CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) happens to be a second level IT certification offered by Cisco. It is one of the most reputed and generally distinguished networking certification in the industry. The value of CCNA lies in the fact that it validates the capacity to install, operate, configure and troubleshoot medium-sized routed and switched networks, including the verification and implementation of connections to remote sites in a WAN. Cisco lists the CCNA certification as the prerequisite for most other Cisco certifications, including other Cisco CCNA concentration certifications, and this drives the popularity level of the examination. It is not an easy task to plan and register for the CCNA and students must put in a lot of effort, time and persistence to ensure that it pays off.
CCNA Examination Format
The format of the exams is not constant and may be prone to change. For instance, there are many different categories of Cisco-Certified Network Associate with the original CCNA certification being re-designated as “CCNA Routing and Switching”. Therefore, the best idea is for candidates to familiarize themselves with the CCNA syllabus before they appear for the actual CCNA exam since this provides them with a reasonable thought regarding what they can expect in the examination.
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In order to achieve the CCNA certification, Cisco offers two separate options for testing:
-Pass one exam (CCNA 640-802)
-Pass two exams (ICND1 640-822 and ICND2 640-816)
Both of these options tend to cover the same topics, but in case the candidate appears for the CCNA 640-802 exam, they must only take one exam that encompasses all the topics, while, on the other hand, the two-exam path merely breaks the same topics into two exams.
Students who wish to achieve CCNA Routing and Switching certification have two testing options:
-Pass one exam (CCNA 200-120)
-Pass two exams (ICND1 100-101 and ICND2 200-101)
Both the paths to CCNA Routing and Switching certification cover the same topics.
Subjects of Study for CCNA Examination
The CCNA 640-802 exam includes a long list of subjects, such as:
-IP Routing (IPv4 and IPv6)
-IP Addressing (including VLSM)
-Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)
-WANs (point-to-point and Frame Relay)
-Cisco router and switch Command Line Interface (CLI)
-Routing Protocols (RP, EIGRP, OSPF)
-VLANs and VLAN trunking
-Network Address Translation (NAT)
Apart from these subjects, the CCNA exam expects students to know how to configure each topic, use commands to verify that each works in a correct manner, and troubleshoot problems with the help of a router/switch simulator on the exam.
In case of the CCNA 200-120 examination, all of the above subjects are covered and there is one more subject that the candidate needs to cover – First-Hop Redundancy Protocols. The exam necessitates that the candidate must be familiar with the configuration of each topic, the use of commands for the verification of the workings of each, and the troubleshooting of problems using a router/switch simulator during the examination.
Pattern of Questions for CCNA Exam
The CCNA exam contains a total of 45-55 questions ranging from multiple choice questions, to Sims, Simlets, drag-and-drops and Testlets. Candidates are expected to answer all questions within a span of 90 minutes. The CCNA exam questions are set in multiple languages for the benefit of the candidates. The final passing score for the examination varies between years.
The CCNA Routing and Switching examination differs somewhat since the number of questions now rises to 50-60. The passing score for this paper also varies, but in most cases it ranges between 800-850 out of 1000 and candidates must secure these marks in order to gain CCNA jobs in future.
CCNA Exam Fees
If the candidate has already cleared the exam for ICND1 and holds the Cisco certification, they need to pass the ICND2 exam which costs $150. There is another option in the form of the CCNA composite exam, which covers both the ICND1 and ICND2, and can set the candidate back by $295.
Proper Training and Registration
The content of the CCNA exams happens to be proprietary. Cisco and its learning partners provide many different CCNA training methods, including relevant books published by Cisco Press, and online and classroom courses offered under the title of “Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices”. Candidates can learn about the full details of the examinations, including CCNA exam fees, and register for them at Vue testing centers.