I have recently been spending most evenings working through the official Cisco press study guide for CCNA Security in advance of a three day book camp @ Firebrand training. Prior to attending the course I had read through the Examcram 2 CCNA Security book and had taken plenty of notes. Upon arriving on the course we discovered our instructor was Richard Deal, (Yes the PIX firewall guru). Richard was as you would expect a very knowledgable and extremly professional instructor, in fact just what I'd come to expect from Firebrand. The course was long days 8am through to 8pm then evening meal and then pre-study for the following day. The provided Labs for the course where excelent, all running in a rack based in Richard's home in Orlando, Florida.
The hardest part of the course for me was all the setup and encryption invloved in VPN's.
The new training centre is excellent:
Training Room: Very good, clean, temperate spot on.
Security: Access to training centre & training room via a swipe card 24 hours a day.
Drinks: Tea / Coffee / Soft Drinks all free and in copious supply.
Meals: All OK, in fact better than last time I attended.
Downsides: Nowhere quiet in the training centre to go and read through notes prior to actually taking the exam. So really we where stuck in the training room, the drinks area is too noisy for this.
Initial Study was with the following:
Examcram 2 study guide for CCNA Security (Much better that they used to be).
CBT Nuggets 640-553 (Excellent video's just take plenty of notes).
Measure Up practice tests (Excellent for finding area's of weakness).
You'll be glad to know that I took and passed CCNA Security 640-553 on the 18th November. I found the exam questions to be very fair with no trick questions. Please note: Simulators are in use for this exam.