Well my first of the many Cisco certifications that I plan take in the future was a success! I was able to pass the ICND1 exam. This blog post is going to be a little different in that I want to share how I was able to pass this test and talk about my experience.
Well in January after finishing the Cisco Networking Academy in the Exploration series I wanted to go ahead and take shot at the ICND1 exam. Now I knew that this was not going to be easy, by looking at online sites like CLN (Cisco Learning Network) and reading the horror stories of people missing by one point, having a hard time understanding the material, not fully prepared, etc. But also reading success stories about how people passed and what they did to pass, really made me jump on the opportunity.
Another thing that made me want to try it was the discounted price I was able to get, by going into the Cisco Networking Academy and doing fairly well I was able to apply for a voucher, which helped kept that determination I had when studying for the ICND1 exam.
So what did I do to pass this this exam? Well although I finished the Cisco Networking Academy I needed to review the fundamental topics again. So I bought the CCNA Official Exam Certification Library (Exam 640-802), Third Edition (Containing ICND1 and ICND2 Second Edition Exam Certification Guides) I wanted something that really covered it all in one book, and I am very pleased that I went ahead and got it.
But reading a book I don’t think cuts it, you need to fully understand how to set up routers, and switches. That’s where either packet tracer or access to physical equipment comes in. Since I am part of the Cisco Networking Academy I had access to physical and simulation software that I could use. One thing I can agree on is with Cisco exams you want to make sure that you know how a set of commands work and know what they do and when to apply them.
So how did I study and how long did it take me to study? Well at first I wanted to study alone I felt that I could get more done. However if possible I would suggest finding a friend that also wants to get certified or at least someone who you can teach the material to. I think I learned a lot more and having discussions with each other helped both of us understand the material. For the ICND1 exam it took three months of us studying and preparing for the exam. We mainly used the book from Wendell Odom and did some web searches for ICND1 practice questions. Another thing that helped me was joining the Cisco Learning Network. By asking and answering questions on the discussion pages.
How can I pass the ICND1 exam? Make sure you know the material. Its sounds simple but when I was taking the exam the questions I was given were questions that I would’ve failed if I hadn’t went over the book, online practice questions, and discussions. I felt confident in my answers; I was not second guessing myself and I knew the material inside and out. Another thing I did before taking the exam was go over the ICND1 exam topics. I made sure I could explain every topic that was listed. In the end it shows as at the end of the exam I received an excellent score!
Having said that there is always someone who wants the easy route and one thing I can say that won’t help you is a thing called brain dumps. Which are questions that a person would memorize and some if not all are taken from the official exams. In addition you are violating the non-disclosure agreements. I don’t understand why people would do this type of thing. To me it sounds like more work than to really just understand the material. It degrades the certification and really does not help anyone. So my advice is don’t pay that amount of money because usually they are about has much as the official exam.
This is my first time taking the exam what can I expect? Like you I was nervous so nervous, I reviewed and reviewed and went over everything again and again. I would agree to this which is you are battling with yourself. Relaxing is important and one thing I like when taking the Cisco exams is you start with a tutorial, I think this helps you get into the mode and you start to calm down. You have about 15 minutes to just breathe and get ready to take the exam and don’t over think it! Simple questions usually want a simple answer.
Although test taking tips help you have to know the material in the end to pass, you can’t guess at this stuff. Set a goal and take the exam. Looking back I’m glad I did. It showed that I’m in right the career path and shows to employers that I know the material. So what’s next well I’m taking a break this week, and will start again next week with some more Cisco information and tutorials. I’m also going to start reviewing the ICND2 exam soon and currently I’m estimating that this one will take longer than three months. 🙂