A Cisco certification will cover a wide range of fundamental topics crucial for a successful career in the IT sector. Being CCNA certified validates your skills and knowledge in network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, automation and programmability.
The certification exams typically comprise multiple testing formats such as multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, fill-in-the-blank, testlet, simlet, and simulations. For a complete walk-through demonstration of the various question types and the exam format, you can watch the Cisco Certification Exam Tutorial videos. The CCNA course aims to improve your skills in configuring, managing and operating networks, and troubleshooting and networking issues.
The exams last for 90 minutes and consist of 50-60 questions. Although the passing scores for the exams are not published, you should aim for a minimum score of 75%. The following five steps can ensure that you are well prepared for the exam.
- Know The Exam Guidelines And Syllabus
The first step in your preparation is to download the exam blueprint and go through it thoroughly as it acts as a road map for the rest of your journey. Cisco CCNA certification exam is divided into different parts with different weightage. Each of these sections focuses on a specific skill. The breakup of the paper, with the percentage of questions from each domain, is as follows:
- Security fundamentals – 15%
- IP Services – 10%
- Automation & Programmability – 10%
- Network Fundamentals – 20%
- IP Connectivity – 25%
- Network Access – 20%
- Find A Good CCNA Course Online
It is essential for all candidates to go through all the training options available online and choose one suitable for their lifestyle and budget. You can also utilise online resources such as the CCNA Preparation Bundle and Cisco Press self-study resources.
Many online platforms offer training in the form of instructor-led programmes with study material, free technical guidance, flexible time slots and hands-on practice in remote lab environments. CCNA course fees depend on a variety of factors.
- Understand TCP/ IP Stack Addressing And Data Flow
As a candidate seeking to be CCNA-certified, you have to pay close attention to multiple concepts, as explained in the exam syllabus. However, layered models (OSI and TCP/ IP) are a few of the most fundamental topics you should focus on while learning networking. In combination with the related TCP/ IP protocol stack, these topics are crucial when it comes to solving the exam questions. We have covered a few of the essential topics that you should not miss out on. Your CCNA training will cover these topics, but focusing on them more and practising the concepts will help you solve more questions in the exam.
As a part of the Network Access Layer, you need to know about :
- MAC address structure and representation: 48 bits represented as 12 hexadecimal digits
- MAC addressing on local networks: an understanding of the workings of ARP and how hosts maintain an ARP cache/ table
- Basic knowledge of the MAC address table with respect to switches, CAM table, and its use to forward and filter traffic by the switches
IP address related questions form an essential part of any CCNA exams:
- Cover the basics of IPv4 addressing and understand subnetting, subnet masks and reserved addresses
- Under IPv6 addressing, you need to know the types of addresses (global, link-local, unique local etc.) and the address modes (unicast, multicast, and anycast)
The Transport Layer concepts that are important include:
- The characteristics of TCP and UDP
- Try to familiarise yourself with the standard port numbers as they come handy
- Find Reliable Study Material and Solve Practice Tests
Since Cisco Certification for CCNA is well known, you can find many free and paid study materials online. This causes the problem of choosing the most authentic and reliable sources that you can use for your preparation journey.
You can register for legitimate training courses which will provide good quality study materials, as well as timed mock tests to test your knowledge. Mock tests are a great way to test your memory and retention of the concepts you have already learnt. It further reinforces your skills and also helps build your concentration and attention span under pressure.
- Maintain Your Calm During The Exam
The CCNA certification exam can be quite challenging, but losing your calm on the day of the exam will only worsen your chances of doing your best. Give yourself time to prepare before you register for the exam and pay the CCNA certification cost. This reduces your chances of wasting your money on a failed attempt and eases your anxiety and stress.
The CCNA certification opens up new avenues in your career by giving you a chance to upgrade your skills. It gives you a chance to apply for a higher position or even get a salary hike. The best way to remain valuable to your organisation is by continuous learning new skills, and Cisco certifications can be your first step in this direction.