I am preparing for the 640-801 (BSCI) exam and I have a cisco press book by claire gough. Now I would like to supplement that with a practice test/router sim/study guide to further strengthen my knowledge before my actual exam. However there are a lot of choices out there (testking, how2pass, etc)
Can anybody recommend what is worth buying? it doesnt necessarily have to be testking or how2pass..
In terms of simulators the two most common seem to be Boson and the CCNA Network Visualizer from routersim.com. I have tried both and my conclusion is that the Boson seems to support more commands than NV, but NV is easier to get to grips with and use. It depends on how complex you want your labs to be, really. For example, I found that only the advanced version of Boson will allow you to redistribute RIP. If you intend to do a CCNP after your CCNA I would seriously consider the Boson "Netsim for CCNP".
I have also looked at the Testking. I am not a big fan of this kind of "exam dump" as it makes it easy to learn the questions by rote. This is fine for passing the exam but you learn very little. Testking however do provide a thorough explanation after each question as to *why* X option is correct. That is very valuable information and I have found I can use this to jog my memory and really plug my knowledge gaps.
I used TestKing practice exams for my BCMSN (Switching) exam. Good - The questions were a good example of the actual exam, mostly important for knowing WHAT to study. Bad - Looks obvious TestKing dumps questions into a testing engine and does not really look over how they look. It was still good.
As for a book, I used Exam Cram books after reading Cisco Press. The Cisco Press will really show you how it works and give you all of the numbers. Exam Cram is smaller and an easier read thus preparing you for the exam. Read both. I usually start the Exam Cram book 1 week before the exam and read 1 hour each evening until it is done.
Taking the BCSI? Know your routing protocol timers. Study BGP and all of its settings more than any other protocol. Know your administrative weight table by memory.
Why buying all this Simulation stuff. Go to ebay or other second hand buy/sell market and buy yourself a 25xx series. I bet these boxes are much more cheaper then these simulation software. Buy yourself two of these boxes plus one back-2-back cable and you're done.
And I do not believe that you need 12.4 IOS: It is only BSCI...