The CCNA, which stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate, is a certification for IT top security. It is one of the most reputable and respected certificates in the world. It is an associate-level certificate for IT networking, and it boosts the professional career of the candidates, providing them with better jobs and increased pay. The CCNA certification is proof that an individual is capable of operating, configuring, and troubleshooting routed and switched networks.
People who are either experienced engineers or an enthusiast who is just beginning his networking career often think about getting this prestigious certification. Though the one who wishes to attempt and pass the CCNA must be ambitious and committed to passing it, his better preparation makes a huge difference in the results.
The CCNA exam holds for 90 minutes and has about 60 to 70 questions in it. This exam can only be passed with adequate preparation, and it’s not always sure that you may pass it in the first attempt. The CCNA exam costs from $325 to $600 based on which certification you chose, ie, Security, Routing and Switching, Service Provider, and Wireless CCNA Certificate. You can know more details about the Cisco CCNA exam in the provided official guide by the Cisco organization.
Following three exams are vital to get the CCNA certification:
In order to get your certification, you need to pass one of two exams.
- ICND1 Exam (100-101) and the ICND2 (200-101)
- Combined CCNA Exam (200-120)
The following are some tips you can follow while preparing for a Cisco CCNA exam.
1. Collect Relevant Material
Preparing for Cisco CCNA will require you to gather all the source information you can find into your account. Everything ranging from specified books, Cisco Networking Academy materials, videos, and online courses such as articles and blogs, etc. the books that are suggested as the resource material for preparing for Cisco CCNA exam are
- Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Foundation Learning Guide Library CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Official Cert Guide Library
- CCNA Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide, 3rd Edition
2. Attend Classroom Training
Classroom training is the best way to gain hands-on knowledge. Through a physical environment surrounded by conversations of the subject, you tend to absorb everything really well. You should join classroom training to practice and prepare for the Cisco CCNA exam.
3. Divide the course material
This bulk of information and knowledge can get quite a load on your mind to cram it all. So, to memorize everything better, you should divide the course material into sections and give more importance to those that prefer or find interest in it. And after memorizing those, you can come to less interesting parts and deal with them afterward. A better approach would be to get a know-how of the concepts from the books and then find more in-depth information about them from online blogs. For books, choose the ones suggested by Cisco Press that are official exam certification guides as they are the most authentic resource.
4. Organize Your Knowledge
Having all the resource materials at one place in one account is the first step. The next is to devise a proper plan that will help you prepare the entire course in a better way. This plan must be your very own strategy towards learning for long. You can either choose to write it all on a paper and then learn everything, or you can directly start memorizing from the resource materials. In this part of your preparation of the CCNA exam, time management, and organizational skills will be the most important and result generating. They will help you learn better. At one go per day, you should learn one chapter. This way, you will be able to cover the whole syllabus in minimum time and can spend the rest of the time performing model tests.
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5. Make Notes
Having to go through so much information and then having the responsibility to keep it all in mind can get a bit too exhaustive. You might lose a lot of information if you don’t make notes. Making notes of the important parts will allow you to memorize them as a separate section of the whole book in your brain. You can also do marking and underlining practices of the important information to memorize it for long. Buy a nice notebook and keep taking notes of whatever seems important and might appear in the exam. Keep going through your notebook after your preparation from the provided resources is complete. You should memorize all the notes you make and keep going through them from time to time before the exam to keep the important information fresh.
6. Do A Lot Of Practice
Practicing will help you get a better hold over how you will perform in the final exam. You must go through as many practice tests and practice labs as possible; many people prefer using Cisco Packet Tracer to practice labs for all of the Cisco exams. This will not only help you do well in the exam but will also help you in your career as an engineer. Putting the theory into practice will be an interesting and challenging part of your learning process. Spare some special time for memorizing skills like subnetting, configuring, troubleshooting, etc. the following labs are recommended to pass the CCNA exam:
- CCNA ROUTE Lab Manual, 2nd Edition
- CCNA SWITCH Lab Manual, 2nd Edition
- CCNA TSHOOT Lab Manual, 2nd Edition
7. Focus On The Objectives Of The Exam
Make your self familiar with the official exam objectives. These objectives are the content that is most likely to appear in the exam you are taking. Make this content a guideline for you while you are learning and preparing. You can check the exam objective on the official Cisco certification page. You can maximize your focus on these concepts and ensure that you don’t miss any information provided in them. These objectives are the parts the official organization will be focusing more on as compared to the rest.
8. Join Support Groups That Provide Help In Preparation
You may find many online support groups that help each member to prepare perfectly for the Cisco CCNA exam by providing them with notes and essential resources. Many teachers share their personal experiences with these groups, as well. You may find such groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.
9. Draw And Use Mind Maps
Apart from making your notes, making mind maps and drawings will help you get a better understanding and simplify the concepts and mechanisms included in the CCNA and CCNP program. As you will have a bulk of information in books such as the terms, technologies, commands, and numbers, it will be better to have a blank paper along. Draw and visualize everything that you are listening to or reading. Many instructors worldwide use drawings to explain the technologies and terms of the courses. Making mind maps will help you retain information for longer durations. A colorful, distinct looking diagram is sure to stay in your memory rather than a plain black text.
10. Study Attentively
While preparing for the CCNA Cisco exam, make sure that you don’t pass away any slight piece of information without having a good understanding of it. Keep a closer eye to the concepts you didn’t fully understand. Don’t ever let the concept pass by without understanding it fully. Refer to blogs and articles online to clear all your concepts. Try watching videos about difficult concepts as videos will help you solve any query of yours regarding the subject.
11. Schedule Practice Tests
Have a practice test way before your actual exam date. Try self-checking yourself about what you have learned and how much knowledge you have got about the courses. This way, you will be able to know which areas of your course need more attention. These tests will help you better visualize what the real exam will be like. You will also be able to check where you need improvement. Your confidence level, while solving practice test questions, will justify what parts you must focus more on. You can also find samples of scenario-based questions for free on the web for the preparation of the Cisco CCNA exam.
12. Refresh Your Knowledge Before The Exam
Once you are fully prepared for your CISCO CCNA exam, you start taking practice tests and labs. But it is suggested that as the final exam date approaches, you must take out time to revise the whole course. You should refresh your knowledge about all the terms and see if you have missed any part or have forgotten something or not. Your preparation must be done and dusted way a month before the final exam. In the last few weeks, you must be spending your entire time to find out new questions about the subjects in online forums and mock test platforms. This will help you significantly grasp the concepts of networking that will appear in your CCNA certification.
13. Focus On The ICDN
ICDN is the Cooperative Deployment Network copyright 1988-2018. The CCNA exam has many questions based on the topics TCP/IP studies to the most exhaustive routing protocols that have spanning trees. Having so much to cover, the CCNA exam might seem a tough one to clear. It is recommended that you focus on the ICDN, which is the base of all the types of Cisco CCNA exams. Doing so will make you go through the length and breadth of the concepts and topics.
14. Consider Getting Into The Cisco Networking Academy Program
Joining the Cisco Networking Academy program will help you completely master every concept required in the Cisco certificates. This way, you will be able to practice on real equipment, have a colleague collaboration, and share knowledge and ideas while learning from the instructor. Having an instructor to guide you through each topic and to share his personal experience will be far more beneficial for you than preparing for the exam on your own. This academy will provide you with all that you need to pass the Cisco CCNA exam though you should visit blogs and articles for more information and clearing your concepts about the terms, having the official books provided by the Cisco itself will give you maximum knowledge.
15. Don’t Find Painless Solutions
We all know “no pain is no gain.” Your hard work and utmost dedication will be the only thing that will assure you of passing the exam. You can not do something difficult in the entire world only based on more hoping and wising than actually working hard for it. The certification will affirm that you have the required knowledge and skills that you have achieved through hard work and utmost dedication. You should believe that there is nothing that cant be achieved with the right passion and hard work. Even if you don’t clear the exam in the first attempt, there are still more attempts available for you to reappear in the exam. But don’t ever wish to pass the exam without doing adequate preparation. Believe that you will pass, but also know that you may not as well.
The CCNA exam is seen as the most prestigious certification in the world. Having it, you won’t only have doors opened to your networking success but will also be able to make your recognition as a networking expert. You will also get global recognition. This certificate will prove you more knowledgeable and expert as compared to your non-certified peers.
Many online training websites provide you with complete CCNA Routing and Switching certification training.
The training provided there is of top quality, learning content designed by the experts of the field and also gives you industry-related projects and mock exams. You can get everything you require to pass the test from these training sessions. This way passing the exam and grasping concepts about LAN, VAN, and IP addressing will get far easier for you.
Cisco provides you with a huge collection of resource materials that you will find helpful during the preparation of the CCNA exam. Taking practice tests and labs will be of extreme importance in passing the exam. You are provided with practice tests for each certificate Cisco provides by Cisco itself. You can find them on the official website of Cisco.