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Covers all curriculum objectives for reader to pass the CCNA Routing and Switching exam (640-407). Provides practice-exam questions in a format similar to the actual exam and includes real-life scenarios for skill building. The CCNA Routing and Switching exam is a crucial building block of the CCIE Routing and Switching certification path. Features unique editorial content that serves as an ideal complement to other training guides and materials in a concise format, highlighting the most important features of the exam.
Terms you'll need to understand:
Multiple-choice question formats
Process of elimination
Techniques you'll need to master:
Preparing to take a certification exam
Practicing (to make perfect)
Making the best use of the testing software
Budgeting your time
Saving the hardest questions until last
Guessing (as a last resort)
Breathing deeply to calm frustration
Exam taking is not something that most people anticipate eagerly, no matter how well prepared they may be. In most cases, familiarity helps ameliorate test anxiety. In plain English, this means you probably will not be as nervous when you take your fourth or fifth Cisco certification exam as you will be when you take your first one.
Whether it is your first exam or your tenth, understanding the details of exam taking (how much time to spend on questions, the environment you will be in, and so on) and the exam software will help you concentrate on the material, rather than on the setting. Likewise, mastering a few basic exam-taking skills should help you recognizeand perhaps even outfoxsome of the tricks and gotchas you are bound to find in some of the exam questions.
This chapter, besides explaining the exam environment and software, describes some proven exam-taking strategies that you should be able to use to your advantage.
The Exam Situation
When you arrive at the exam testing center, you will need to sign in with an exam coordinator who will ask you to show two forms of identification, one of which must be a photo ID. After you have signed in and your time slot arrives, you will be asked to deposit any books, bags, or other items you brought with you. Then, you will be escorted into a closed room. Typically, the room will be furnished with anywhere from one to half a dozen computers, and each workstation will be separated from the others by dividers designed to keep you from seeing what is happening on someone else's computer.
You will be furnished with a pen or pencil and a blank sheet of paper, or, in some cases, an erasable plastic sheet and an erasable felt-tip pen. You are allowed to write down any information you want on both sides of this sheet. Before the exam, you should memorize as much of the material that appears on The Cram Sheet (inside the front cover of this book) as you can so that you can write that information on the blank sheet as soon as you are seated in front of the computer. You can refer to your rendition of The Cram Sheet anytime you like during the test, but you will have to surrender the sheet when you leave the room.
Most test rooms feature a wall with a large picture window. This permits the exam coordinator standing behind it to monitor the room, to prevent exam takers from talking to one another, and to observe anything out of the ordinary that might go on. The exam coordinator will have preloaded the appropriate Cisco certification examfor this book, that's Exam 640-407and you will be permitted to start as soon as you are seated in front of the computer.
All Cisco certification exams allow a certain maximum amount of time in which to complete your work (this time is indicated on the exam by an on-screen counter/clock, so you can check the time remaining whenever you like). Exam 640-407 consists of 70 randomly selected questions. You may take up to 90 minutes to complete the exam with a score of 70 percent to pass.
All Cisco certification exams are computer generated and use a multiple-choice format. From time to time you may be prompted to enter actual configuration commands as if you were at the command line interface. It is important not to abbreviate the commands in any way when this type of question is posed. Although this may sound quite simple, the questions are constructed not only to check your mastery of basic facts and figures about Cisco router configuration, but also to require you to evaluate one or more sets of circumstances or requirements. Often, you will be asked to give more than one answer to a question. Likewise, you might be asked to select the best or most effective solution to a problem from a range of choices, all of which technically are correct. Taking the exam is quite an adventure, and it involves real thinking. This book shows you what to expect and how to deal with the potential problems, puzzles, and predicaments.
Exam Layout And Design
Some exam questions require you to select a single answer, whereas others ask you to select multiple correct answers. The following multiple-choice question requires you to select a single correct answer. Following the question is a brief summary of each potential answer and why it is either right or wrong.
What is the key piece of information on which routing decisions are based?
m a. Source network-layer address
m b. Destination network-layer address
m c. Source MAC address
m d. Destination MAC address
Answer b is correct. The destination network-layer, or layer 3, address is the protocol-specific address to which this piece of data is to be delivered. The source network-layer address is the originating host and plays no role in getting the information to the destination. Therefore, answer a is incorrect. The source and destination MAC addresses are necessary for getting the data to the router or to the next hop address. However, they are not used in pathing decisions. Therefore, answers c and d are incorrect.
This sample question format corresponds closely to the Cisco certification exam formatthe only difference on the exam is that answer keys do not follow questions. To select an answer, position the cursor over the radio button next to the answer. Then, click the mouse button to select the answer.
Let's examine a question that requires choosing multiple answers. This type of question provides checkboxes rather than radio buttons for marking all appropriate selections.
Which of the following services exist at the application layer of the TCP/IP model? [Choose the three best answers]
q a. SMTP
q b. FTP
q c. ICMP
q d. ARP
q e. TFTP
Answers a, b, and e are correct. SMTP, FTP, and TFTP all exist at the application layer of the TCP/IP model. Answer c is incorrect because ICMP exists at the Internet layer of the TCP/IP model. Answer d is incorrect because ARP exists at the network interface layer of the TCP/IP model.
For this type of question, more than one answer is required. As far as the authors can tell, such questions are scored as wrong unless all the required selections are chosen. In other words, a partially correct answer does not result in partial credit when the test is scored. For Question 2, you have to check the boxes next to items a, b, and e to obtain credit for a correct answer. Notice that picking the right answers also means knowing why the other answers are wrong!
These two basic types of questions can appear in many forms, they constitute the foundation on which all the Cisco certification exam questions rest. More complex questions include so-called exhibits, which are usually network scenarios, screen shots of output from the router, or even pictures from the course materials. For some of these questions, you will be asked to make a selection by clicking on a checkbox or radio button on the screenshot itself. For others, you will be expected to use the information displayed therein to guide your answer to the question. Familiarity with the underlying utility is your key to choosing the correct answer(s).
Other questions involving exhibits use charts or network diagrams to help document a workplace scenario that you will be asked to troubleshoot or configure. Careful attention to such exhibits is the key to success. Be prepared to toggle frequently between the exhibit and the question as you work.
Using Cisco's Exam Software Effectively
A well known principle when taking exams is to first read over the entire exam from start to finish while answering only those questions you feel absolutely sure of. On subsequent passes, you can dive into more complex questions more deeply, knowing how many such questions you have left.
Fortunately, Cisco exam software makes this approach easy to implement. At the top-left corner of each question is a checkbox that permits you to mark that question for a later visit.
Alert: Marking questions makes review easier, but you can return to any question if you are willing to click on the Forward or Back button repeatedly.
As you read each question, if you answer only those you are sure of and mark for review those that you are not sure of, you can keep working through a decreasing list of questions as you answer the trickier ones in order.
Tip: You will find at least one potential benefit to reading the exam over completely before answering the trickier questions: Sometimes, information supplied in later questions will shed more light on earlier questions. Other times, information you read in later questions might jog your memory about router configuration facts, figures, or behavior that also will help with earlier questions. Either way, you will come out ahead if you defer those questions about which you are not absolutely sure.
Keep working on the questions until you are certain of all your answers or until you know you will run out of time. If questions remain unanswered, you will want to zip through them and guess. Not answering a question guarantees you will not receive credit for it, and a guess has at least a chance of being correct.
Tip: At the very end of your exam period, you are better off guessing than leaving questions unanswered.
The most important advice about taking any exam is this: Read each question carefully. Some questions are deliberately ambiguous, some use double negatives, and others use terminology in incredibly precise ways. The authors have taken numerous examsboth practice and liveand in nearly every one have missed at least one question because they did not read it closely or carefully enough.
Here are some suggestions on how to deal with the tendency to jump to an answer too quickly:
Make sure you read every word in the question. If you find yourself jumping ahead impatiently, go back and start over.
As you read, try to restate the question in your own terms. If you can do this, you should be able to pick the correct answer(s) much more easily.
When returning to a question after your initial read-through, read every word againotherwise, your mind can fall quickly into a rut. Sometimes, revisiting a question after turning your attention elsewhere lets you see something you missed, but the strong tendency is to see what you have seen before. Try to avoid that tendency at all costs.
If you return to a question more than twice, try to articulate to yourself what you do not understand about the question, why the answers do not appear to make sense, or what appears to be missing. If you "chew" on the subject for a while, your subconscious might provide the details that are lacking or you might notice a "trick" that will point to the right answer.
Breathe. Deep rhythmic breathing is a stress reliever. Breathe in for a count of four, hold it for two, then, exhale for a count of four. You will be surprised how this can clear your mind of the frustration that clouds it and allow you to regain focus.
Above all, try to deal with each question by thinking through what you know about Cisco routers and their configurationthe characteristics, behaviors, facts, and figures involved. By reviewing what you know (and what you have written down on your information sheet), you will often recall or understand things sufficiently to determine the answer to the question.
Based on exams the authors have taken, some interesting trends have become apparent. For those questions that take only a single answer, usually two or three of the answers will be obviously incorrect, and two of the answers will be plausibleof course, only one can be correct. Unless the answer leaps out at you (if it does, reread the question to look for a trick; sometimes those are the ones you are most likely to get wrong), begin the process of answering by eliminating those answers that are most obviously wrong.
Things to look for in obviously wrong answers include spurious menu choices or utility names, nonexistent software options, and terminology you have never seen. If you have done your homework for an exam, no valid information should be completely new to you. In that case, unfamiliar or bizarre terminology probably indicates a totally bogus answer.
Numerous questions assume that the default behavior of a particular utility is in effect. If you know the defaults and understand what they mean, this knowledge will help you cut through many Gordian knots.
As you work your way through the exam, another counter that Cisco thankfully provides will come in handythe number of questions completed and questions outstanding. Budget your time by making sure that you have completed one-quarter of the questions one-quarter of the way through the exam period (or the first 18 questions in the first 22 minutes) and three-quarters of them three-quarters of the way through (53 questions in the first 66 minutes).
If you are not finished when 85 minutes have elapsed, use the last 5 minutes to guess your way through the remaining questions. Remember, guessing is potentially more valuable than not answering, because blank answers are always wrong, but a guess may turn out to be right. If you do not have a clue about any of the remaining questions, pick answers at random, or choose all a's, b's, and so on. The important thing is to submit an exam for scoring that has an answer for every question.
Mastering The Inner Game
In the final analysis, knowledge breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success. If you study the materials in this book carefully and review all the exam prep questions at the end of each chapter, you should become aware of those areas where additional learning and study are required.
Next, follow up by reading some or all of the materials recommended in the "Need To Know More?" section at the end of each chapter. The idea is to become familiar enough with the concepts and situations you find in the sample questions that you can reason your way through similar situations on a real exam. If you know the material, you have every right to be confident that you can pass the exam.
After you have worked your way through the book, take the practice exam in Chapter 14. This will provide a reality check and help you identify areas you need to study further. Make sure you follow up and review materials related to the questions you miss on the practice exam before scheduling a real exam. Only when you have covered all the ground and feel comfortable with the whole scope of the practice exam should you take a real one.
If you take the practice exam and do not score at least 75 percent correct, you need additional practice.
Armed with the information in this book and with the determination to augment your knowledge, you should be able to pass the certification exam. However, you need to work at it, or you will spend the exam fee more than once before you finally pass. If you prepare seriously, you should do well. Good luck!
A good source of information about Cisco certification exams comes from Cisco itself. Because its products and technologiesand the exams that go with themchange frequently, the best place to go for exam-related information is online.
If you haven't already visited the Cisco Certified Professional site, do so right now. The Cisco Connection Online home page resides at www.cisco.com/warp/public/10/wwtraining/certprog/index.html, as shown in Figure 1.1.
Note: This page might not be there by the time you read this, or it might have been replaced by something new and different, because things change regularly on the Cisco site. Should this happen, please read the sidebar titled "Coping With Change On The Web."
The menu options in the left column of the home page point to the most important sources of information in the Career Certification pages. Here's what to check out:
Routing and Switching Use this entry to explore the CCIE certification track for routing and switching.
Specializations Use this entry to explore different CCNP specialization options.
WAN Switching Use this entry to explore the CCIE certification track for WAN Switching.
FAQs Use this entry to access the most commonly asked questions regarding any Cisco Career Certification.
Agreement Prior to certification, all candidates must complete the certification agreement or Cisco will not recognize them as certified professionals.
Tracking System Once you have registered with Sylvan Prometric and taken any Cisco exam, you will automatically be added to a living certification tracking system so that you can keep up with your progress.
Exam Information This entry actually points to a class locator. It should be noted that no book is an adequate replacement for instructor-led, Cisco authorized training. This entry will assist your efforts to find a class that meets your scheduling needs.
These are just the high points of what's available in the Cisco Certified Professional pages. As you browse through themand we strongly recommend that you doyou will probably find other informational tidbits mentioned that are every bit as interesting and compelling.
Coping With Change On The Web
Sooner or later, all the information we have shared with you about the Cisco Certified Professional pages and the other Web-based resources mentioned throughout the rest of this book will go stale or be replaced by newer information. In some cases, the URLs you find here might lead you to their replacements; in other cases, the URLs will go nowhere, leaving you with the dreaded "404 File not found" error message. When that happens, do not give up.
There's always a way to find what you want on the Web if you are willing to invest some time and energy. Most large or complex Web sitesand Cisco's qualifies on both countsoffer a search engine. Looking back at Figure 1.1, you can see that a Search field appears along the top edge of the page. As long as you can get to Cisco's site (it should stay at www.cisco.com for a long while yet), you can use this tool to help you find what you need.
The more focused you can make a search request, the more likely the results will include information you can use. For example, you can search for the string "training and certification" to produce a lot of data about the subject in general, but if you are looking for the preparation guide for Exam 640-407, "Introduction to Cisco Router Configuration," you will be more likely to get there quickly if you use a search string similar to the following:
"Exam 640-407" AND "preparation guide"
Finally, feel free to use general search toolssuch as www.search.com, www.altavista.com, and www.excite.comto search for related information. The bottom line is this: If you can't find something where the book says it lives, intensify your search.
Posted September 19, 2000
Posted April 20, 2000
This is the perfect book to read the weekend before taking your test. It has all the information you need to review and organize your knowledge. The self-test is too easy and does not prove you are ready fot the CCNA test. Overall, If you know the material in this book, you'll do fine on the test.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.