Gulp! On to the Cisco Certifications – First Up: CCENT

I’ve been wanting to post some blog entries all week but never got it done so I am posting multiple entries today. I actually learned about the lack of A+ voucher discounts 4 days ago and not wanting to pause, I started on Wendell Odom’s ICND1 book. Thus far I have read the Introduction and chapters 1-2 so I have 22 more chapters left. Monday night I took the final exam in my Cisco II course (part of Cisco Networking Academy) and made 100%. I was pretty happy and after two Cisco classes I feel pretty confident about the the ICND1 test. I probably could take it right now and pass. However, there are a couple of reasons I am waiting to take the exam and studying more.

First, here is the elephant in the room that I have yet to mention until now:


As is clearly illustrated in the graphic, I have actually taken the CCNA composite exam twice and failed both times. This was in 2004 (8 years ago) when I was working full time as a Network Engineer. It was very frustrating because I was doing CCNP level work on a daily basis but was lacking a lot of theoretical background. The first time I failed, I had not read a single book and did zero studying. Prometric and Cisco tell me there is no way to obtain my old scores but I remember that I wasn’t even close on the first attempt. For the second attempt, I had downloaded a 15-20 PDF off the internet and studied that for a couple days. I do not remember the exact score but I was fairly close to passing on the second attempt. As I recall I had purchased the Cisco books and was going to read those before a 3rd attempt but never managed to do it. So the bottom line is that I am scared of Cisco exams based on past experience.

Second, I have never read the Wendell Odom books. I still have both the 640-507 and 640-801 CCNA Exam Preparation Library sitting on my book shelves after all these years and I still have not read either one of them. I purchased the 640-507 set on March 7th, 2002 from Amazon and it cost me $126.19. I do not recall reading more than 1 or 2 chapters of the first book of that set. I picked up the 640-801 set at Borders in 2004 and remember paying in the neighborhood of $90 for that set. I also remember starting the first book of the 640-801 set but I never got past chapter 1. Earlier this year I bought the premium e-book versions of the ICND1 and ICND2 books from Cisco Press. So basically I have purchased the Cisco Press book sets 3 times over the years. However, this time is different and I am definitely going to finish the books. At chapter 3, I’ve already read more in the last couple of days than I did with the old sets. I feel as if every Cisco network person really has an obligation to read the Odom CCNA books. It is sort of rite of passage to being a Cisco guy.

Bottom line is that I think I could pass the ICND1 exam today, but I am not taking the exam until I have completely read the ICND1 book. I am hoping to get this done in the next 3 weeks as last Monday was the last day of school for the semester and I now have even more time to devote to certification studies.


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