Are you an IT professional who’s ready to take your career (and salary) to the next level? Earning your CCNA Cisco Certified Network Associate Certification by passing the CCNA exam is an excellent way to show employers that you know your stuff.
In this blog post, we'll cover everything you need to know to get started, including:
Who should take the CCNA exam
What topics are likely to appear on the exam
Cost and registration for the exam
How to prepare for success
Becoming Cisco-certified makes you a sought after asset for companies in need of competent network support and maintenance. Earning your CCNA certification demonstrates your ability to manage and troubleshoot enterprise networks built around Cisco hardware and software.
As such, it's ideal for entry-level network engineers with at least one year of hands-on experience and professionals looking to maintain a competitive skill set. The exam is considered difficult, making real world experience a huge advantage.
To gain your CCNA certification, you must pass the 200-301 Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) exam.
The CCNA Cisco exam is designed to demonstrate your proficiency in managing enterprise networks built around Cisco hardware. With this credential under your belt, you're sure to stand out from the competition, giving you the pick of top opportunities in the IT industry.
This exam covers a range of topics, including:
Cisco Network Fundamentals
IP Connectivity & IP Services
Network Access & Security Fundamentals
Automation and Programmability
The exam tests your knowledge of Cisco technologies and your ability to recognize and troubleshoot common network problems. You'll have two hours (120 minutes) to complete the exam, which is currently only offered in English and Japanese.
There are between 100 and 120 questions, so you only have about one minute per question. You must score 825 out of 1000 to pass (about 80%). The exam costs $300 per try (though MedCerts students don’t have to worry about this exam fee), so it’s best to be as prepared as you can before you head into test day.
The CCNA exam consists of several question types, including multiple-choice, drag-drop, and simulation questions. Multiple-choice questions require you to select one correct answer from a list of options.
Drag-and-drop questions ask you to place items in order according to their function or purpose. Finally, simulation questions are hands-on tasks requiring you to configure a network or solve problems by manipulating virtual hardware.
Cisco exams can also include questions, such as:
The CCNA exam covers various topics related to managing and troubleshooting enterprise networks. There are six topic areas covered on the CCNA certification exam, each of which includes several specific knowledge statements and sub-topics.
Here are some of the topics you can expect to see on the exam:
1.1 Explain the role and function of network components
1.2 Describe characteristics of network topology architectures
1.3 Compare physical interface and cabling types
1.4 Identify interface and cable issues (collisions, errors, mismatch duplex, and/or speed)
1.5 Compare TCP to UDP
2.1 Configure and verify VLANs (normal range) spanning multiple switches
2.2 Configure and verify interswitch connectivity
2.3 Configure and verify Layer 2 discovery protocols (Cisco Discovery Protocol and LLDP)
2.4 Configure and verify (Layer 2/Layer 3) EtherChannel (LACP)
2.5 Describe the need for and basic operations of Rapid PVST+ Spanning Tree Protocol and
3.1 Interpret the components of a routing table
3.2 Determine how a router makes a forwarding decision by default
3.3 Configure and verify IPv4 and IPv6 static routing
3.4 Configure and verify single area OSPFv2
3.5 Describe the purpose of first hop redundancy protocol
4.1 Configure and verify inside source NAT using static and pools
4.2 Configure and verify NTP operating in a client and server mode
4.3 Explain the role of DHCP and DNS within the network
4.4 Explain the function of SNMP in network operations
4.5 Describe the use of syslog features, including facilities and levels
5.1 Define key security concepts (threats, vulnerabilities, exploits, and mitigation techniques)
5.2 Describe security program elements (user awareness, training, and physical access control)
5.3 Configure device access control using local passwords
5.4 Describe security password policies elements, such as management, complexity, and password alternatives (multi-factor authentication, certificates, and biometrics)
5.5. Describe remote access and site-to-site VPNs
6.1 Explain how automation impacts network management
6.2 Compare traditional networks with controller-based networking
6.3 Describe controller-based and software defined architectures (overlay, underlay, and fabric)
6.4 Compare traditional campus device management with Cisco DNA Center enabled device management
6.5 Describe characteristics of REST-based APIs (CRUD, HTTP verbs, and data encoding)
You can sign up for the exam by visiting the Cisco website and following these steps:
Register and create an account.
Schedule your CCNA exam online with a virtual proctor or in person at a Pearson VUE Testing Center.
Your score report will be available at the end of the exam. If you pass, you'll get a credential certificate within 2-4 weeks.
The CCNA exam is notoriously challenging, so the best way to prepare for success is to complete a preparation course. MedCerts offers a comprehensive online CCNA Certification Course that teaches you the skills and knowledge you need to pass the exam.
MedCerts helps students prepare to pass the exam with hands-on lab practice for real-world job skills. As part of the program, you’ll learn foundational skills, such as how to:
Identify the components of a computer network and describe their essential characteristics
Describe the features and functions of the Cisco IOS Software
Install a switch and perform the initial configuration
Explore functions of routing
Implement basic configuration on a Cisco router
With MedCerts' engaging learning platform and convenient self-paced structure, you can study on your own time and achieve success in the CCNA exam.
Completing the training course earns you an A Level 200 training badge, which you can use to broadcast skills and learning outcomes to impress your employers. You can also earn 30 Continuing Education (CE) credits, which you can use to recertify your CCNA. Alternatively, you can also recertify by retaking the exam.
Get a High School Diploma or GED
Make sure you have a stable web browser with an internet connection
Complete your course registration & payment
While not required, we recommend basic computer literacy, PC operating system navigation skills, internet usage skills, and IP address knowledge
Expert-led video based training
Integrated Live Practice Labs
National Certification exam fee
With a CCNA certification, you can get jobs, such as Network Administrator, Systems Analyst, Security Specialist, or IT Manager.
Once you earn your CCNA certification, it's valid for three years. Once your certification expires, you must either pass a qualifying exam or earn 30 continuing education credits with a relevant course, such as the online CCNA certification course offered by MedCerts.
The exam is considered extremely difficult, but don't panic—failing the CCNA exam isn't the end of the world. Cisco allows you to retake the exam after a five day waiting period.
While there aren't any formal prerequisites to take the exam, Cisco recommends one or more years of experience administering Cisco solutions.
If you're a MedCerts student, you won't have to pay anything when registering for the exam. Otherwise, the CCNA exam price is $300 each time you take it.
MedCerts is a trusted provider of online certification training courses and certifications, helping to make sure you have the skills needed to succeed on your CCNA exam. Learn more about how we're preparing the next generation of IT professionals to gain skills to become Cisco Certified Network Associate certified.
See all of the blog posts that the MedCerts team has published.