There are only a handful of books to select from when studying for the CCNP SWITCH 300-115 exam. It’s tough to make the right decision on a resource for an exam that costs $250 to sit in. My go-to book resource is Cisco Press. In short, I passed the CCNP SWITCH (300-115) exam on January 20th, 2015 with the assistance of CCNP SWITCH 300-115 Official Cert Guide.
When I started studying for this exam on October 31st, 2014, there wasn’t a book available covering the new objectives. I printed the exam objectives and started reading configuration guides. As soon as the books were available, I put an order in with Cisco Press and I was off.
The author, David Hucaby, did a great job with his explanations. The book itself isn’t as big as ROUTE. What I like about this book is it is easy to follow along with Cisco’s objectives. After passing the exam, I can say that it covers it very well. David helped me to understand topics where I was weak. It helped reinforce the fundamentals of Spanning Tree and redundancy such as GLBP.
Within the book are good diagrams and configuration examples. The little details are in there as well such as timers, intervals, etc. You’ll need to remember those for the exam.
In preparation for the exam, each chapter is preluded with a chapter quiz. I used those pre-chapter quizzes after I have read through the entire book. The questions are very good compared to the exam. I dig deeper into other topics where I score lower than 80%. Each chapter has anywhere from 10-15 questions so it’s not something to rely on.
At the end of a chapter are key points you need to know including commands that were used in the chapter. These tie back to a Memory Table which you can get on the CD which comes with the hard copy. The Memory Tables have helped me memorize important details for the exam. Not only are they useful for the exam but for the real world.
Also on the CD is a practice exam. The first question I asked myself was if the practice exam is anywhere near the real exam and will it be helpful. I’ve learned that it is best to use practice exams to gauge where you are and what your weak areas are. Focus most of your efforts on following the objectives. If you can answer the objectives then you’re on the right track.
Here is a good point about practice exams (PT = practice test):
When you register the book on Cisco Press you can get access to additional training material. Some of this includes a study planner in the form of an Excel document and some training videos as well.
Overall, CCNP Routing and Switching SWITCH 300-115 Official Cert Guide is an excellent resource for your studies. The topics are organized very well and can be matched up against the main objectives. While you can find all the study material online, the Official Cert Guide just takes the searching efforts away.
My tip is to make this book as your primary literature but have additional resources to help nail down the objectives and increase knowledge, such as video-based training.