CCNA Study Resources

Passing the CCNA exam can be a big challenge for many candidates, as the minimum passing score is 825 out of 1000. That means a passing grade requires 82.5% correct answers. In the CCNA exam, candidates are presented with approximately 60-70 questions to be answered within 90 minutes, and the questions are of following three types:

  • Multiple choice questions (approx. 40-45 questions)
  • Drag-and-drop questions (approx. 5-10 questions)
  • Lab simulations (approx. 5-6 questions)

The above questions do not have equal weight – lab simulations have the highest weight in terms of marks. (Please note that this is empirical observation,per my and other candidates’ exam experience.) However,Cisco never shares the specific worth of individual questions.

Achieving CCNA certification with the highest possible score is not a big hurdle if you get proper training, practice labs and exams, and — most importantly — the best study resources. In this article, we are going to discuss the best and most useful study books and resources used by millions of network professionals around the world for CCNA exam preparation.

Mentioning hundreds of books and study resources here can lead to confusion about how to best review all core CCNA topics. That’s why we will talk only about the most selective, useful resources. In this way, we hope to minimize the amount of wasted time in preparing for this formative certification exam and give you the most bang for your buck.

What are the Best Online Resources to Help You Prep for the CCNA?

Router Alley provides free study guides and key notes on various networking topics, including CCNA prep, to help candidates become recognized as successful network professionals. Each study note is well-written and designed to explore network concepts, from the rudiments to a large variety of command-based implementations. Visit the links to get the available practice labs and study guides.

Intense School CCNA Resources. InfoSec Institute’s sister website, Intense School, provides a topic-based archive of technical articles written by top professionals on a variety of networking and project management topics. You can find a huge collection of articles on Cisco, AWS, BGP and MPLS, as well as book reviews and lists of the top interview questions you might be asked when applying for certain types of networking jobs. Here are some of the best Intense School publications to prepare you for CCNA exam topics and lab simulations.

Please note that many of these articles were written before the update from CCNA to CCNA Routing & Switching. These articles are a good jump-off point for key topics, but not should be a substitute for using a proper study book or class offering.

Fundamentals of TCP/IP Transport, Applications, and Security

Variable Length Subnet Masking (VLSM)

Analyzing Existing Subnet Masks

Understanding Wildcard Masks

Analyzing Classful IPv4 Networks

Introduction to Routers and Their Working

Operating Cisco LAN Switches

LAN Switching

EtherChannel Implementation and Optimization

Packet Tracer CCNA Prep: Creation and use of VTP domain

How to deal with VTP

NAT/PAT Technique Behind Private and Public IP Communication

For CCNA Labs preparation you can also visit the following links.

CCNA Lab Practice with Packet Tracer: Basic Router Configuration

CCNA Lab Practice with Cisco Packet Tracer — Configuring EIGRP

CCNA Lab Practice with Cisco Packet Tracer: Troubleshooting OSPF

CCNA Lab Practice with Cisco Packet Tracer: Configuring LAN Switches

GNS3 Labs for CCNA: DHCP Server Configuration and Verification

GNS3 Labs for CCNA: Basic Access Control Lists

Packet Tracer CCNA Prep: NAT/PAT Protocol in Cisco Routers

CCNA Prep: Introduction to WAN

GNS3 Lab: PPP Configuration for CCNA Level

CCNA R&S Lab Practice with Packet Tracer: A Routing Scenario with IPv6 Dual Stack

CCNA Lab Practice with Packet Tracer: IPv6 Routing

CCNA Lab Practice with Cisco Packet Tracer: Configuring Generic Router Encapsulation

GNS3 Vault is a great online resource to sharpen your skills in network implementation, designing and troubleshooting for CCNA exam preparation. This website offers hundreds of free GNS3-based labs with the types of comprehensive case studies that are so meaningful in real-time implementation & troubleshooting. This website is an ocean of GNS3-based labs to cover basic RIP/EIGRP/OSPF to help you to develop your knowledge of Cisco networking.

You can also find the CCNA/CCNP study guide on this website, but that isn’t freeware.

PacketLife’s Cheat Sheet library. If you are looking for some kind of cheat sheets on networking models, IP routing, IPv4 subnetting, NAT, access-lists, VALN, STP, and other topics, this link will be invaluable at the time of your final preparation. All of the cheat sheets are designed and documented in such a way that it is easy and intuitive to review the entire technology at a glance.

The 40 Best Cisco Resources on the Internet. A few years ago, Intense School Resources posted an article aimed at helping every Cisco exam candidate and network professional get the best available online resources. Again, because the article is a few years old, some of the links may be out of date and new ones may have appeared in the meantime. Nevertheless, this is a tremendous collection of worthy online resources that you’ll spend hours exploring.

The article is available in three parts.

What are the Best Study Guides for the CCNA?

CCNA Routing and Switching Complete Study Guide: Exam 100-105, Exam 200-105, Exam 200-125 2nd Edition by Todd Lammle

This book is the ultimate comprehensive study guide to reviewing CCNA exams topics (including ICND1, ICND2, and the CCNA composite exam). The book is bundled with hundreds of practice questions and also allows you to access the Sybex online learning environment for video tutorials and practice exams. This book is the best way to develop an entry-level knowledge foundation and enter the exam with confidence.

CCNA Routing and Switching 200-125 Official Cert Guide Library

The one-and-only Cisco-approved study resource for CCNA self-study is a complete package to learn and review all CCNA exam(s) topics with more than 600 practice exam questions. It is also bundled with Network Simulator software, lots of configuration labs, and practice tests with performance reports to make you more confident about achieving the CCNA certification. This cert guide library is bundled with two books:

  • CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-105 Official Cert Guide
  • ICND2 200-105 Official Cert Guide

The best part of this study resource is “Do I Know This Already,” a section of questions and chapter-ending exercises that helps you to understand what you already know about key concepts and technologies based on your existing experience.

CCNA Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide (ICND1 100-105, ICND2 200-105, and CCNA 200-125), 4th Edition

It’s not easy to remember, but all Cisco IOS® Software commands have a special role and usage, and some of the commands are used only in certain deployments and technologies. This book is loaded with nearly every command needed to cover the CCNA exam, with dozens of configuration examples (including graphical representation) and appropriate output. This book covers all topics of ICND1 100-105, ICND2 200-105, and CCNA 200-125 exams.

What are the Best Practice Exams for the CCNA?

Skillset’s CCNA Resource

The biggest and best CCNA practice resource, with thousands of questions along with multiple levels of difficulty so you can escalate in difficulty and unlock higher levels as you sharpen your knowledge. I would highly recommend this website if you have a determined interest in passing the CCNA exam on the first attempt. This CCNA practice exam program is divided into six Skillset knowledge areas as listed below:

  • LAN switching
  • IP routing
  • IP services
  • Network device security
  • WAN technologies

CCNA Routing and Switching 200-125 Network Simulator

With more than 250 labs and 5,000 hands-on tasks, the CCNA Routing and Switching 200-125 Network Simulator is designed and developed by top-notch Cisco authors Wendell Odom and Sean Wilkins.

This single-user software package will cost you approximately $150, and it covers labs grouped into four modules:

  1. Skill Builders
  2. Subnetting Exercises
  3. Configuration Scenarios
  4. Troubleshooting Scenarios

If you can’t afford the heavy investment of buying a lab setup, this simulator opens endless opportunities for practicing detailed structural labs, understanding objectives and internalizing network designs requirements. If you are preparing for your ICND exams, check the following links below:

CCENT ICND1 100-105 Network Simulator

CCNA Routing and Switching ICND2 200-105 Network Simulator, Download Version

SimpleLearn’s CCNA R&S Free Practice Test

This website provides a 90-minute virtual exam experience free of cost – you just need to register to start the practice test. You can attempt the test multiple times in case you need a do-over. For best practice, it is recommended that you take the test after preparing the exam topics. You will get 60 multiple-choice questions to answer in 90 minutes, and each question might have one or more correct answers. You can also suspend the test and resume from where you left off.

What are the Best Books to Help Prep for the CCNA?

31 Days Before Your CCNA Routing & Switching Exam: A Day-By-Day Review Guide for the ICND1/CCENT (100-105), ICND2 (200-105), and CCNA (200-125) Certification Exam

This book has 31 daily chapters to follow a strict daily study regimen. Each chapter starts with the key topics covered to fulfil the exam and business requirement. This book meets the exact requirements of today’s Cisco certification requirements and I found it very engaging and written with an accessible instructional approach that, if properly implemented, would significantly increase your chance of passing the CCNA exam(s) thanks to the in-depth coverage of every exam objective. Other useful topics covered in the book include:

  • Dos and don’ts on exam day
  • What you should receive after exam completion
  • Post-exam information

Free e-book: The Big Book of CCNA Study

The Big Book of CCNA Study is one the best ebook to learn all the essential CCNA key points, from OSI models to IP routing to WAN technologies. This ebook contains 44 topical chapters with a practical approach to the key topics. The main element is seven dedicated chapters on “IPv4 Subnetting & VLSM techniques” to master IP schema/subnetting classification. This ebook is contains realistic case studies, practice exercises and tutorials with a brick-by-brick approach.

Conclusion

Although we have provided you with numerous study, preparation and practice options, be aware that this list of resources has only covered a fraction of all the CCNA study materials out on the market. Everyone has different styles of learning and study (some are early birds, others are night owls; some like to study in concentrated chunks, others take frequent breaks to clear their heads), so the important thing to remember is that these study resources are only going to be effective if you pick the ones that complement your natural study and learning patterns. If you only need one or two, try before you buy, if possible.

No matter what you choose, good luck in your studies!

Be Safe

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Nitin
Vashisht

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Nitin
Vashisht

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