Passing the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam is no joke. Although it is considered an entry-level certification for computer networking, it covers a wide range of topics including IP addressing, LAN and WAN design, WLAN, network security, routers and switches, and VPN just to name a few. To make things even more difficult, the CCNA remains valid for three years from when you first passed, meaning you will need to retake the exam to become certified again. So if you are thinking of taking the exam, you must be wondering how you should prepare. Should you use CCNA dumps? Study guides and practice exams?
Since the CCNA is a fairly popular exam these days within the IT community, it is easy to google study material and get a feel for what to expect. But it’s difficult to determine which information is actually correct and which is not. And when it comes to using dumps as a source of material, that’s when we have to not only question its validity, but whether it is an ethical way of studying.
What Are Dumps Exactly?
Also known as braindumps, they are basically questions and answers taken straight from the copyrighted exams. During the CCNA exam, you will be asked to answer 50 multiple choice questions and 3 lab questions. Those multiple choice and lab questions are randomly selected from a pool containing hundreds of test questions, so you will never know exactly what will be on the exam. The dumps are usually complied by previous test takers who somehow remember the questions by memory, by the people who run the Test Centers, or by the actual exam creators.
Whether they are technically legal or not to use for studying purposes is debatable, but they can be easily downloaded from the internet from a number of websites. Dumps are created by different people and some are going to be more valid than others. For example, since the CCNA is a popular exam, you can expect to find multiple CCNA dumps created by different people. Some of the dumps will contain the entire pool of questions from the exam, meaning you will have just about every question possible. There are new questions added to the pool on a frequent basis though, so you may notice some new questions while taking the exam.
To use the dumps, you will have to download a program that allows you to open the file. Then you need to download the dump you want to use, and then open it with the program. After that, you are pretty setup with the entire exam at the convenience of your own computer.
Be Careful With Dumps
With that said, there are some disadvantages of using the dumps as study material. The most obvious one is that you will only be trying to memorize the answers to the questions rather than actually trying to understand the material. The dumps should be nothing more than supplemental studying material. Use them to give you an idea of the type of questions you’ll be asked, and to answer any questions you don’t know the answer to. Simply trying to memorize the answers may help you pass the exam, but you will not retain any information when you are out trying to look for a job.
Another problem with relying on dumps is that they are not 100% valid. A lot of times the questions will have misspelled words, incorrect answers, or the question will make no sense at all. Certain websites have ratings and comments from other people to give you a an idea on how valid they are, but nothing is ever guaranteed.
Study Guides / Practice Exams
The best way to prepare for the CCNA exam and your future career path is to study using books and practice exams. They are designed to help you learn the concepts and vocabulary within networking so that you will be ready for real life scenarios, and not just the labs in the exam. Be sure to take notes and to make sure you fully comprehend all the material in the study guides before moving on to the next section. Don’t worry if it takes you even a few days to understand sub-netting or summarizing. The more important thing is that you move at a pace that you are comfortable with.
There are also lab study guides that will help with the lab sections of the exams. Reading something and understanding it is one thing, but being able to actually type and execute commands is another. You will probably be required to install certain software to practice the exams from your computer, but this will ultimately prepare you as the lab questions in the CCNA can be difficult.
Workshops / Online Courses
Some people are not very good with self-studying, so it might be a good option to take a class. Private workshops and classes can be expensive and inconvenient though. Another solution would be to take some online courses, which can provide both a cheap and convenient way of preparing for the exam. Check out some of the CCNA courses below that Udemy is currently offering.
CCNA 2014 200-120 Video Boot Camp – Chris Bryant covers pretty much every aspect of the CCNA exam with 27+ hours of lectures. This course will be a great supplement for anyone trying to pass the CCNA.
30sec Subnetting Technique To Success – Subnetting is one of the most difficult concepts to understand in the CCNA. And learning how to do it quickly will translate to more time during the exam, which you will need since 90 minutes can go by quickly.
New CCNAx 200-120 Routing And Switching – As of October 2013, the old CCNA 640-802 exam was replaced with the 200-120 exam, which means more topics to study for. This course is up to date to give you the new routing and switching materials, including IPv6 routing, DHCP, and WAN technologies.