I am almost finished with chapter 11 in Odom’s ICND1 book and thus will finish Part 2 of the text. I feel very comfortable with subnetting so I am going to save Part 3 (chapters 12-18) for last. Next, I will jump ahead to chapter 19 and complete Parts 4-6 (chapters 19-24) and return to Part 3 at the very end for a quick read through the subnetting chapters. I’ve been doing lab exercises using the CCNA 640-802 Network Simulator (2nd Edition) and recently wrote a review on Amazon about the product. If you have read my recent posts you may be asking why I am using the Network Simulator when I have an almost fully built CCNP lab at this point? The main reason is that it is a great companion to the reading and provides great structured labs/tasks that are pertinent to the material I just read. I downloaded the Lab Study Plan (PDF file) and have followed it along with the book. For example, I read chapter 9 and then I do the labs in Network Simulator for that chapter. I also have access to Packet Tracer and while there are many labs available for Packet Tracer, I have not seen any that closely follow the reading like Network Simulator. Also, you are not forced to choose only one option when deciding how to get hands on practice. In my case I am using 3 options (PT, NetSim, and real gear) and others might add GNS so it really is up to you. If you find benefit from something then by all means use the resource. I feel as if I am benefitting using multiple methods. Bottom line is that you needs hands-on practice for the Cisco test and that can be achieved several different ways. Choose one or more that best meet your needs.