Well-respected and renowned, there’s no doubt that obtaining the Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing and Switching (CCNA) certification can give you an edge over other candidates.
Unfortunately, as evidenced by the many posts about failing the exam, it’s also not a test to be undertaken lightly or where you can get away with cramming. To help out with this difficult (but still obtainable) certification, we’ve prepared an all-inclusive study guide to get you on the right path.
We’ll start out going over the exam’s format and objectives and then dive into study materials. If you’re just here for the study guides, jump ahead here. For the rest of you, welcome! This is the ultimate guide to the CCNA exam.
Why Take the CCNA?
It’s true that there are a number of other reputable networking certification such as CompTIA’s Network+. However, while this could be a good choice depending on your career goals, Cisco certifications are notoriously hard and held in high regard by recruiters and hiring managers.
If you’ve had some experience in IT and want to take your networking career to the next level, the CCNA is the way to get there. As for your career outlook with a CCNA, here’s the rundown:
- Mean salary: $80,873
- Most common job titles:
With the demand for network and computer systems administrators expected to grow as much as 28 percent by 2020, it’s clear this is a career that’s not going anywhere soon. To learn more about our CCNA program, contact us at the link below.
Exam Delivery & Overview
Once you’ve decided to pursue your CCNA, there are two different ways to take the exam. First, there’s the 200-125 Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices: Accelerated (CCNAX) exam which grants you the full CCNA.
Then, there’s the two-exam approach with Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices (ICND1) Part 1 & Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices (ICND2) Part 2. The first of these exams will grant you the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT), an interim step in the process. The second gives you your full CCNA.
While the study guides below will be helpful for both tests, we’ll be focusing on 100-105 ICND1 and 200-105 ICND2. Simply put, the CCNA exam is no small feat. Compressing the information into one exam makes it that much harder. Therefore, we highly recommend taking the two-exam format.
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Exam Quick Facts
- Exam Number: 100-105 ICND1 & 200-105 ICND2
- Associated Certifications: CCNA Routing and Switching
- Duration: 90 minutes each (45-55 questions)
- Cost: $330 ($165 for each exam)
The focus of the first exam will be testing skills and knowledge relating to network fundamentals, LAN switching technologies, routing technologies, infrastructure services, and infrastructure maintenance. In the second, the focus will continue on LAN switching technologies and expand to IPv4 and IPv6 routing technologies, WAN technologies, infrastructure services, and infrastructure maintenance.
The following are general guidelines for the content likely to be included on the exam.
Study Guides, Labs, and Other Resources
The Cisco website provides a robust amount of study materials, both free and paid, that you can use to prepare for the exam. You can find study materials for ICND1 here and materials for ICND2 here. Some guides are completely free and others have a cost associated with them. Overall, the materials include study sessions with industry experts, an up-to-date wiki with internetworking basics, practice questions, virtual labs, and more.
Supplementary Study Materials
If you’re interested in a specific topic, you can find more in-depth materials like this companion document on transitioning to IPv6. You can also find videos/seminars on specific concepts, and study groups. For more supplementary materials to keep in mind while you’re preparing for the exam, check out the Cisco blog here.
Flashcards & Apps
- CCNA Flash Cards: User-uploaded, free interactive flashcards from Quizlet.
- CCNA Flashcards: Flashcards app for under $4.00 with more than 530 cards.
- CCNA Routing and Switching Prep — by Todd Lammle: Costs around $10. In need of an update, but still a helpful app from CCNA master Todd Lammale. Apple products only.
- CCNA Practice Exam Prep 2018: Free with in-app purchases. A newer app, but well-reviewed by some. Apple products only.
- Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching 200-125 Official Cert Guide Library (2016): By Wendell Odom. Contains more than 600 practice exam questions and more than 2 hours of video training, plus the CCENT and CCNA Network Simulator Lite Editions with 43 free Network Simulator labs.
- CCNA Routing and Switching Complete Study Guide: By Todd Lammle. Contains hands-on labs help you gain experience in critical procedures and practices. The network simulator provides a realistic lab environment so you can practice at your own pace. Includes practice questions, flashcards, video instruction, and an extensive glossary of terms.
- 31 Days Before Your CCNA Routing & Switching Exam (Digital Study Guide): By Allan Johnson. This text provides a day-by-day guide and checklist to organize, prepare, and review. Each day in this guide breaks down an exam topic into a manageable bit of information to review using short summaries.
- 101 Labs for the Cisco CCNA Exam: Exam – 200-125 and 100-105: By Paul W Browning and Farai Tafa. This text is designed to help you quickly and easily gain the hands-on skill and speed to get you through the CCNA and CCENT exams and beyond.
Study with an Expert
As you can see from this list, the amount of information out there about the CCNA can be overwhelming. While self-study works great for some, it’s nice to have some assurance when you’re about to take these exams.
At LeaderQuest, we provide quick, comprehensive training that can help you get certified, prepare for a new career, and get hired in a snap.
Looking to dive into a full schedule of classes? Or are you trying to work around a full-time job? We offer classes during the day, at night, online, and on campus to accommodate every schedule and learning style.
With live-virtual labs, a wealth of extra study materials, and industry-expert instructors, we provide you with everything you need to pass your exam. Afterwards, our dedicated Employment Relations Manager will work with you to improve your resume, LinkedIn profile and interviewing skills to help you get hired.
Looking for a chance to pass your CCNA exam, get your Cisco certification, and start a career in networking? Sign up at the link below!