What to Study to Pass the CCNA exam

There are a lot of websites and forums that try to explain what is on the CCNA and how you should prepare. In my experience, the following approach works the best.

1. Determine which book to purchase

To achieve the CCNA you can take a combined test, which is the CCNA 200-125 ($325) or you can take two separate tests consisting of the CCENT 100-105 ($165) and CCNA 200-105 ($165). Todd Lammle and Wendell Odom write books on all three exams.  Both authors are really good.  If you're new to networking, the Lammle books might be a good start since they're a bit higher level. If you already have some basic networking knowledge and want to dive a little deeper into the material, the Odom books are a must have!

For the combined exam CCNA 200-125:

CCNA R&S 200-125 Complete Study Guide
CCNA R&S 200-125 Official Cert Guide Library
CCNA R&S 200-125 Official Cert Guide


For the CCENT 100-105 ICND1:

CCNA R&S 100-105 Complete Study Guide
CCNA R&S 100-105 Official Cert Guide


For the CCNA 200-105 ICND2:

CCNA R&S 200-105 Complete Study Guide
CCNA R&S 200-105 Official Cert Guide



2. Enhance your understanding with study notes

Next, you can find an ordered list of every CCNA exam with hyperlinks to study notes and labs on the eConfigs homepage.  As you read through your book of choice, you can search for the corresponding exam topic and read the study notes I have shared.  The study notes are my interpretation of the material based on my experience. Ask questions and post comments.


3. Solidify your knowledge

Activate your membership on eConfigs to get access to custom CCNA labs that are specifically designed to enhance your understanding of each exam objective.  Access the labs at the beginning of your studies and go through them as you're being introduced to each topic.  This will help you really comprehend the concepts through a hands-on approach.  Revisit the labs so the ideas become second nature.


4. Just before your exam

  • Be familiar with each exam topic
  • Take practice exams to familiarize yourself with the Cisco way of asking questions.  There may be two correct answers listed, but you need to choose the best answer for the given scenario.
  • Review the type of exam questions you will be facing so you don't waste time learning how to navigate them during the exam.

5. Once you pass

  • Come back and tell me so we can celebrate!  What's your next big challenge, another cert?


Good luck on your CCNA endeavor. Set your mind to it and you will do it!

-Joe Barger (CCNP/CCDP)

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