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  • Cisco certification exam memory aids – My favorite mnemonics

    Let’s face it, if you are studying to pass a Cisco certification exam, a lot of your future success lies in how much you can stuff into your memory. I would like to share some of my favorite memory aids, just in case they might help someone else.

    I am pulling these randomly from just about anywhere in the ICND-1 material, so forgive me if this doesn’t follow the order of the modules in the courseware.

    The first one was shouted out to me in a class while we were discussing the OSI reference model, so I don’t claim authorship, I just wanted to share it. Most are already familiar with Please Do Not Throw Sausage Pizza Away and All People Seem To Need Data Processing as ways to remember the layers in order. The shouted out version went like this: All Presidents Say They Never Did Pot.

    Another of my favorites is how to remember when to use a straight-through cable versus a crossover. One was is to remember STUD. It stands for Straight Through Unlike Devices. So for connecting routers to switches, or PCs to switches, it’s a quick memory aid. The second one looks like this:

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    Cisco CCNA exam-aids-router crossover cable

     

     

     

     

     

     

    So to connect a computer to the FastEthernet port of a router, use a crossover cable. To connect two devices that are the same (same layer of the OSI model), use a crossover cable. Just these two little memory aids could get you several points on the exam.

    Here’s another one: A common test topic is CDP. Do you remember the command to turn off CDP globally on your device? How about just on an interface? Try this: Imagine you walk up to your device and say, “Hey CDP, are you in?” If CDP is not there at all, the answer is No. Are you in also looks like this: R – U – N. So in global config mode, the command is no cdp run, which means CDP is not ‘in.’ The other thing you might want to do is disable CDP on an interface. So in config interface [(config-if)#] mode, you type no cdp enable. The key is to recall that the word interface and the word enable both start with the same sound. Once again, there’s a quick few points on the exam when you remember the answer, and an agonizing waste of precious minutes straining to guess the right one when you don’t.

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    Here’s another idea you might find useful. If you are trying to sort out where the running config is stored versus the startup config, try this out. Running config is stored in RAM, and they both start with the letter ‘R.’ For the startup config, just remember Starvin’ Marvin. I know this one is a little goofy and it’s a stretch, but you look at NVRAM backward, it says MARVN. Sot that gets in your mind as a cool way to remember that the startup config is stored in NVRAM.

    If you have any other suggestions for helpful ways to remember exam topics, feel free to add a comment.

    Until next time, happy CLI exploring!

    Mark Jacob
    Cisco Instructor – Interface Technical Training
    Phoenix, AZ

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