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  1. Exam Details and Topics
  2. Trouble Spots, Preparation Hints, and Recommended Study Resources
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Trouble Spots

Just because you are taking a single exam in order to achieve your CCNA with this path, it does not mean you get to skip any of the fundamental topics. You are thoroughly tested in all topic areas from ICND1 and ICND2. The big issue with this exam, as you might guess, is the fact that it is very difficult to complete in the time allotted. Students can expect to see twice the number of simulations, simlets, and testlets that they would face if they were taking either ICND1 or ICND2. Remember, this single exam option is really designed for those with a ton of existing experience. For example, as a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) in the area of Routing and Switching, I would take this single exam option if I was interested in renewing my CCNA. This would be a rare choice, of course, since I renew it automatically when I renew my CCIE by taking the CCIE written exam. A more common situation is an individual certified in an area like Juniper, with many years of experience in networking, takes this exam after studying the way in which the Cisco IOS functions.

In order to properly prepare for exams with simulations and simlets like this, students must log plenty of hours on rental equipment, simulations, or their own lab equipment. The amount of time students must spend with this is certainly dependent on how much real world experience they already possess with the technologies listed in the blueprint.

Preparation Hints

The following list should prove very valuable in your success with this intense exam:

  • Become expert at the simulations and simlets and testlets that you encounter in this exam using the link provided in the Exam Details section. When I recommend you become an expert at them, I am of course referring to how they operate and how you navigate inside of them. You cannot afford to waste valuable time in the actual exam trying to determine how to work with the simulation exercises themselves. You want the full compliment of your time dedicated to the technological problem solving that you must carry out.
  • Enter the blueprint above into a spreadsheet or similar software in order to make a study checklist. Consider rating yourself on each item. I like to use a 1 to 5 scale. For example, 1 means I have never heard of that technology. 2 indicates I have heard of it before. 3 means that I could describe it. 4 indicates that I could configure it if necessary, while 5 means I could also troubleshoot. Note that in this exam, not all areas will be requiring you to both configure and troubleshoot, so many topics can be taken to a level 3 only for adequate preparedness.
  • Read the examine blueprint topics vey carefully, notice that topics where you must "configure" or "verify" or "troubleshoot" are spelled out very clearly. Topics that are listed with verbs like "describe" are very often theory-only type questions, or at the very least, will not be featured in simulation-style questions.
  • Acquire physical gear, or rent gear, or use well-rated simulators in order to practice with Cisco routing and switching technologies.
  • Study using well-rated, trusted practice exams whenever possible in order to assess your readiness.

Recommended Study Resources

The following highly-rated study resources should be of tremendous benefit for your success. Notice that Pearson IT Certification provides excellent materials for your initial study, your hands-on lab practice, and your practice testing. Some products are available now, and more are coming in late 2016 and early 2017.

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