CCDA Exam Certification Guide (CCDA Self-Study, 640-861), Second Edition
||Author: Anthony Bruno, Jacqueline Kim|
List Price: $49.95
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Publisher: Cisco Press (25 September, 2003)
Sales Rank: 10,131
Average Customer Rating: 3.62 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 4 out of 5
It will get you started and/or a great review
Having recently taken the CCDA exam I was interested in seeing how the CCDA Self-Study Exam Certification Guide would have helped me in my preparations. What I found is that authors Bruno and Kim do a good job in covering most if not all the exam objectives. However, they lack in providing the depth of knowledge needed to adequately prepare an individual for the exam.
Typical of most Cisco Press self-study exam prep guides each chapter starts off with a "Do I Know This Already?" quiz. These do a wonderful job in providing the reader a quick way to gauge what they know in that particular area.
The chapters then proceed to the Foundation Topics, a Foundation Summary, and finally a Q&A section. I found that the majority of chapters do an adequate job in presenting the information you will need to not be totally lost on the exam.
Ok, now the crux of my evaluation. I don't believe I could use this book solely to study and pass the CCDA exam. The book provides an excellent introduction to all of the topics covered on the exam but just does not do so in as much depth as the exam requires.
One particular area is the area of network design and also network design methodology (chapters 1 and 2). The authors spend about 30 pages of text describing what about a third of the exams consist. Let me be honest here, those areas were ones that I struggled with, particularly discerning between a technical/business goal/restraint, so maybe I am jaded.
To be balanced, the material covering IPv6 was excellent in its minimalist approach. It was much easier to read than the 30 or so page whitepaper, "The ABC's of IPv6". Also the section on the Enterprise Composite Network model was concise and the diagrams were wonderful.
In general I think this book would be great to read as both an introduction to the material and also as a review the weekend before the exam. The case study in the last chapter gives you plenty of review material and a way to model what you might find in the real world. The CD containing the entire book in PDF format and 200 practice questions would also be helpfully in reviewing/preparing for the exam. The diagrams and illustrations are clear and help in digesting the material.
For my money, I don't think you can buy enough material to prepare for the CCDA exam. I am a CCNA, a CCDP, and a Cisco Voice specialist and found the CCDA exam to be one of the harder exams that I have taken from Cisco (Biochemistry has them all beat). This guide won't solely get you through the exam it will certainly help get you started and/or help you review.
I would also suggest Diane Teare's Cisco Press book CCDA Self-Study, Designing for Cisco Internetwork Solutions (ISBN 1587051419) and Priscilla Oppenheimer's Top-Down Network Design (ISBN 1578700698) as books to also use in studying for the CCDA exam. They provide a much more in-depth coverage of most of the material.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Great Book for CCDA preparation
The CCDA Exam Certification Guide by Anthony Bruno and Jaqueline Kim (Ciscopress, ISBN 158720067) is a book that will help towards achieving the Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) certification, especially if the reader has some familiarity with implementing LAN/WAN technology.
Especially helpful in preparing for the CCDA is the "Do I know This Already?" quizzes at the beginning of each chapter. These quizzes helped me to determine how much time I required spending on the chapter. I found that for most of the technology specific areas (routing protocols, switching concepts, etc.) I was extremely strong. I still found it good practice to read through these chapters anyway. Initially I thought taking the CCDA exam would be a piece of cake based upon my experience in Cisco Networking, but these initial quizzes proved that thought to be flawed when it came to a formalized design process.
Each chapter has a "Summary" section that provides a quick overview of the material discussed in the chapter. I found these to truly be a good summary of the chapters and I placed a bookmark at each of these summaries to be able to quickly locate them for a review prior to taking the CCDA exam.
At the end of each chapter, I found that the "Q&A" sections were useful to find out my retention of the information that I read. I especially liked the fact that some of these questions were in an essay format and not all multiple choice or true/false questions. This really forced me to understand the processes required for design.
One chapter that I particularly liked was the one on IPv6 basics. The explanation of this new protocol helped to clarify a lot of my thoughts on the protocol. It was presented in a way that took a lot of the fear of IPv6 away.
One of the sections that I struggled through was the first couple of chapters that were based upon the Cisco SAFE blueprint. I found that by going out to cisco.com and reading through the SAFE blueprint helped me to get through these chapters with a much greater understanding of them.
The final chapter of the book dealt with "real world" scenarios. I especially liked the addition of this to the book as it provides an introduction to what a network designer would come across. This helped be able to gain an understanding of the questions that should be asked as a network design is developed as well as where the design proposal should address the design specifics.
The book comes with a CD with practice exams on it. I found the "Do I Know This Already?" quizzes to be very accurate and followed the book. When I went through the practice CCDA exam, I spent a lot of time going back and reviewing "incorrect" answers only to find that the practice exam had mistakenly flagged the answer as incorrect. There were a couple of times that providing the correct answers to the questions would match what the exam said was the correct answer, but they would be counted as incorrect. The practice CCDA exam appears to be related to Boson as it requires registering the CD online in order to access the tests.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has a couple years of practical experience implementing and maintaining a network. This book will definitely help the reader to achieve the CCDA certification and will remain on my bookshelf for future reference as I prepare new network designs.
Based on the format of this book, I will definitely purchase additional Ciscopress books authored by Anthony Bruno.
On a scale of 1 to 5, I would give this book a 4. Had the practice exam on the CD been better, I would have no problem giving this book a rating of 5 out of 5.
Rating: 4 out of 5
An outstanding preparation tool for CCDA and CCNP!
I own many Cisco Press titles (about 20), and I am pleased with all of them. They are the most readable, thorough titles on the market when it comes to exam preparation. I waited several months for this book to be published so that I could pursue my CCDA certification, and I ordered it the day it started shipping. Over the next four weeks, I put in about 4 hours per day, on average, reading this book and using the materials on the CD that's bundled with it. Using this book as my primary study guide, I passed the exam on the first try.
From a content and presentation standpoint, this book is one of the best self-teaching tools I've ever used, period. In terms of the book's content and how it corresponds to Cisco's published objectives for the CCDA exam, this book covers them all in great detail. In fact, as I found on the exam, if you have mastered the material in this book you will find most aspects of the CCDA exam almost trivial. Except for the fact that you have 75 minutes to complete 72 questions--so know your material cold. Good preparation is a must. I found two things that really helped me with this: (1) the "Do I Know This Already" and Q&A quizzes included with every chapter, (2) the CD's practice exam engine. The Q&A and "Do I Know This Already" materials are a bit misleading in one sense, however. The Q&A questions at the end of each chapter are considerably more difficult than the "Do I Know This Already" questions. If you want to gauge your knowledge of a topic before deciding to skip that chapter, you should probably go straight to the Q&A questions rather than making an assessment based on the "Do I Know This Already" quizzes.
This book gives outstanding introductions to routing protocols, including RIPv2, EIGRP, OSPF, IS-IS and BGP, devoting several chapters to them. (It also covers CCNA topics such as RIP and IGRP for completeness.) Although the coverage of advanced routing protocols benefited me greatly in pursuit of my CCNP certification, there's almost no coverage of any of them on the CCDA exam. The same is true of a few other topics in the book, including (sadly) VoIP.
That said, however, this new CCDA Exam Certification Guide is also a very good preparatory tool for the 642-871 ARCH exam. Without studying anything specific to that exam, I only missed this exam (and my CCDP) by 20 points after passing the CCDA and the CCNP routing and switching exams.
This book comes with a CD that contains a great practice exam engine (Cisco Press is obviously licensing the Boson exam engine with this book and its newest CCNP Exam Cert Guide books). I found it very useful also, although frankly I'm annoyed that I had to register the software via the Internet before I could use it. I mean, I paid for the book . . . let me use the software!
In the course of using this book to prepare for the exam, I found a number of errors in the book. The majority are typographical, but some (nine, to be exact) are technical content blunders that need to be fixed in the next printing. Of the errors I found, only a few percent are technical errors, so the remaining 90%+ shouldn't trip up too many readers. I've sent my list of corrections to Cisco Press to help them make the book better.
Overall I give this book four stars. The next printing, if it fixes the errors, will get a solid five stars from me.
· CCNA Certification Library (CCNA Self-Study, exam #640-801), Sixth Edition
· CCDA: Cisco Certified Design Associate Study Guide, 2nd Edition (640-861)
· CCDA/CCDP Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack
· CCNP BCMSN Exam Certification Guide (CCNP Self-Study, 642-811), Second Edition
· CCDA Self-Study: Designing for Cisco Internetwork Solutions (DESGN) 640-861, First Edition