I passed my CCNA R&S today (as a pre-requisite to get CCNP). I originally got CCNA about 10 years ago but I did not maintain the certification. Thankfully the old frame relay sections were replaced by newer material. I wish it would have been the same in CCNP!
I am on my way to get CCNP R&S certification before XMas. I passed CCNP Route and CCNP Switch a few weeks ago. I will go for the final CCNP TSHOOT within the next 2 weeks. I had to reschedule TSHOOT due to a regional blackout at Pearson view (our certification agency here in north America) last Saturday morning.
Note to everyone: CCNP exams can be done before CCNA , but you will not get “CCNP certified” until CCNA is passed (confirmed with Cisco). From what I know, this will change with the new CCNP in March: CCNA will not be a requirement to CCNP anymore.
Unlike the CCNP exams which took me 1h30min or less, I finished the CCNA exam with only 2 minutes to spare… I (almost) freaked out when I realized there was 30min to go and 20+ questions left… Doh. Fortunately, the last set of questions only had 2 “simulators” topics, the rest were either drag and drop or multiple choices. I just flew through those like there is no tomorrow and completed on time.
I really wish Cisco grouped their development questions (simulators) at the start/end of the exam. We are nervous enough as is during the exam it is very hard to plan some buffer time for simulator questions close to the end given we do not know how many of those there are. The goal is to test our knowledge, not to add more stress.
Some word of wisdom from an old (read: experienced) guy like me: Hard work pays off. Not just to pass the exams, but more in the real life. I interviewed many CCNA and CCNP persons in my career, and I could tell those who got their certification simply by learning the online exam answers by heart : None of them could answer any simple real-life questions during interviews.
I wish the best to all candidates who study seriously to get their certification. Consider it a gift to yourself.