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Thread: Brain retention

  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Default Brain retention

    After a couple stops and starts I'm on the road to CCNA-ville. I've been lurking around here getting the lay of the land. I'm 43y/o who's been a sys admin doing desktop and light network support for most of my career and I'm moving up at work slowly and I need my skills to match my duties.

    Tools:

    CCNA class through RPI (local college)
    Lammle CCNA book (it's our class text)
    Odom CCENT book
    Pearson network simulator
    Udemy videos - Chris Bryant

    I'm (finally) getting subnetting and can do it very slowly but I need to increase my speed. I need to spend some time figuring out how to do that and possibly what I need to write down pre-exam and hit that every day.

    Now - the reason I decided to start posting - I'm getting the concepts of the CCENT and as we progress in class and in my own reading I'm keeping up. But today I started taking some of the earlier chapter tests from Odom (I've read up to chapter 13 in Odom and we're up to Chapter 6 in Lammle) and realized - I'm not retaining the nitty gritty for the exam.

    I need to figure out a new plan _now_ before I get to far ahead and there's too much material to relearn.

    I have plenty of resources and I'm ok with picking up something else but can anyone suggest how to repurpose what I have or recommend something I don't have.

    I haven't scheduled the ICND 1 exam yet so I don't have a strict deadline but I was hoping to aim for early to mid April. But only if I'm confident I can remember things.

    Thanks - Jim
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  3. Senior Member koz24's Avatar
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    #2
    Get a supply of Adderall and Nuvigil.
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  4. Junior Member
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    #3
    Google Nuvigil

    "Controlled substance"

    ...noted.
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  5. I wouldn't listen to me AwesomeGarrett's Avatar
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    #4
    Sounds like you need a review plan.

    Don't believe you need to retain the information after reading it once. For instance, I cannot tell you how many times a forgot to set the OSPF priority over DMVPN. One thing at a time and you'll get it all before you know it.
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jetb2 View Post
    I'm (finally) getting subnetting and can do it very slowly but I need to increase my speed. I need to spend some time figuring out how to do that and possibly what I need to write down pre-exam and hit that every day.

    Now - the reason I decided to start posting - I'm getting the concepts of the CCENT and as we progress in class and in my own reading I'm keeping up. But today I started taking some of the earlier chapter tests from Odom (I've read up to chapter 13 in Odom and we're up to Chapter 6 in Lammle) and realized - I'm not retaining the nitty gritty for the exam.

    I need to figure out a new plan _now_ before I get to far ahead and there's too much material to relearn.

    I have plenty of resources and I'm ok with picking up something else but can anyone suggest how to repurpose what I have or recommend something I don't have.
    1. Keep practicing, google practice websites for subnetting because they have tons of problems for practicing. You can practice writing down bit increments in a table...128, 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1. That is a pretty quick and easy way to calculate the mask.

    2. Don't just read and expect to retain the concepts...you will not be able to do this. You have to keep studying the concepts, especially as you get further out from originally learning them. I would take notes personally...even though people claim they don't need to...studies still show it helps with retention.
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  7. Senior Member stunnedsoup's Avatar
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    #6
    IMO, I wouldn't sweat not being able to retain the minutiae after your 1st pass of the books. I tried doing this for my CCENT and it drove me nuts and stressed me out. I changed my plan and decided to read through everything once, take solid notes (even though I had no idea what the notes were in a few cases), retain at least the general ideas and then move on. After going through everything once, I went through again with a fine-toothed comb. Videos were my supplement. Between the videos and going through my notes again, I was able to retain more of the small details. Another thing I did was memorize key tables and numbers. Obviously, subnetting for ICND1. In addition, I rote memorized things like trunking admin modes, admin distances, cabling, etc.

    Another random note: I used some random methods to memorized things. Ex: I always mixed up the EIGRP and OSPF ADs. To make sure I always knew 90 = EIGRP and 110 = OSPF, I would use a birthday of a person I know who was born in 1990 ('90) and whose name started with an "E" (for EIGRP). So...'90 Ethan = 90 EIGRP. And that means the other, 110, is OSPF. Not sure if that made any sense. But oh well!
    Last edited by stunnedsoup; 02-21-2016 at 11:51 PM.
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  8. Senior Member JamesKurtovich's Avatar
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jetb2 View Post
    After a couple stops and starts I'm on the road to CCNA-ville. I've been lurking around here getting the lay of the land. I'm 43y/o who's been a sys admin doing desktop and light network support for most of my career and I'm moving up at work slowly and I need my skills to match my duties.

    Tools:

    CCNA class through RPI (local college)
    Lammle CCNA book (it's our class text)
    Odom CCENT book
    Pearson network simulator
    Udemy videos - Chris Bryant

    I'm (finally) getting subnetting and can do it very slowly but I need to increase my speed. I need to spend some time figuring out how to do that and possibly what I need to write down pre-exam and hit that every day.

    Now - the reason I decided to start posting - I'm getting the concepts of the CCENT and as we progress in class and in my own reading I'm keeping up. But today I started taking some of the earlier chapter tests from Odom (I've read up to chapter 13 in Odom and we're up to Chapter 6 in Lammle) and realized - I'm not retaining the nitty gritty for the exam.

    I need to figure out a new plan _now_ before I get to far ahead and there's too much material to relearn.

    I have plenty of resources and I'm ok with picking up something else but can anyone suggest how to repurpose what I have or recommend something I don't have.

    I haven't scheduled the ICND 1 exam yet so I don't have a strict deadline but I was hoping to aim for early to mid April. But only if I'm confident I can remember things.

    Thanks - Jim
    Retention relies on focus and exposure. You may need to dedicate more time of the day to studying, whether it's watching videos, listening to podcasts, reading, or doing exercises in a lab or simulation.
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  9. Senior Member
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    #8
    Reviewing the material is just as important as learning it first time. Try to come up with a review schedule based on this curve:
    forgetting_curve.png
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    #9
    I find the Lammle book really good for learning. I also am writing a lot of the abbreviations down along with taking a large amount of notes. Not for going back and studying but I tend to learn better by reading and writing it down. Everyone is different though, I also find listening to music helps focus me in on the task at hand.
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  11. Member Cleverclogs's Avatar
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    #10
    It does take a bit of time to sink in, especially when doing subnetting at first. When I was studying for ICND1 I always made sure to have some music playing to help, preferably by headphones to cut down on the background distractions. My favourite studying playlist is this one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgpJ...I3tDbY&index=1

    One other thing is that I would always take a break for a few minutes every hour or so. One to rest my eyes, and two just to help with "information overload". The human brain is like a sponge, it can only absorb so much before you need to wring it out a bit
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  12. Senior Member koz24's Avatar
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by jetb2 View Post
    Google Nuvigil

    "Controlled substance"

    ...noted.
    You can get Nuvigil prescribed off-label for all sorts of issues. Just tell your doc you heard it's a good cognitive enhancer and would like to try it.
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  13. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #12
    Nuvigil is more for staying awake like it's peer Provigil. It's supposed to help without causing the mental fatigue or "crash" that you experience from other drugs but in reality, there are some side effects still and after awhile of taking it, you definitely get fatigued. I was prescribed it back in the day for shift work sleep disorder. Working two full time jobs with rotating schedules, it definitely did keep me awake when I needed to stay awake but I would say that I wasn't very mentally alert or focused since... well... exhaustion still was happening. I just had the ability to stay awake a bit better. When I stopped working 2 jobs full time back in 2010 or 2011, I ended my prescription of it.

    Adderall can definitely help on focus as a treatment to ADHD but doctors don't typically prescribe it like candy since at it's core, it's amphetamine and there is a lot of people that try to get prescribed it to get high or resell it. If you feel you honestly do have genuine focus issues outside of just trying to study something that doesn't click for you, I'd definitely say go see your doctor and let them decide. For myself, personally, I've always had a VERY hard time focusing on meetings, conversations for long periods of time, studying, etc on a personal and professional level and I was prescribed as having ADHD as a teenager, but I never did anything about it as an adult until recently. I definitely say that it helped to have a talk with my doctor and getting something to focus. On a personal, professional, and educational level, It's helped. That being said, I wouldn't recommend going and fishing for prescriptions if it's just hard to focus on studying stuff your mind perceives as boring and hoping that it helps - it won't. Adderall or any other medication without motivation to want to learn that material just means your mind will focus - but probably still not one the stuff you want it to focus on.

    Soooo... besides medication, here's what I would recommend:
    - Find a study schedule that works for you. Some people like long study sessions but it seems like it might not be your style. I've heard that short study sessions with a 5-10 minute break in between works well for some people and it gives their brain a chance to relax and retain a bit.
    - Set realistic study goals. Don't tell yourself that you'll read 50 pages a day if it's going to drive you nuts or you'll be rushing. If 20 pages is what's more realistic and gives it a chance to sink it, set your goal at a modest 20 pages
    - Alternate between reading and labbing. Don't just read the book and then try to lab everything at the end if you're having a hard time letting it sink in
    - Make sure you're physically healthy so your mentally alert - eat well, exercise, etc.


    Good luck, OP!
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