Taking the CCNA Exam

syriannoviceNetworking and Communications

Jul 13, 2012 (5 years and 11 months ago)


Taking the CCNA Exam
Article is provided courtesy of Cisco Press
Taking the CCNA Exam
Since its introduction in April 1998, CCNA certification has become the most sought
after entry-level network certification in the industry. Successful completion of the
CCNA exam proves that an individual has a solid understanding of TCP/IP, the OSI
model, switching, basic routing, WANs, and configuring Cisco devices. Many
professionals seek to become CCNA certified to receive a promotion or to increase job
knowledge. Employers hire CCNA-certified individuals because of the knowledge
obtained upon completion of the exam.
Mastering CCNA certification is not an easy task. Cisco has maintained the difficulty of
the CCNA exam by changing the exam requirements regularly. Many professionals have
tried to pass the exam without success. Some pass the exam the first time, most pass it
after multiple attempts, while some do not pass it at all. Not passing the CCNA exam the
first time can be costly and disappointing. After investing all the study time and effort
into the exam, the last thing expected is failure.
So how do you pass the CCNA exam the first time around? With the surplus of CCNA
exam materials being sold, what study materials should you use? This article will address
these issues and give you tips on how to successfully pass the CCNA exam the very first
Studying for the Exam
The most effective way to study for the CCNA exam is to use two types of study guides:
a primary exam certification guide and a secondary preparation product. A primary
certification guide is the guide used for the core learning; it is where all exam topics and
materials are learned and covered in detail. Examples include attending the authorized
Cisco course, Interconnecting Cisco Devices, and using Cisco Press self-study books
such as the CCNA Certification Library (CCNA Self-Study), exam which includes)
CCNA INTRO Exam Certification Guide (CCNA Self-Study, exam #640-821) and CCNA
ICND Exam Certification Guide (CCNA Self-Study, exam #640-811) by Wendell Odom.
By using a primary study guide, you will build a foundation and have a solid
understanding of the topics and technologies covered on the CCNA exam. After you have
gained a sound understanding, the next step is to use a secondary preparation product.
The purpose of the secondary preparation product is to help prepare for the actual exam
and is used 30 to 60 days before the actual exam. An example of a secondary study guide
is the CCNA Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack (CCNA Self-Study, exam #640-801),
also published by Cisco Press. By quizzing you on exam topics, providing note cards,
study sheets, and test engines, the secondary guide will help give you the understanding
and tidbits of information needed to pass the exam. The study guide will help solidify in
memory the topics covered on the exam.
The advantage of using primary and secondary products is twofold. First, you gain a solid
understanding of all topics because you are using two resources to prepare for the CCNA
exam. One resource provides in-depth coverage of the exam, and the other provides a
high-level look that will stimulate your memory on the topics learned ? and maybe
forgotten. Secondly, by using two products you ensure that you will be prepared for the
actual exam. The two study guides will help you maximize your learning potential.
Now that you have been introduced to the two-study product system, let's talk about the
most effective way to use the two guides. I will discuss this by using the above-
mentioned Cisco Press books as examples. Before getting started, it is crucial to find a
quiet place and time to study. Find the time when you feel most alert and ready to learn to
schedule your studies; doing this will help your brain absorb as much as possible. Odom's
books provide in-depth coverage of all the topics on the CCNA exam. They are easy to
read and present the information in a digestible manner. Use these books as your main
study guides, read every chapter, and take notes. If you do not understand any topic, go
back and reread it until you do. If possible, get access to some Cisco equipment and work
on the labs provided.
A final exam preparation resource is CCNA Flash Cards and Exam Practice Pack, which
includes more than 550 flash cards, study sheets, and a powerful test engine with router
simulation. Thirty days before your scheduled exam, use the flash cards to memorize the
information needed for the exam. If you need further clarification be sure to reference
your primary study guide.
Study the flash cards any chance you get so the information is committed to both your
short- and long-term memory. After you have studied the flash cards use the study sheets
and test engine the final week before your exam. The study sheets will help keep the
topics fresh in your mind, and the test engine will help prepare you for the exam format.
Constantly look over the study sheets, even hours before your exam. In fact, bring them
with you to the exam and review the study sheets right before sitting down to take the
exam. Before you begin, write down as much information as you can remember from the
study sheets, flash cards, and exam engine on the paper provided to you. You will be able
to use this paper as reference while taking your exam.
Passing the CCNA exam can be very easy if you use the right study methods. This article
discussed recommended methods and some of the resources available to help you achieve
your certification. Passing the CCNA exam the first time is very rewarding, so study
hard, study properly, take your time on the exam, and best of luck to you.