The last few months, I have been trying to pass two different Cisco certification: CCNA and CCNA Collaboration. Most people who have attempted Cisco exams find they are difficult (bare in-mind that 'test' banks or kits are another issue).
I usually grab the official Cisco press books and start from there. Virtualization labs and equipment are nice if you can get them or have the time to configure them. I travel for work and I usually do not have time to setup these labs but the books and practice tests are usually good enough.
I passed the CCNA 200-125 exam barely; however, it covered nearly 2000 pages of material and I had 4 to 5 labs. One of the labs on Layer two with trunk ports did not work completely. I had some issues with an strange error on one of the ports. I have not managed to figure out what the error was nor have I seen it on any switches which I have configured.
As for the CCNA Collaboration 210-060, I have failed it two times. I did not find the exam extremely challenging because it was mainly a "fact check" examine. If that was the case, why did I fail it? Simple: the official materials did not have all the information tested on the exam. Even the list of recommended study materials on the certification exam site did not have all the information required to pass the exam. Basically, if you did not use one of these 'test' banks, then you have a high chance of failing.
The Pearson IT Certification prep practice exams do help prepare for the exam. However, they listed the passing score of 800 and not 860. This causes both confusing and possible first time failure when using the practice tests to gauge passing score.
Frustration and Third Retest
I am very frustrated at failing the exam (by 65 and 15 points respectfully for each attempt). The first exam had a large number of Cisco Unity and IM/Presence where the second exam seemed to be more balanced. I find that neither exam had much for CME CLI but some test takers said they had a fair portion of questions from CME CLI.
So, if there is any extra materials out there, let me know. I plan to retest again at the end of the month. I guess Cisco says "everything is on the test" and throw out the exam topics.