Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is an information technology certification issued by Cisco Systems. If you have reached here, you have either already chosen CCNA as the next turn in your career or are in the process of making a choice.
The main requirement for getting a CCNA certification is to enroll and take a certification exam. Whether you get certified or not depends on whether you pass the exam or not. But before you start preparing for the examination, you need to have a lot more information. This includes details of the exam format, passing score, cost, and how to prepare for this examination.
CCNA Certification Routes
There are two ways to become CCNA certified.
1. Pass one exam: CCNA Composite exam
2. Pass two exams: ICND1 and ICND2 exams
Many applicants get confused about which route to take. So let’s simplify it. If you’re new to the world of networking and don’t have prior networking experience, take the exam in two steps. First, complete the ICND1 certification and the ICND2. If you do have experience in the field or are looking for recertification, then choose the CCNA Composite exam. It is more advanced and challenging than each individual exam.
There are other factors also that will affect your decision and which Cisco certification route you choose. The second route is more time-consuming. If you are willing to put in a lot of extra effort and get an advanced certification, go for the CCNA Composite exam and secure a brighter future in a shorter time span.
CCNA Composite Examination Description
The CCNA Composite examination is a 90-minute long exam that is overseen by Cisco. The exam is designed to test your knowledge and skills in the areas of network fundamentals, LAN switching technologies, IPv4 and IPv6 routing technologies, WAN technologies, infrastructure services, infrastructure security and infrastructure management.
The examination has about 60-70 questions, which gives you not more than 90 seconds on each question. Some questions are tougher than others, so you need to divide your time between the easy and the tough questions. While preparing, make sure you know which questions will require more time and accordingly save time on the simpler questions.
CCNA Course Outline and Prerequisites
Before taking a CCNA course online, you must be familiar with the following:
1. Basic computer literacy
2. Basic PC operating system navigation skills
3. Basic Internet usage skills
4. Basic IP address knowledge
5. A decent understanding of networking fundamentals.
There are a few major topics in this CCNA certification that hold significant weightage. If you break them down into these different topics, the certification becomes more achievable. The main topics and their approximate breakdown can be described as follows.
* Network fundamentals – 15%
* LAN Switching technologies – 22%
* Routing technologies – 23%
* WAN technologies – 10%
* Infrastructure Services – 10%
* Infrastructure Security – 10%
* Infrastructure Management – 10%
There are various formats of questions you can expect in the CCNA exam. These are
* Multiple Choice Questions
* Drag and Drop
* Fill in the blanks
CCNA Exam Schedule And Location
Cisco exams are conducted in one of two ways – Proctored exams and Self-administered online exams. For proctored exams, you must go to a registered centre and give the exam there. A proctor is available on behalf of Cisco, who registers your entry, invigilates as you give the exam and even helps clear some doubts that you might have during the exam. Self-administered online exams can be taken at any time, anywhere. You can give these exams from the comfort of your home as long as you have a working internet connection.
CISCO Exam Scoring System
According to Cisco, passing scores are not officially published. Exam questions and passing scores are subject to change without notice. This means that you cannot be sure of what the real passing score is for your exam until you arrive at the exam venue. However, based on past examinations and research, the passing score is placed between 800 and 850 out of a total score of 1000.
Cisco uses a point scaling system that is used to score your exam. This scale goes from 300 to 1000. Once you start the exam, you automatically have a score of 300 points. With every correct answer, your points increase. However, you can’t know the weightage of individual questions. Therefore, your goal should be to answer as many questions correctly as possible in the time you have.
Get Started on Your CCNA Training Today
One big reason to choose a CCNA certification by Cisco is the number of job opportunities that become available to you once you are certified. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the requirement for CCNA certified candidates is going to grow by 8% until 2024. PayScale indicates that CCNA professionals earn over $78000 annually, which is 30% higher than the average job salary in the US. Start your CCNA training today to get certified and take your career to a new high.