Are You Ready to Pass Cisco CCNA Certification Exams on the First Try?
Cisco provides many concentrations for the Associate level, the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification, in general, represents the core and fundamental knowledge about the concentration it handles. The CCNA credential prepares an individual to attain the needed knowledge and skills according to their domain (Networking, VoIP, Wireless,…), as well as it proceeds to the next level in the Cisco certification pathway that is CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional), and finally CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert), which represents the highest level in the training programs. The certification holders are verified to be able to install, configure, manage, and troubleshoot Cisco devices, as well as have the solid general knowledge of networking, wireless networking, VoIP (Voice over IP), network security, and CyberOps.
To obtain the Cisco CCNA certification, an applicant should pass the exam(s). Frequently, it is a very challenging task. Some students say that it is even impossible to pass a Cisco certification test. But we know that impossible is possible. Moreover, we don’t believe that you won’t be able to take the CCNA exam using effective study materials and practice tests.
6 Tricks to Nail the Cisco CCNA Exam
Create a Roadmap
Any CCNA concentration requires a lot of focus and effort due to the broad topics that are being handled. The candidates can use the syllabus provided by Cisco to create a roadmap for the course, this step is crucial and essential since it highlights the topics that are needed to cover in order to pass the exam, and it helps the students identify their strengths and weaknesses. This allows one to put more effort in a certain area, which enhances their knowledge about the topics and increases their chances of passing the certification test.
Divide & Conquer
One of the most important tips for all candidates regarding the CCNA certification is dividing and conquering. This means that the students should divide the CCNA study material into several topics, then focus and master each of them, after mastering all the topics, start doing practice exams which help in identifying areas that one might have missed during the training, if missing areas are found, go back to training in order to master them.
Consistency is very important to understand the material and therefore pass the exam. What we mean by consistency is that the candidates should consistently study, allocating 1 hour, for example, every day is better than allocating 5 continuous hours during the weekend. We know this difficult to be done due to other responsibilities, but one should manage to make it happens.
Attention to Details
During the training, we highly recommend you to pay attention to small details and how things are being implemented, configured, and why they are implemented or configured in a certain way. Following this hint, the students develop a solid understanding of the theory part. Many of the Cisco exam tricky questions are related to small details.
As we mentioned earlier, doing practice tests is crucial since it highlights some areas or details that you might have missed during your training, and it gives you an idea of how the exam might look like. As we always say, DO NOT memorize the questions, you should understand them and their answers, since the structure of question might change.
Developing a solid understanding of the material is crucial but it is not enough, experimenting hardware and software is a very important part of any Cisco certification. Do hands-on labs as much as you can, this is invaluable for anyone who wants to develop his skills in the Cisco world.
There are several options or ways to make this happens:
1. Buy hardware: You might be thinking that this is way too expensive to afford. We can tell you that you can get the real hardware for a very reasonable and affordable price. Try buying used equipment, check online websites that people use to sell used devices. This is a very good investment to make since buying the equipment will not only help you in gaining practical experience but in addition, this equipment can be used for other Cisco certifications that is very helpful in the future.
2. Use emulators or simulators: A simulator is a program designed to act as real software, whereas an emulator is running the real software or operating system of certain devices on a computer.
The Cisco Packet Tracer provided by the Cisco Networking Academy, is the good software, which helps one in developing their practical skills. It enables the candidates to design, implement, configure, and troubleshoot simple and complex network topologies. The Cisco Packet Tracer is an emulator and therefore it does not provide the full set of features.
3. Use online labs: Many third parties are providing online virtual labs in order to do the practical training however most of them require a monthly subscription, which is very good since the students have access to a variety of device for a small amount of money.
Web Resources for Cisco CCNA Exam Preparation
Nowadays, there are a lot of different web resources that can be helpful in your exam preparation. We collected some of them to make your preparation process more simple and efficient.
Cisco Learning Network
It is one the essential and official resources since it provides information regarding the certifications, exam topics which an individual can use as a self-paced roadmap, exam policies, type of questions, and many more. It is the first step in the journey of achieving any CCNA certification since it allows one to create a well-structured study plan.
Sybex by Wiley is considered one of the top book vendors on the market, and it provides the required information and knowledge needed to pass the Cisco certification exam(s). It also includes practice tests, which play a crucial role in identifying weak areas which allow a candidate to focus more energy towards some topics. Sybex books can be considered a reference for future use.
CBT Nuggets provides some excellent video series for the CCENT, CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE certificates. The videos are fun to watch, they are enjoyable and precise. The information contained in the videos allows one to acquire a better understanding of the topics since the videos contains graphs, animation, and lab demonstration. However, it is not enough just to watch the videos and learn the material the site delivers; the candidates should use the videos as a complementary material since the videos does not cover all the details of the exam.
Cybrary provides the study material through online videos for free. When a user creates an account on its website, he/she can choose which courses to enroll in, he/she can also keep track of which modules are not completed yet. Cybrary offers a wide variety of courses which is awesome. All you need to do is to sign up and you are ready to gain knowledge.
LiveLessons by Pearson VUE and Cisco Press are considered to be an outstanding source of materials; every exam topic is covered with great detail by industry experts. The videos allow novice the candidates know how the real hardware and its components look like, in addition to animations and live demos.
Udemy provides very good quality courses for a wide range of topics, including Cisco certifications. The candidates can buy courses individually, and no subscription is required. Udemy often offers discounts on many courses, so you can find a lot of courses under $20 that is great for the candidates with limited budget.
GNS3Vault offers free labs for Cisco technologies, the labs are organized by topics. GNS3Vault relies on GNS3 software to demonstrate the installation, configuration, and troubleshooting of the topic.
The creators of the famous emulator GNS3 are developing online courses related to many topics, such as networking, programming, systems, etc. The price for the courses is very reasonable and affordable, it’s worth the investment. If you buy one course, you will be entitled to a lifetime access and updates.
SkillSet offers personalized training, which allows one to create a training roadmap based on the information they already know, it also offers skill challenge, training videos, progressive exam engine, simulated exam engine, and most importantly SkillSet Labs that is an online virtual environment that allows an individual to perform hands-on labs on the go. SkillSet requires a subscription that can be monthly, quarterly, yearly.
By following all these tips and having all these resources, you can take your Cisco certification exam today.
Read the study material and directly watch the video that discuss the same topic, after finishing the book and the video, perform hands-on labs which allow you to apply the material and remember earlier details due to huge amount of information handled in each certification. After finishing the labs, start with practice tests, in case you are not able to answer some questions, go back to the book or video and watch the material to ensure full understanding. This process is a full proof guarantee that you will pass any Cisco certification exam(s).
Good luck on your journey!