First, you should plan to study to learn deeply. Read, and then take the time to practice on the CLI. Buy used gear, use emulators, use the simulator, rent or borrow gear, but plan to practice the configurations and spend time understanding the router and switch commands. Certskills.com has some links to help you work through the topic of building a CCNA lab.
Review all your subnetting work from ICND1. Cisco now puts all the subnetting exam topics into ICND1, but you will need it to do well on the ICND2 exam.
Finally, collaborate when you hit the wall by plugging in to the Cisco Learning Network. This is a wonderful place where you can pose questions and often get multiple answers in minutes or hours. It's a hugely popular place for folks to collaborate on their path towards Cisco certification.
Recommended Study Resources
When preparing for the ICND2 200-101 exam, you are most likely preparing for the two-exam path to CCNA Routing and Switching. Many of the study resources can be bought in a set, for less money, with the matching ICND1 and ICND2 products in the same set. Many people use the Official Cert Guide for the exam; in this case, you can get the Cisco CCNA ICND2 200-101 Official Cert Guide:
- by itself
- as part of the Cisco CCNA 200-120 Official Cert Library (which includes the ICND1 100-101 and the ICND2 200-101 Official Cert Guides)
- as part of the Cisco CCNA 200-120 Exam Cert Library, Simulator Edition (includes both books, plus the simulator)
For ICND2, you need a primary study book, hands-on equipment, and practice. For primary study, the aforementioned Cisco CCNA ICND2 200-101 Official Cert Guide provides many tools to help you prepare. Like all Cisco Press Certification Guides, besides explaining the technology, this book offers many other tools to help with exam prep, including planning review tables, notations of the most important topics in each chapter, and a CD question bank with exam software.
To get hands-on skills, use the CCNA Network Simulator. This software product acts like small networks built with Cisco routers and switches; you type commands, and the software reacts as if you were doing the same thing on real gear. More importantly, this product is far more than just a place to type commands. It includes hundreds of scripted lab exercises that focus on the points you must know to do well on the exam.
These products also help round out your study library, with extra reference and practice tools:
- Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack provides you with more than 1,400 flash cards, practice questions and study sheets for the CCNA exams. This product includes three proven study methods: print and online flash cards challenge you to test your knowledge of exam topics with long answer questions. The Pearson IT Certification Practice Test is a customizable software product that allows you to take exam realistic practice tests that help you assess your exam readiness. Finally, the quick reference guide contains hundreds of study sheets that help you do quick reviews of key exam topics.
- CCNA Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide, 3rd Edition (ISBN: 1587204304) summarizes all CCNA R&S certification-level Cisco IOS® Software commands, keywords, command arguments, and associated prompts. You’ll find dozens of tips and examples for applying these commands in real-world networking scenarios. Configuration examples throughout the book provide you with a better understanding of how these commands are used in basic network designs.
- If you need help organizing, preparing, and reviewing all the CCNA objectives, use the “31 Days” books from Cisco Press. There will be one focused on the ICND1/CCENT and another for ICND2/CCNA. As a day-by-day guide, the features of each book empower you to fit exam preparation into an otherwise busy schedule. 31 Days Before Your CCENT or 31 Days Before Your CCNA Exam offer you a personable and practical way to understand the certification process, commit to taking the exam, and finish your preparation using a variety of Foundational and Supplemental study resources like those mentioned here.
Finally, studies show that many people that pursue Cisco certification use two separate primary reading sources. The Cisco ICND2 200-101 Foundation Learning Guide, also from Cisco Press, uses the same examples, figures, and sequence as those courses. This is an excellent source for alternate explanations and examples as compared to the CCNA Exam Certification Guides.