Since my last post, I have received my study materials for the CCNA certification. I have ordered several different types of materials as an experiment to see if any of them work as well for me as using just a study guide. I generally do not attend the courses, so a good study guide and some network gear is all I’ve ever used. The addition of network simulators will be very cool to test out. Here are the titles I ordered:

I will be trying to study 6 nights per week in an attempt to prepare for a March exam date. In doing so, I will have to balance work, study, family, and the rescue shifts I run as an EMT. As anyone who is reading this is aware, that is no easy task. My study formula looks somewhat like this:






This formula roughly translates to English Bulldog over English Bulldog multiplied by expected first child plus EMS over job at Cisco = time remaining for study. Mathematically accurate? Maybe not, but you get the general idea. I am in the same boat as everyone else in this regard. I have already begun to study for the composite exam with the CCNA Official Certification Library. I will be going through those books prior to moving on to any other study medium. By the time I get through the study guides and build out my notebook, I should be ready to test out the other study materials.

I learned a lesson long ago about studying for exams. Even if you understand a process and can discuss it forwards and backwards, it does you no good at all if you don’t know how the exam will reference it. I have already found a few examples in how specific operations of the OSI model are defined. “Same-layer interaction” is not something that generally comes up in my casual conversation about the OSI model (not that I have casual conversations about the OSI model). I know the layers and the process, but I need to know the “book answer” so that I can properly study for the exam. Remember, there may be more than one way to say or do something, but for the next few months you’re only concerned with how it’s described by the exam. For this reason, I need to make sure that I go through all of the chapters even if it’s just to pick out terms or definitions.

As I went through the objectives for the CCNA exams, I identified several areas that I will need to pay close attention to as I go through my study for the exam:

  • EIGRP – Need to review and make sure that I know which commands will be expected for the exam.
  • OSPF – Same as EIGRP
  • Wireless – I don’t really have issues with Wireless, but it’s been several years since I’ve setup Cisco wireless and I should certainly review the authentication mechanisms.
  • Frame Relay – I’ve been at Cisco 12 years and it’s been that long since I’ve used it. A little review wouldn’t hurt.
  • IPv6 – I have no experience with IPv6, so this will be the area I will need to focus a lot of attention on.


Join me next week as I continue my journey...