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Suggestions for Taking a High-Stakes IT Exam #Certification #Exam #Preparation

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 11, 2011

Part I: Exam Prep By Janet Pinkerton

1) Know your exam. Carefully read the exam description details to build your exam prep strategy. What are exam objectives or subjects covered? What question formats will be used: multiple-choice, simulated scenarios, essays or fill in the blank? How many questions will be in each exam section? How much time is given to complete the exam? How will the exam be graded?

2) Ask yourself: What kind of learner am I? How much do I know? Answering these questions can help you decide what tools to use to prepare for the exam. Test prep options include assessment software, instructor-led training, eLearning, books for classroom use and self-study, and computer-based materials.

3) Dedicate Time to Prepare. Give yourself a matter of weeks, not days, for preparation. Create and commit to a realistic schedule of study time blocks that are less likely to be disrupted by work or life events. Aim for balance with time management. If you neglect your personal or work life, you may add unwanted stress that will make it more difficult to study effectively.

4) Study in short blocks of time. Experts say the maximum human attention span is about 45 minutes and the average is about 20 to 30 minutes. Be good to yourself and take long breaks between study times.

5) Use multiple study/preparation resources, especially if you are a beginner. No single exam preparation resource is the best at covering every exam subject. Each has its strengths and weaknesses—both in approach and subject coverage. Using multiple preparation resources will help ensure that you cover all the subjects contained in a high-stakes exam.

6) Use high-quality preparation resources. For CompTIA certification exams, study with books and study guides reviewed by industry experts and approved by CompTIA through the CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) program. These materials are considered the best resource for self-study for an exam. Use the Search form here to find CAQC Study Materials. Be careful when purchasing study guides from second-hand sellers (on eBay or Craigslist, for example); make sure the materials directly apply to the exam you plan to take.

7) Drill, Baby, Drill! Drill with sample questions and exams to identify problem areas where more study is needed and reinforce the information you already understand. Sample questions for CompTIA exams can be obtained here. You can also purchase and practice questions online with authorized providers of certification practice tests. Beware of websites offering “exact copies” of real exam questions; experts say these typically provide no educational value and are often incorrect.

8) Time yourself. Timed exam practice help you get used to taking exams under time pressure.

9) Get Hands-on! Give yourself plenty of hands-on IT experience to reinforce study prep and also to prepare for long-term career success. Hands-on experience can range from working on projects in a home or school lab to shadowing experienced computer or network IT “gurus.”

10) Be Proactive and Think Positive. Exam anxiety is common, but careful preparation through study, drills and hands-on experience can dissolve the fears involved with high-stakes testing. If you are anxious about the exam environment itself, get information from your testing center about what to expect, what’s allowed, what’s prohibited in the testing room. Some testing centers even offer a “test drive” —a chance to experience the test center and go through all the testing procedures before the actual exam.

Source: CompTIA Blog


Posted in Certifications, Cisco, CompTIA, Microsoft | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Cisco Learning Network Now Features CompTIA Certifications

Posted by Rubel Khan on September 23, 2011

By Janet Pinkerton

The Cisco Learning Network, the Cisco certification social learning community, now features a dedicated page about CompTIA certification. The page educates IT professionals about how CompTIA and Cisco certifications help build strong career credentials for networking professionals.

Vendor-neutral CompTIA certifications, specifically CompTIA A+ and Network+, frequently lead to either Cisco’s CCENT or CCNA certifications for a well-rounded resume. In addition, test results have shown that CompTIA Network+ certified professionals who move on to Cisco’s CCNA exam have a higher pass rate than those who are not Network+ certified.

“Networking is increasingly important in today’s IT business operations and in the home as well,” said Terry Erdle, CompTIA executive vice president, skills certification. “Candidates who begin with CompTIA’s vendor-neutral certifications like A+, Network+ and Security+ improve their chances of passing the exams for Cisco’s CCENT or CCNA certifications when they take them. A combination of CompTIA and Cisco credentials on a resume tells potential employers that a candidate has the critical knowledge and skills needed in today’s IT job market.”

To build upon that synergy, CompTIA and Cisco have worked closely together for years to support IT workers’ career development in routing and switching. And now the CompTIA page on The Cisco Learning Network explains the complementary features of A+, Network+, CCENT and CCNA certifications in an easy-to-use fashion.

“The networking field is an area with plentiful opportunities for workers to begin or enhance their careers,” said Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager, Learning@Cisco. “To thrive in the networking industry, individuals must have foundational networking knowledge such as can be assessed by CompTIA’s A+ and Network+ certifications, as well as practical expertise in a variety of technology areas supported through CCENT, CCNA and other Cisco career certifications.

“As we continue to see significant growth in the job market for network engineers, technicians and architects, Cisco is dedicated to extending our reach into new communities to deliver the skills needed to support the growth of talent worldwide,” Beliveau-Dunn said.

The CompTIA page on the Cisco Learning Network links to resources for taking the CompTIA Network + and A+ and Cisco certification exams. In addition, the page also presents the new CompTIA IT Career Roadmap illustrating how certifications from CompTIA and Cisco advance IT skills and job roles from novice to expert level in routing and switching.

Look for CompTIA and Cisco to work together in the future by offering joint promotions to help IT professionals interested in becoming certified. For more information on CompTIA, sign up for the CompTIA Connect Newsletter. For more information on Cisco, sign up for the Cisco Learning Network.

Source: CompTIA Blog

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Networking Bundle Offer

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 14, 2010

CompTIA, Cisco and Pearson VUE have partnered to give IT professionals everything they need to prepare for a career in networking at a $140 savings!

Between now and April 30, 2011, aspiring networking professionals will have an opportunity to take a CompTIA Network+ exam and a Cisco CCNA exam at a 25% discount! In addition, we are including a 30% discount on CompTIA Network+ and Cisco CCNA study materials to better prepare for these exams.

Purchase your Networking Bundle today! For questions related to the networking bundle product, please email at

Networking Career Roadmap

The below roadmap highlights the career opportunities and typical job roles associated with achieving CompTIA and Cisco certifications.


Bundle Contents:

You will receive the following products for a special price of $399!

  1. CompTIA Network+ Exam Voucher (2009 Edition – N10-004)
  2. Cisco CCNA Exam Voucher (640-802)
  3. CompTIA Network+ Cert Flash Cards Online
  4. Cisco CCNA Cert Flash Cards Online

This offer is valid for US residents only. Exams must be taken by April 30, 2011, and scheduled at a Pearson VUE test center located within the United States.

Source and Buy

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New CCNP Certification Tracks Announced!

Posted by Rubel Khan on October 19, 2010

Today, October 19th, Cisco announced major updates to the Voice and Security certification tracks.  Each professional level certification track has been re-branded, CCNP Voice and CCNP Security, and includes major course updates as well as new course introductions.  These new revisions/introductions reflect a focus on “job role” objectives rather than “product features” as earlier tracks incorporated.

CCNA Voice –   There is only one required exam for this Certification.  This is a key certification for the emerging Voice Professional.

Required Exam:

  • Exam # 640-461 Introducing Cisco Voice and Unified Communications Administration v8.0 (ICOMM)


CCNP Voice – The new Professional Voice certification is now called CCNP Voice and introduces two new courses and updates on existing courses to reflect Unified Communications v8.0.  There are 5 Required Exams:

Required Exams:

  • Exam # 642-437 CVOICE 8 Implementing Cisco Voice Communications and QoS
  • Exam # 642-447 CIPT1 8 Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Part 1
  • Exam # 642-457 CIPT2 8 Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Part 2
  • Exam # 642-427 TVOICE 8 Troubleshooting Cisco Unified Communications
  • Exam # 642-467 CAPPS 8 Integrating Cisco Unified Communications Applications


CCNP Security – The new Professional Security certification is now called CCNP Security and will be replacing the CCSP as the primary Professional level goal for network security engineers looking at validating expertise in Cisco’s key network security skills and technologies.

The following 4 exams are required to achieve this certification:

Required Exams:

  • Exam # 642-637 Securing Networks with Cisco Routers and Switches (SECURE)
  • Exam # 642-627 Implementing Cisco Intrusion Prevention System 7.0 (IPS 7.0)
  • Exam # 642-647 Deploying Cisco ASA Firewall Features (FIREWALL)
  • Exam # 642-617 Deploying Cisco ASA VPN Solutions (VPN)

Good luck if you are planning to take any of these certifications!

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Retired Cisco Exams & Certifications

Posted by Rubel Khan on July 20, 2010

Retired Certification Information The certifications listed have been retired. Information provided, accurate as of the date of retirement, is provided for reference only.

Retired Certification Exams: Cisco regularly updates exams to keep them current with recent technologies and products. The following list provides information about retired (and soon to retire) exams. Candidates must register on or before the last registration date noted in the table below. If not, the exam is no longer available and candidates must schedule and take the current (replacement) exam. Cisco is not responsible for testing center availability.

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Cisco announced – New CCNP SP Operations

Posted by Rubel Khan on July 20, 2010

The CCNP SP Operations certifications validates knowledge and skills required  (of a Tier II or Tier III support engineer) to troubleshoot and maintain  service provider IP NGN core (PE-PE and PE-CE) network  infrastructures.  With a CCNP SP Operations certification, a network  professional demonstrates the knowledge and skills required to isolate  network performance problems, implement proactive fault measures using  operations management processes, frameworks, and network management  systems. The CCNP SP Operations curriculum includes maintaining carrier  class routing protocol environments, MPLS VPN and TE deployments, and  QoS mechanisms using Cisco IOS and IOS XR.

Detail and requirements:

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Choosing Between Cisco and HP IT Certifications – Cisco news from Channel Insider

Posted by Rubel Khan on April 26, 2010

Choosing a technology path can be a tough decision for IT professionals and partners pursuing certification accreditation. For example, when it comes to deciding between Hewlett-Packard and Cisco, there are more than a few issues tech experts need to consider beyond sales and compensation in play.

Choosing Between Cisco and HP IT Certifications – Cisco news from Channel Insider.

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Cisco Prepares Students for Entry-Level IT Positions

Posted by Rubel Khan on April 15, 2010

Cisco has updated IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software, its foundational course, to prepare students for entry-level positions in the Information Technology across different industries.

The updated curriculum includes the fundamentals of PC computer technology, security and troubleshooting, networking, and provides an introduction to advanced technology concepts. The curriculum was designed for Cisco (NewsAlert) Networking Academy students in technical schools, high schools, colleges and universities.

A hands-on, career-oriented e-learning course, IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software focuses on practical experience to aid Networking Academy students in improving their fundamental computer skills and career skills. In addition to being made for students interested in IT careers or students looking for practical knowledge on how computers work, a learning pathway to the Cisco CCNA Discovery and CCNA Exploration curricula is also offered by this course.

Those who complete the course can describe a computer’s internal components, install an operating system, put a computer system together and troubleshoot problems by utilizing system tools and diagnostic software. They will also be able to share resources in a network and connect devices to the internet.

Other topics included in the course are wireless connectivity and basic implementation skills, laptops and portable devices, network security, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), applied network configurations, communication skills, safety and environmental issues, and troubleshooting techniques.

Virtual learning tools as well as hands-on laboratory activities are also incorporated into the curriculum. Stand-alone tools such as the Virtual Desktop and Virtual Laptop allow students to disassemble and reassemble desktop and laptops virtually. These tools which offer an interactive hands-on experience are supplementary to classroom learning.

IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software, being a CompTIA (NewsAlert) Authorized Quality Curriculum, assists students in getting ready for the CompTIA A+ 2009 Edition certification. This certification focuses on the PC troubleshooting application and networking skills.
Anuradha Shukla is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anuradha’s article, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Alice Straight

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Core Knowledge – The Cisco Learning Network

Posted by Rubel Khan on April 5, 2010

Beginning April 1, 2010, Cisco will allow Cisco 360 Learning Program students who attend a Cisco CCIE® Routing and Switching or CCIE Voice workshop to request a waiver and skip the Core Knowledge Section of the CCIE lab exam. All waiver requests must be approved by the Cisco Learning Partner. No end date for the Core Knowledge Waiver has been announced, but Cisco will provide at least 60 days’ notice before discontinuing the waiver.

During a Cisco 360 Learning Program workshop, students complete a series of performance assessments that demonstrate their understanding of the CCIE material and serve the same purpose as the Core Knowledge section of the exam. Therefore, Cisco 360 Learning Program students who use the waiver will not be required to type out answers to the Core Knowledge questions and will be allowed to move immediately to the next section of the lab exam.

To qualify for the waiver, workshop students should contact their Cisco Learning Partner 45 days in advance of their scheduled lab exam and provide the following information:

Student’s name

Student’s email address

Student’s username

Name, date, and location of workshop attended

Student’s scheduled lab date and location

More information is available at Core Knowledge Waiver Questions and Answers.

via Core Knowledge – The Cisco Learning Network.

Posted in Cisco | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Help Your IT Candidates Advance Their Career in Networking — Introducing the Networking Bundle Offer from CompTIA and Cisco

Posted by Rubel Khan on March 2, 2010

Between now and August 31, 2010, IT professionals will have an opportunity to take both a CompTIA Network+ exam (2009 Edition – N10-004) and a Cisco CCNA exam (640-802) at a 25% discount. In addition, they will also receive a 30% discount on CompTIA Network+ and Cisco CCNA Cert Flash Cards Online study materials from mindhub ( to better prepare them for these exams.

Purchasers of this bundle will receive all four products at a savings of $140 off the combined retail price of purchasing these products separately. For more information about this offer, please visit

Posted in Cisco, CompTIA | Leave a Comment »

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