Trainsignal BSCI final review

As the chorus of the ska song goes:  “sell out with me, oh yeah… sell out with me tonight!”

I started this blog after reading CCIE Pursuit, Ethan Banks, Bit Bucket, and a few other blogs on a regular basis.  It was cool to see the progress these candidates were making, and to see some of the technical information they provide in their blogs.  I don’t think my friends list on my personal journal at livejournal.com are really interested in my trials and tribulations on this journey, and I figured I would get more feedback and comments by taking this route.

Shortly after staring this blog, Alex and Scott Skinger from Trainsignal contacted me and asked if I would be interested in checking out some of their training materials for the CCNA/NP exams.  I don’t know if I’m the best candidate to be reviewing these materials, but since I’m really just getting started on my path, it seemed like a really good idea.  As it turns out, I’ve learned a lot from the BSCI materials already.

Below is my review of the Trainsignal BSCI VBT training materials:

This was my first experience with any video/computer based training.  For previous certifications, including the CCNA in 2006 I have primarily relied on book study and lab time.  In 2001, I spent a year and a half in network academy, but that’s a long time to work towards a cert.  I’ve now watched the BSCI videos twice, and I’ve come to find that I really enjoy the VBT/CBT and I will continue using this type of training material to prepare for exams in the future.

Prior to receiving the videos, I used the “Authorized Self Study Guide” and the “Official Exam Certification Guide” from Cisco Press.  Both were written for the current 901 exam.  I found both to be lacking in areas and key concepts, and the end of chapter labs were lacking.  They don’t provide enough configuration examples for users to gain true understanding of the topics.  

A few of key improvements with the VBT, has been my ability to take notes without having to stop mid paragraph to write.  I can continue to listen and look up as a lecture progresses.  Chris Bryant also brings up his racks and works through configurations in various topologies throughout.  This goes an extra mile in helping to solidify what we are learning.  I have definitely had a much easier time retaining information since watching the videos.

The videos also went into greater depth on BGP, IPv6, Multicast, and other routing concepts.  IPv6 was the death of my first attempt at BSCI in February.  I got nailed on questions that I hadn’t seen information on prior.  Chris made sure to cover everything I had missed and made sure to point out specifics that could be tested. 

In closing, I feel that these videos would be a tremendous asset to ANYONE preparing for the CCNA/CCNP exams.  Chris Bryant knows the material inside and out, and does a tremendous job of teaching the material.  He relays real world experience and covers commands that, while maybe not relevant to the CCNP, are beneficial in the wild.  I have learned a lot from this series, and I feel that I am a better engineer in the last two months because of it. 

If anyone has anything to add or has any questions, feel free to leave me any comments.

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