The CCNA certification exam is surrounded by many myths and mysteries that are maybe the result of the information overload and excessive literature, books and opinions out there. In this post I will try to dispel some of these myths and answer some questions that many people have about the test.
NOTE: If you want a concise and practical Lab Guide using Packet Tracer for helping you to pass the newest CCNA 200-301 exam, this CCNA Lab Guide offers 42 downloadable packet tracer labs for practice.
1. Is there a specific order for the questions and simulations?
There is no set order. While the test questions are classified according to objective areas, the order of the questions in the exam itself is random. The questions are not grouped in any way. This same principle applies to the simulations. A simulation can be both the first and the last test question. No one knows in advance the order in which they occur.
2. Are actual test questions available somewhere?
Cisco does not publish the certification exam questions. Different companies and websites offer practice exam certification questions. When evaluating these products take into account that besides the degree of accuracy of the questions, the certification test database is periodically updated by Cisco.
3. Do the questions change according to the answers entered?
No. This is one of the myths I mentioned earlier. Cisco exams are not interactive. When starting your certification exam, the system has already assigned a set of questions from the pool that make up the specific test.
4. What influence does the marketing survey have in the test?
The survey does not affect anything in the test content. This is another myth. The survey before the test is purely for statistical purposes.
5. What are the important objectives/topics for the exam?
All topics and exam objectives are important. There are no major or minor topics. A single question can be the difference between passing or not, so you cannot set aside any topics as minor. However, there are some exam topics requiring more attention than others since the development of the test usually includes several questions about them. These topics are:
* Routing protocols, OSPF and EIGRP.
* Configuration Commands.
* WAN Technologies, particularly frame relay.
6. How many simulations are in each test?
In a typical test of 55 questions there are usually:
* 3 to 6 questions in drag & drop mode.
* 1 to 3 simulations. From all simulations, there are usually 1 or 2 requiring actual router or switch configuration.
The rest will be multiple choice questions.
The simulations focus on the evaluation of 2 basic skills:
* Device configuration skills
* Problem-solving skills
7. What exam objectives/topics include simulations?
The topics that include simulations are all listed in the certification exam objectives as “set”, “diagnose”, “resolve failed.”
Some exam types included in the exam are:
– Configuration Exercises:
They range from simple tasks such as setting passwords on a device, to more complex tasks such as configuring default routes or routing protocols, access lists and NAT.
– Exercises for fixing problems and faults:
Include diagnosis of problems of allocating IP addresses (address or subnet mask wrong), incomplete configurations, problems with static or dynamic routing, configuration errors in the serial link protocols and authentication protocols.
8. Does the IOS help command (question mark) work in the simulations?
Yes, the Cisco IOS context-sensitive help (the question mark ?) works fine in the simulations. It is possible that at some Testing Centers in the world the question mark does not operate or could be difficult to find due to the Windows keyboard settings.
9. Does a wrong answer counts as negative point from the total score?
No. A wrong answered question or simulation does not detract from the score obtained so far. Each question is assigned a specific score. If the question is answered correctly, the score for this question is added to the score obtained so far. If you answer wrong, it simply does not add any points. The final rating of the exam is the accumulation of the question scores for correctly answered questions.
10. Does the certification exam change?
Yes. There are 2 types of changes that affect the Cisco Career Certification exams.
A. Changes of the objectives that are evaluated in each certification exam. That is, the content that is necessary to study for the exam is under periodic modification. These are major changes and result in a version change in the exam. These changes occur every 3 or more years. Until the version of the exam is changed, content to be studied is the same.
B. Amendments relating to all questions that comprise the certification exam question database. This database is partially modified in relatively short periods of time, in the order of 6 months. This does not include a change in objectives, but simply a renewal of questions. The content necessary to study in order to pass the certification exam is not influenced.
11. Is there any way of knowing what questions were answered incorrectly?
At the end of the exam, the Testing Center delivers the exam score. This is the only detailed reference that has the results of the certification exam. The exam score is a breakdown of target areas that have had success in their responses. For example, configuring and troubleshooting VLANs in switches with 80%. There is no greater detail than this.
12. How do I need to prepare to get certified?
There are many ways to prepare for the CCNA certification exam. The minimum necessary in my opinion is:
* Having a good book guide to prepare for the certification exam. In my view the official Cisco Press CCNA Official Exam Certification Library is a good choice.
* Use a good simulator to work the practical aspects of the examination. At this point the official Cisco Packet Tracer is an excellent tool but you have to be a student of the Cisco Networking Academy to get this tool.
*Another all-in-one CCNA Training option is the Trainsignal CCNA Video Training package which includes all necessary preparation to pass the exam with confidence.
13. What should I do to recertify?
The CCNA Recertification options are numerous and when the time comes to recertify it is always recommended to review the official information on the Cisco website (http://www.cisco.com/go/ccna). However, the recertification is a good opportunity to advance your personal list of certifications. In this regard:
A. The simplest option is to take a CCNA Concentration exam. CCNA Concentrations are certifications in specialized areas of networking such as CCNA Security, CCNA Voice and CCNA Wireless. This allows growth in certifications and incorporates additional knowledge in specific areas such as security, unified communications or wireless. A single test can extend your CCNA certification for 3 more years.
B. A more complex option is to approach the professional level. CCNP Routing & Switching is an option. In the case of pursuing a CCNP certification (which consists of several exams) you should know that passing a single exam in the CCNP level will automatically recertify your CCNA exam, but you must complete all Professional level exams within the period of 3 years from passing the first exam.