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3/23/12 4:37 PM
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Langolier
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 I am working on a AAS and I am about to wrap up my last semester of cisco.  I will be ready for the Cert test but not sure I really am. What do you guys think about those pass4sure and other prep aids?
3/23/12 5:06 PM
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big_slacker
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pass4sure isn't a prep aid. It's the actual questions from the test so you're cheating the test. Call a spade a spade.

If that's how you're gonna pass your test and you want a job in the real world best know your shit when you sit down to the CLI. Jr. Engineer that can't put a port in a vlan or troubleshoot an ACL is in trouble in his 90 days. ;)
3/24/12 11:51 AM
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Langolier
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Edited: 03/24/12 11:55 AM
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 I did not know it was the actualt test. I am pretty comfortable with most things in Cisco at this point. Acess list do give me trouble. I need to go back over those for sure. I do not want to cheat the test and land a job I am not ready for. Are all those test preps pretty much just test answers?
 
3/25/12 4:30 PM
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Road Warrior Fin
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 They are the real answers - Personally, I do think they *can* be used as a good post-exercise after you've put your lab and book time in. 
3/26/12 1:45 PM
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big_slacker
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Right, I've told people in the past that I'm not gonna make a moral judgement about them. They can be used to do a dry run (that doesn't cost $300) to see if your training is what you need to know to pass. But that's a slippery slope, the temptation is gonna be there to memorize and pass rather than dry run and study more.
3/26/12 8:59 PM
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Tartan warrior
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Is there not a pool containing hundreds of questions for the CCNA test?
3/28/12 12:40 PM
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Langolier
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 Thanks for the feedback guys. I am leaning toward pass4sure. I am doing the labs and have had 4 semesters of Cisco with countless packet tracer activities.  I will let you know what I decide.
3/28/12 2:02 PM
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big_slacker
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Tartan warrior - Is there not a pool containing hundreds of questions for the CCNA test?


Yeah, like 400 Q's or thereabouts. That's why I feel it's better to know the material rather than trying to memorize.
3/29/12 10:59 PM
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Tartan warrior
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I agree that it's important to learn the material rather than just memorising the questions and answers.

I've attended a cisco academy for the past 21 weeks and have 3 left until it is finished. I'll most likely study for 4-5 hours a day for 5 weeks after my classes finish to prepare for the exam.

I never really considered using brain-dumps like pass4sure or testking until now. I can understand that some see it as cheating (and ethically it is) but I'm giving serious consideration to using an aid if I can find a reliable one at the end of my studies before I take the exam.

After all the time I have put into studying for the CCNA I should be well prepared without using a braindump. What I find appealing about them is being able to test my knowledge and actually be able to see how and where I am going wrong, much like the feedback on the cisco academy website after taking the academy exams.
4/15/12 10:12 AM
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BlackJesus
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 the temptation is gonna be there to memorize and pass rather than dry run and study more.

 +1
4/24/12 1:19 PM
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Langolier
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Edited: 04/24/12 1:24 PM
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 Cisco has fried my brain. 1 week of cisco left....
 
I feel so lost in Cisco even though I finished 4 semester of it I am not even going to try for a cert at this time. I will have to spend a lot more time studying before I would feel confident to do it on a job.


F*ck you ACl's 
4/25/12 1:37 AM
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Tartan warrior
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I am in the same position (one week to go and totally lost). There is way too much info and material to be covered for the CCNA.

Cisco really need to redesign the CCNA imo and make it more of a practical based cert with a lot less needless theory.
4/25/12 9:56 AM
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Porkchop74
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Edited: 04/25/12 9:56 AM
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I hate people who just memorize the questions.<br />When I have someone applying for a position & they have a cert I test them. So far I have basically LOL right to their face when they can't past the test I give them but they are carrying a CCNA, CCNP or a MCSE. I usally tell them thanks for wasting my time and they should go take orders at the drive through because when they get a job in the field and they can not preform basic task & troubleshooting they will be unemployed fast. <br />So instead of trying to remember question so you can get a pay check from the start and get fired quickly. Go out find an entry level job get exp and learn take time to learn the material then take the test. Otherwise you will be one of the ones seeing the guy interview you and throw your resume in the trash right in front of you.
4/25/12 2:55 PM
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Tartan warrior
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What do you test them with?
4/25/12 9:02 PM
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Langolier
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 How much am I expected to know coming straight out of school with no IT work expiernce? Am I expected to come straight in and troubleshoot ACL's and VLAN's for your network?
4/25/12 10:16 PM
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big_slacker
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Yes, you need to know how to read an ACL and figure out why it is/isn't working. Yes you need to know how to check that a port is in a VLAN, the port is active, the SVI is up and working and so on. Those are basics.

Not that you can't ask Q's of an experienced co-worker if you get stuck, but you need to know how to do your job.
4/25/12 10:18 PM
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Tartan warrior
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 In fairness if you have attended as much as you say that you have then you should atleast be abe to set up VLANs and show that you can be competent with ACL's. Setting up VLAN's is part of one of the cisco academy exams and is covered in detail in the practical activities.

Personally I find the practical aspects interesting and I'm only too happy to sit for hours to learn where I am going wrong. My problem is the amount of theory that I will be unlikely to ever need in a practical working environment.

If you are finding practical elements difficult then you should be labing the cisco academy books over and over again.
4/25/12 11:33 PM
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devnull
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What I find with new people in the field, is that they often lack the troubleshooting mindset and how/what to do. I had people ask me questions where I had to fix it for them because they had no clue on how or where to start and didn't seem interested in learning it.

My opinion: people should start with tech support, help desk, systems or NOC so on. If you never went as far as doing a simple packet capture when troubleshooting something, you are not ready of a networking gig.

In my opinion the CCNA is fine. There's is no complex material in it but if you are new to everything in there you might feel overwhelmed and might not connect all dots yet. If you find it too much, then take ICND1 and 2.
4/26/12 12:07 PM
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Langolier
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Yeah you are right. I have spent that much time in Cisco and should be prepared but I dont think I am. I can do the packet tracer activities for the most part. I feel like I was cheated by my higher learning institute. I have had zero hands on expierence with equipment b/c the instructor cancelled all the class room times we were supposed to meet to change out switch modules. I can not even splice cable with connectors because we practiced that for all of 10 minutes one day.

Basically I am not ready and feel like I wasted a huge chunck of my life on a poor education.
4/26/12 7:56 PM
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devnull
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Strange that you have no hands one. This should be part of the classe. However you are in a good situation since you can do all of this by yourself. Terminating cables will cost you less than 50$ and fro the router/switch and you buy/rent/lease it.
4/27/12 12:00 AM
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big_slacker
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Langolier - Yeah you are right. I have spent that much time in Cisco and should be prepared but I dont think I am. I can do the packet tracer activities for the most part. I feel like I was cheated by my higher learning institute. I have had zero hands on expierence with equipment b/c the instructor cancelled all the class room times we were supposed to meet to change out switch modules. I can not even splice cable with connectors because we practiced that for all of 10 minutes one day.

Basically I am not ready and feel like I wasted a huge chunck of my life on a poor education.


You didn't learn how to splice/end a cable? Did you google it? Cause it's on youtube. I'm sure you could borrow a crimper, cutter, some cable and ends. If not you can buy them, they're cheap.

You got packet tracer and GNS3 is free. There are an assload of exercises and case studies out there at every level. There are forums with serious experts to help you if you get stuck.

Want hands on with real equipment? You can always buy your own. I bought 2 2500's way back in the day on a credit card. You can buy full on pre-made racks on ebay for less than I paid in the 90's for 2 routers. I did that because I was REALLY interested in this stuff, I mean it was a legit hobby that I did on my own time. Do you like this that much, or is this just something that is "Eh, it's ok and I can make money at it"?

And you might reply at this point and say if all that is true, why did I bother to go to school? Yeah, you're right. The knowledge is free, you paid time and money for the presentation and structure. That's where they failed, but they're not the ones taking certification tests and they're not the ones going into the job market right? You are.

Please don't take this as an insult. I'm just trying to possibly shake up your thinking a bit. If this is something you really want to do there is no wasted time. You just learned a way that doesn't work for you, now what DOES work?
4/27/12 5:32 PM
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psenior
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Wanted to contribute to this thread since I just took the CCNA exam today and passed it fairly easily. I did a 6 week boot camp, read a lot of books, watched videos, and did a lot of practice tests and labs. I mainly used Todd Lammle’s book.
I don’t want to get into the whole “cheating” philosophical discussion but I do believe your education is ultimately your responsibility to make of it what you will. There is so much good information out there available to you. You just have to make the time commitment to try and get a better grasp of it. I am grateful to everyone here who has helped me. I have found that the community of network professionals on the internet is very willing to help and share information with novices like myself.
Even though I have a lot of experience in the IT field, my knowledge has grown exponentially over the past few months. I had an interview for a Security Analyst position yesterday and those guys grilled me on TONS of network related topics I would have never known anything about had I not pursued this path. I think I came through with flying colors and hope to get an offer from them soon.
4/30/12 4:40 AM
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grapplingwithzen
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One thing I've always wondered about people using Brain Dumps is how the hell they memorize all the answers !! There is no way I could remember the answers without understanding the material well in the first place !

Although I haven't done any cisco certifications, I have to admit in the distant past I did use some brain dumps. I studied thoroughly for the test first, making sure I understood everything, and then used the dump to highlight any weak areas.

4/30/12 10:28 AM
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big_slacker
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When I taught bootcamps the students would generally know basic networking or would have been working with some of the tech OTJ. (There were always a few with 0 experience/knowledge) I would do lecture/whiteboard/labs in the day and I know for a fact a lot of them would be doing pass4sure at night.

The dump engines generally have a setting to remove questions after they're answered 2-3 times correctly, so they just plug away at them till they can answer in their sleep.

grapplingwithzen - One thing I've always wondered about people using Brain Dumps is how the hell they memorize all the answers !! There is no way I could remember the answers without understanding the material well in the first place !

Although I haven't done any cisco certifications, I have to admit in the distant past I did use some brain dumps. I studied thoroughly for the test first, making sure I understood everything, and then used the dump to highlight any weak areas.

8/28/12 9:55 AM
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kao
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if you spent all the time remembering the questions and answers, you are smart enough to pass it without cheating.

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