A Sample CCNA/CCENT Study Plan

We've got several hurdles to overcome in getting better at passing exams. Our survey from a few weeks ago confirmed that the #1 hurdle is the time crunch. At the same time, another survey told us that about half of us think that you've been most successful on your exams when you've done more detailed planning of what you will do during your study time.

I'm convinced that the two are linked: a detailed plan makes you more productive when you do get to study, and that's especially true when you might need to set aside your studies for several days at a time.

It'd be really cool if there was a nice tool you could use that let you spend 15-20 minutes with an assessment test - and then it gives you a customized plan. The tool figures out where you were strong and where you were weak, tells you what tools to get, which parts to use and which to ignore. I imagine that's one way to help ease the time crunch. However, I think you can create a poor man's version of such a plan with maybe an hour or two effort - at least once you have your study resources in front of you. So, for today's post, I'm going to suggest a template for a study plan for a chunk of what's covered in the ICND1 exam.

For this sample plan, I'm making these assumptions:

  • You're using my ICND1 ECG book, which includes these key study features: a pre-assessment DIKTA quiz in each chapter, key topics icons for the chapter review phase, and an exam engine that lets you pick questions from one or more selected chapters.
  • You've got my CCNA Video Mentor product, which I'll characterize as focuses scope (ie, doesn't cover every exam topic).
  • You may have some broader video product, one that claims to cover most of the exam topics
  • That you'll do some labs, but I'm making that part generic in this plan.
  • The plan focuses on the topics in Part 2 of my ICND1 ECG book, which covers most of the details about LANs that matter to the CCENT exam. I didn't attempt to create an entire plan for the ICND1, ICND2, or CCNA exams - mainly I just wanted to show a sample.

Interestingly, the width on the http://www.nww.com/ blog isn't wide enough for the document, and to copy/paste the text in here makes the formatting crummy. So, I've added a link to a PDF. Click here to see the study plan:

In the plan, note that the boxes and circles are meant as places to check that you've completed a task.

The sample plan shows how you might go about attacking one major part of the books. What would you do differently? If you had a broad-based video product, would it be important that the videos match up with the content in one chapter, or is it ok if the videos just match up with the content in the larger 5-chapter part of the book? What would you include that I left out?

(For more on the products, go to www.ciscopress.com/wendellodom, a site that lists my current CP products.)

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