It was the easiest test I’ve taken since I started preparing for the CCNA R&S Cert…
OK, maybe this comes across a bit arrogant, but that is not what I mean at all, let me explain.
I am not suggesting that the exam is easy, it is not. Anyone who is, or was preparing for a CCNA certification, needs to work hard at it because it is a well known fact that the exam is pretty demanding.
I mean, if you really prepared to pass the exam, and you do pass the exam… you know a lot about networking.
However, I am not lying, and certainly not bragging when I say that it was easier than other practice CCNA tests I’ve taken while preparing, and I think I know why that is, it is preparation.
I did prepare for this exam. I provably worked on every Packet Tracer exercise on the web and I am definitely not exaggerating if I say that I’ve read every single word and watched every single video about CCNA topics available on the internet. I’ve read and/or watched every article and/or video available, that was upload to the web by people like; Jeremy Cioara, Kevin Wallace, Keith Barker, Anthony Sequeira, Wendell Odom, Todd Lammle, etc.
I also took the 4 CCNA R&S courses from Cisco Networking Academy, at CIT in the city of Rosario, Argentina (I am currently living in Rosario). While attending this institute, I had the advantage of having very knowledgeable instructors such as Sebastian Bressan, Ernesto Vilarrasa and Nicolas Maragliano (who by the way, is the only Argentine winner of the Cisco NetRiders competition, and I didn’t do too bad myself in this competition, placing 2nd for Argentina and 7th for the region (LATAM), on the 2014 edition of the competition). I would really like to thank everyone I just mentioned, as I’ve learned something about networking from each one of them.
And if I’m thanking people, I cannot forget about the users of the Cisco Learning Network forum. Each and every question I had when I was studying or writing articles for this blog (which is provably the same thing), was answered by the users in this great forum, and so I promise, as a token of my appreciation, to keep uploading to this forum, every article I write for my blog. If what I write helps one future CCNA, my goal is met. Thank you all.
But I digress, let me get back to what I think is the reason why the cert exam was easy for me.
Out of all the study material resources I just mentioned, there is one, (actually two) in particular that played the biggest part preparing me to take this exam, these are the “CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-101 Official Cert Guide” and the “CCNA Routing and Switching ICND2 200-101 Official Cert Guide“, both by Mr. Wendell Odom. I did order the “CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Official Cert Guide Library” because that is the exam I was preparing for, but Cisco Press sent me the ICND1 & ICND2 books instead… I guess they had too many copies of these books and needed to get rid of them before August 20th, 2016 :O)… but anyhow, I figured that 1700 pages (ICND1 900 + ICND2 800) were better than 1600 pages for the 200-120 book.
Anyway, these books come with the “Pearson IT Certification Practice Test” engine. The questions on these practice tests are a very serious matter. The topics are CCNA, of course, but you really need to think about what you are being asked to answer these questions correctly, and some of them really make you doubt if you are ready or not… but you just need to keep working hard at it.
I remember thinking, if the questions on these practice exams are difficult, the real questions are going to be even more difficult… but as I stated already, that was not the case, the actual certification exam questions were less difficult then the practice questions.
If you think about it, this might be an strategy actually. I mean, I am not saying that this is the case, but I can definitely see somebody at Cisco Press saying “Hey, lets make the questions on the official practice test somewhat difficult, so if they are prepared enough to answer them correctly, they’ll really be prepared when they take the actual certification exam“… it makes sense right?
Remember, these are the “Official Certification Guides”, the bold and italic word here is “official”. And I am not saying that, because it is the official book, their material is more accurate then others, I’m just saying that because they are the “official guys”, they might have more insight, that’s all.
To sum up, there were 40 questions -or so it said at the beginning of the test-, but a few of those 40 questions are “Simlet” and “Testlet“, and they each consists of multiple questions that you will need to answer based on a main scenario. So, even tough I lost track of how many questions in total I had to answer, my best guess is between 50 and 60, and because I worked hard preparing for the exam, I really knew the answers, I didn’t had any serious doubt on any of the questions.
There were many questions about IPv6 and STP, and luckily (I guess a good share of luck is always needed), I had written articles about these topics in my blog, so I felt comfortable with them.
Surprisingly, there were not too many questions on subnetting, at least not as many as I expected there to be. Subnetting is still needed to answer questions about other subjects, so don’t think you can do with out subnetting, hit it hard.
The two “Router Simulation” problems I had to work out, were about NAT and ACLs, two topics I felt comfortable with as well.
Now, let’s talk about that one subject, that one question you are provably wondering about; Have I, at any point, thought about using, or did I use the so call “Brain Dumps” available wildly all over the internet?
Well, there are as I see it, two ways you can make use of these “dumps”; one of them, of course, is to learn the correct answers by heart and hope you get the same questions in your exam.
To this, I would like to answer, if you’ll let me, with a question; What happens when you pass a cert exam by cheating, and then you go to a job interview?…
See, I don’t get it, people, companies, don’t just through jobs at you because you show them a piece of paper that says CCNA with your name on it. They will want to know what you know… you know?
As I see it, using “Brain Dumps” to pass a cert exam gives you bragging rights… fake bragging rights.
Now, the second way you can make use of “Brain Dumps” -and some people will defend this-, is to use the questions on the “Brain dump” to actually study the subject, not just learn the correct answers.
This gives you an almost 100% chance that you will pass the exam, but at least you will know the subject matter….
Well, this might be true and to some degree, I agree. I mean, if you really study and then right before the exam you use a “Brain Dump” to check your knowledge, no harm no foul, right?… well, let me tell you a personal story that might turn you off on using a “Brain Dump”, even if it is to just check your knowledge.
Back in 1996, (you might be thinking “this guy is old”, I am 46… I do not feel over 30… literally, but that’s a different story), I was a hardware tech then, getting ready to take an HP certification exam on LaserJet II printers that was very important for my job at the time. I really studied and I knew how to take that thing apart, and put it back together blind folded.
About a couple of days before the exam, I came across a “brain dump” (it was just called “exam answers” then), and I decided to use it. I was way too nervous, I had way too much of “that feeling” you get in you stomach before something important is about to happen, to let anything to chance.
Well, long story short, I pass the exam, I got the promotion and I really knew about LaserJet II printers… so what is the issue you ask?… The issue is that I did not feel “full”, something was missing.
See, “that feeling” you get in your stomach when you are about to take an exam, is directly proportional to the pride you will feel when you pass the exam on your own merit. The stronger “that feeling” is, the prouder you will feel.
And even though I did not cheated, technically, the fact that I saw the correct answer before the exam, made it feel incomplete for me, it wasn’t the same.
I guess it all depends on your goals, on what you really want to achieve. For me is not only about getting the job as important that is, for me it’s also about being able to say… “I know this”.
Anyhow, I hope this story helps you positively, regardless of what your goals are.
Let me know if I can help you further.