Just wanted to post my CCNA Security pass thread. I was able to pass this certification on the first attempt. I just got home from the testing center and I'm still in shock I passed. Don't get me wrong, I studied my butt off for this cert. But, with all the posts from people failing multiple times, it was difficult for me to feel confident before or even during the exam.
First, my take on the cert. 210-260 will definitely test your skills in every topic listed in the Cisco objectives. Without breaking NDA, make sure you know your NGE/Legacy protocols. Know your show commands for site-to-site VPNs and be able to decipher the output. I only got one SIM, but I did purchase an ASA 5505 (asa9.24, asdm7.82) and labbed repeatedly. Who ever says the ASA 5505 isn't enough to pass the 210-260 is wrong. I just did it. Overall, it wasn't a tricky exam. The biggest issue with this certification is the amount of information you have to learn. That's where I incorporated as many different study materials as I could fit.
Being enrolled in the WGU: Network Operations and Security program, I utilized most of the study material they provided me. I'll list the process that I used to study.
-OCG: The OCG wasn't as bad as most people make it out to be. However, I did only use it as a high-level overview of the exam topics. I took notes while I read the book.
-CBT Nuggets: I tried to watch the CBT Nuggets videos at the same time that I read about the topic in the OCG. At times it was difficult because of the fact that there is just a ton videos for the 210-260. This was one of the best resources I used. I also took notes while watching the videos. When Keith would lab, I would pause the video and lab on my ASA.
31 Days before you CCNA Security exam: This book was really helpful. It covers every topic in the Cisco objectives. The chapters are short so for me it made it a lot easier to read. I would highly recommend this book.
-ASA 5505- As mentioned above, I purchased an ASA from Ebay. At first, I tried to access the labs that WGU provides, but they never worked for me. I'm so happy I purchased the ASA, because I felt like I totally owned the SIM and questions that dealt with ASDM on the actual cert. I set up the ASA on my internal network at home. I got familiar with the CLI and ASDM. Also, I configured site-to-site VPN's (without "wr") and practiced setting up clientless VPN's. I would set up a connection profile along with a custom group policy for my girlfriend (who has very little technical experience) and had her sign in to her user account and be able to download the Anyconnect client. I figured if a non-technical user can successfully accomplish that task I was ready for the ASDM questions.
-GNS3: I downloaded the 210-260 home lab files, but couldn't get ASA to work. So, I just bought my ASA (see above). I mainly used GNS3 to set up ZBF, AAA services, site-to-site VPN in CLI, and SNMP. I'm glad I did that because it familiarized me with the actual commands and what they do.
-Boson practice exams: I can't stress enough how important these exams were to my success. I always took the practice exams in study mode. The first time around, I got lucky if I scored in the 70% range. But, I used it more as a study tool. I would read and take notes on every explanation it would give me. As well as, referring to the white pages it provides. After the 2nd or 3rd attempt, you start to memorize the answers. At that point, I would read a question and answer why the wrong answers were wrong. I feel like that really engraved the concepts in my head.
-Parka document: I read over the Parka document over the last week or so. If you've done your studying and used various different resources, there isn't a lot of new information in the Parka document. But, I can say that there was a few new things I learned from reading it. Definitely doesn't hurt to go over this document before the exam.
I studied for about 3 months before taking the cert. I studying a few hours almost everyday during the week and about 4 hours on Saturday and Sunday. It's totally doable, just make sure you put in the time. To anybody who is close to taking this cert, GOOD LUCK! On to the CCNA: Cyber Ops! I'll be starting my cohort in July.