With all of the Cisco CCNA books on the market today, it can become confusing as to which books you should purchase to help you study for the exam. In addition to the books that are designed to help you learn the information, there are also a bunch of study guides, practice exams, and workbooks. There are a few things you should consider before you purchase any book to make sure you get all that you can out of the information presented.
There are many great authors that have written extensively on the CCNA exam. However, there is only one official CCNA guide and it is published by Cisco Press. Once again, there are many great books out there, but all things being equal I tend to recommend the book published by the people that are offering the certification.
The Cisco CCNA books provided by Cisco are usually around twice as expensive, but this is the only way to know with any certainty that the material you go over in the book will match what you will expect to see on the exam.
In addition, the Cisco books are updated more frequently to reflect changes to the test. This way you know you are going to be dealing with the latest information and you won’t have to guess if there have been any changes since the time the other book went to press. Often the other publishers have websites where you can review information that changed since the press date, but this just adds confusion and it probably isn’t worth it to save a bit of money.
How to Use the Books
In the front of every Cisco book is a synopsis on how to use the book. However, I find it much easier to read it one chapter at a time and go back to cover areas that did not make sense. Part of the problem with obtaining the CCNA certification on your own is you never really know which sections are critical and which are not. Thus, you should make sure you understand all of the information before you move on. You don’t want to be in a situation where the subsequent chapters don’t make sense because the information in a previous chapter wasn’t absorbed.
Finally, the quizzes at the end of each chapter should be taken seriously. It may seem like overkill to go about things this way, but I assure you that you will be 100% ready for the exam if you do. Simply, at the end of each chapter, take the exam, if you don’t pass reread the entire chapter again. Everything should be completely clear and you should not even have to study the information a second time once you have it mastered. This actually saves time in the long run as it can shorten the study period between finishing the book and sitting for the actual exam.
By choosing the Cisco book that is the most recent, and following these general guidelines you should be able to obtain the certification quickly and inexpensively. However, if you do not already have a general understanding about networking in general, you will probably want to take a CCNA training class or start with the entry level certification (CCENT).