1. Should I take the combined 802 exam, or the two separate ICND1 and 2 exams? I realize it will be easier to take the exams separately, but how much easier? Is the 802 exam twice as hard as the other 2? If it's not that much more difficult I'll probably take the combined exam. I don't really have a time limit on when I want to earn this by, so if it takes me several months to learn everything I need, then no big deal. I do well on exams, provided I know the material, but I'm not one of those people who can guess the correct answer repeatedly if I have no clue.
2. I'm going to put together a lab for the exam. I realize there are simulators that I could use, but I want to learn and potentially use what I learn in a future job and that means using actual equipment. So any suggestions? Which routers and switches should I get, and how many of each? I don't see myself every getting a CCNP, but I'll probably get a CCNA Security at some point. So on the one hand, I'd like equipment that I could use for both the CCNA and CCNA Security, but at the same, I probably won't get the CCNA Security for at least a year or two after the CCNA, so the exam might be updated by then and my equipment might be obsolete. Any thoughts? Also, there are a number of CCNA kits on ebay, does anyone recommend any kits, or should I just buy individual components and put it together all myself?
Also if I get a router off eBay, can I legally download and update the IOS to 12.4 myself or not? How do I know how much memory I need on the router?
3. As far as resources go, I pre-ordered the updated Wendell Odom CCNA library that's supposed to be out in a few weeks. Anything else you guys recommend? I don't really want to spend a lot of money on classes and the like, but if an extra 100 bucks on additional books or online videos will save me time and make passing the exam easier, I'm all for that.