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Cisco CCNA Certification: Why You NEED Hands-On Practice!

CCNA and CCNP candidates hear it all the time: ďyou have to get some hands-on experience to pass the examsĒ.


Candidates tend to think thatís just so they can solve the simulator problems, but thatís only the more obvious reason.


First, I want to make it clear that Iím not bashing learning from books you have to learn theory before you can really know whatís going on in the first place. The key is that to truly understand routing and switching processes, youíve got to have that hands-on experience.


So if the simulator questions are the more obvious reason to get hands-on experience, what are the less obvious reasons?


Glad you asked!


You see what happens when things donít go according to the script. One of the biggest problems with learning your skills on software programs such as ďrouter simulatorsĒ is that with simulators, things go pretty much as planned.


I have news for you: that doesnít always happen in the real world. While Cisco routers and switches are highly reliable devices, every once in a while youíre going to get an unexpected result from a command. Maybe it didnít work after you typed it in maybe it has an effect on your prior configuration that you didnít expect. Maybe you donít know what happened Ė you just typed in that command and the router went nuts!


Sooner or later, thatís going to happen to you in the real world. And as I tell my students, itís actually a good thing to have happen to you in a lab.


You donít learn to troubleshoot or fine-tune a configuration when everything works perfectly. You donít learn much at all when things go perfectly. And youíre practicing to learn!


I often say that great chefs donít learn to cook on cooking simulators they learn in the kitchen, and they burn a lot of meals on the way to greatness. You need to screw up some configs on the way to greatness, and you canít do that on a computer program. You have to be on the real thing.


You build confidence by working with real Cisco routers and switches. Would you want the Super Bowl to be the first football game you ever really played in? Of course not. Then why would you take router configuration exams and be nervous about having to create a VLAN, or troubleshoot an OSPF configuration?


You cannot walk into the testing room a nervous wreck. You must have the attitude that you are already a CCNA or CCNP, and youíre just there to make it official. I can tell you from firsthand experience with many students that the way you develop than confidence is to work with the real deal.


You canít buy that confidence, and you canít simulate your way to it. Youíve got to work with real Cisco routers and switches. By working with the real equipment, you develop the real skills and real confidence you need to pass the CCNA and CCNP exams.


Chris Bryant, CCIE #12933, is the owner of The Bryant Advantage, home of over 100 free certification exam tutorials, including Cisco CCNA certification test prep articles. His exclusive Cisco CCNA study guide and Cisco CCNA training is also available!


Visit his blog and sign up for Cisco Certification Central, a daily newsletter packed with CCNA, Network+, Security+, A+, and CCNP certification exam practice questions! A free 7-part course, "How To Pass The CCNA", is also available, and you can attend an in-person or online CCNA boot camp with The Bryant Advantage!


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