Well, today I passed the ICND exam with a 853(849 being the lowest passing mark). It was my first shot at it, and I passed the INTRO back in May with something rediculously high like a 980.
Heres my study regime:
Basically, with both sections I completed all networking academy material and homework that my instructor gave me. With every chapter I made hand written notes for everything that wasnt common knowledge to me already. I know its all up to personal style, but for me, handwriting notes out on unfamilar topics tends to make them stick into my head much much more than reading them and moving on.
After the networking academy curriculum was complete, I used Wendel Odoms self study books for INTRO and ICND, The way they are layed out and the accompanying CDs are phenominal in my opionon and I would not have passed the exams without them. I would read one chapter each day, starting out each chapter by answering the 'do I know this already' section. There are guidelines that suggest if you get X out of X questions wrong, read the chapter and try again. After either getting enough right to satisfy the condition, or after re-reading the chapter (while doing the handwritten note thing)and attempting the questions again, I would move on to the next chapter. Repeat and rinse for each chapter. I personally only did this on weekedays, left the weekends to maybe just do a couple of CD tests and let my head settle.
Throughout the entire process of reading, I would run the accompanying CD's test engine 2-4 times daily. I cant possibly express how important I felt that the CD's questions were. If I had certain areas that I was unsure of, I was able to specifically focus on questions in those sections. At the beginning my scores were low on the sims, but after 15 days of 2-4 times a day, I could answer the questions with lightning speed and get marks above 90% consistantly.
After doing this process I would give myself 1 week of CD tests alone , flipping through the book for clarification on areas I felt weak in.
I fell into the category of people that were taking the networking academy courses in a timeframe in which I would be starting the last of four modules when the exams were (oringinally) going to be retired. Because of this, I had to cram in everything alot more quickly than I would have liked to and I think that that is why my ICND score wasnt quite that impressive. I covered the last two modules in two months out of a six month semester to take the exam before it retired.
As for the ICND exam... I felt that with this method I actually OVER studied... My impression is that I should have actually focused more on learning the ins and outs of the basics as opposed to overloading myself with the nastier subjects such as DDR, ISDN, Frame Relay, etc. I found myself being taken aback more by simpler questions that were worded in ways that were a little backwards rather than having a hard time with sim questions, or questions regarding OSPF/EIGRP/STP/NAT/DDR/ISDN etc. I only recieved one sim question and it was VERY basic.. so basic that I would have expected it to be on the INTRO exam and not the ICND exam.
Anyways, im totally excited. If anyone has any questions about my study method or experiences, please feel free to ask. I dont believe that I am allowed to talk much of the exam content but I can help in whatever way possible.