I have finished studying for the CCNA Voice and my notes from the Official Cert Guide are here. I am going to sit for the exam tomorrow. My three main study aids for this exam were the book, the video series from CBTnuggets, and the video series from INE.
Studying for this exam has been quite different from the other exams I’ve done in the past (and have studied for but yet to take, such as CCNP R&S). All the others were a combination of real-world theory, which could for the most part be applied to any vendor’s equipment, plus the Cisco-specific implementation of those theories and practices. While this exam is considered introductory to the world of Cisco VoIP and did provide some vendor-neutral background theory, it was geared mostly around Cisco VoIP implementations. In other words, it was very application-based, much like a Microsoft exam would be.
Comparing my three study sources is kind of interesting. The textbook was written by Jeremy Cioara, who also recorded the CBTnuggets video. I watched his video first as sort of an overview of the whole exam. I have found I typically retain more information if I watch the video first, then read the book and take notes, and then review the videos again. What was weird is his writing style for the book. He writes exactly the same way he talks, including humorous anecdotes that he always includes in his videos. I’ve never read something like that in a textbook before. As much as I love his videos, in the end I found that format distracting in a textbook. I think it’s just because I’m so used to dry purely-factual textbooks. Finally, there’s the video series from INE. The video series was presented very much like a textbook in a very dry, matter-of-fact way. This is kind of interesting, because this kind of presentation can get very boring (in fact, I fell asleep multiple times during the video series), but at the same time, I feel like I obtained the greatest amount of knowledge from the INE videos. I think Mark Snow is an excellent teacher. Conversely, I have found Jeremy Cioara’s videos very entertaining to watch and he is excellent at keeping your interest in the subject matter, but when I compare him to other videos from INE that I have watched in the past (for CCNP), I find that INE’s videos always contain a LOT more information. They are just presented in a more boring way that puts me to sleep occasionally. 🙂
Another difference for this exam, compared to my CCNA and CCDA, is that my heart isn’t truly into this (yet) the way it was for the previous two. I find the topic of VoIP to be interesting and I think it is good information to possess at a foundational level, which I now have. But at the same time, I don’t picture myself moving beyond this point into the more advanced voice realm unless it becomes a necessity of employment. To obtain the CCNA Voice, it is one exam @ $250. The next level, CCNP Voice, is FIVE exams @ $200 each. I don’t see myself spending $1000 of my own money on something like that. It would definitely have to be a necessity of employment. In the end, I’ll be happy to have those extra letters behind my name for employment purposes, but the base level of VoIP knowledge is good enough for me for now.