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When are you ready for the Exam?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by keconnect sparky, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. keconnect sparky

    keconnect sparky Nibble Poster

    Okay, i know this is a vague question, each to their own etc.

    Let me explain, I know that ideally you should know pretty much everything you need to know (i.e the exam topics) but lets face it you don't learn the whole CCNA first thing round , you normally learn enough, pass the exam and then get some experience using it and go deeper into the subjects.

    Basically just trying to gauge how long you lot give yourself to learn/book the exam.

    Im know genius and i have been out of the studying game for quiet some time, im not good at exams and i dont like books (i know great start!) but i have "the bug" although i haven't studied for a while now (until recently) im familiar with IT and basic networking , but i want more. So i have started working towards my CCNA (well iv booked the exam for end of September - ICND1) I know subnetting pretty well (im no mean machine, but i can get thru m-o-s-t scenarios, iv learnt most of the fundamentals etc ...but their is always room for improvement and always that little bit of self doubt.

    Do you guys just book the exam and see how you do (at least if you fail you know where you're at i guess) or do you walk in knowing, its in the bag? do you have a cats iron routine for every exam?

    Im just curious

    Certifications: MCP, CCENT, CCNA, CCNA-S
  2. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

    Interesting question. This is going to be a very generic answer and for that I apologise :p I'm ready when I have read through all of the practice material and can nail 90% of it.

    My concern though is with your current aim...is the CCNA going to be your first qualification? If so I'd recommend going to CompTIA's N+ and A+ first. It'll build your knowledge base up as Cisco's CCNA exam gets more and more difficult and you may struggle in the later exams.

    In addition - even if you gain your CCNA qualification no company in their right mind would employ you without relevant experience of at least six months and probably more working in an environment with Cisco kit.

    Links are here if you require them:- CompTIA's N+, CompTIA's A+.

    Assess your current aim and see if its the best for you. I'm not trying to discourage you from eventually getting the CCNA (I have it myself) but slowly slowly catchy monkey. :)

    I look forward to your reply. :)
    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  3. kevicho

    kevicho Gigabyte Poster

    I dont think the CCENT exam (which is ICND1) is too bad a starting point for someone who wants to learn fundamentals, the obvious advantage it has over network + is it is more hands on, and you get the benefit of working to configure Cisco kit for a small network.
    I think this will give people more motivation.

    The Network+ was a lot of theory, and to be honest I just took the exam and passed, luckily id worked for a network equipment reseller for about 3 years before that, so I just had a couple of weeks with the Mike Meyers book to cram and passed, the good thing i would say is that i did learn a couple of new things from that book, that came in handy, i think as a building block it is a good step also.

    I think you should go with either the more practical CCENT, or the theory based N+, ideally both, but you will have a personality which is more suited handson or theory, but in the long run, you def need to be able to give both 100%.

    Good luck in what you decide.

    As for exams, what i do is to go through the book/course once, then book for a fortnights time, that will certainly motivate you, you concentrate on improving your weak areas, and finally you have the 24 hour get out of jail card where you can reschedule if you dont feel ready up to 24 hours before the exam.
    Certifications: A+, Net+, MCSA Server 2003, 2008, Windows XP & 7 , ITIL V3 Foundation
    WIP: CCNA Renewal
  4. Naive

    Naive Byte Poster

    Sound advice from Qs ^

    I agree with the above, advice will be generic, as someone as mentioned in another thread. There are so many different factors involved, (i.e commercial experience, people soak knowledge faster than otheres) It's hard to give any kind of accurate time scales. You will know yourself when you are ready for the exam, and to expand above, take practise/mock exams and study up on the areas you feel weak in and then when you are comfortable with every aspect of the exam objectives, go for it & book yourself in.

    P.S If you are on your way to an exam knowing you've got the cat in the bag, you've either

    a) Studied impeccably well and are confident in your abilities :D or..
    b) Are in for a big fall, when the cat jumps out of that bag screaming "FAIIIIIILMEOW" lol :twisted:
  5. VantageIsle

    VantageIsle Kilobyte Poster

    I can't really better what has been suggested above apart from recommending practice exams.

    I know some sites let download a 10-20 question trial, see how you get one the first time you try one.... this will give you a fair assessment of what you know and what you have to work on.

    Measure up, Transender and boson are the top three I hear about.

    good luck
    Certifications: A+, ITIL V3, MCSA, MCITP:EST, CCENT, 70-432-SQL, 70-401 SCCM
    WIP: MCSA upgrade MCITP:SA then EA
  6. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

    It's always depended on the exam really. But I think I'm what's generally been described through history as 'a [email protected]@rd'.

    Which is why I find studying so hard.

    Briefly explained, I spent a lot of school studying the back of my eyelids very, very hard. Homework was something that happened to someone else, and I floated through GCSE and A Level without much consternation and without difficulty passing. (Apart from Latin, which you REALLY did need to study for. But that's the exception that proves the rule...)

    Nevertheless, my education ended at A Level, and was left until I resumed studying with the A+ and N+. When I started these I had no commercial experience, and I found the new concept of 'studying' things that I may have to 'learn for the exam' rather difficult to deal with.

    This may explain why it's taken me so long to grasp the material for ICND1... I still don't have any study 'tactics'. I generally just read the recommended book once through, do a few exam crams, and then 'whump' take the exam. Haven't failed one (yet).

    For the MCDST, I'm sticking to this - read a book, do some crams, sit the exam. Okay this time round I have commercial experience but I'm fixing a method that hasn't broken (yet). One day I'll get an epic FAIL and have to rethink things but until then... meh :p
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, 70-410, 70-411
    WIP: Modern Languages BA
  7. keconnect sparky

    keconnect sparky Nibble Poster

    Thanks for your input people

    btw this is not my first qualification, I have been in IT for some time and work for an ISP (2nd line support) ..but want to better myself,

    Thanks everyone , i'll see what works for me and see how i do on exam day :0)
    Certifications: MCP, CCENT, CCNA, CCNA-S
  8. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

    I have never gone into any of my cert exams assuming or feeling that it was 'in the bag'. I have felt in most cases that I was ready as I had done a lot of studying and practice exams etc.. The only time I know it's in the bag is when I press the end exam button and it says congratulations etc... :)

    I think it's always best to have a healthy respect for the exam you are studying for. I studied hard for the MCDST when I took it even though I had done much tougher certs before and I knew the material very well already. I needed to take it becuase I was about to teach it, but I still approached it as I did the other certs I had already done.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2K3, MCTS, MOS, MTA, MCT, MCITP:EDST7, MCSA W7, Citrix CCA, ITIL Foundation
    WIP: Nada
  9. Shude

    Shude New Member

    Agreed. I tend to work best under pressure, my most recent exams were booked for a week's time and if I'd booked for a fortnight I'd still only have started *really* concentrating about a week before anyway, might as well book a week earlier. This is entirely a personal thing of course!

    If you can fire through a practice test and get nearly 100% (except if you've repeated the same questions 500 times of course!) then you're close.
    Certifications: CLP, MCSE, Sec+

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