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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Cisco recently announced the most important restructuring of its CCNA program ever. Whether you’re currently pursuing certification, thinking about it for the future, or you’re already a CCNA and you want to stay certified, listen up.
For years, there’s been one path to CCNA certification. Suddenly -- remember high school biology? -- mitosis. Now, there are two. If you want to learn everything at once, you can still get your CCNA by passing a single exam: the new CCNA 640-801. But -- as many CCNA candidates have learned to their dismay -- that’s a lot of material to cover. And it’s all or nothing. Fail the exam, and you’ve got to go through the process all over again.
But now there’s an alternative: a two-exam path to your CCNA. You can start with an introductory exam, INTRO 640-821: Introduction to Cisco Networking Technologies.
This is material you can get your arms around before you become a heavy-duty routing and switching expert. The fundamentals of TCP/IP, WANs, IP, TCP; basics of running Cisco routers and switches; LAN cabling; introductory IP addressing and subnetting; dynamic routing protocols; and a little remote access. Pass this exam, and you’re halfway home.
Then, when you’re ready, you can take the second exam: ICND 640-811, Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices. You can learn at your own pace, and relax. (Well, not too much!)
The ICND exam also does double duty as the recertification exam for folks who already have CCNA certification. (So you don’t need to remember the OSI model to get recertified -- great!) But don’t expect Cisco to be too merciful. It’s been awhile since the CCNA content was updated, so they’ve gone through both exams to add a whole batch of new topics.
Now that you know what’s changed, what’s the best way to study for it? Cisco Press has just released a whole new series of books that map perfectly to the new exams. These books don’t just contain new coverage. They take a far more modular approach, with shorter, snappier chapters. If you only have a few minutes, you can still do some serious studying. Of course, Cisco’s experts have gone through this content with a fine-tooth comb, so you can trust it.
You’ll also find some pretty slick new study features. We think you’ll love the new Boson NetSim for CCNA, a fully functioning network simulator customized to match the books’ lab scenarios. But don’t ignore the new Tech 2000 practice testing engine, developed specifically for these books. Not only are there loads of new questions, you have better control over how you practice. It’ll even generate study plans for you.
If you’re pursuing the two-exam path to your CCNA, we highly recommend Cisco’s bundle, CCNA Certification Library (CCNA Self-Study) Barnes & Noble Custom Edition. Some publishers are trying to squeeze both exams into one book; this package gives you a separate book for each exam. You get CCNA Intro Exam Certification Guide and CCNA ICND Exam Certification Guide.
By all means, learn at your own pace. But whatever you do, learn the material well. With this two-book set, you will. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.