Just to report that I passed CCNA today. I decided to go for the combo test instead of the two separated exams (save time and money).
I didn't make 100% but I passed with a good margin. It was definitely much harder than the last CCNA exam I took back in 2001. Time management was the biggest issue for me (as well as trying not to freak out during exam).
I studied for about 4 months, used the Cisco ICND1 and 2 books as well as the Todd Lammle's CCNA book. Some people like the Todd Lammle's book but I like the Cisco books better. The Cisco press books present the details better IMHO, but it also seems to be overkill for CCNA. I didn't use the Boson exam sim that came with the Cisco books. I found it more confusing than helping. Some people swear by Boson but it just doesn't click for me.
I have my home lab with three 2611 routers and three 2924 enterprise switch. It is great to be able to see exactly what's going on with the topology, with failure links and troubleshooting.
Last but not least, is with the help from the CCNA prep center and people's answer to my posted questions.
Next, I'll go for CCNP.