Studying for BCNE – Brocade Certified Network Engineer

In early April of 2013 Brocade had a great offer – ask for it and you’ll get a voucher to an exam – for free!

I took them up on their offer and scored a voucher for the BCNE – Brocade Certified Network Engineer.

After that I noticed that Brocade also has a limited offer for BCNE http://www.brocade.com/education/CNE_250.page , you can take them up on it if you already have a CCNA. By doing that you also get a free voucher to the BCNE exam..

I chose to try it without the recommended course. A bit risky but a long time ago I took the CCNA and passed. For me this exam was probably more about remembering and looking at improvements to all the things in CCNA back in 2005. This post is about my study technique or perhaps more of a record of how I did things. To find places for improvement.

Do you have any study tips you would like to share?

Some really useful links:

  • BCNE in a Nutshell guide – It’s also available on their saba/education page. But it’s out of date in there.
  • Brocade IP Primer – this is a great refresher on most Ethernet things if you’ve been out of touch.
  • Go through the manuals – but read the material in the newer released manuals.
  • IP Quick Reference – CLI Quick and quite comprehensive overview not only of commands but also of technologies.

http://community.brocade.com/docs/DOC-2613 has the list of pages and manuals and guides, but to get the newest documents you have to look elsewhere.
One place to get them is on each Product’s page on brocade.com, at the bottom there is a place to get some manuals.

First thing I did before diving into the materials was to take the BCNE Knowledge Assessment test. Get some sort of idea of what kind of topic the exam is about.

Then I read the nutshell guide and marked the things I needed to learn more about (basically all). Last time I took an exam with Brocade I only read the nutshell in the beginning of my study time, this time I’m re-reading it every now and then to see if I catch something that is not clear and I want to focus extra on. I’m also keeping a focus on the objectives of the exam. Reading the objectives and trying to answer them with as much detail as I can.-The objectives are general so there’s quite a lot of room for freedom there. As a bonus, if you can’t describe something in the objectives well, you just found something you do not know well  enough.

After going through the nutshell guide and checking up on a few acronyms and technologies I hadn’t heard about I read through the IP Primer and did the same things there: Mark the things that I thought would be of interest and what I would need to dig deeper into.

Then went through the NetIron and FastIron configuration guides. Not only did I have a peak at all the pages that were listed as relevant, but also read chapters that was not listed. Either because I found them interesting or perhaps because the subject in those chapters are touched upon in Nutshell. To me that just means the more you know about the subject the better.

Rehash objectives/previous notes and dig deeper. Perhaps first time you read it you glanced over some part. By digging deeper I mean finding the chapters in all the manuals that touch on this subject and reading them, making more notes. Could also be surfing the Internets or Wikipedia for basic overview of how a technology operates. Eventually all of this crystallizes into a view that describes things in your own words.

To me there are parts of IT exams that you just can’t know even if you’ve been working with it for a long time. For example license options or feature differences between all the products. To learn things like these (also other types of questions I thought would come on the exam) I made flashcards in a spreadsheet and printed it on normal A4 so that the question is on one side and the answer is on the back. This was no easy feat.

After going through all these documents you should be able to figure out yourself which areas are being focused on – which you should be making sure that you know.

Some good articles/blog posts:

P.s. I passed :)


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