Using the Old Books to Study for the New Exams

By certskills April 9, 2013 09:05

The choice to move up to the new and improved Cisco exams for #CCENT and #CCNA seems to be a great option. However, you may have already spent all the $$ in your study budget on materials for the old exam. While many people will want to move away from those truly old exams, the budget may not allow all new study materials. This post discusses some options, along with a reading plan for using the old Cisco Press Cert Guides to study for the new exams.

When to Use the Details Listed in this Post, and When to Ignore them

Before going another step, to keep you from starting down the wrong path, let me be perfectly clear on the purpose of the details in this post. You have the books for the old exams. You want to study for the new exams.

If that’s not you… never mind! But if that is you, and you really want to move up to the new exams, using the old books as much as possible, read on!

Strategy to Learn the New Topics on the New Exams

The old books, for the exams that begin with “640”, do not cover all the topics in the new exams. (See several blog posts in this blog for more details on what has changed.)

The best option to prepare for the new exams is of course to get a copy of the new books, and use only those books. The new books have removed topics, added new topics, gone through a major re-write, with all router examples based on 15.2 IOS.

However, I’m not writing this post to just say, “Buy the new books”. You may not want to spend the $$ for the new books. Or, maybe you would rather finish reading the old, since you have already read a lot, and fill in the holes of knowledge about new topics in the new exam. This post can help you fill in the holes, whether by using the new books, or doing searches at for all the new topics.

Undecided? Register your existing books at Click yes to receive their marketing messages. They will likely put the eBook versions of the new books on sale from time to time during this transition period. Food for thought.

The rest of this post assumes you will use the old books as the primary reading source for the new exams, and you will then look elsewhere to learn the new topics. That elsewhere will either be online or from the new Cisco Press books.

Quick Reference: the Old Books

Just to throw another slant on the discussion, it turns out that there are two editions of the ICND1 Official Cert Guide, and two editions of the ICND2 Official Cert Guide, that apply to the old 640 series exams. To know which you have, look in the front to the copyright date, and find the edition number as follows:

  • Edition 2: Copyright 2008; title includes “Second Edition”
  • Edition 3: Copyright 2012; title includes “Third Edition”

The 2nd and 3rd editions of both the ICND1 Official Cert Guide and the ICND2 Official Cert Guide have different chapter numbers for different topics. So, the details listed in the upcoming tables are different depending on the edition you have in hand.

Interpreting the Reading Plans

The rest of the post links to six different PDFs. Each gives a reading plan depending on the books you are using (2nd or 3rd edition), and whether you are studying for the ICND1 100-101, ICND2 200-101, or CCNA 200-120 exam.

Note that the reading plan breaks down the topics by chapter. I am not attempting to be more granular than per-chapter reading. For instance, the old edition 3 covers RIP in chapter 20, as well as static and connected routes. RIP is not in the new exams. However, because you still need to know about static and connected routes, the reading plan tells you to read chapter 20. Why? These plans don’t detail the specific headings, but just which chapters apply.

Here’s a sample image from one of the reading plans. The links below the figure link to the six PDFs.


Old Edition 3, Studying for ICND1 100-101 Exam

Old Edition 3, Studying for ICND2 200-101 Exam

Old Edition 3, Studying for CCNA 200-120 Exam

Old Edition 2, Studying for ICND1 100-101 Exam

Old Edition 2, Studying for ICND2 200-101 Exam

Old Edition 2, Studying for CCNA 200-120 Exam






Cisco Moved My Cheese #3: Sticking w/ Cisco, Just NOT R/S
Sim Options for the New Exams
By certskills April 9, 2013 09:05
Write a comment


  1. Shahin April 9, 11:55

    Good morning Wendell,

    Before anything, let me take the opportunity and just say this that you have done a great job as to informing the community in regard to the sudden shift of tides for new CCNA & CCENT exams. I am just starting my career down the Cisco path and recently had a chance to purchase the 3rd edition “Cert library, Simulator edition”. I am contemplating to return this and wait a month to get my hands on the new edition which covers the outline for new exams. Your posting today shaded some light as to the options I have in order to use my existing library (and not returning them) and study for a new test. My concerns are the simulator and the old exercises (and the new ones) that covers or needs to cover. Realizing that the new Cisco press simulator is not going to come out until November 2013 then (a) Does the new lite simulator accompanying with your 4th edition covers ALL the exercise objectives for new ICND 1 &2? (b) Since the older simulator is based on IOS 12.x vs. new one which will incorporate new commands covering IOS 15.x, how relevant is the old sim for studying for new tests? And (c) What other options (short of getting hands on the real hardware) are or will be available until November time frame? Thanks and god blesses you 😉

    Reply to this comment
  2. certskills Author April 9, 13:21

    Hi Shahin,
    You’re very welcome. I think this kind of information is important, and it’s nice to hear when others are finding it useful as well. Thanks for the kind words.
    I think I’ll get something detailed on all these questions posted within a week or two more. But some brief comments here to get you going.

    a) The “Lite” simulators that are included free with the new books include around a dozen lab exercises each, but they do not include all the labs or all commands. Basically, the Lite versions give you a chance to see the product, and learn a little, so that you can make an informed decision about whether to buy it or not.

    b) The older Sim was indeed based on older IOS versions, with the routers based on a 12.4T version (which is equivalent to a 15.0 mainline). For the new Sim, we’re updating the existing commands to reflect changes based on IOS versions, and of course adding support for new CCENT and CCNA features, new labs, etc. However, you can still learn a lot for the new exams with the old Sim. The 12.4 to 15.2 router IOS leap mainly changes small items of output in show commands. So, you could get real gear, with newer IOS, and use the commands, you will likely not even notice most of the changes in output unless you put the old and the new side-by-side. The one obvious and noticeable change is that “show ip route” now lists a local /32 route for the IPv4 address on each interface.

    b) continued… if you do keep using the existing/old Sim, but you get the new books, note that there is a mapping PDF that tells you when to use the old Sim’s labs with the new books’ chapters. You can find it in the download area here: Also, you can find out about the migration options from the old to the new Sim at the publisher’s web site, here: So, returning the book/Sim you bought, and buying the new books, maybe the sim again, may work better with what Cisco Press offers as an upgrade path. However, don’t ask me to explain the upgrade path – I need to let the publisher’s word stand as is on their web page, or with any answers you get through normal channels with them.

    c) Til November (that’s a planned date, for software, subject to change), if you real want to lab on the latest IOS versions, you’ll need to go with the real gear. But see #a above as to whether that is truly important or not.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply to this comment
    • Jean-Pierre April 9, 19:39

      Hi Wendel,
      Thanks a lot for the time you are spending to help us save on books. It is quite rare to see an author doing this.
      My question is to know if you can assure us that we can pass the exam using your ICND1 Version 2 Ebook, bearing in mind that I have your 3rd edition bundle?
      I am asking you this because I find it too far to wait for the November simulator.
      God bless.

      Reply to this comment
      • certskills Author April 10, 09:30

        hi Jean-Pierre,
        You’re very welcome! I still think anyone will do better with the new books than with the old, but just seems the right thing to do to give folks enough information to make their own choices of where to spend their cert budget. Happy to help.

        As to your question, I tend towards looking at the literal wording of things – occupational hazard. You asked if I could assure that you can pass the exam… in a word, no. But if I take the spirit of your question, what can I assure you of?

        To the best our ability, based on the information known at the time, that the new book explains all the new ICND1’s exam topics, to at least the required depth and at least the required breadth, to pass the exam. (Unsurprisingly, that’s true of any “cert guide” I’ve ever written.)
        That passing the exam requires certain skills, not just knowledge, and the new book not only discusses knowledge, but stresses skills – the skills required to pass the exam.
        I personally do not think that any cert tool could assure you that you will pass. By way of analogy, buying the world’s best hammer doesn’t mean you will successfully build a house. I can assure you think I believe the book to be a great tool, even better than the old, and specifically built for the content in the new exam. Can it have a direct, meaningful, positive effect on your score? Absolutely, but it’s still just a tool.
        Your part in the “will I pass” plays a huge roll, and the book is a tool.
        The new book has stronger review and study tools than earlier editions in particular; that makes your own effort to study more productive.

        That’s as honest as I can be. Probably a longer answer than you wanted! 😉 Hopefully that’s better than a fluffy marketing answer like “of course you will pass if you buy all our products”.

        Reply to this comment
View comments

Write a comment

Comment; Identify w/ Social Media or Email


Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.