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5 Free Stocking Stuffer Study Resources


Preparing for a certification exam is tricky business. But with the holiday season upon us, we’re feeling extra jolly and wanted to pass along some of our favorite free study resources.

1. Flashcards

Studying for a certification exam inevitably requires some rote memorization. And what better way to master that memorization than with flashcards? (Huh. Maybe our elementary school teachers had some good ideas after all!)

There are several good flashcard resources available including and, but our favorite is Most sites have libraries of existing flashcards that likely align with your training goals. You can use those sets to create your own flashcards and quiz yourself on the alphabet soup of acronyms and terms you need to know for your exam.

You can also use the flashcards that accompany select CBT Nuggets training courses.

2. Vendor community forums 

There is an abundance of great information out there provided by your fellow IT pros who are pursuing similar certification goals.

Here’s a short list of popular forums that our learners find helpful:

Take some time to explore the vendor community or discussion forums to find a wealth of information as you continue to prepare for your exams.

3. Practice exams 

Testing your knowledge on a platform that is similar to that of the actual certification exam(s) is tremendously helpful.

If you’re a CBT Nuggets subscriber, Transcender® Practice Exams are included with your subscription, so get to testing! Learn how to get more out of your practice exam experience by watching Keith Barker’s quick video.

If you’re not a subscriber (what are you waiting for? You can start with a free week today!), there are other options available:

  • – A decent resource, though most of the available practice exams are for older exams. If you’re looking for practice in managing your exam time, decoding tricky test questions, and working through simulation questions, this is a good resource, even if it doesn’t provide the most current content.
  • – This resource has a good representation of practice exams for Microsoft, CompTIA, and Cisco. It has a mix of older and newer exams.
  • – For those pursuing CompTIA certifications, this is a great resource to test your knowledge. offers both older and newer exams, so take advantage of the variety to see if you’re ready for your exam.

4. Home (or Virtual) Labs

When it comes to preparing for certification exams, there might be no better way to ensure you’re learning well than to get your hands a little dirty.

Hands-on practice in lab environments is critical to your success! If you’re a CBT Nuggets subscriber, we offer virtual labs with a growing number of our courses that are aligned with the training material and developed by our expert trainers. CBT Nuggets Virtual Labs are included with your subscription.

If you’re not a subscriber, there are several options that can help you prepare for your exam.

  • Microsoft TechNet Virtual Labs – Microsoft has a fantastic array of virtual labs to choose from. If you’re training up for a Microsoft certification, browse the TechNet virtual lab library to put your new skills to work.
  • GNS3 – GNS3 is a graphical network simulator that a lot of folks in the Cisco world use. It’s a great resource that lets you design complex network topologies.
  • CiscoConsole – CiscoConsole offers a variety of resources that are helpful to the Cisco learner, not least of all being a great list of free Cisco lab simulators. Take a look and choose the right one for your study needs!

If you need a little help building your home lab, we have some great free training on our YouTube channel to get you started with GNS3, Wireshark, and, the not free, VIRL.

5. CBT Nuggets Learner Community 

Training on your own is tough. But digging into your training with the camaraderie and help of other IT pros is awesome! So, join our Learner Community!

Our community has designated channels for Cisco, cloud, CompTIA, job/career, Linux, Microsoft, and VMware, giving you convenient ways to connect with other learners working through the same challenges you are.

Use these excellent (virtual) stocking stuffer study resources to supplement your CBT Nuggets training as you prepare for your certification exams.

Happy holidays and happy studying!


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CBT Nuggets has everything you need to learn new IT skills and advance your career — unlimited video training and Practice Exams, Virtual Labs, validated learning with in-video Quizzes, Accountability Coaching, and access to our exclusive community of IT professionals.

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