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CCNA students get more hands-on experience

Cisco is augmenting its CCNA course curriculum to give students more practical experience working with the OSI model.

Cisco Systems Inc. has announced changes to its Cisco Certified Network Associate courses that will help give those seeking the certification more hands-on experience.

Cisco will now incorporate a hands-on lab into the early stages of its Introduction to Cisco Networking Technologies, or INTRO course. The class, which covers the fundamentals of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model and basic network design, previously only had a lab that focused on Cisco-specific network configuration.

Now the course will also use a lab to help illustrate the basics of the OSI model.

"This will allow candidates to do a better job of calibrating how well they have absorbed the material," said Don Field, Cisco's senior manager of certification.

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Learn how Cisco makes its CCNA program more accessible.

Cisco has two courses geared toward helping students pass the CCNA exam. The INTRO course lasts four days; a second course, Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices, lasts five days.

Most candidates take at least four months to complete both courses and pass the exam, Field said. Others participating in the Cisco Networking Academy Program, the networking giant's Web-based training offering, may take as long as two years.

To better aid candidates for this entry-level certification, Cisco is providing access to an intranet site called the CCNA Prep Center to those who have completed one test, but are not yet certified.

The portal includes simulations and tips from experts to help candidates prepare for exams.

Field said that while the CCNA remains Cisco's most popular certification, specialty certifications, such as those for security, IP telephony, storage area networks and wireless, are experiencing the greatest rates of growth.

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