How to pass CCNA Certification in first attempt?

“I would like to pass my CCNA, but I read on your website that there are several ways I can go about it. What is my best choice? And which courses and exams do I need?” It’s a question that is recurrently asked by IT professionals or their managers.

CCNA, officially called CCNA Routing & Switching, is the basis certification of Cisco and thus it is popular. And indeed: there are several possibilities for obtaining a CCNA certification. So it’s understandable that this is not always clear. Therefore an overview in this blog post.

What does a CCNA certification actually contain?

Cisco instructor, gives the following definition:

“CCNA is the basis certification of Cisco. The certification is well reputed and thus in popular demand. CCNA has become a milestone in the networking world.

What you can do with a CCNA certification? A lot! It proves that you have knowledge of several network techniques. Like Ethernet, IP networking and subnetting, Network Address Translation, WAN technologies and dynamic routing with Enterprise Grade Routing protocols as OSPF and EIGRP for instance. But also frequently used techniques like VLAN’s and spanning tree. Many of those techniques can be configured on Cisco routers and switches. You are also skilled in several troubleshooting scenario’s and the scaling of networks.

Passing the CCNA certification is sufficient for many network professionals to perform their daily network and management activities well. Network techniques that return in CCNA are furthermore convenient in the management of operating systems. When you possess the knowledge of CCNA it is for example also a lot easier to interpret, configure and troubleshoot Windows or Linux routing tables.”

How long is the CCNA certification valid?

The CCNA certification is valid for 3 years. To stay certified you can retake the CCNA exam or, if you want to certify yourself further, take an exam that is ‘higher’ than CCNA. Passing a CCNP exam will therefore also extend your CCNA certification.

Passing CCNA – option 1: 2 exams

If you have little or no experience in (Cisco) networking and have never operated the prompt of a Cisco IOS switch or router choosing this option is the wisest choice. In that case you can choose option 1. You will take 2 exam.

17th May 2016 – UPDATE: the ICND1 and ICND2 exams have been revised.

Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1) | 100-105 ICND1
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2) | 200-105 ICND2

The 2 courses are well matched: the second course offers both the broadening and deepening of the first course.

After the passing of the second exam you have obtained the CCNA certification and are allowed to call yourself CCNA Routing & Switching certified.

Passing CCNA – option 2: 1 exam

If you have more proficiency in (Cisco) networking, and are in the possession of general network knowledge like IP networking and subnetting, and have expertise in general tools like SSH and Telnet. In that case you can choose option 2. You will take 1 exam.

17th May 2016 – UPDATE: the CCNA exam has been revised.

Cisco Certified Network Associate v3.0 | 200-125 CCNA

After the passing of the exam you have obtained the CCNA certification and are allowed to call yourself CCNA Routing & Switching certified.


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