Well, I'm another one that's passed the ICND1 in the past few days. I live in NYC so it wasn't hard finding a testing center, the employees were very polite and almost too cautious.
I got a 930/1000 so I'm satisfied. Now I'm waiting for the paper certificate to arrive. Do you also get a credit card sized card nowadays?
I used Odom's book to study and take notes, later I got a CCENT for dummies books, which was a bit outdated, however it was useful to simply skim over all the material and plug any spots I might have missed. Then I did a buncha labs in packet tracer, sometimes just playing around on my own like "what would happen if I RIPv2'd four routers instead of two or three?" which I believe gave me a lot of CLI practice - really great. Then, the last few days I was doing practice tests just to get used to the format of the test and the way the questions come. Finally, I spent a few evenings on that subnetting page answering the questions. All in all - 5 weeks of study time. If it wasn't for my finals in college I bet I could've done it in 3-4 weeks lol.
I came out great with subnetting, routing and switching, and security but I completely failed the WLAN portion. I'm guessing there was only a few questions and I honestly didn't really pay attention to those chapters (big mistake). I'll admit the most of the routing and switching stuff came from packet tracer - building networks, playing with subnets, switchport/port security, etc allowed me to really cement the theory from the book. I reckon this was the greatest factor in my success. The second factor must've been simply taking the practice tests to learn how to read network diagrams, although I'm sure there's a better resource for that as well.
Anyways, it feels great to have passed on my first try. I'm looking at taking the ICND2 later this year and trying to get a foothold in the IT industry. I already did a year of help desk in a retail environment, hope that helps, I'd really wanna start off doing networking - nothing fancy, I'd be real glad of setting up networks with an existing design ie. to be the field tech, not the designer.
Good luck to anyone else taking the exam!