Realistic Comments from people who have recently obtained their CCNA

Unanswered Question
Feb 29th, 2008

I'm at the point where I'm thinking that I should write my CCNA but am reading comments here and other places which are messing with my head...

SO, I'd like some real comments about how hard the CCNA labs and questions were, if one doesn't have access to hardware are the virtual sims good enough to teach etc.

Would most of you say the hardest part were the practical sims or the questions?

Also if any of you can recommend which testing prep environments were best to practice, i.e. boson, how2pass, pass4sure, etc. I would be interested in knowing which type of sim's most resembled the questions on the exam in terms of structure and wording.



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Jason Fraioli Sat, 03/01/2008 - 00:57

Consider the concepts covered in the CCNA and realize that you could possibly be asked to configure or troubleshoot any of those concepts.

how2pass, pass4sure, testking, braindumps, etc do not train you, they simply help you to pass an exam. My advice to you is to stay far away from those "study guides" because they won't help you in the real world.

tipnringking Sat, 03/01/2008 - 07:57

I understand everyone's stance...just know the concepts and study...

However, I find the boson environments that were provided with my newer INCD1&2 books to be quite goal was to figure out if I should be getting accustom to their wordiness (thanks colbert) or if the actual tests resemble other training/study guides.

For a lot of us, it isn't that we don't know the material, it does come down to not having a lab to play with, so if I'm going to do sims I'd like to do ones that resemble something on the exam so I don't spend a month doing every sim possible that I can get my hands on then get blown away by an envionment that isn't friendly to use or isn't i don't know...

i've been working in the "real world" for 10 years in telecom...and plan on going for my ccip after the ccna...i was just hoping for some insight...

thanks for your response...

thomas1 Thu, 03/13/2008 - 14:00

First, don't be afraid to take it and fail the first time. I work with a dozen Network/Voice professionals and all but one failed it the first time (including myself). We are guys that actually do it for a living and still failed.

For me, the trick was hitting the books, study guides, etc. and thoroughly understanding what is happening at every part of the network as a data packet goes from point a to point b.

Several of the questions are various diagrams of networks and ask related questions about why it's broken or can host A reach host b etc. The exam is brilliant in how they designed it. You have to know numerous concepts on some questions to get the right answer.

As for my formal training, I spent the money to get training at Techskills and it helped fill in the gaps for me. I'm on the voice side of things and don't do a lot of the down and dirty networking stuff...only about 80% of it is relevant to me. I don't deal with ACL's or Routing/Routed protocols daily.

As for labs, Techskills requires you do labs and then you do a lab that you are graded on. Techskills treats it like you are taking a college course. You take two tests weekly. The training is online based and lab experience.

tipnringking Thu, 03/13/2008 - 14:18


the exams were i live are all messed up, the centre closed down so I was going to write and fail this week...but have to wait till may now...which sucks...

thanks for the info...i realize everyone has a hard time with it...

jrensink78 Fri, 03/14/2008 - 13:40

For what it's worth, when I studied for my CCNA, I read the CiscoPress books and the Sybex guide as well. This was for the previous test version. For practice tests and simulation practice, I only used what was included in the Cisco and Sybex book CDs and I passed on the first try using the 2 test format.

I did not have any hands-on Cisco experience prior to getting my CCNA. I would stay away from brain dump sites, as they only serve to devalue certifications.

I would second the suggestion to just take the test and don't worry about failing. Study the concepts and written material available to you until you feel that you have a decent grasp on most topics and practice whatever sims that are available to you until you can do them quickly. Then take the test. You might surprise yourself. If not, you should have a good idea as to test/quest formats and where you need to spend more time.

Sims and simlets definitely are the biggest time-takers in the exam. But it doesn't necessarily mean that they are the hardest part.

celticfc2007 Thu, 03/20/2008 - 01:12

There are two schools of thought on this:

1)Don't worry about passing, if you fail just take it again after you practice more.

2)Go into the test fully prepared, with confidence, knowing your going to pass first time.

Personally, I don't have money to burn on failing the test. Also, I'd be absolutely gutted if I failed with all the effort I've put in.

I'm taking my test soon. Approximately in 3 weeks. I say approximately because I need to know before I book my test and walk into the test center that I'm going to pass. I need to know that I've covered all the bases, and that I have no weak areas.

I've got a study plan. This Sunday I'll take a practice test (I know it won't be a passing score in all subjects) just to help identify weak areas. I'll follow my study plan over the next few weeks, taking practice tests at the end of the week. And I should be taking my test soon.

Good luck!

(P.S. don't chuck your money away, be honest with yourself; are you fully prepared?)

pankaj_goyal Thu, 03/20/2008 - 21:28


I just took my CCNA exam yesterday and cleared it.

I would say the CCNA labs and questions were well designed. Get your fundamentals very clear if u dont want to panic while taking the exam.

Again if you are well aware of configurations, practical sims wont be a problem for you. What may cause a problem is 'simlets'. Here you have to use your overall network understanding to get the answer correct.

Using virtual sims for practice is not a bad option if one does not have any access to hardware. I too practiced using virtual sims and they gave an overall good understanding. You can design your networks and configure them using these sims.

how2pass, pass4sure are braindumps and please avoid them if you really want to give worth to your CCNA. They do give an exam like scenario but help devalue certifications.

People find sims hard because of lack of practice and questions hard because of not-so-good fundamentals.

I wouldn't say the exam was a walk in the cake. Just get your basics right, practice enough and you will reach the shore.





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