CCNA Certification Exam and How to Pass It!

Getting CCNA certified is the most important step to kick-off a successful networking career as it adds weight to your resume. The Cisco Certified Networking Associate(CCNA) has grown to become the most popular certification in the world.

To get in-depth knowledge about CCNA, you can sign up for our CCNA Certification course with lifetime access and training materials. Let’s explore what we are going to cover in this article.

  • What is CCNA Certification Exam?
  • Why CCNA?
  • Important Tips to pass CCNA Certification Exam

What is CCNA Certification Exam?

Networking has given rise to a new era by putting everyone and everything together. As being a giant of the networking industry, Cisco offers different networking certificates to validate the aspirant’s networking skills and logic. When any networking aspirant kickoffs his career, CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) is the most important certificate, and one needs to earn it to boost their professional career.  This is the most respected, trusted, and valuable certification because of its difficulty level and quality. 

Candidates having CCNA Certification are in higher demand amongst all the top employers as they are considered experts in Networking.  The CCNA certification confirms one’s skills to configure, troubleshoot, and operate, switched, and routed networks.

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CCNA is a good start to prepare for a successful career in networking. Learn the reasons listed below why you should earn one.


CCNA Certification ensures that one is well aware of the basics and fundamentals of networking. It opens doors to a lot of opportunities.

Career Growth

For already employed people, CCNA can do wonders. They always have a desire to promote to higher paying position and CCNA Certification helps in this process.

Salary Increase

Either you work in the same company or you find a new job, once you’re CCNA certified, you can always raise and negotiate a higher salary compared to an IT non-certified candidate. CCNA certificate puts the candidates in the “higher bracket”.

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Employer Benefits

Companies are getting huge discounts on the Cisco devices if they have CCNA certified employees working for them. Due to this, Companies are always chasing persons who are CCNA certified.


CCNA Certification is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is not easy to ace this certification. So, as soon as the person is CCNA certified, a certain amount of respect will be given to that person from the company and colleagues. 

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Tips to Pass CCNA Certification

We have compiled this article to guide aspirants preparing for their CCNA certification. Wondering Why? Because we know how difficult is to earn any CCNA certification. Here are some simple yet efficient tips to get success and be a CCNA certified associate!

Know your Exam

The first step for any certification exam is to know and understand the exam you are going to face. This may appear a very simple step but it is very important to get success in the exam. You will be able to find all the basic information along with exam topics, practice tests, study material, official trainers, etc. on Cisco’s website.  

The Cisco Official Cert Guide consists of some useful information such as certification exam overview, its prerequisites, types of questions being asked in the exam, the time duration for examination, and the passing criteria. It also gives detailed information on the course of the exam along with the percentage of questions allotted to each topic. These things are very important as it is the stepping stone to create the study plan for the exam.

Prepare your Custom Study Plan

Without any appropriate planning, the chances of the passing exam will drop. One needs to create a proper study plan which fits their personal needs to achieve success in the exam. Even a simple To-Do list can make things more organized. To make a custom study plan, below are the factors that should be taken into consideration:

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How soon one needs to schedule the examination? 

Once you create an account on the Pearson VUE website, schedule the exam at a time and location which is feasible.

How much time one can allocate to study efforts? 

How much can one afford preparation materials and training courses?

Suitable training method

For some people, self-learning is the best learning. While others go for classroom training. Pick the best method suitable for you to prepare your best. Your past learning methods can be the deciding factor to choose the best suitable study method.

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How much one is aware of exam subjects?

If you already have knowledge of some of the subjects, then you can spare this time in learning the rest of the course. But format and questions logic should be taken into consideration while deciding this.

Have Practical Experience

No concepts or topics can be learned without any practice. So, for every topic or concept you read, you need to practice the same in the Cisco training lab on real devices. All concept needs to be understood to remember. And practicing it in Labs is the key to understanding it. Only reading theories in the book won’t get you success in the exam, rather it will make you lose some hundred dollars from your pocket. Router/switch, ISP, PC, RJ-45 cords, and a hub can easily be available for practicing networking fundamentals. Network configurations can easily build using these devices. One should play with these network devices to understand networking fundamentals. This is the most important part to pass the CCNA exam.

Practical Example


Proper Study Material

The best material to pass CCNA certification is nothing else but Cisco’s own Press books ICND 1 and ICND 2 (3rd edition). These books are easy to understand and follow. Another book that is highly recommended for this exam is   "31 Days Before Your CCNA Exam" by CISCO itself. It is a quick reference guide to memorize the concepts and IOS commands.  Another way to gain knowledge is to become a member of the Cisco Certification forum. You will find lots of information, tips, and answers in this forum. In this digital world, if you would like to learn through an app then that is also available. App called "CCNAx Exam Prep" lets you practice all the exams. You can also check your progress stats in the app.


The Internet is a vast source of information. You can find thousands of materials to learn for the CCNA certification exam. But make sure to go only for those who are providing the quality material with the latest information.

Glossary in books

Make sure to read glossaries in books. These definitions help candidates to answer questions in the CCNA exam. Glossaries can help candidates to understand the questions and answer them effectively.

Spot your weakness

One should identify their weak areas where it requires more effort and time before appearing for the CCNA exam. Once the list is prepared for weak areas, allocate more time to gain in-depth knowledge for the same. This is how you can overcome your weakness and turn them into your strengths. 

But that doesn’t mean you can neglect your strong areas. You can alter the study plan as per your strong and weak areas which will make you utilize your efforts and time effectively.

Practice Mock Tests

Try to attempt practice tests online. There are so many websites offering different practice tests for CCNA certification. By taking mock tests, one will be able to understand how much he is prepared for the actual exam. He can have a glimpse of the real-time Cisco exams. He can also get to know whether you can complete the exam in time or he needs to be quick while answering.  He will be able to know the areas where improvements are needed.

GoCertify and CiscoExam are amongst those sites that offer practice mock tests for different Cisco certifications. Moreover, you can also find mock tests on Cisco’s own website as well.

Join Online Communities

Internet is a pool of online material and communities for all certified exams. Along with Cisco’s own Forum, we have so many online communities having so many people around the world willing to share their success and failure stories. One can learn and share exam strategies in those forums. But make sure you don’t connect with those people who are negative or discouraging someone. Some of the user forums are TechExams and Networking-Forum.

Refresh your memory before Exam

Before giving the actual exam, candidates should re-read Cisco Press Books over and over again. This is the only way to make sure that person is recalling everything he knows.

Re-reading can also enable a person to identify any the missed important concepts on the first go. The last week before the exam should be dedicated to revision only as this is the most critical time when one will learn all the key and basic concepts needed for the CCNA certification exam.

Manage your time in such a way that one can give equal importance to theoretical as well as practice questions.

Answer each question

In the CCNA Exam, there is no negative marking for any wrong answer. So, do not leave any questions unanswered as you’re not going to get penalized for any wrong answer. If you don’t know the answer, eliminate the possible wrong answers, and try to give the nearest narrowed option. 

Two things to note before Exam

Before appearing for the CCNA exam, below are the two most important things to keep in mind.

Comprehensive in nature

The CCNA exam will have questions on different topics based on TCP/IP studies. Questions will be comprehensive and require candidates to understand the topics in detail.


CCNA Exam consists of 50-60 questions. The time duration given will be 90 minutes. It’s difficult to answer all the questions in such a short period of time. You need to remain calm and pay attention to questions to answer them correctly. Most of the questions will be from real-world scenarios. So, it is necessary to have practical experience before you appear for this certification.


CCNA certification will open the doors of networking for you. Along with its global recognition, you can prove yourself more knowledgeable than any other non-certified candidates. 

The bottom line is that it is possible to crack the CCNA Certification exam if one works hard and dedicatedly. Choosing the right study material with the most appropriate way of studying is the most essential point for CCNA Certification Preparation. One needs to allocate a good amount of time by prioritizing their efforts and other resources to make the best use of this opportunity.

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Last updated: 09 Nov 2023
About Author

Priyanka Vatsa is a Senior Content writer with more than five years’ worth of experience in writing for Mindmajix on various IT platforms such as Palo Alto Networks, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Siebel, CCNA, Git, and Nodejs. She was involved in projects on these technologies in the past, and now, she regularly produces content on them. Reach out to her via LinkedIn and Twitter.

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