Welcome to CSPFA Exam Cram 2 (642-521) ! Whether this is your 1st or 15th Exam Cram 2 series book, you'll find information here that will help ensure your success as you pursue knowledge, experience, and certification. This introduction explains Cisco's certification programs in general and talks about how the Exam Cram 2 series can help you prepare for Cisco's Cisco Secure PIX Firewall Exam (CSPFA 642-521). Chapter 1, "Introduction to Cisco Certification," discusses the basics of Cisco certification exams, including a description of the testing environment and a discussion of test-taking strategies. Chapters 2 “14 are designed to remind you of everything you'll need to know to take ”and pass ”the Cisco Secure PIX Firewall (CSPFA 642-521) exam. The two sample tests in Chapters 15 and 17 should give you a reasonably accurate assessment of your knowledge ”and, yes, we've provided the answers and their explanations to the tests. Read the book and understand the material, and you'll stand a very good chance of passing the test.
Exam Cram 2 books help you understand and appreciate the subjects and materials you need to pass Cisco certification exams. Exam Cram 2 books are aimed strictly at test preparation and review. They do not teach you everything you need to know about a topic. Instead, in this book I present and dissect the questions and problems you're likely to encounter on a test. I've worked to bring together as much information as possible about Cisco certification exams.
Nevertheless, to completely prepare yourself for any Cisco test, I recommend that you begin by taking the Self-Assessment included in this book, immediately following this Introduction. The Self-Assessment tool will help you evaluate your knowledge base against the requirements for the Cisco Secure PIX Firewall exam under both ideal and real circumstances.
Based on what you learn from the Self-Assessment, you might decide to begin your studies with some classroom training, practice with the hardware, or background reading. On the other hand, you might decide to pick up and read one of the many study guides available from Cisco or third-party vendors on certain topics. I also recommend that you supplement your study program with visits to www.examcram2.com to receive additional practice questions, get advice, and track the CCSP program.
I also strongly recommend that you install, configure, and play around with the software and hardware that you'll be tested on because nothing beats hands-on experience and familiarity when it comes to understanding the questions you're likely to encounter on a certification test. Book learning is essential, but without a doubt, hands-on experience is the best teacher of all!