The perfect preparation plan for CCNA

The Cisco Certified Network Associate certification is the basic level exam for networking certification. This exam is required to know the ability of the user in networking specifically with the installation and working of WAN/LAN. This exam covers non IP and IP networks. Although there is no specific syllabus for CCNA, there are several topics you must go through before you can take the exam. The preparation for CCNA requires hours of practical application of tools and study.

Following is a plan for CCNA exam preparation:

Select how you want to give the exam:

The first step to your preparation depends on how you want to give your exam, a single composite exam or in two parts. The benefit of taking the exam in two parts is that your burden is divided as well as it earns you more time for practice. The single composite exam is for those who have some practical experience with the routers and switches. However, preparation is required for both.

Study guide:

Once you have decided to give CCNA, it is important to equip yourself with the basic information about Cisco switches and routers. Other than routers and switches, there are several Cisco concepts you must be familiar with. CCNA study guide by Tom Lammel or Sybex CCNA study guide are two good reference books, there are several others. A study guide for ccna have about 800+ pages covering all the topics and concepts of Cisco networking. If you are looking for low cost study Guide, Sybex CCNA is a good and cheap book. However for details and explanations you should buy Cisco press CCNA study guide. It is more expensive but gives you the details of technical terms which are not mentioned in the Sybex Guide.

Practice with real Switches and Routers:

It is impossible to claim that you understand these terms without having actually practice them in real. It is important t use the real equipment in order to learn how to treat them if the cables become lose or to know the different between the right and wrong cable, the only way to learn how routing works is by practicing on real equipment in a training lab. So other than theory practice on Cisco switches and routers as well. Once you have practically experienced all the concept, it becomes easier to remember.

Lab guide:

Now that you have spend some money on the Study guide, it is only wise if you get a Lab guide as well to ensure that whatever you practice in lab is through guidance. For students who are new at Cisco it is important to have a lab guide that is easy to understand so that you can both practice and correct yourself under the light of some direction. A good lab book covers everything including the NAT, IPv6, SDM, dynamic routes etc. First go through the book so that you have all the basic knowledge about what you are going to practice in the lab. Then review the lab workbook, follow the steps and practice your tools. This way you can easily judge what you are doing wrong and correct it through the available information.

Video training:

There are several video training products available in the market. They cover the complete ICND1 and ICND2 course and the concepts from books. You can choose the Cisco Press Video Mentor range of videos. These videos cover all the topics available in the Cisco study guide and similar other books. Once you go through a chapter from the guide, watch the comparable video for complete understanding of that topic. The benefit of video training is that it aids better learning as students are more likely to remember what they saw in the video than what they read.

Practice exam software:

How good you score depends on how much you practice the exam. Cisco being a fairly confusing and difficult exam requires a good amount of practice. There are different practice exam software’s offered by some famous vendors like INE, IPExpert and CBTNuggets. For simulation you can build your own virtual lab with Packet tracer and GNS3. Simulation slows down your speed in the exam but is an equally important part of the exam. Good practice software comes with more than 400 questions. These questions are based on the exam structure. Practice is the key to good score in CCNA. Practice the whole exam, both theory and practical at least five times before your actual exam. Keep practicing till you top your target score.

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