Although CCNA R&S is a common entry-level certification, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy. The CCNA R&S exam is a difficult experience, regardless of whether you are new to the IT industry.
In January 2017, I joined Cisco as a CALO cooperative. During orientation, my group was informed that although we weren’t required for CCNA R&S certification in our 6-month stay at Cisco, it was expected.
My ambition and a healthy sense for competition drove me to start my studies immediately. During my one-hour lunch break, I alternated between reading from Cisco Press textbooks with watching Jeremy Cioara’s ICND1 or ICND2 training videos. I passed the CCNAX 200-125 exam with 10 points. It was in March 2017. I was the first coworker in my group to receive the certification.
Despite my failing score, the exam was not difficult for me. The exam was very similar to the topics that Cisco published.
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Start training. The real difficulty of the exam was due to external factors such as stress, competition among my peers, juggling priorities between CCNA R&S and college coursework, learning the duties of a new position, and spending time with family and friends.
Many people find the CCNA R&S exam difficult. It has nothing to do with the exam. It’s everything else.
How to find the time to study
As parents, spouses, coaches, etc., we all have other responsibilities. It is the daily grind that makes the CCNA exam so difficult, especially when you consider the time it takes to study. It can be difficult to find eight hours of sleep each night, let alone time to study for a long time. You don’t have to study for long. It is important to study frequently.
You can make time for studying each day by scheduling it. The more time you dedicate to studying each day, the better off your life will be. The amount of time you spend studying is less important than how often. Even if you can only allocate 30 minutes per day, it is important to plan your time for studying.
Studying in smaller increments has another advantage. It is easier to set goals for each study session. Here’s an example of what a study week could look like if you only have 30 minutes per day.
Monday – Learn more about OSPF router IDs, and take the time to create quality notes
Tuesday – Review your notes, and then experiment in the lab with OSPF router IDs
Wednesday – Review official Cisco documentation to reinforce your understanding of OSPF router Identities. Be sure to note any limitations or caveats.
Once you feel confident in your knowledge, you can teach others the material. You can explain OSPF router IDs, write a blog, tweet about it or even tell your pet.
Technology can make it possible to squeeze more study time into even the busiest schedules. Anki allows you to review digital flashcards from your mobile device. You can download virtual copies of study materials, such as the SPOTO mobile application, and learn on the move. Listening to podcasts such as Network Collective or Packet Pushers while you commute or train can reinforce your networking skills and get you involved in the community.
How to Stay Motivated
Studying becomes difficult when you lose motivation. It is not uncommon for people who are chasing the CCNA R&S exam to lose steam at a certain stage.
The CCNA R&S certification provides a platform where people with different backgrounds and ambitions can find a common goal. Each person has a different motivation to obtain the C.