First off, thank you for any replies... I am happy to announce I passed my CCNA recently. The purpose of my post is actually for 2 reasons:
1) To document how I passed the CCNA, so others who are studying for their CCNA can see what worked for me (I passed with over 90% correct)
2) To ask advice on how to prepare for my CCNP
So, that being said, here we go.....
1) How I passed the CCNA with a very high score (on a budget)- First, I read a lot of Cisco textbooks. I literally read a TON of Cisco material for about a year, until I felt comfortable with all the topics described within the CCNA exam description. I made sure I understood the material, not just memorized it. Then, I reviewed the material by purchasing a 30 day CCNA review guide. Last, I purchased an exam simulator (I did a lot of research and finally chose the MyPowerPass-CCNA simulator because it was the most affordable and seemed to have the same quality as the more expensive ones). After I felt completely comfortable with the material on the simulator, I scheduled my exam, and passed with flying colors. I realize that I may have spent longer preparing for the exam than some people, but I can honestly say that I understand the topics that were on the exam. And, I definitely feel confident heading in to a network engineering interview now. My approach was understanding, not memorizing, and I highly recommend the same to anyone preparing to take the CCNA (or the ICND1 or ICND2 exams). So in summary, read thoroughly to understand the material, get a review book, and get a solid exam simulator like MyPowerPass-CCNA.
2) Preparing for the CCNP- Currently, I am reading the Cisco BSCI book, and I am understanding the material well. A lot of this particular book seems to cover some of the same material that I learned while studying for the CCNA. Of course I do realize that the topics being introduced are more detailed and that I will be encountering brand new material soon. My plan is to read this book, purchase some hardware, and follow the labs that are covered in the book. I will repeat this process with the other CCNP exams, until my CCNP is complete. I would really appreciate any advice from anybody out there who has taken and passed your CCNP.
I do have a couple Catalyst 4006's and a couple older routers but I have for the most part been using GNS3 as my simulator. So far this has worked for me but I am looking to pickup some more equipment when money permits. Here is a website I cam across for CCNP lab equipment. http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/41356
If you do take the Beta you will have to let me know how it is, without breaking any rules of course.
Please rate any posts that are helpful,