I passed the CCNA today (yay). This was my first attempt and for $250 I really didn't want to take it twice. I've been working with Cisco for a couple months now and found the exam both easy and very difficult.
For anyone looking for more information (I tried to find as much as I could while prepping), I used the following books:
- CCNA Exam Cram Practice Questions by Jeremy Cioara ( http://www.amazon.com/CCNA-Practice-Questions-Exam-640-802/dp/0789737140/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215129771&sr=8-2 )
- CBTNuggets ICND1 and ICND2 videos by Jeremy Cioara ( http://www.cbtnuggets.com/ )
I also picked up this book a few days before the exam so that I could reread parts I didn't feel completely comfortable with:
- CCNA Study Guide by Todd Lammle ( http://www.amazon.com/CCNA-Certified-Network-Associate-640-802/dp/0470110082/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215129874&sr=1-2 )
I also bought two routers and one switch:
- 2621 router with 2 fastethernet ports (for testing NAT/DHCP over my home cable connection)
- 2620 router (connects to the 2621 with a 1T serial NIC for WAN topics)
- 3548 switch (kind of a waste, never really used it and the IOS was too old to support a lot of the commands in the books)
If you can afford it or can get work to pay for it, definitely get the CBTNuggets videos, they are fantastic. Jeremy is fun to listen to, presents the overall picture and configuration in a great way, and supplements the texts very well. The Cisco Press books were a dry but a good read none-the-less. Had I known about Lammle's book I probably would have read that instead of the Cisco Press books -- from what I've seen there it's a much easier and more interesting read.
[post too long, split over two posts]