Cisco Press (an imprint of Pearson/New Riders) is doing a pretty good job of bundling simulator software with its various Cisco exam books, and there are numerous Web sites and/or software simulators you can find that will help you find your way into the IOS and Cisco console worlds. Here are some more specific pointers that you may find helpful (the following information is lifted from a story I wrote for Certification Magazine for the February 2002 issue in my "Learning Tools" column, reproduced with their permission; for the full text of this column please visit http://www.certmag.com/issues/feb02/dept_learntools.cfm):
* Todd Lammle writes for Sybex Cisco Study Guide series. His books get consistent rave reviews from instructors and candidates alike. Sybex also offers Virtual Trainer and Certification Kit series that include invaluable Cisco simulation software to help IT professionals obtain hands-on practice with (simulated) Cisco environments.
* www.networkrouterlabs.com offers for-a-fee access to Cisco routers for practice and hands-on experience.
* Al Friebe and Sue Trotter seem to have had this category in mind when they created www.catspace.com. Here you'll find pointers to resources, cheat sheets, tools, tips, and a whole lot more useful Cisco certification related information.
* CertificationZone has a little bit of everything: topical study guides, practice tests, ongoing dialog, and low-cost training. Check it out; the first course is free. www.certificationzone.com.
* www.CcCert.com is another source for great Cisco exam study information, including practice scenarios, study tools, and discussion archives galore. Includes a link to Mentor Systems vLab (virtual lab) services, and a "library" of step-by-step exam preparation topics and bibliography
* A great example of a growing class of online certification preparation services, www.fatkid.com offers free Cisco training labs, practice questions, news, and more along with for-a-fee remote access to Cisco hardware and software on a sign-up, pre-paid basis. Sites like this make it easier than ever before for certification candidates to get the hands-on experience they need to pass these exams.
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