should on just even the first subject of EIGRP.

    As always, any input or personal experiences is much appreciated. Chris Bryant's material got me through CCENT and CCNA twice for both over the years, and I'd like to believe he could for the CCNP as well - but I don't want to half ass my studies if the OCG has a huge advantage over his materials.

    Thanks again :)
  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Member Posts: 1,539 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Odom definitely goes more technical on subjects. I assume that his NP is the same as his NA and CCENT books where they are key topic sections. Those are usually what I write down for notes because it sums up the information, where inside the text it will have examples and more information that is good to know for the real world, but not necessarily a major point on the exam.
  • Dieg0MDieg0M Member Posts: 861
    I would read a topic and lab right away on it to remember it. I know so many engineers that read a bunch of networking books and don't remember half of them. Be methodical in your learning process and take it one step at a time.
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  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    It seems the majority seems to emphasize labbing over notes for the CCNP reading, whereas I found notes were extremely important for the CCNA and especially the CCENT (640-8XX versions), which seemed to have a good amount of vastly ranging topics.

    Would you vets suggest reading and labbing once you understand the fundamentals, rather than trying to memorize every detail between the covers of a book? I get so worked up about burning the details into my head through notes, it's almost hard to lab in the same night as reading cause my brain feels so fried.

    Thanks for all the input to you lot ^ up there as well :)
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I think I am going to try to stick to OCG as my main source of study, and lab on that after reading, I think that'll breath some life back into studying.

    Bryants material is so much lighter I think that'd probably make the better supplement material.

    We will see how it goes by when a thread pops up saying I passed the ROUTE :)
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