How to Pass the CCNA: Secrets You Need to Be Successful

How to Pass the CCNA: Secrets You Need to Be Successful

The CCNA Routing and Switching exam is a very difficult exam to pass. Just ask any network engineer who suffered through the experience and you’ll hear horror stories that involve months of studying, unexpected questions and failing test scores. Unfortunately, the exam becomes more difficult with each version that comes out. While most aspiring network engineers struggle to pass the exam on a first attempt, it can be done. The best part is that passing the exam doesn’t require an above-average intelligence or a cheat sheet. Rather, you just need to be properly prepared for the many curve balls that will be thrown your way. If you’d like to be one of the few who achieves success on a first attempt, use these industry secrets to pass the CCNA exam.

First Secret: Break-Up the Exam

The first thing that you need to realize is that the entire CCNA doesn’t have to be taken in one sitting. Instead, the CCNA is broken into two courses and the success rate nearly doubles when these tests are taken separately. This gives test takers the ability to focus on the content in each course, rather than memorizing all of it. Likewise, many test takers that struggle with test anxiety are less intimidated by a shorter test. Essentially, memorizing 90 minutes of content is a lot easier and less stressful than memorizing 180 minutes of content. Break-up the CCNA into two exams increase your chances for a first-time pass.

Second Secret: Be Prepared for Specific Topics

The number of questions you’ll receive on a specific topic will change from test to test. However, you’ll certainly need to be familiar with the following: subnetting, spanning trees, routing protocols, 7-layer OSI Model and WAN. Out of these topics, most students struggle with routing protocols, the 7-layer OSI Model and WAN. Therefore, make sure you feel comfortable with all topics, especially the three that cause the most problems.

  • Subnetting
  • Spanning trees
  • Routing protocols
  • 7-layer OSI Model
  • WAN

Third Secret: Use Practice Labs

Every CCNA exam will have simulation questions that are designed to test your hands-on skills. This challenges students to use theoretical knowledge to solve real-world problems. Unfortunately, this poses a big problem for individuals who lack real equipment to practice on. Thankfully, some online training companies have practice labs available for those who don’t have real-world environments. These practice labs give students the ability to remote into live equipment and gain the hands-on skills that they will be tested on. Additionally, study guides are provided that map directly to many of the simulation questions you’ll encounter. Purchase a practice lab account and ensure you’ll ace any simulation question.

Fourth Secret: Use Authorized Cisco Training

There is a plethora of Cisco training on the market, but it’s not all the same. All too often, individuals utilize unofficial Cisco content and are unable to recognize any of the questions when they take the official exams. To avoid this, make sure you utilize authorized Cisco training materials to make sure the information you’re absorbing will pay off.

Fifth Secret: Use the Right Practice Exams

Make sure your practice exams are up-to-date, interactive and timed. Even official Cisco training can become dated. Therefore, utilize up-to-date content and make sure the exam numbers match. Interactive exams are helpful because they identify your weaknesses and help you overcome them. They also reduce training time, because students are able to correct wrong answers without having to search for the correct information. Most importantly, time yourself. This is the best way to prepare for the pressure associated with timed exams. As a general rule, take as many practice exams as possible and book your official exam once you’re able to consistently score in the 90 percentile.

Summing It Up

Passing the CCNA Routing and Switching exam can be achieved on the first attempt if you’re properly prepared. If you’re planning on taking the CCNA and need help, contact KnowledgeNet: The Live Learning Company. This company provides authorized Cisco training materials, practice labs and interactive practice exams—and boasts a 94% first-time pass rate. KnowledgeNet also can answer any questions you may have about the official CCNA exam. Contact KnowledgeNet at 877-797-2799 or visit

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