how to study for the CCNA 200-301 Exam In this article. I'm gonna go through some general industry advice, I'm gonna, Look at big picture ideas and approaches, And I'm gonna look at some specific techniques like how to pay attention and retain, While reading articles for hours and hours techniques that you can use to refresh your mind and Keep studying all day how to get the absolute most out of your practice exams the best way to take breaks and some memorization techniques, And what this article is going to be is all the different tactics and strategies and tricks that I've learned across all the studying That I've done in my career, Which is easily over a thousand hours, And I just wanted to put them all in a article because I thought it might help people who are trying to get started and get their CCNA certification And with that, Let's get started.

All right, So this slide has some industry advice that I've seen other instructors teach, And I agree with wholeheartedly The first point being that you have to commit to this for the long haul and have steady repetition over time. So, Rather than trying to cram all your learning into too short of a time period, You want to commit regular intervals of time on a daily and weekly basis for your studies And then there's the whole concept of being able to explain it and teach it to Others - And this definitely works If you learn it so that you're able to teach it to others, It forces you to get it at a foundational level and definitely helps you, Learn it better And then to take it a step further than that. If you actually go present it and teach it to others and you're confronted with the situation of having to deliver the information, It's also gonna force you to learn even more and more And then one step beyond that is making your teachings public, Whether it be on Social media or something else It again, It forces you to really learn it deeply and make sure that you're correct.

So what these are are really good big picture ideas that you can use to guide your learning And a lot of the stuff that I'm gonna get into in this article now are gonna, Be more specific tactics and strategies to help you focus better, Retain more and Get the most out of your time All right so then step one. This is an obvious step, But you have to schedule the exam. Obviously, If you don't schedule the exam, Then you're never gonna take the exam, And so what I'm really saying is that for some people there's a tendency to just put off scheduling the exam forever And what happens when you schedule? The exam is that your money is gone And even if you do get reimbursed by your employer for it, You don't get the money back until you go, Take and pass the exam, And so what it does.

Is it flips a switch right? It creates urgency, And now, All of a sudden, Your mind starts thinking about what you have to do in order to go pass this exam. So it forces you to start and it makes you committed and really forces you into action And then there's other motivational techniques. Like telling others So when you tell other people that are close to you, It just creates that social pressure And now other people are expecting you to go.

Do this and it's just another accountability measure, And then, Of course, You can create goals and rewards And of course, There's two ways to do this. One is the carrot and the other is the stick, The carrot being rewards. If you go and accomplish this, You can set a big picture reward for when you actually go and pass the exam, And then you can do it on a smaller scale too, Like completing X, Amount of labs or X amount of articles in a week and create Smaller reward structures for you as well And then the converse is you can punish yourself for not making your benchmarks and stuff like that, And that would be the stick. So this slide basically just has some general factors that increase focus.

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Caffeine does help you focus. I do use it before my study sessions to kind of get my mind in a place where it can focus best. Meditation does also definitely work When I can get myself to remember to do it. Meditation does help slow my mind down.

It allows me to just focus on the one thing that I'm trying to focus on Then, Of course, Eliminating distractions Turn off all the alerts on all of your smart devices and computer. You could turn off your phone and leave it at the other side of the room that works for me, Sometimes Depending on what you're doing and if you're able to you can completely disconnect your computer from the internet, For example, If you're just labbing, You don't really Need to be connected to the internet unless that's involved with your lab And if you really wanna take it to another step. You can actually put software on your computer that blocks certain apps and URLs, And I actually did do that in the last couple of weeks.

Before one of my CCIE lab attempts - and I did find it effective And then lastly, I do find it useful to listen to voiceless tracks to help me get wired in and focused on what I'm trying to study. The next thing that I wanna address is the overall mindset that I think you have to have. You have to be approaching this like you're gonna. Do this no matter what and that failing isn't the end of the world.

Everybody wants to pass every test. The first time, But not everybody does And if you don't pass it the first time, It's really not that big of a deal If you're approaching this like this is going to be your future career path. It's really not that big of a deal to go and take it a second time And just for motivation sake. I actually didn't pass my CCNA the first time. The short of it is that I had a technical problem that costs me a bunch of time on the exam, And I failed by three out of a thousand points.

I was given a voucher by Pearson VUE and I went back a few weeks later. I was given a voucher by Pearson VUE and I went back about a month later and got it the second time, And I also did not pass either of my CCIE labs the first time either. But it doesn't matter if you go back and get it. The second time that you didn't pass it the first time. I just think it's beneficial to look at it like that.

Obviously, You're gonna do your best to pass it the first time, But if it doesn't work out, Then you have to have the persistence to go and get it the second time And the other part of the mindset is that you're gonna be going through the material. Multiple times, I don't know why, But it's tempting to look at the material and think that all you're gonna have to do is go through it one time and then you're gonna be ready to go. Take the test. This certainly wasn't true for me And I'm guessing that it's not true for most other people as well All right. So now we're going to start getting into my overall methodology When I was studying for the CCIE, I had it's basically split up into two tracks, So I had my theory, Which I used, Articles for and then I had labs And what I would do is. I would go through all the articles at once and then all the labs at once And then I would loop through everything multiple times and each time that I would go through.

My understanding would increase and the necessary time to go through everything, Would increase And then for the CCNA. It's gonna be split up into probably three things: You're gonna have theory which would be articles or books, Labs and then practice exams And my suggestion would be to loop through them in the same sort of way. And then my next suggestion would be on the first time through the articles or books. If that's, What you're doing that, You don't get hung up on all the details, You have to allow yourself to have an imperfect understanding, Especially if it's your first time going through the materials And really what I'm doing here is.

I'm speaking to this idea that people have where t feel like t need to understand everything perfectly on the first time through, And what you have to do is just let that go and focus on the higher level concepts. But what is this feature doing? What is this protocol doing? What's the purpose of this, And then you have to move on knowing that you're going to come back through it and get it at a deeper level on the second time, That's the main thing you're trying to avoid here is complete. Loss of momentum and being derailed by some of the smaller details.

So if you just know in your mind that you don't have a perfect understanding right now, But you're coming back, It will allow you to move on and keep making progress All right. Then, After the first time through the topics will get easier, You'll begin to know more and more of it by heart And then, As you go through stuff for the second and third time. That's when you focus on the details and the topics that you're weaker on and you can start eliminating topics and then making cheat sheets for the weak topics that you don't get And really those later iterations are the times when you chase down all the details. So how do you get the most out of practice tests You wanna know why each correct answer is correct and you wanna know why each wrong answer is wrong.

So as you're going through the questions, If there's a wrong answer and you're, Not sure exactly why it's wrong just go chase it down, And do it a little bit more research and figure out why that answer is wrong. So the article technique on how to pay attention and absorb the information, While reading articles for long periods of time, First off reading articles for a long time is difficult. At least speaking for myself. The longer that I read articles, The more my mind, Tends to wander, And one technique that I found extremely helpful was just to repeat at a whisper everything that the person is saying on the article as t're saying it. For me, Anyway, This at least helped with focus.

It helped me to keep paying attention to the article and it helped me better retain what t were saying And then, When it comes to so doing the labs, You really have to guard against just mindlessly pasting. The solutions into the CLI - And this is something that's really easy to get into, Because if you have the lab requirements and then the lab solutions, You can just pull up the lab solutions and do just that. What I would recommend that you do is force yourself to at least think about what needs to be done in order to complete this lab, Be able to specify all the steps out of your mind, Rather than just using the solution.

So, While you're not necessarily just straight up memorizing the commands to be able to do them out of your head, You need to be thinking about the steps. For example, If you're going to do OSPF, You would first need to establish the routing process and the area and then, Depending on how you're gonna configure it, You could have the network statements or put the OSPF commands directly on the interfaces that you wanna put in The OSPF process - And the main point is just to be mindful about what you're doing so that you actually learn the stuff rather than just mindlessly pasting it in and thinking that you got it when you really don't So memorization techniques. So there are things for the CCNA that you definitely do want to memorize, Like add administrative distances, For example, And if you're gonna memorize something you definitely wanna. Make sure that you understand what it is that you're memorizing first, Because if you understand it, It makes it a lot easier to memorize And then one of the things that you can do to memorize is repeat it to yourself verbally or you can write it down Over and over And both of those things have been successful for me, Another thing that I like to do, Especially during the period right up before the test, Is I like to listen to the audio of trainings just to keep getting more repetitions during all spare time? Like working out walking commuting airport time, If I still feel like I'm able to pay attention enough to get something out of it All right, Then just some more general focus tips.

You have to get enough sleep if you are sleep deprived which can happen if you're on an intense study schedule your mind, Just isn't gonna function as well And then taking breaks So there's actually something. That's called the ultradian rhythm that cycles every two to two and a half hours. Now, If you can, What you want to do is cycle your breaks with your natural energy cycle, And the main point is: if you can just feel your body and mind crashing, That's your body telling you that it's ready for a break And the worst thing that You can do is try and push straight through it or drink coffee and pound straight through it, Because in the end, It is probably just going to make you less effective. If you're able to you can take naps And there's actually a technique that you can use where you basically drink coffee, If you drink coffee right before you take a nap and then take like a timed 15 minute nap, Where you're just able to get like a Little bit of rest, Because it takes about 15 minutes for the coffee to go through your digestive tract and start taking effect.

And then, At the end of the 15 minutes. Pretty much synced up with you getting up from your nap and going back to focus. And then the other principle is you wanna know when your best focus time is, I happen to be a morning person, So I try and study as much as I can right after I get up.

I do my little morning routine and study, Then So, Whether you're a morning or a night person, The main principle is that you just wanna, Get as much done as you can during that peak time, All right!

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