About This Book

If you're preparing for the 642-521 certification exam for the first time, I've structured the topics in this book to build upon one another. Therefore, the topics covered in later chapters might refer to previous discussions in earlier chapters.

I suggest you read this book from front to back. You won't be wasting your time because nothing I've written is a guess about an unknown exam. I've had to explain certain underlying information on such a regular basis that I've included those explanations here.

After you've read the book, you can brush up on a certain area by using the Index or the Table of Contents to go straight to the topics and questions you want to reexamine. I've tried to use the headings and subheadings to provide outline information about each given topic. After you've been certified, I think you'll find this book useful as a tightly focused reference and an essential foundation of Cisco PIX firewall devices.

Chapter Formats

Each Exam Cram 2 chapter follows a regular structure, along with graphical cues about especially important or useful material. The structure of a typical chapter is as follows:

  • Opening hotlists ” Each chapter begins with lists of the terms you'll need to understand and the concepts you'll need to master before you can be fully conversant with the chapter's subject matter. I follow the hotlists with a few introductory paragraphs, setting the stage for the rest of the chapter.

  • Topical coverage ” After the opening hotlists, each chapter covers the topics related to the chapter's subject.

  • Alerts ” Throughout the topical coverage section, I highlight material most likely to appear on the exam by using a special exam alert layout that looks like this:


    This is what an exam alert looks like. An exam alert stresses concepts, terms, software, or activities that will most likely appear in one or more certification exam questions. For that reason, I think any information found offset in exam alert format is worthy of unusual attentiveness on your part.

    Even if material isn't flagged as an exam alert, all the content in this book is associated in some way with test-related material. What appears in the chapter content is critical knowledge.

  • Notes ” This book is an overall examination of PIX. As such, I'll dip into many aspects of Cisco PIX firewall configurations. Where a body of knowledge is deeper than the scope of the book, I use notes to indicate areas of concern or specialty training.


    Cramming for an exam will get you through a test, but it won't make you a competent IT professional. Although you can memorize just the facts you need to become certified, your daily work in the field will rapidly put you in water over your head if you don't know the underlying principles of Cisco PIX firewall features and configuration settings.

  • Tips ” I provide tips that will help you to build a better foundation of knowledge or to focus your attention on an important concept. Tips provide a helpful way to remind you of the context surrounding a particular area of a topic under discussion.


    The PIX firewall has several features, and tips can provide information on settings or configuration items found in the real world.

  • Exam Prep Questions ” This section presents a short list of test questions related to the specific chapter topic. Each question has a following explanation of both correct and incorrect answers. The practice questions highlight the areas I found to be most important on the exam.

  • Need to Know More? ” Every chapter ends with a section titled "Need to Know More?" This section provides pointers to resources I found to be helpful in offering further details on the chapter's subject matter. If you find a resource you like in this collection, use it, but don't feel compelled to use all these resources. I use this section to recommend resources I have used on a regular basis, so none of the recommendations will be a waste of your time or money. These resources might go out of print or be taken down (in the case of Web sites), so I've tried to reference widely accepted resources.

The bulk of the book follows this chapter structure, but there are a few other elements I would like to point out, such as

  • Sample tests ” The sample tests, which appear in Chapters 15 and 17 (with answer keys in Chapters 16 and 18), are very close approximations of the types of questions you are likely to see on the current 642-521 exam.

  • Answer keys ” These provide the answers to the sample tests, complete with explanations of both the correct responses and the incorrect responses.

  • Glossary ” This is an extensive glossary of important terms used in this book.

  • Cram Sheet ” This appears as a tear-away sheet, inside the front cover of this Exam Cram 2 book. It is a valuable tool that represents a collection of the most difficult-to-remember facts and numbers I think you should memorize before taking the test. Remember, you can dump this information out of your head onto a piece of paper as soon as you enter the testing room. These are usually facts that I've found require brute-force memorization. You need to remember this information only long enough to write it down when you walk into the test room. Be advised that you will be asked to surrender all personal belongings before you enter the exam room itself.

    You might want to look at the Cram Sheet in your car or in the lobby of the testing center just before you walk in to the testing center. The Cram Sheet is divided by headings, so you can review the appropriate parts just before each test.

  • The CD ” The CD includes many helpful practice questions on topics covered on the exam. If you work through the questions on the CD, you'll understand the techniques that you're likely to be tested on.

Contacting the Author

I've tried to create a real-world tool you can use to prepare for and pass the 642-521 certification exam. I'm interested in any feedback you would care to share about the book, especially if you have ideas about how I can improve it for future test-takers. I'll consider everything you say carefully and will respond to all reasonable suggestions and comments. You can reach me via email at danielpaulnewman@yahoo.com.

Let me know if you found this book to be helpful in your preparation efforts. I'd also like to know how you felt about your chances of passing the exam before you read the book and then after you read the book. Of course, I'd love to hear that you passed the exam ”and even if you just want to share your triumph, I'd be happy to hear from you.

Thanks for choosing me as your personal trainer, and enjoy the book. I would wish you luck on the exam, but I know that if you read through all the chapters and work with the product, you won't need luck ”you'll pass the test on the strength of real knowledge!

CSPFA Exam Cram 2 (Exam 642-521)
CCSP CSPFA Exam Cram 2 (Exam Cram 642-521)
ISBN: 0789730235
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 218

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