Muhammed's CCNA Success Tips

Our latest CCNA success story is Muhammed Islam from England, who passed his CCNA on August 10th 2013.

We asked Muhammed what tips he could give to help other CCNA students. His answers are below...

1.) A lot of people never know if they are ready to sit the exam, what advice would you give them?
For me to be ready for the CCNA exam, I focused on studying all topics and going through questions before I booked an exam date.
That way, I was not worried about if I was ready for the exam (as I had no exam date set) and I just concentrated on studying.
Once I had a full understanding of both the subjects and questions+answers, I booked an exam date on a Saturday afternoon, so I could recap on Sat morning.

2.) Revising for the CCNA exam can be daunting due to the amount of knowledge you need to be able to recall, how did you overcome this?
I have worked with Cisco switches, routers, firewalls since 2001 in the same NHS organisation I am employed in.
I learnt everything myself from existing configs, and practising on obsolete 2503/2601/2811/2950/3550 routers/switches at home.
I did my ICND Intro back in 2005 but never completed ICND2.
For revising I had 3 weeks off work so I just spent time at my parents house studying. I watched a Kojak season 5 episode via Youtube in between - to allow my mind to rest. I also attended 6x 2hr CCNA classroom sessions but my self-studying helped me more.

3.) What kept you motivated towards your goal of becoming CCNA certified?
I was motivated by self-studying, knowing I had to complete it by 30 Sept (when the old CCNA exam retires), and praying to God for Him to help me pass first time.

4.) How did you ensure you had studied enough on specific topics?
Although I knew about some CCNA subjects (like configs, subnetting, etc), I choose to start from scratch - as these would be properly explained to me and help refresh my mind.
After each subject, I attempted as many questions on the subject. Once I studied a subject, I studied it again several days later to ensure I understood and remembered.
My PCs and phones still have CCNA bookmarks, and PC remains with console cables connected to Cisco devices.

5.) What methods did you use to study for the CCNA?

CCNA study materials I used included Todd Lamale's CCNA 7th edition. I thanked him and he replied saying he was pleased the guide helped me. I also used two CCNA dumps etc.
I was fasting in Ramadan whilst studying and I saw little TV (except Youtube Kojak season 5 episodes).
Travelling to and from work (before my 3 weeks off), I studied the PDFs on London tube to and from work.

6.) If you were to begin studying again, what would you do differently?
I would not change anything different from my studying. Right now I am studying a CCNP guide on tube to and from work.
I rarely watch TV now and I still set my Sky box to record for me to watch late evenings. That way, my daytime (outside of work) I use to study my CCNP.
Any website, PDF guide, router/switch I try to find time to study and learn. This helps me concentrate and not waste time on not studying.

7.) What difference did our site have on your overall success?
Your website is always useful and I enjoy reading its emails including CCNA daily question.
I remember one email you wrote about you being unemployed and using the time to get your CCNA and setup your company.
It shows you were motivated to doing something useful (whilst being unemployed) and achieving success.

I would like to setup an IT training centre (including CCNA and Microsoft) in my home country Bangladesh and your success story does help me.

Muhammed Islam
CCNA