The Ultimate Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Study Guide

Want to pass the Cisco CCNA certification exam? Check out our all-inclusive study guide to get you on the right path early. Follow the link to learn more. 

Well-respected and renowned, there’s no doubt that obtaining the Cisco Certified Network Associate Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions (CCNA) certification can give you an edge over other candidates. 

Unfortunately, as evidenced by the many posts about failing the exam, it's also not a test to be undertaken lightly or where you can get away with cramming. To help out with this difficult (but still obtainable) certification, we’ve prepared an all-inclusive study guide to get you on the right path. 

We’ll start out going over the exam’s format and objectives and then dive into study materials. This is the ultimate guide to the CCNA exam. 

Why Take the CCNA? 

It's true that there are a number of other reputable networking certification such as CompTIA’s Network+. However, while this could be a good choice depending on your career goals, Cisco certifications are notoriously hard and held in high regard by recruiters and hiring managers. 

If you’ve had some experience in IT and want to take your networking career to the next level, the CCNA is the way to get there. As for your career outlook with a CCNA, here’s the rundown: 

Average salary: $79,000, according to InfoSec 

Most common job titles and their average salaries according to the Robert Half Salary Guide.  

Network Engineer: $118,750 

Network Administrator: $97,500 

Systems Administrator: $124,250  

Exam Delivery Overview 

While there used to be a few different CCNA exams, there's now just one exam to take to get this certification: 200-301 CCNA

Simply put, the CCNA exam is no small feat. Read on for more info on the exam and lots of resources. 

Exam Overview 

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Exam Quick Facts 

Exam Number: 200-301 CCNA 

Associated Certifications: Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions (CCNA) 

Duration: 120 minutes 

Cost: $300 

The focus of the exam will be testing skills and knowledge relating to network fundamentals, LAN switching technologies, routing technologies, infrastructure services, and infrastructure maintenance, LAN switching technologies and expand to IPv4 and IPv6 routing technologies, WAN technologies, infrastructure services, and infrastructure maintenance. 

The following are general guidelines for the content likely to be included on the exam. 

Study Guides, Labs, and Other Resources 

The Cisco website provides a robust amount of study materials, both free and paid, that you can use to prepare for the exam. You can find study materials for the CCNA exam here. Overall, the materials include training videos with industry experts, an up-to-date community with networking basics, practice questions, virtual labs, and more. 

Supplementary Study Materials 

If you’re interested in a specific topic, you can find more in-depth materials like this companion document on transitioning to IPv6. You can also find videos/seminars on specific concepts, and study groups. For more supplementary materials to keep in mind while you’re preparing for the exam, check out the Cisco blog here.  

Flashcards & Apps 

CCNA Flashcards: User-uploaded, free interactive flashcards from Quizlet. 

CCNA Routing and Switching Prep -- by Todd Lammle: Costs around $10. In need of an update, but still a helpful app from CCNA master Todd Lammale. Apple products only. 

CCNA Practice Exam Prep 2018: Free with in-app purchases. A newer app, but well-reviewed by some. Apple products only. 


CNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide, Volume 1 and Volume 2: By Wendell Odom. Contains more than 600 practice exam questions and more than 2 hours of video training, plus the CCENT and CCNA Network Simulator Lite Editions with 43 free Network Simulator labs. 

Cisco CCNA Certification, 2 Volume Set: Exam 200-301: By Todd Lammle. Contains hands-on labs help you gain experience in critical procedures and practices. The network simulator provides a realistic lab environment so you can practice at your own pace. Includes practice questions, flashcards, video instruction, and an extensive glossary of terms. 

31 Days Before your CCNA Exam: A Day-By-Day Review Guide for the CCNA 200-301 Certification Exam: By Allan Johnson. This text provides a day-by-day guide and checklist to organize, prepare, and review. Each day in this guide breaks down an exam topic into a manageable bit of information to review using short summaries. 


Avoid Cisco Exam Traps: In this ITProTV webinar with Edutainer Ronnie Wong, you’ll learn te 3 main areas to focus on during your exam prep, how Cisco's exams are formatted, and how to answer some of the toughest questions.  

Get Hands-on with Cisco: In this webinar, Cisco experts David Bombal and Ronnie Wong will discuss the different technologies and why they recommend them for your hands-on experience. 

Succeeding with the New Cisco Certifications: In this webinar with ITProTV Edutainer Ronnie Wong and Anthony Sequeira, you’ll learn the hottest concentration examst, the new exam formats, and the best practices for preparation. 

Study with an Expert  

As you can see from this list, the amount of information out there about the CCNA can be overwhelming. While self-study works great for some, it’s nice to have some assurance when you’re about to take these exams. 

At ACI Learning, we provide quick, comprehensive training that can help you get certified, prepare for a new career, and get hired in a snap. 

Looking to dive into a full schedule of classes? Or are you trying to work around a full-time job? We offer classes during the day, at night, online, and on campus to accommodate every schedule and learning style. 

With live-virtual labs, a wealth of extra study materials, and industry-expert instructors, we provide you with everything you need to pass your exam. Afterwards, our dedicated Employment Relations Manager will work with you to improve your resume, LinkedIn profile and interviewing skills to help you get hired. 

Looking for a chance to pass your CCNA exam, get your Cisco certification, and start a career in networking? Sign up at the link below! 

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