Question on CCNA material - Cisco Press / Boson / Sybex

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Feb 29th, 2008

I'm studying for CCNA, have both the latest Sybex CCNA study guide and the Cisco Press CCNA pack (2 books). I also have my own lab.

I have searched the forum but unable to find recent discussion on this subject so I'd like to hear your opinion.

Here is what I am confused:-

I have been reading both books and have not have any problems understanding the material or answering the sections question. For both of the books (sybex and Cisco), the level of difficulties seem about the same. The test engine on Sybex seems set at a lower difficulty than the book material. However, on the Cisco Press books, the included BOSON exam simulator is set at a MUCH higher difficulty compare to the book itself. So, my question is:- If the level of difficulty on the Boson exam is comparable to the actual exam, then I may likely to fail the 802 exam even I understand well on both books' material? I'd to know my real expectation. If the level of difficulty on BOSON exam is comparable to the actual exam, then both paper books are not enough for passing the exam. What else do I need?


I have this problem too.
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Hi Alex

First off no one can give you details about the CCNA exam as that would violate the terms of the NDA they sign prior to taking the test.

What I can tell you is that I also used the Sybex book along with a CBT by Train Signal and also have my own home lab. I spent about 7or 8 months going over the material and configuring the labs until I could do it blindfolded and had no trouble on exam day.

I looked at Cicso Press books (based on the academy course) but did not like them. But I believe the CCNA books (Cicso Press) by Wendell Odom are quite good. I have one of his CCIE books, which I am using in my CCNP studies and it is quite good. It is well written and easy to understand. An easy read.

So in my opinion, if you understand the topics and can configure them in your lab, then you should be good for the exam.

Best Regards,


alexmchau Fri, 02/29/2008 - 08:54

Thanks Michael for your valuable input.

I'd like to clarify that I'm not asking for details about the exam. What I'm trying to say is I notice inconsistency in level of difficulties between studying materials. The Boson exam environment is the one that stands out and it gives me the impression that I will never be able to pass the real exam (if I assume the real exam is comparable to the Boson). While I'm doing well with other books, my labs and the practice questions in this prep site, now I have doubt that I'll be able to make it (based on Boson). I'd like to be well prepared and I work hard. But I'm not sure how much I should trust Boson. So, I want to know if I am missing something important. If this is the case, I want to know and prepare myself better.

- Alex

daghoiseth Thu, 03/06/2008 - 23:12

Hi !

I'm early in the study phase. So i'm also interested in the difficult levels here, os i can decide when i'm ready for the test.

Have you come to any conclusion on the quiestion ?



alexmchau Fri, 03/07/2008 - 04:39

Hi Dag,

No, I have not come to any conclusion yet. But I have NOT been using the Boson exam environment. I have been using the material on this prep center and have had no problems. I can score in the 80-90% range of the tests in here (and many others) but no more than 20% in Boson exam. Therefore, in my opinion, the Boson exam is not inline with the rest of the world. My hypothesis is if the level of difficulty for passing CCNA is on par with the Boson exam, then you must be able to walk on water to pass CCIE.

I'm back to the fundamentals. Study the concepts with the backing up of labs. Set up different labs and test different topologies. I found that the standard labs are very straight forward which will not allow me to "see problems". I make up some strange config so I can learn troubleshooting. I have figured out a few strange glitches when I use my routers in an unusual way.

daghoiseth Fri, 03/07/2008 - 06:44

Hi !

Thanks, good to know about your observations with the differences between the test. I'll keep that in mind if i "stumble" over Boson in the future.



celticfc2007 Sun, 03/23/2008 - 07:41


I have the Sybex CCNA 5th ed, and the Cisco ICND 1 and 2 books (2nd ed). I just installed the Boson exam today, I customized the exam to only include the content I've been focusing on; ICND1 material. IMO, the test reflects whats covered in the ICND1 book. I don't rely on the the Sybex book much, just for lab work, and to cross-reference a concept.

You could try making notes on parts of the test, you feel aren't covered properly in the book and just load up the pdf version and search for those items, it might help.

Good luck!


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