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Preparation Guide for Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Exam

Preparation Guide for Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Exam

July 15th, 2019

Cisco Certification Network Associate: Exam Guide

About Cisco:

Networking is a process in which various devices connected in a network can communicate and share resources with each other. This is usually done by some means of medium such as optic cables or wirelessly. One such company that contributes to tremendous growth in this field is Cisco. It is an IT and networking company based in San Jose, California. This company develops and manufactures high-end networking devices, products and services. Cisco offers numerous certifications to people who want to work and advance in the field of networking.

Cisco certifications:

Cisco offers certifications in a total of seven levels:

  • Entry level
  • Associate level
  • Professional level
  • Expert level
  • Architect level
  • Specialist level and
  • DevNet

However, in this article, as we’re going to talk about Cisco Certified Network Associate exam (CCNA), let’s take a look at the different specializations one many earn a certification in:

Cisco associate level certifications:

  • Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA)
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Cloud
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Collaboration
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Data Center
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Industrial
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing and Switching
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Security
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Service Provider
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Wireless

What is Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification?

The CCNA certification is issued to associate level networking professionals by Cisco. This is one of the many certifications that can be obtained under Cisco. This CCNA certification endorses one’s ability to install, set up, configure, and troubleshoot a routed computer network. CCNA is a second level exam, the first being Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT).

Benefits of the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification:

  • With a CCNA certification, you are able to work exceptionally with switched and routed networks.
  • If you’re trying for a job, this certification lets employers know about what level you’re on in regards to their requirement.
  • Cisco has global recognition, so obtaining this certification lets you stand against other employees worldwide.
  • If you’re already working, a CCNA certification may increase chances for your promotion and for a salary hike.
  • Jobs in networking have a high demand because there are considerably a smaller number of certified professionals.
  • You don’t only have to do if for promotions and a lucrative salary. Personal growth is another thing you can obtain.
  • Global recognition is another added benefit.
  • Certification once obtained can be used to boost your career in networking or in the field of cybersecurity as per your choice.
  • A digital badge that is obtained by earning a certification can be shared on social media platforms to show off your achievements to the world.

Who is this exam for?

There is no restriction on who can take the exam. If you’re genuinely interested and want to give your best, you can go for it. A strong background in computer networking would be beneficial. Along with this, a one or more years of experience in implementing Cisco solutions, a good understanding of IP addressing and knowledge on networking fundamentals is recommended but not mandatory.

Cisco Certified Network Associate certification exam overview:

The CCNA Routing and Switching certification covers a wide variety of topics related to routed and switched networks.
In order to obtain a certification, you can choose between two types of exams that you would give. You can either attempt

Option 1:

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Composite
200-125 CCNA

Option 2:

Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices (ICND1) and Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices (ICND2)
100-105 ICND1
200-105 ICND2
As the name indicates, the CCNA composite exam (200-125 CCNA) is an integration of all the networking and switching basics, technologies and topics. Whereas ICND1 and ICND2 each contain one half of all the topics which makes it slightly easier and takes away burden while preparing for these individual exams. Now that you’ve got to know the exams, let’s take a look at the exam syllabus for each of these exams:

200-125 CCNA:

  • Network fundamentals
  • LAN switching technologies
  • IPv4 and IPv6 routing technologies
  • WAN technologies
  • Infrastructure services
  • Infrastructure security
  • Infrastructure management

100-105 ICND1:

  • Network fundamentals
  • LAN switching technologies
  • Routing technologies
  • Infrastructure services
  • Infrastructure maintenance

200-105 ICND2:

  • LAN switching technologies
  • IPv4 and IPv6 routing technologies
  • WAN technologies
  • Infrastructure services
  • Infrastructure maintenance

All three exams, 200-125 CCNA, 100-105 ICNDA1 and 200-105 CNDA1 are offered in 2 languages which are English and Japanese. The 200-125 CCNA exam costs 325 USD whereas both the ICNDA1 and ICNDA2 cost 165 USD each. CCNA, ICNDA1 and ICNDA2 exams are to be attempted in 110 minutes each. Each certification obtained is valid for a time period of 3 years. The certification exams consist of various types of questions like multiple choice and multi correct questions, drop and drop, fill in the blanks, router simulation, simlet and testlet. The CCNA exam contains 50-60 questions and both the ICNDA1 and ICNDA2 exams contain 40-50 questions each.

Exam 200-125 CCNA 100-105 ICNDA1 200-105 ICNDA2
Exam cost 325 USD 165 USD 165 USD
Exam Duration 110 minutes 110 minutes 110 minutes
Language English & Japanese English & Japanese English & Japanese
Validity 3 years 3 years 3 years
No. of Questions 50-60 40-50 40-50
Exam type Multi-correct and multi choice questions, Drag & drop, Fill in the blanks, Simulation, Simlet, Testlet Multi-correct and multi choice questions, Drag & drop, Fill in the blanks, Simulation, Simlet, Testlet Multi-correct and multi choice questions, Drag & drop, Fill in the blanks, Simulation, Simlet, Testlet

Important points to keep in mind before registering for the Cisco Certified Network Associate exam:

  • Starting from February 24, 2020, Cisco is rolling out a new CCNA certification which will replace all the CCNA certifications with specializations like networking and switching, security, cloud, etc. This new CCNA certification is an integration of a broad range of IT technologies.
  • Previously, multiple exams had to be taken in order to obtain be CCNA certified. From Feb 24,2020, one only has to take the 200-301 CCNA exam to be a certified Associate
  • Each question in the CCNA certification exam has different weightage of marks.
  • Proctored exams are the ones for which you have to go to an exam center and attempt it under the supervision of an invigilator. All CCNA exams are proctored.
  • Individuals between the age of 13-17 may attempt the exam with parent/guardian consent and obtain a certification.

Registering for the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification exam:

  • All the Cisco certification exams are conducted by Pearson VUE. Firstly, go to the official Pearson VUE website given here (https://home.pearsonvue.com/cisco).
  • Click on ‘Create Account’ and fill in the required details.
  • After you fill in all your details, search for the exam under ‘Proctored Exams’. If you want to register for the exam along with practice lab, search for the exam under the ‘Proctored Exams w/Practice Test or Learning Lab’.
  • You will need to fill out your exam center preference and timings and lastly pay the fee.
  • You’re all set to attempt the exam.

Preparing for the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification exam:

Online training:

‘GangBoard’ is an online platform which offers top notch training on Cisco certification exams. The course modules are updated frequently by experts to match industry standards. The training we provide is very interactive and matchless. You can enroll for the course here (https://www.gangboard.com/other-training/ccna-training).

Classroom and virtual training:

Cisco provides various classroom and virtual classroom programs for training in CCNA certification. However, the classroom training is limited to only a few places like Bangalore in India. For the 200-125 CCNA exam, there is a Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices: Accelerated (CCNAX) program which can be found here (https://learninglocator.cloudapps.cisco.com/GlobalLearningLocator/courseDetails.do?actionType=executeCourseDetail&courseID=8146). For the ICNDA1 and IDNDA2 the links to these classroom programs are here respectively (https://learninglocator.cloudapps.cisco.com/GlobalLearningLocator/courseDetails.do?actionType=executeCourseDetail&courseID=8144), (https://learninglocator.cloudapps.cisco.com/GlobalLearningLocator/courseDetails.do?actionType=executeCourseDetail&courseID=8145).

Learning labs:

The Cisco e-learning store has various labs and study materials available for purchase. Below, you can find the link to purchasing labs for ICNDA1 (https://learningnetworkstore.cisco.com/ccna-routing-and-switching/cisco-learning-labs-for-icnd1-v3-0-60-hour-180-day-labs-cll-icnd1-v3-0-60h180d-020210) and ICNDA2 (https://learningnetworkstore.cisco.com/ccna-routing-and-switching/cisco-learning-labs-for-icnd2-v3-0-70-hour-180-day-labs-cll-icnd2-v3-0-70h180d-020211) which cost 200 USD each.
The practice exam by MeasureUp for 200-125 CCNA certification exam costs 109 USD and is for a duration of 30 days. The link is available here (https://learningnetworkstore.cisco.com/ccna-routing-and-switching/cisco-certification-practice-exam-by-measureup-200-125-30-day-key-cpemu-ccna200125-30-020648).


Cisco offers lab environments in which you can get hand-on practice. The ‘Cisco Virtual Internet Routing Lab’ costs 199 USD and needs to purchased before you can start using it. The link to buy it is here (https://learningnetworkstore.cisco.com/cisco-virtual-internet-routing-lab).
There are also ‘Cisco Modelling Labs’ for which the current version is 1.5. These can also be purchased on the Cisco.

Study groups:

Studying with other people really has its benefits. All the members in the study group can engage with other and clear each other’s doubts. You can learn something new from the group members. Cisco has a CCNA Routing & Switching study group. Before you join, you must login first. So, start off by logging in and joining the group to make the most of it. Start by clicking on this link (https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/groups/ccent-ccna-routing-switching-study-group).
There is also a Facebook study groups in which its members post MCQs and study materials regularly. Here is the link (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ccnaexamprep/?ref=group_header).

Study material:

CCNA study material is available on the Cisco website (https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/certifications/ccna/ccna-exam/study-material). Once you open the link, you can select any study material from those available and then you will be redirected to ‘The Cisco Learning Network Store’ from which you can buy them.

Cisco Platinum Learning Library:

The Cisco Platinum Learning Library is open for everyone around the world. Users first get a 3-day free trial. The library contains over 400 training courses which cover Cisco technologies.


Just like study groups, these forums consist of discussions and answers to various questions. Forums will have so much information about any topic in networking you can think of. Here is a CCNA forum to get you started (https://www.reddit.com/r/ccna/).

Interview Questions:

Right after you earn your certification, you are already highly eligible. But for earning a job, you need to give interviews. These interview questions prepared by GangBoard are very helpful not only during your interview but also during the preparation for Cisco Certified Network Associate certification exam. Take a look at these CCNA interview questions (https://www.gangboard.com/blog/ccna-interview-questions-and-answers/).

What you need to do on the day of the exam:

  • You might think that you can first attempt the easy questions and then come back to the tough ones. But CCNA certification exam isn’t like that. Once you press on ‘next question’, you cannot go back to the previous question.
  • Be sure to carry two ID proofs with you to the exam center. One would need to be government issued and both of them should contain your signature. Just to be on the safe side, carry two government issued ID proofs.
  • On the day of your exam, your photograph and a digital signature would be taken.
  • After an unsuccessful attempt, you need to wait for 5 days starting from the day after a failed exam to give a retest.
  • You are not allowed to take anything with you to the exam center on the day of the exam. If you need a piece of paper, it will be provided inside the exam hall.


The Cisco Certified Network Associate certification exam is not very easy to be honest. Thorough practice on all the topics and modules ensures a good score. Start your preparation for CCNA with GangBoard. Being a top Online Training Institute with instructors from all over the world, when you train with us, you’re not only preparing for the CCNA exam but for your future as well. We ensure you’ll be in very good hands with us. If you have any queries, drop by a comment and we’ll back to you as soon as possible. GangBoard wishes you all the best for your exam!