It’s exam time again, and during the last two months I’ve been studying for Novell’s Networking Technologies exam. Yes, you read correctly. It took me over two months to get comfortable with the plethora of material for the CNE networking technologies exam number 50-632, or CNI exam number 50-832. While the subject matter proves interesting, digesting the volume of information presents a challenge. This article will shed some light on what you can expect from this exam.

Novell’s official course material consists of two books. Volume one is an overview of basic network topics such as network services, transmission media, various connectivity devices, and the layers of the OSI reference model. Volume two covers lower-layer protocols, bridging, routing, TCP/IP, IPX, and directory services. Novell recommends that you self-study volume one before taking the Networking Technologies class, because only the material in volume two is covered during the class.

This exam was by far the most difficult I’ve ever had to prepare for; however, the actual test was very straightforward. The exam is adaptive, so you can expect between 15 and 25 questions. You will have 45 minutes to complete the exam, so take your time and read the questions carefully. None of the questions surprised me, but a couple of them were tricky. Most of the questions on my exam were related to the material covered in volume two of the course material.

Due to the amount of information presented in the course, you can expect the exam to cover a wide variety of subjects. My exam included questions relating to subnetting, supernetting, network layer flow control, building the transparent bridge filtering database, source routing, transparent bridging, contrasting PPP and SLIP, ABR functionality, distance vector routing, domain naming criteria, and mapping protocols to the OSI and DoD reference models.

To help prepare for the exam, I used practice tests from Exam Essentials. The six modules for this exam contain 369 questions. Over the course of the last few exams, I’ve developed a routine of studying the material that is tested in an Exam Essentials module, and then taking the practice test at least once per day until I’m scoring in the 80 percent range. I continue testing on that module at least twice a week until I’ve passed the exam. If you are scoring at least 90 percent on the Exam Essentials modules, you should be well prepared. Many of the actual exam questions are very similar to questions contained in the practice tests.

A great deal of the material in this course includes acronyms that may be new to you. I made flash cards to help learn unfamiliar terms and to review the functions of the different layers of the OSI and DoD models. If you keep the cards with you, you can pull them out as you go through your day and get in a couple of minutes of useful study time almost anywhere.

This exam is not easy, but it is also nothing to be scared of. The amount of material can be overwhelming at first, but if you study slowly and consistently, eventually you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck.

Steve Pittsley is a desktop analyst for a Milwaukee hospital. He enjoys playing drums, bowling, and most sports.

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