How to Protect Yourself Against Exam Changes

How to Protect Yourself Against Exam Changes

Become very familiar with the Cisco web site and how to perform searches for documents. Use the site to stay current on any exam changes. Be sure to look at both the exam description and the Recommended Training descriptions. Both will have objectives and topics covered usually as bulleted lists. Consider printing these out and using them as check-off guides to monitor your learning progress. It will also help you to spot new technologies or features introduced in later descriptions.

Release Notes

As you are preparing for a particular topic, perform searches for release notes on that topic, for example VPN 3000 Concentrator release notes. Look over the results looking for the latest version; they are not always sorted with the latest at the top. Look particularly at the System Requirements, Upgrading, and New Features sections. Pay particular attention to and feature that was recently added to either the exam or course description on the certifications pages.

Technical Documentation

On the Cisco site, go to the products section for the technology that you are studying and use the links on the left side to find Technical Documentation section where you will often find User Guides, Command Reference, Configuration Guides, etc. Each of these documents is available in HTML format and many are available as PDFs.

Find the User Guide or Configuration Guide for the technology (PIX, VPN Concentrator, etc.) and look up the features that are new to you. This is also an excellent way to get a different perspective than the one presented in this or any other book. If you do not have access to some of the technologies (some are very expensive to acquire just for study purposes) look for the Getting Started Guide. Spend some time studying the parts of these documents that are new or unclear for you.

Finally, search for any configuration examples. These documents are often listed under the Technical Documentation heading of the product information, or use the search feature. These are typically very specific and usually include diagrams, instructions, configuration output, and useful links. For technologies with web-based interfaces, many include step-by-step instructions with web captures of the entire process.


Many documents do not require a CCO account, but if asked to login you will be given an opportunity to apply for a CCO account. The process will only require answering some questions. Even the most limited level may make additional documents available to you.

Remember Your Goal

You are, after all, attempting to become recognized as an expert in these technologies. Don’t sell yourself short. Look over the most recent (latest version) documents so that you are not surprised by look-and-feel changes or the addition of a key feature on a menu or screen.

Part III: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)