The Ultimate Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Study Guide

The Ultimate Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Study Guide

Well-respected and renowned, there’s no doubt that obtaining the Cisco Certified Network Associate Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions (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.

Jump to study guides, supplemental materials, flashcards/apps, or textbooks.

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.

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Exam Delivery & Overview

While there used to be a few different CCNA exams, there’s now just one exam to take to get this certification: 200-301 CCNA.

Simply put, the CCNA exam is no small feat. Read on for more info on the exam and lots of resources.

Exam Overview

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Exam Quick Facts

  • Exam Number: 200-301 CCNA
  • Associated Certifications: Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions (CCNA)
  • Duration: 120 minutes
  • Cost: $300

The focus of the exam will be testing skills and knowledge relating to network fundamentals, LAN switching technologies, routing technologies, infrastructure services, and infrastructure maintenance, 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.

Cisco CCNA Exam Study GuidesStudy 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 the CCNA exam here. Overall, the materials include training videos with industry experts, an up-to-date community with networking 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


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!

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The Ultimate Study Guide for the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Exam

The Ultimate Study Guide for the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Exam

Let’s be honest, no one likes studying. No matter the subject, it’s tempting to procrastinate. After all, some tests you can take on an hour of sleep and two cans of Red Bull. Unfortunately, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is not one of them.

Given the ever-growing importance of cyber security, maybe it’s no surprise that the CEH is rated as one of the hardest exams in the IT world. A four-hour long affair that costs $950 or more, it’s not something you want to do more than once. That means studying smart is everything if you want to learn how to ethically hack.

Fortunately, there’s no need to go it alone. We’ve prepared a list of resources and handy advice so you can pass with flying colors.

Exam Overview

“To beat a hacker, you need to think like a hacker.”
—EC-Council on CEH

The Certified Ethical Hacker is a vendor-neutral certification focused on cyber security and penetration testing. Its goal is to certify that a professional is able to identify weakness and vulnerabilities that a malicious hacker could exploit. In ethical hacking or, “white hat,” hacking, this information is used to help an organization strengthen its defenses.

Here’s the lowdown on the test.

The purpose of the CEH credential is to:

  • Establish and govern minimum standards for credentialing professional information security specialists in ethical hacking measures.
  • Inform the public that credentialed individuals meet or exceed the minimum standards.
  • Reinforce ethical hacking as a unique and self-regulating profession.

If you’re not sure if you want to get your CISSP or CEH, check out our blog on 5 Essential IT Certifications for Cyber Security Jobs.

CEH Exam Quick Facts

  • Exam Voucher Cost: $950 – $1,199 (this is the Certified Ethical Hacker certification price)
  • Number of Questions: 125
  • Duration: Four hours
  • Format: Multiple choice
  • Test Delivery: ECC EXAM, VUE

Source: EC-Council

Though it may seem pricey, CEH-certified individuals make an average salary of $90,000 per year and as much as $126,381. With earning potential like that, the investment is well worth it.

CEH Prerequisites

The CEH program requires the candidate to have two years of work experience in the Information Security domain and should be able to provide a proof of the same as validated through the application process unless the candidate attends official training. If a candidate has completed official EC-Council training either at an Accredited Training Center, via the iClass platform, or at an approved academic institution, the candidate is eligible to attempt the relevant EC-Council exam without going through the application process. LeaderQuest is an Accredited EC-Council Training Center

Free Resources

Of course, everybody wants free hacker training! Fortunately, the EC-Council provides a variety of free resources to get you started. Begin by heading over to the CEH assessment which provides 50 questions that will give you an idea of how prepared you are to dive in. It’ll help you gauge what needs the most attention.

Next, the EC-Council’s comprehensive exam blueprint dives deep into which subjects will be covered in the text, how they are weighted, and even how many questions will be devoted to each topic. Going one step further, the EC-Council CEH Candidate Handbook v2.2 covers not only the nitty-gritty details, but also lays out a CEH career path, discusses the application process, and even outlines a strict code of ethics that white hat hackers must follow.

If you need to study on-the-go, this free EC-Council CEH™ v9 Exam Prep (which includes some in-app purchases) provides you with 600 practice questions over seven different subjects. It’s available for iPhone, Android, and through Amazon. It’s perfect for Certified Ethical Hacker online training.

Lastly, it’s important to stay in the mindset of a hacker and the EC-Council white papers are a great way to do that including the 10 Deadly Sins in Virtualization Security and 5 phases every hacker must follow.

Best Textbooks

Internet resources are great, but they can only take you so far. At some point, putting money into your CEH study is a wise choice. Here are the most highly-rated textbooks and what you can expect to learn from them.

Study with an Expert

No matter how hard you study alone, there’s bound to be gaps. If you’ve hit a wall in your studying, or are worried you’re missing key information that will help you pass, don’t go through it alone. At LeaderQuest, we offer a 5-day Certified Ethical Hacker training course taught by industry expert instructors. They know what they’re talking about because they’ve been there and had years of real experience. They’re ready to help you get certified while also preparing you for the real-life challenges you’ll face during your cyber security career.

LeaderQuest classes come with a CEH VUE exam voucher (value $1,199) and an opportunity to take the test at our onsite location. That way, you don’t have to stress about the details and can focus on passing. You also won’t have to pay the $100 eligibility application fee for self-study students. If you ever feel like you need a refresher, we offer free class resits to all our graduates.

No matter what your schedule, we can work with you. Our classes are available on campus, online, during the day, or at night. We will work with your schedule to get you certified and strengthen your earning potential.

Don’t tear your hair out studying for your Certified Ethical Hacker. Train with the experts at LeaderQuest and kick your cyber security career up a notch. Your next Ethical hacking job is out there today.

Learn more about LeaderQuest training.


The Ultimate Study Guide for CompTIA IT Exams: A+, Network+, Security+, CASP

The Ultimate Study Guide for CompTIA IT Exams: A+, Network+, Security+, CASP

Failing an exam can feel like a punch to the gut. You’ve worked hard, studied harder, and given up your free time only to fall short. If you find yourself in this difficult position, don’t worry! It’s more common than you think, even for seasoned IT professionals.

Each exam costs $200-$400 depending on the test so it’s an investment (even though it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what you could earn long-term.) You don’t want to get stuck taking the exam too many times.

That’s why we’re providing a comprehensive list of study guides, exam prep, and tools to help you succeed at certifications such as CompTIA’s A+, Network+, Security+, and CASP exams. The first time. Read on for the keys to success.

(Know which cert you’re looking for? Jump to A+, Network+Security+, or CASP.)

A+ Exam

When it comes to starting your career, A+ is one of the most recognized certifications in the world. Most major computer software and hardware manufacturers are actually members of CompTIA including Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Compaq, and others. The exam is an hour and a half with 90 multiple-choice and performance based questions.

CompTIA offers a number of resources, both free and paid, for test takers. You can get sample questions and exam objectives for free after signing up via email. They offer a number of alternate media for varying prices in their Self Study and Training including books, online courses, and even arranging training. There are also free flash cards and a low-cost A+ app for your phone or tablet.

While there’s an abundance of other free study materials out there, ensuring the consistency and currency of these sources can be difficult. If you’re concerned about passing the A+ exam, LeaderQuest offers a 15-day foundational training course which includes both A+ and ITIL. The average salary for A+ certified professionals is around $50,000.

If you’re new the IT world, certifications communicate to employers that you’ve got the skills to do the job. Many hiring managers actually require A+ to even be considered. By adding the ITIL certification, you’ll be broadening your skill set and setting a strong foundation to build on if your ambitions are for cyber security, network security, or others.

See our full list of A+ resources below:

Pass the A+ Exam!

Network+ Exam

Even though it’s an entry-level certification, there’s no shortage of threads around the internet about failing the Network+ exam.

We’ve already covered the value Network+ can have to your IT career and skillset, but as for the exam, Network+ covers the key skills needed to troubleshoot, configure and manage network systems.

Again, there are sample questions and exam details available on the CompTIA website. CompTIA has also published a basic list of what students should do ensure they pass the test. If you’re looking for a way to beef up your knowledge in your free time try out these free flash cards or the low-cost CompTIA app.

For IT professionals who are considering Network+, but may be open to broadening their qualifications and earning potential, LeaderQuest offers a 25-day Computer User Support Specialist courses which cover A+, Network+, and Security+. While we do have a five-day course solely dedicated to Network+, people in computer user support specialists roles can make an average of $60,000 a year. By adding more than one certification, your earning power increases.

See more studying resources below:

Pass the Network+ Exam!

Security+ Exam

The notoriously difficult Security+ exam recommends that you have at least two years of experience in IT administration. If you’re not sure if Security+ is really the right move for your career, we wrote a whole blog about it here. It’s extremely versatile with employers such as Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The test includes the following subjects:

  1. Network Security (21% of exam)
  2. Compliance and Operational Security (18% of exam)
  3. Threats and Vulnerabilities (21% of exam)
  4. Application, Data and Host Security (16% of exam)
  5. Access Control and Identity Management (13% of exam)
  6. Cryptography (11% of exam)

CompTIA offers sample questions and an exam overview for free. There’s also an official online app and flash cards for quick studying on the go. Interested in investing some money in some official study guides? This complete list of the best Security+ books is a good place to start.

If you’re getting your Security+ because you’re interested in cyber security, LeaderQuest’s 15-day Information Security Analyst course pairs Security+ with hacking certifications like CND and CEH. From 2015-2017, our Security+ classes boasted a 77% pass rate. This is a great entry point into the cyber world for anyone with at least two years of IT experience.

While a Security+ certification can net you between $40,000 and $90,000, depending on the company and position, an Information Security Analyst’s median income with $90,000 and they can make upwards of $115,000.

See more resources below:

Pass the Security+ Exam!


The CASP is the odd man out in this list because it’s a mastery-level certification. Often compared to the more well-known CISSP, the CASP is Ideal for IT professionals who’d rather stay in the hands-on technical aspect of their careers than go into management.

With around 90 performance-based and multiple-choice questions, this test clocks in at 165 minutes. CompTIA offers Sample Questions and Exam Objectives for free after users fill out a form. You can get free flash cards that cover acronyms or general test prep. CompTIA has also released an official “Certification Guide” which will provide you with the information you need to pass the CASP.

Since it is a newer certification, there are fewer resources available than for other tests. That’s why we offer a 15-day training course to help pros pass the test. The CASP is perfect for Department of Defense jobs because it fulfills DoD Directive 8570.1. This allows you to work for a number of positions some with salaries as high as $120,000 per year.

(Not sure if you want to take the CASP or the CISSP? See the pros and cons here.)

See more studying resources below:

Pass the CASP Exam!

What Happens if I Fail an Exam?

If you don’t nail your test on the first try, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Again, you’re not alone. CompTIA actually has an official retake policy for this very purpose.

No matter how good you are at studying alone, there are always going to be gaps. Even a small misstep on an IT certification exam can mean the difference between getting certified and failing. Not to mention the $10,000 a year in salary.

That’s where we come in. LeaderQuest classes are taught by trained professionals in their field of study. They know the exams inside and out and provide live simulations to help you practice your skills. With our flexible hours, night or day, and online or in person classes to suit your landing style, and we set you up for success. Once you graduate, we also offer resources to help you land a job.

If you need help passing a certification exam, or want to plan the next move in your IT career, contact LeaderQuest today!

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