False sense of security re:SWITCH

KoryKory Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
If you check my posting history I think you will find a distinct patter of test anxiety, icon_redface.gif which is why what I am about to say feels so weird.

Having looked through the test outline on cisco's site, gone through the CBT nugget's material, and now about 1/3rd of the way through Chris Bryant's videos....

It kinda feels like a lot of the stuff in SWITCH is a rehash of ICND2, and not in the same way that ROUTE was either. For instance, in ICND2 you had to understand about 6 inches of depth in the OSPF ocean... ROUTE required you to be able to swim within sight of the ocean floor...and I am sure CCIE will involve collecting samples of OSPF tube worms?....ok maybe I extended the scuba metaphor too far.

But more concretely, for ICND2 we learned about port security, maximum mac addresses, static, sticky, etc. The SWITCH curriculum has the same stuff. I got excited when I saw dynamic vlan assignment, something new to me, but the reality was that we only learn that it exists, how it works conceptually and that you need a separate server to manage it....ok.

Same thing for spanning tree, ICND2 already required me to learn about the root election process, setting priorities, the differences between SPT, RSTP, PVSTP...loopguard, bpdu guard are new, but again the new stuff seems to be in the minority.

Granted, there is some completely new material like LACP, HSRP, multi-layer switching (which is not hard to grasp since we already know router on a stick from ICND2)

I figured I would have an easier time with switch than route (because route was probably the most difficult test I have taken as my score proves) I guess what I am asking is: Am I setting myself up for a rude awakening or is the SWITCH material a delightful easing of difficulty between ROUTE and TSHOOT?


  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    While it is a rehash of a lot of the same topics, they are covered in much more depth. I think you are in for a rude awakening if you try to take the exam lightly.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Danielh22185Danielh22185 Member Posts: 1,195 ■■■■□□□□□□
    From what I have heard Switch is actually the hardest NP exam. That tid bit of information is in no way based on fact, I am just basing it on what I have heard from many people who have gotten their NPs. I think each exam topic will be a rehash but I also think needs to be that way to give a foundation into the topics you are about to go very in-depth on. I think it also depends on the person and their experience level. I thought the ICND2 exam was the hardest exam I have ever taken, period. I also had zero networking experience when I took it. So, I don't know if you are really going to get 100% the answer you are looking for but, if I were you I wouldn't take it lightly at all.
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
  • atorvenatorven Member Posts: 319
    Loved your metaphors Kory :D

    I have just started going through the ROUTE material and my brain is melting, the depths of what one needs to know when compared to CCNA is crazy, makes me wonder about the CCIE level.

    Any ways, do you guys have any recommendations on what books to purchase, I'm currently looking at the foundation learning guide or the certification guide and I'm learning towards to the former, any opinions? (I don't intended to take the exam, just want to learn and leverage the knowledge).
  • Danielh22185Danielh22185 Member Posts: 1,195 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I prefer the FLG as a good source of material for an up and coming new to NP level as far as study material goes.
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
  • mattaumattau Member Posts: 218
    I wouldnt say switch is a rehash of icnd2 at all. Its way more indepth than anything CCNA.
    It also depends how involved you want to get, if you read any of the OCG FLG then you will probably be left with a few unanswered questions of how things really work. You may pass the exam by just reading a few books depending on how much real world experience you have but then again you may fail.
    For example if you are interested in dynamic vlan assignment then theres a whole section on AAA. You dont HAVE to read just the standard cisco press books. Many people go and read cisco white papers for stuff they are interested in and need more help on. I remember having the 3560 config guide bookmarked and always read that along with whats in the main books. I even setup my own tacacs server to study it and dish out dynamic vlan assignments. Probably overkill but it helps you understand stuff.

    Trust me when you get to the switch exam you will be under the pump and will have to dig deep and thankful that you spent the time studying. Its the first cisco exam where I honestly thought I was going to fail terribly and nearly walk out.
    Sure the switch exam has some poorly worded questions but you dont have to get 100% to pass.
    CCNP ROUTE - passed 20/3/12
    CCNP SWITCH - passed 25/10/12
    CCNP TSHOOT - passed 11/12/12

  • KoryKory Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Thought I would give an update on this. I did end up passing yesterday and in the week leading up to the test I dug out my old ccna materials and came to the conclusion that my "I already know this stuff" had more to do with the fact that my job is much more switching intensive than routing intensive.

    I thought the test questions were pretty fair (though there was one that I kinda felt like it was a sucker punch because I have zero experience with the cat6500 series stuff and I can't for the life of me find any reference in any of the training materials about this particular question).

    I do concur that the wording was pretty sketchy in some questions, and I commented as such on the test. In some cases I felt like success or failure hinged on being able to "read into" the question and try to figure out what they were really looking for instead of what it seemed to say. Also the presence of a single word in an answer that would make you say"...well sort of, but not always" can be used to disqualify it as a correct one if you are down to two possibilities. In this regard it felt more like the cwna test than any cisco test I had taken prior...which is not necessarily a bad thing.

    The switch test did feel like a different animal than route. In route you had to know a lot of depth as I stated above. In switch it was much more nitpicky...the pool may be more shallow but you are expected to know every inch of it....I don't think I have ever been asked so many questions that relied on an understanding of the default behavior of some commands without any modifiers. Thankfully I had a lot of that stuff crammed into my head the hard way...trial and error...mostly error icon_redface.gif

    so in short, to quote Han Solo: "Don't get cocky, kid."
  • fslima0fslima0 Member Posts: 43 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I, too, am studying for the CCNP exams. I took both the CCNP ROUTE and SWITCH in college and those courses were hard. I am taking my sweet time now to remember everything because it's been a year since I touched a Cisco router or switch. For me personally, the SWITCH course was a lot harder....
    Current Goals: CCNP and RHCSA
  • all_dayall_day Member Posts: 6 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I found route easier to study for, half a dozen topics to learn well and it's really easy to lab for with GNS. Switch the breadth of topics is daunting. With route, if you study the FLG well, I'm sure you will do well in the exam. With switch I feel the book only scratches the surface and you really need to supplement your learning with other material, else you're asking for trouble come exam time.
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