So you want to be a network engineer. Now, if we talk about networking, we think about Cisco. This is not strange because in most part of the world, Cisco is networking, and networking is Cisco. Credit this to the fact that Cisco has a huge market share in the router and switch products.
What better way to solidify your stature as a network expert than by acquiring a Cisco certification. After all, when the time comes that you are to look for a job within your field of expertise, you would end up applying to a firm, whose network infrastructure, is mostly likely built with Cisco routers and switches. So the million-dollar question is, how to get Cisco certified?
The following are just a few of the practical approaches in preparing for the exam and is hoped to be the key to how to get Cisco certified.
Know the Topics
Know your enemies before you go to war. Know that ICDN1 Certification covers the knowledge and skills required to build and maintain a small network that is equipped with switches and routers. Know that ICD2 Certification covers medium-sized networks, both local area network (LAN) and wide-area network (WAN). And you should also know that CCNA Certification is ICDN1 plus ICDN2. It is always a good practice to regularly visit the Cisco website to check the exact topics because it is also possible that they change them. Also, Cisco currently offers free eLearning (Webinar) about CCNA Routing and Switching Certification here.
Familiarize Yourself with the Interface
What probably would be the best strategy to get ready for the exam is to familiarize yourself with the exam interface. Practice clicking, dragging and dropping. Memorize the location of the questions and the answers. A few seconds saved during the exam may help tremendously. This can be done by going to Cisco’s website and access the Cisco Certification Exam Tutorial.This allows you to simulate the actual exam and provide you the feeling that you are actually taking exam, except of course that it’s a little relaxed because nothing is at stake yet.
Mind the Time
Speed and accuracy usually do not come together, when you are too fast you tend to make mistakes. If you read the question three times before you answer, the probability is high that you’d answer it correctly, but how about the rest of the questions? Cisco doesn’t tell us how many questions there are in the exams, although it gives us the range,for example, 50-60 questions for CCNA. The range should be good enough for you to formulate a battle plan in regards to the relationship between the time and the number of questions.
If you are given, for example, 120 minutes for 50-60 questions, the best mindset is to give yourself 2 minutes to answer each question (120/60) as opposed to 2.4 minutes (120/50), because if you set your mind to give 2.4 minutes for each question, and the exam turns out to have 60 questions, you’d run out of time for other questions.
The above computation serves only as a benchmark on how to budget time against questions but it is not very reliable because questions have different natures. Some questions can be answered within a minute, some in 10. Be always mindful of exam interface’s display of the remaining time and number of questions.
Whether you go to a battle where the environment is loud and chaotic, or you go to a Cisco certification exam where the venue is quiet and cool, the chances of winning is high if you go prepared. Know what you’re up to, visualize what’s going to happen and strategize. Of course, you have to go equipped.