Final Preparation - Final Preparation - CCNP Routing and Switching TSHOOT 300-135 Official Cert Guide (2015)

CCNP Routing and Switching TSHOOT 300-135 Official Cert Guide (2015)

Part V. Final Preparation

Chapter 22. Final Preparation

The first two chapters of this book introduced you to a structured troubleshooting process and the different tools that can assist you during the different steps of the process. Chapters 3 through 20 covered the issues that may arise with the different technologies, protocols, and features deployed within a network. They also provide troubleshooting approach examples using various show and debug commands, and focus on how you can identify the cause of the issues and fix them. Chapter 21 provides an additional set of sample trouble tickets to give you more exposure to troubleshooting.

Although these chapters supply the detailed information needed to prepare you for the 300-135 TSHOOT exam, most people need more preparation than simply reading the chapters of this book. This chapter details a set of tools and a study plan to help you complete your preparation for the exam. It has two sections. The first section lists the exam preparation tools useful at this point in the study process. The second section details a suggested study plan now that you have completed all the preceding chapters in this book.


The Glossary and Appendixes C, D, and E exist as soft-copy appendixes on the CD included in the back of this book.

Tools for Final Preparation

This section lists additional information about exam preparation tools and how to access the tools.

Exam Engine and Questions on the CD

The CD in the back of the book includes the Pearson Cert Practice Test (PCPT) engine. This software presents you with a set of multiple-choice questions, covering the topics you will be challenged with on the real exam. The PCPT engine lets you study the exam content (using study mode) or take a simulated exam (in practice exam mode).

The CD in the back of the book contains the exam engine. Once installed, you can then activate and download the current TSHOOT exam from Pearson’s website. Installation of the exam engine takes place in two steps:

Step 1. Install the exam engine from the CD.

Step 2. Activate and download the TSHOOT practice exam.

Install the Exam Engine

The software installation process is routine as compared with other software installation processes. To be complete, the following steps outline the installation process:

Step 1. Insert the CD into your PC.

Step 2. The software that automatically runs is the Cisco Press software to access and use all CD-based features, including the exam engine and the CD-only appendices. From the main menu, click the Install the Exam Engine option.

Step 3. Respond to prompts as with any typical software installation process.

The installation process gives you the option to activate your exam with the activation code supplied on the paper in the CD sleeve. This process requires that you establish a Pearson website login. You need this login to activate the exam. Therefore, please do register when prompted. If you already have a Pearson website login, you do not need to register again. Just use your existing login.

Activate and Download the Practice Exam

Once the exam engine is installed, you should then activate the exam associated with this book (if you did not do so during the installation process), as follows:

Step 1. Start the Pearson Cert Practice Test (PCPT) software.

Step 2. To activate and download the exam associated with this book, from the My Products or Tools tab, click the Activate button.

Step 3. At the next screen, enter the activation key from the paper inside the cardboard CD holder in the back of the book. Once entered, click the Activate button.

Step 4. The activation process will download the practice exam. Click Next, and then click Finish.

Once the activation process is completed, the My Products tab should list your new exam. If you do not see the exam, make sure that you selected the My Products tab on the menu. At this point, the software and practice exam are ready to use. Simply select the exam, and click the Usebutton.

To update a particular exam you have already activated and downloaded, simply select the Tools tab, and select the Update Products button. Updating your exams will ensure you have the latest changes and updates to the exam data.

If you want to check for updates to the Pearson Cert Practice Test exam engine software, simply select the Tools tab, and click the Update Application button. This will ensure you are running the latest version of the software engine.

Activating Other Exams

The exam software installation process, and the registration process, only has to happen once. Then, for each new exam, only a few steps are required. For instance, if you buy another new Cisco Press Official Cert Guide or Pearson IT Certification Cert Guide, remove the activation code from the CD sleeve in the back of that book; you do not even need the CD at this point. From there, all you have to do is start the exam engine (if not still up and running), and perform Steps 2 through 4 from the previous list.

Premium Edition

In addition to the free practice exam provided on the CD-ROM, you can purchase additional exams with expanded functionality directly from Pearson IT Certification. The Premium Edition of this title contains an additional two full practice exams as well as an eBook (in both PDF and ePub format). In addition, the premium edition title also has remediation for each question to the specific part of the eBook that relates to that question.

Because you have purchased the print version of this title, you can purchase the Premium Edition at a deep discount. There is a coupon code in the CD sleeve that contains a one-time use code, as well as instructions for where you can purchase the Premium Edition.

To view the premium edition product page, go to

The Cisco Learning Network

Cisco provides a wide variety of CCNP Routing and Switching preparation tools at a Cisco website called the Cisco Learning Network. Resources found here include sample questions, forums on each Cisco exam, learning video games, and information about each exam.

To reach the Cisco Learning Network, go to, or just search for “Cisco Learning Network.” To access some of the features/resources, you need to use the login you created at If you don’t have such a login, you can register for free. To register, simply go to; click Register at the top of the page; and supply some information.

Memory Tables

Like most certification guides from Cisco Press, this book purposefully organizes information into tables and lists for easier study and review. Rereading these tables can be very useful before the exam. However, it is easy to skim over the tables without paying attention to every detail, especially when you remember having seen the table’s contents when reading the chapter.

Instead of simply reading the tables in the various chapters, this book’s Appendixes B and C give you another review tool. Appendix C, “Memory Tables,” lists partially completed versions of many of the tables from the book. You can open Appendix C (a PDF on the CD that comes with this book) and print the appendix. For review, you can attempt to complete the tables. This exercise can help you focus during your review. It also exercises the memory connectors in your brain; plus it makes you think about the information without as much information, which forces a little more contemplation about the facts.

Appendix D, “Memory Tables Answer Key,” also a PDF located on the CD, lists the completed tables to check yourself. You can also just refer to the tables as printed in the book.

Chapter-Ending Review Tools

Chapters 1 through 20 each have several features in the “Exam Preparation Tasks” section at the end of the chapter. You may have used some of or all these tools at the end of each chapter. It can also be useful to use these tools again as you make your final preparations for the exam.

Suggested Plan for Final Review/Study

This section lists a suggested study plan from the point at which you finish reading through Chapter 21 until you take the TSHOOT exam. Certainly, you can ignore this plan; use it as is, or just take suggestions from it.

The plan uses six steps. If following the plan verbatim, you should proceed by part through the steps. That is, starting with Part I (Fundamental Troubleshooting and Maintenance Concepts), do the following six steps. Then, for Part II (Troubleshooting Cisco Catalyst Switch Features), do the following six steps, and so on. The steps are as follows:

Step 1. Review key topics and DIKTA questions: You can use the table that lists the key topics in each chapter, or just flip the pages looking for the Key Topic icons. Also, reviewing the DIKTA questions from the beginning of the chapter can be helpful for review.

Step 2. Complete memory tables: Open Appendix C on the CD and print the entire appendix, or print the tables by major part. Then complete the tables, and check your answers in Appendix D, which also appears on the CD.

Step 3. Hands-on practice: Most people practice CCNP configuration and verification before the exam. Whether you use real gear, a simulator, or an emulator, practice the configuration and verification commands.

Step 4. Build troubleshooting checklists: This is one of the most important things you can do. Start by glancing through the Table of Contents, or even the sections covered in a chapter. For each of the topics you see presented in a section, (for example, VLANs, or EIGRP adjacencies) create a listing (from memory) of all the issues that may arise and then write the solutions to the issues down. Then compare your issues and solutions to those presented in the chapters.

Step 5. Subnetting practice: If you can no longer do subnetting well and quickly without a subnetting calculator, take some time to get better and faster before going to take the TSHOOT exam.

Step 6. Use the exam engine to practice: The exam engine on the CD can be used to study using a bank of unique exam-realistic multiple-choice questions available only with this book.

The rest of this section describes Steps 1, 3, 5, and 6 for which a little more explanation might be helpful.

Step 1: Review Key Topics and DIKTA Questions

This review step focuses on the core facts related to the TSHOOT exam. The exam certainly covers other topics as well, but the DIKTA questions and the Key Topic items attempt to focus attention on the more important topics in each chapter.

As a reminder, if you follow this plan after reading the first 20 chapters, working a major part at a time helps you pull each major topic together.

Step 3: Hands-On Practice

Although this book gives you many troubleshooting checklists, specific configuration examples, examples of output, and explanations for the meaning of that output, there is no substitute for hands-on practice. This short section provides a few suggestions regarding your efforts to practice from the command-line interface (CLI).

First, most people use one or more of the following options for hands-on skills:

Image Real gear: Either purchased (often used), borrowed, or rented

Image Simulators: Software that acts like real gear

Image Emulators: Software that emulates Cisco hardware and runs Cisco IOS

For real gear, the minimum recommended home lab configuration would have three ISR (or ISR2) routers running Cisco IOS 15.2 (or later) and 3 Catalyst switches running IOS 15.0 (or later). One switch should be a 3750 or 3560, the others can be 2960s. This would allow you to experiment with most of the routing and switching technologies discussed in this book.

Pearson IT Certification offers an excellent simulator with nearly 400 structured labs to help you get hands-on experience. Even though the simulator targets the CCNA exam, many of its labs are appropriate for your TSHOOT studies as they will solidify the topics and concepts of routing and switching. You can learn more about the “CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Network Simulator” at

As for emulators, you can purchase access to emulated routers from the Cisco Learning Network. What you are purchasing is a block of hours to access the emulated gear, along with structured labs to follow. The product is called Cisco Learning Labs, and you can find more information at

Step 5: Subnetting Practice

This book assumes that you have mastered subnetting and the related math. However, many people who progress through CCNA, and move on to CCNP, follow a path like this:

Step 1. Learn subnetting conceptually.

Step 2. Get really good at doing the math quickly.

Step 3. Pass CCNA.

Step 4. Do not practice regularly and therefore become a lot slower at doing the subnetting math.

Step 5. Study for CCNP ROUTE, then SWITCH, then TSHOOT.

Although subnetting should not be assessed as an end to itself on CCNP TSHOOT, it may be required that you understand subnetting math and do that math just as quickly as you did when you passed CCNA. If you are a little slow on doing subnetting math, before you go to the TSHOOT exam, try some of the following exercises:

Image Practice finding the subnet number, broadcast address, and range of addresses in a subnet. To do so, pick a network address and mask; calculate the values; and use your favorite subnet calculator to check your work.

Image Use the Cisco Subnetting Game, also at the Cisco Learning Network. You can find it at

Image Practice choosing the best summary route for a range of subnets. Pick three or four addresses/masks. Calculate the subnet number and range. Then, try to choose the summary (subnet number/mask) that includes those three or four subnets, without including any more subnets than what is required. You can check your math with a subnet calculator.

If you like performing binary/decimal conversions when you work through these problems, but just need to go faster, check out the Cisco Binary game, also at the Cisco Learning Network. You can find it at

Step 6: Use the Exam Engine

The PCPT engine on the CD lets you access a database of questions created specifically for this book. The PCPT engine can be used either in study mode or practice exam mode, as follows:

Image Study mode: Study mode is most useful when you want to use the questions for learning and practicing. In study mode, you can select options like randomizing the order of the questions and answers, automatically viewing answers to the questions as you go, testing on specific topics, and many other options.

Image Practice Exam mode: This mode presents questions in a timed environment, providing you with a more exam realistic experience. It also restricts your ability to see your score as you progress through the exam and view answers to questions as you are taking the exam. These timed exams not only allow you to study for the actual 300-135 TSHOOT exam, they also help you simulate the time pressure that can occur on the actual exam.

When doing your final preparation, you can use study mode, practice exam mode, or both. However, after you have seen each question a couple of times, you will likely start to remember the questions, and the usefulness of the exam database may go down. So, consider the following options when using the exam engine:

Image Use the question database for review. Use study mode to study the questions by chapter, just as with the other final review steps listed in this chapter. Consider upgrading to the Premium Edition of this book if you want to take additional simulated exams.

Image Save the question database, not using it for review during your review of each book part. Save it until the end; so you will not have seen the questions before. Then, use practice exam mode to simulate the exam.

Picking the correct mode from the exam engine’s user interface is pretty obvious. The following steps show how to move to the screen from which you can select the study or practice exam mode:

The steps are as follows:

Step 1. Click the My Products tab if you are not already in that screen.

Step 2. Select the exam you wish to use from the list of available exams.

Step 3. Click the Use button.

By taking these actions, the engine should display a window from which you can choose Study Mode or Practice Exam Mode. When in study mode, you can further choose the book chapters, limiting the questions to those explained in the specified chapters of the book.


The tools and suggestions listed in this chapter have been designed with one goal in mind: to help you develop the skills required to pass the TSHOOT exam. This book has been developed from the beginning to not just tell you how to troubleshoot, but also help you learn how to successfully apply your troubleshooting efforts. No matter what your experience level is leading up to when you take the exam, it is my hope that the broad range of preparation tools, and even the structure of the book, can help you pass the exam with ease. I wish you all the best in your studies and on your exam.