CCNA Certificatation FAQs & Tips
CCNA is a long topic to talk about and there are many tips that can help you save much time when sitting in the exam hall. From the comments here and information from other places, this article tries to summarize all the CCNA frequently asked questions to save you some time. Please feel free to ask anything that you are unclear about CCNA so that all of us can help you. I will update this article frequently to bring you the newest information about this exam.
1. Please tell me how many questions in the real CCNA exam, and how much time to answer them?
Until now, you have 90 minutes to answer 50 questions in the real CCNA exam but if your native language is not English, Cisco allows you a 30-minute exam time extension. But there are a few requirements to get this extension, so the best way is asking your teacher or mentor before taking the exam.
2. How much does the CCNA Exam 640-802 cost? And how many points I need to pass the exam?
It now costs $250
The passing score is 825/1000.
3. How many ways can I get the CCNA certification?
There are 2 ways to achieve this certification:
- By taking two exams ICND-1 640-822 and ICND-2 640-816
- By taking only one CCNA 640-802 exam
4. I got the CCNA certification, will this certification expire?
CCNA certification is valid for three years. To recertify, pass the ICND2 exam, or pass the current CCNA exam, or pass a CCNA Concentration exam (wireless, security, voice), or pass the current CCDA exam, or pass any 642 – XXX professional level or Cisco Specialist exam (excluding Sales Specialist exams), or pass a current CCIE or CCDE written exam.
5. After completing the INTRO exam (ICND 1), students currently have a three-year window in which to complete the ICND exam (ICND 2) to earn CCNA certification. Will this option still exist?
Yes, students will still be able to take and pass the first exam (INTRO or ICND1) and have a three-year window to pass the second exam (ICND2), before the first exam expires.
6. If students fulfill the exam requirements for the CCNA certification, will they also receive CCENT certification?
No, students who certify at the CCNA level will not earn CCENT certification. The purpose of the CCENT certification is to provide an option for those who aren’t ready for CCNA.
7. Which sims will I see in the CCNA exam?
8. How many points will I get for one sim?
Well, Cisco doesn’t tell how many points you will get for each correctly solved sim but from my experience, you will get from 80 to 100 points for each sim. Cisco maybe is a bit rude for sims because you will just get a few points (or nothing!) if you can’t solve the sim completely. So be careful with the sims and try to write all the commands on paper many times before taking this exam.
9. In the real exam, I clicked "Next" after choosing the answer, can I go back for reviewing?
No, this is a very important thing about CCNA exam. You can just go forward!
10. What is the key to pass CCNA?
The CCNA exam covers many aspects of networking and most of the topics will be asked. But the most important topic is subnetting so make sure you understand how to subnet. Of course other topics are important too so you shouldn’t bypass them.
11. Can I use short commands, for example "conf t" instead of "configure terminal"? Will I get full mark for short commands?
It is another big question in the CCNA exam. Some reports said that you can use the "Tab" and short commands but some said they didn’t work. Sometimes the simulator in the exam doesn’t accept short commands and marks as "incomplete command". Besides, no one can guarantee it will cost points or not if you use short commands so my recommendation is you should learn the full commands.
12. What are your recommended materials for CCNA?
There are many options you can choose, but below are materials used and recommended by many candidates:
- Sybex CCNA 6th edition by Todd Lammle
- Cisco Press ICND1 & ICND2 Certification Guide
- CCNA Networking Academy 1-4
- Cisco 640-802 CCNA Portable Command Guide
- Cisco Discovery and Cisco Exploration study guide
The difference between CCNA Discovery and CCNA Exploration is "CCNA Discovery is designed for students with basic PC skills and can be delivered as an independent curriculum or integrated into broader courses of study at secondary schools, technical schools, colleges, and universities. CCNA Exploration is designed for students with advanced problem solving and analytical skills, such as those who are pursuing degrees in engineering, math, or science". (Reference from "new CCNA faq").
- CBT Nuggets
- Train Signal
From my point of view, these video are just optional materials and they cost much, you can definitely pass the CCNA exam without buying them. If you have strong budget and want to learn in a more comfortable way then buy them! (but it is difficult to pass if just listening to them without reading books, believe me!)
Simulators (luckily, they’re the best and free):
- Packet Tracer (and you can get real exam labs on my site here)
- GNS 3
GNS 3 is really good and it uses real IOS so all the commands are available but these IOS are copyrighted so it is hard to get. Besides, GNS 3 needs much RAM to run so from my experience you should use the Router c2600 with 64MB RAM to run if your labs are simple (like assign IP addresses, hostname, RIP…). If you need to configure OSPF or EIGRP, use higher router. These two simulators are enough to practice labs for CCNA but if you want to learn about other simulators, check out my Free Router Simulators article. Packet Tracer is light, quick and convenient for common tasks but sometimes it doesn’t act like real devices. A good point of Packet Tracer is that Cisco has many good labs (.pkt files) to practice with.
Websites & Forums:
- Cisco website
- 9tut.com, 9tut.net and 9tut forum of course 🙂
If you use dumps like pass4sure, Testking or ActualTest… make sure you understand the concept behind each question. It’s a very big mistake if you just learn which answer is correct without understanding the concept. Notice that in the real CCNA exam, you will be given different IP addresses, subnets and more options to choose; so it is easier to understand them than to learn them by heart. Finally, my advice is you just should use dumps as a final review after finishing the CCNA course.
13. How much time should I spend on each sim?
You should not spend more than 15 minutes for each sim. Recall that you only have 90 minutes so if you spend 15 minutes for each sim x 4 sims = 60 minutes. The 30 minutes left is for solving 40 multiple choice questions. If you are not a native English speaker and have 30-minute expansion (ask the mentor to confirm) than you can spend 20 minutes for each sim.
14. Can I pass without doing sims?
As mentioned above, each sim will cost you from 80 to 100 points. In the real exam you will have to solve 4 sims that give from 320 to 400 points. Suppose you answered all other questions perfectly then you will get 600 to 680 points but the passing score is 825. It means that you surely fail if ignore them.
From the calculation above, if you missed only one sim the chance to pass is average but if you missed two, the chance to pass is very, very low.
15. I need to know if the exam questions are the same in all the geographical locations?
Yes, the exam questions are the same in all geographical locations. But notice that Cisco has a pool of questions and each time you take the exam, a number of random questions will show up so you will not see all the same questions as the previous exam.
16. I am going to take the exam in a few days and i wonder can we have a pen and paper for ip calculations or calculator itself?
You are not allowed to bring a calculator or anything else to the exam hall. You will receive a rough paper or a small board to write everything you need during the exam time. However, you should bring a pen or a pencil because sometimes the exam hall doesn’t have one (yes, some exam centers are not good ) and maybe it will make you more comfortable.
17. I failed the exam. Will I see the same questions and sims in my next try?
Cisco has a pool of questions and sims so you will see some same (but surely not all) questions in your next exam. Luckily, the sims are the same (read question 7 for popular sims in the exam).
18. In the exam, how can I access to the routers in the simulator?
As you can see in the exam, there is always one PC connected to the router you need configure. Just click on this PC to be taken to the CLI of the router (no need to type telnet … or do anything else). Of course it is not true in real life but maybe Cisco did it that way to save you some time!
19. I am going to take the exam in a couple of days. Where can I get newest information from candidates who have just passed the exam?
You can visit the Share your experience section in this site, scroll down to the bottom of that page to read newest information about CCNA exam.I really want to say thanks to all candidates who are willing to share experience after taking the exam. It is an invaluable gift for CCNA candidates.