Cisco ICND1 Recap

I just tentatively passed the ICND1 with a 925/1000, and I’m pleased with my performance. Obviously, I am honor-bound (and perhaps more importantly, legally bound) to not discuss the exam contents.


I began studying in late April. At the suggestion of a family friend and retired CCIE, I worked off the following materials:

  • An all-in-one rack on eBay that had 3 1841 routers, 2 layer2 switches, and 1 layer3 switch for $300.

  • Wendell Odom’s ICND1 book

  • The Cisco Press CCNA Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide, by Scott Empson

  • Todd Lammle’s ICND1 video series on

  • Packet Tracer and GNS3 labs and practice

I ended up replacing the layer2 switches with a Catalyst c2960g-8tc and c2960-8tc, since they had noisy fans.

The Odom book was wholly sufficient, but I did appreciate Lammle’s approach to some of the material. It was also helpful watching someone go through configuring things in a natural environment.

I find Packet Tracer to be a bit buggy and strange. It was helpful, but I’m glad I got real hardware to practice on as well.

I could have passed the exam in late July or early August, but I hedged my bets since I was moving, and scheduled it for later in the month.

Thoughts On The Exam

  1. The exam was much more rudimentary than I had expected from my study materials.

  2. The exam was very broad. I missed a few questions that I’d covered once at the beginning of the ICND1 book, and then never thought about. On the plus side, it means you’re unlikely to fail for not knowing one thing.

  3. Nomenclature was key. I could see being tripped up on a few questions based on slight differences between answers.

  4. I hope the ICND2 is more of a deep dive.

After the exam, Cisco asks if I feel like it prepared me for the job I’ll be doing. I of course didn’t say no, but it seems like this is testing for being able to follow a conversation between two other people more than anything else.

I suppose that’s what’s expected of a new hire CCENT in an enterprise environment, but I’m looking forward to the ICND2 and CCNA.