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« on: January 07, 2004, 08:22:10 PM »

I was recently studying for my CIT exam, in order to finish off my CCNP.  I‘«÷d heard that the CIT exam was extremely easy, so I was tempted to just go into the exam cold.  When I looked at the Cisco exam description, though, it mentioned a lot of stuff about troubleshooting approaches and documentation standards and I knew right away that I was going to need a book.  Cisco has a tendency to have an approved method and that‘«÷s what you‘«÷d better know for the exam.  So, I got my hands on the CCNP CIT Exam Certification Guide (ISBN # 1587200813) by Amir Ranjbar (Cisco Press).  Ranjbar teaches the course for Global Knowledge and GK is the official Cisco Trainer.  Might as well go straight to the horse‘«÷s mouth, right?  Taking a quick practice test before starting the book confirmed what I‘«÷d felt looking at the exam description.  I was okay on the troubleshooting commands, but light on the methodology.

The book itself is a bit light, at around 300 pages and the author acknowledges this in the book‘«÷s intro.  He states that the book is intended as a condensed exam preparation book and only presents what he feels is absolutely essential in order to pass the exam.  As a book intended for someone with CCNP level skills, I found it to be a little too light on technical info, presenting only the basic troubleshooting commands.  The author addresses this, as well, stating that the new CIT exam has a lessened emphasis on technologies and more emphasis on the troubleshooting methodology.  I suppose this is because the other 3 exams have some fairly in-depth troubleshooting command questions that are technology-specific and there was no need to duplicate.

Lack of sheer volume aside, the book is quite well written and clearly mapped to the exam objectives.  Chapters 1 through 6 focus on the documenting and troubleshooting methodologies that I bought the book for.  A lot of them are common sense things we should all be doing, but probably aren‘«÷t.  I actually learned quite a few things that I‘«÷ll be applying to my own troubleshooting and documenting techniques.  The book has improved me as a technician, so I guess the mission is accomplished.  Chapters 7 through 12 focus on isolating and correcting problems at different layers of the TCP/IP model.  These chapters have commands aplenty, but they‘«÷re very basic commands and nothing new if you‘«÷re taking this as the final exam of your CCNP.  In hindsight, I should have taken this exam first and that‘«÷s what I‘«÷d recommend to anyone wondering in what order to take the CCNP exams.  To finish up, lucky chapter 13 is a capstone chapter that walks you through several troubleshooting scenarios.

The CD that comes with the book contains the test bank and an electronic copy of the book, which is actually how I did the majority of my reading.  I love having the PDF, because I can read it on my computer while at work and it looks so very official, as opposed to sitting around reading a book, which can raise eyebrows of V.P. types looking for people who don‘«÷t have anything better to do.  I used the test bank a lot, as well, since all of the ‘«£Do I Know This Already‘«ō quizzes are there and can be taken individually.  It saves a lot of flipping back and forth in the book checking your answers.  The full test bank is also pretty good, with some useful simulations.  There were a few questions that didn‘«÷t work right, but it was better than a lot of test banks I‘«÷ve used.

All in all, I have to give kudos to the author for a well-written and accurate book.  I noticed something was distinctly absent from this book that had bothered me immensely the last time I read a Cisco Press book‘«™ the misspellings.  The last book was littered with them, but this book had none that I noticed.  I don‘«÷t know if this is attributable to the author or the editor, but I have to say that it would certainly contribute to me looking for titles by Mr. Ranjbar in the future.  In addition to the good spelling, the author gives very clear examples and diagrams.  It‘«÷s a small thing, but I like that he names his routers and switches with names that resemble names of real routers and switches (i.e. Columbia, Columbia_SW, Washington, etc).  Seeing routers named R1 and R2 then trying to follow those names through a 2-page example makes the example harder to read.  The author avoids this and I appreciate it a lot.  

The book has a suggested retail of $49.95, which is a little off on the weight-to-price ratio, but since it‘«÷s a certification book, I guess you have to take it to get the anointed Cisco info.  I read the book in 3 days and feel very prepared for this exam, so using my rating scale from one to five pings, I give this book a 4.  Mission accomplished.

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