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How Closely Do Our Cisco Press CCNP Official Certification Guides Map to the Live Exams?

Hi there. You may remember my recent blog post that outlined the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) exam refresh that went into effect on January 25, 2010. In this essay I want to set your minds at ease with regard to how closely our Cisco Press Official Certification Guides (OCGs) map to Cisco’s published objectives for the ROUTE, SWITCH, and TSHOOT exams.

The idea for this blog post originated when I received the following e-mail inquiry from a Cisco instructor:

I have a question concerning the certification track for the new CCNP, mapped to the OCG.
When compare the exam topics of the new 642-813 SWITCH test with the contents of the Cisco Press OCG, I see a significant discrepancy. Spanning Tree, for example, is not a part of the new switching test in the CCNP track, and I see that in the OCG there is a great deal on that.

To answer this kind individual’s question, we asked the author of the SWITCH OCG, Dave Hucaby, for clarification. Here is what Dave had to say:

This is a common question and concern. The Amazon page for the SWITCH OCG shows a list of major content topics covered in the book – not a list of exam objectives. The OCG front matter does contain an accurate list of exam objectives as obtained from the Cisco Learning Network site.

The biggest problem is that Cisco has chosen to run with a list of very vague exam topics, painted with a broad brush. In part, this is to push the exam candidate into viewing the exam objectives more like job functions. For example, when a networking professional sees an exam topic like “Configure switch-to-switch connectivity for the VLAN-based solution”, he should automatically consider all of the more specific switching topics, such as Spanning Tree Protocol, EtherChannel, VLAN trunking, and so on, as pertinent tasks to accomplish the goal.

In my opinion, there will never be a LAN switching exam that doesn’t include the Spanning Tree Protocol. Hopefully, we can keep students on track with the OCGs without too much confusion.

So there you have it! The bottom line with our Cisco Press OCGs is that they not only cover every single Cisco exam objective, but they go into additional detail on related topics that mandate further elucidation.

If you have any further questions or comments regarding the new CCNP track, or any IT certification track for that matter, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at timothy.warner@pearson.com.