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How to study for my ICND1?

I started working at a DC and I have time here and there to study. My manager actually encourages it so I'm trying to get my CCNA(I have almost no network knowledge). I have a bit of resources on safaribooks and I'm starting the ODOM ICND1 book. I started studying for a month already and I'm on Chapter 10 right now. I'm not going super hard on it like other people who's putting in 4-5 hours a day, but I feel like I'm going at a really slow pace. I take A LOT of notes and even drew the tables/diagrams in the book. A chapter takes me like 2-3~ hours because of it and it feels like I'm progressing very slowly which is pretty discouraging right now. Since I would read a bit, write it down, then re-read the part I wrote and proceed with the next part. However, I feel like I can just sit there and read a chapter in 30 mins or less. I usually get the main concepts, but the smaller things like the exact commands lines or just some of the minor stuff, I would forget until I go over it again.

Anyone got any advice on what I should be doing?

The only thing I'm doing right now is reading the book since I'm just starting. Is there anything on the side that I should be doing? I know I should start using Packet Tracer, but I want to finish the book to have a general understanding of everything before I proceed with any labs and what not.


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level 1

but I want to finish the book to have a general understanding of everything before I proceed with any labs and what not.

IMHO this is not the correct way to go about it. You should be labing along with the book and making flash cards on the details so you can review them at the start of every new study session.

Just reading the book is not a very efficient way to study.

level 2
Original Poster1 point · 5 months ago

I'm still new to the labbing thing, but should I just open PT and just use the commands that the book has? See how each one works and what not? Or is there a site or something that I can follow along?

I do make flash cards, got quizlet on my phone that I type in most of the commands/keywords.

level 3

Cisco has documentation of what commands do (most of the time) on their website, ex) Cisco DHCP. I'd highly recommend the Lab Book and CCNA portable command guide. Tons of useful suf in there.

Labs are necessary to your success. Packet tracer should be used with a grain of salt. You should try to get hands on with actual equipment too. It makes a world of a difference. Don't rely on Auto MDIX either. Cable correctly!!

level 3

Yes if you look at the very first hard cover page of Odom's book you'll see he has a list of 24 Labs that can be done for Part2 using the network simulator tool.

For Packet Tracer you can just google labs and use pre-made ones or make your own.

This should get you started. :)

I do make flash cards, got quizlet on my phone that I type in most of the commands/keywords.

That's good, self testing is really important.

Also don't forget to read this sub's wiki and sidebar. :)

level 1

Hi, let me give you some advice as someone who came into IT in 1/2017 with no prior IT experience!

With the CCNA, most people recommend you take the two separate tests instead of the cumulative, looking back I probably would have just taken the cumulative but if your work is paying for the tests I would take both.

The ONLY resources I used were ODOM's book (, packet tracer (free from cisco just do a google search), and boson's exam simulators (about 99$ for each test but 100% worth it if your employer will pay).

I read through the chapters and completed the labs using packet tracer. I read maybe 20-30 pages a day after work. The most important thing to take away from it is understanding what you are doing in the lab. The labs are hard to complete if you do not set up the lab correctly - this is a great learning experience as you will need to troubleshoot to make sure your connections are up and whatnot.

Also - learn subnetting. There should be an entire section on it, understand it in its entirety. Here is a website to help you practice:

The exam will not require you to memorize the cisco ios verbatum since it will be interactive.

In case you're wondering, I hold the CCNA, MCSE, MCSA, and so on.

level 2
Original Poster2 points · 5 months ago

Yea, my work is paying for all my tests, so I'm planning on doing ICND1-2 for my CCENT+CCNA.

When you were reading, did you take any notes? I feel like I'm just taking too much to the point that I'm progressing really slowly. How much time did you spend a day studying when you first started?

Where did you find the labs? Were they just on PT? or did you find them in the book?

I'm still not at the subnetting part yet, but I'll definitely take a look at that when I'm there.

Thanks for the advice!

level 3

Currently studying also.... What helped for me is starting with a video series in safari books. Go through the whole thing to give you a run down on topics and to understand networking concepts. Then right after start reading Lammle or Odom's book.

level 4
Original Poster1 point · 5 months ago

If I may ask, what video series did you use? I see that there's one called Learning path: CCENT ICND1 by Kevin Wallace/Odom.

level 5

There is one by John Pickard. Cisco Icnd1 100-105 exam training. He gets straight to the point. Compact but good. Also gives great network diagrams with switch and router commands all laid out nicely. Worked for me.

level 3

I'm sorry, I must have forgotten. I actually read Todd lammles book which had labs at the end of each chapter - I did not use Odom's book. You should however be able to find free labs via Google for each skill you learn each chapter. I did not take any notes at all. I read the chapter once, and any parts I couldn't remember when doing the lab once more. But as a disclaimer, notes have personally never helped me.

level 1
CCNA1 point · 5 months ago

Learn how to make subnets really fast. You should be able to make out NetID, Broadcast adress, IP range, subnetmask, and CIDR on any subnet within 30 seconds.

If you can do that you save a lot of time for the harder questions on the exam.

level 2

Those are some of the harder questions on the exam?

level 3
CCNA1 point · 5 months ago


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