Beginning the CCNA road - self training or courses?

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Hi there,

I have been reading tne group for a week or so.

I have been doing my own training for Microsoft exams, and they are fine.
Nothing too taxing.

I also want to begin the CCNA training soon. I have a few questions,
related on the best way to begin.

I do have experience of Pix firewalls (monitoring, creating rules, users, etc)
but mainly thru the https interface. I guess this will not be useful in the
actual exam.

1. I usually study best with hands on work.
Should I go to a week long intensive course, pay the money and take the test?
Or should I buy the recommended books (Todd Lammle, Ciso course work)
and study at home.

I know that question is like how long is a piece of string, but, my reasoning
in asking is, when it comes to the exam, is real world hands on required to
answer questions, or is it reading off material from course books?
2. I have access to some Cisco kit (ISDN TA, Catalyst 2600, Pix 508e).
Should I also purchase an emulator for training?

Also, along those lines, I am a Mac user. Am I making it harder for myself
using my Mac, trying to use emulators, or should I just use my PC from work?
I don't want to be making this any harder than it has to.

Is there emulator software that will run on Macs?

I do have a USB-serial console cable for connecting to the cisco kit I have,
so thats fine.

3. WRT the Cisco coursework, are there any books that are more recommended
than others?
I noticed people mentioned CNAP material. Coulda been a typo, or maybe its
something I don't know about.

4. And for the holy grail-whats the average period it takes to get the CCNA?
Lets say giving it 2 hours a night for 3/4 nights a week?

I have joined the networking-forum, so I look forward to reading more there.

I would really appreciate any help you guys and gals could give.

thanks in advance,


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