Most persons are afraid of lab questions in the CCNA 200-301 Exams for obvious reasons. It can be a bit challenging and requires a lot of practice to master them. Also, you are not so sure of what to expect as Labs in the exam. This article will help you with just that. It gives some insights into some of the things you should expect as regards the labs in the CCNA exams. Basically, you will get some answers to the common concerns as they relate to the labs in the CCNA. Finally, it will some resource materials that will help you better prepare for and pass the CCNA 200-301. The CCNA LAB EXAM question is something you should prepare adequately for.
This will largely be based on my experience in the exam and some available resources you may not have explored. I will present them in question form and give my answers.
1. Are there lab questions on the CCNA?
The simple answer is yes, there are lab questions in the CCNA 200 -301. These are actual lab configurations where you will manually type in some commands using the Command Line Interface. It is much like what you would normally see in your Packet Tracer simulated lab exercises. There will be some instructions on what to do, albeit, you will also be expected to navigate the lab devices and figure out some things on your own.
For example, after answering the questions that follow, you will be required to save your configuration using the appropriate commands (copy running-config startup-config, Note: You should always use this command instead of the write or write memory command- unless they expressly state otherwise ). Cisco also would expect you to issue commands at the appropriate privilege level, this will not be explicitly stated but implied.
Cisco did announce on 7th July 2022 that they will be Introducing a Performance-Based Lab Exam Item and has since implemented it in recent exams. It is meant to reinforce the hands-on configuration of network devices as would be required of Network engineers/Administrators in a real work environment. That practical experience is a much-needed industry skill and Cisco wants to lead the evaluate holders of the CCNA Certification on their ability to navigate the (Command Line Interface) of a networking device.
Don’t be too worried about the Labs, they are not scary, a good dose of preparation using the Packetracers demonstrations should be adequate for you to perform the labs satisfactorily. Practice a couple of labs before you sit for the exam. I will highlight all the lab topics later in the article.
2. How many lab questions are there in CCNA 200-301?
Typically, you will configure two sets of lab exercises, each of which will cover a different concept or topic of the CCNA coursework. For example, the first set may deal with VLANS while the other will be on NTP (Network Time Protocol). You should expect to spend about 5-7 minutes on each of the lab exercises. You should expect to see 5 or 6 subquestions for each of the labs. They are usually simpler items, for example, name VLANs or Assign certain interfaces to a given VLAN.
One of the points to always remember is to save your work before you click to move to another page. You may not be able to go back to check pages you already closed in the Cisco exam.
3. Do You Need To Lab To Pass The CCNA?
Ideally, you should prepare adequately for all the labs and attempt all the lab exercises, that will maximize your chances of passing the CCNA Exam. That should be your right approach towards the exam. However, on a personal note (not as a piece of advice), it is possible to pass the CCNA exam even if you did poorly in the lab questions. I personally had some challenges during my labs. My keyboard was stuck, everything froze and I could not complete the labs as I had intended, I had to skip some large sections. I did however pass the exam in spite of that.
It was possible when I wrote mine but I will not recommend you do that. Cisco is constantly updating the way they conduct the exam, who knows what they may be up to when you decide to sit for your exam.
4. Is new CCNA harder?
Some persons may be quick to conclude that the new CCNA is much more difficult than the old one because of the introduction of Lab Exercises. I do not think that to be the case. The new CCNA questions cover a large number of topics, you know what to expect but the exam question tends to be only the basics. Moreover, newer topics such as Network Automation and some of the security sections tend to only ask basic questions, questions that are more like quizzes.
5. COMMON LAB QUESTIONS EXERCISE
Not all topics in the CCNA exam blueprint come with Lab exercises, so you can focus your energy on the common ones. Some of the common Lab exercises for the exam Cisco tends to pay more attention to are in the list below. Take time to master them, and revise adequately for the exam. They are quite simple but pay attention to nuances in some of them.
- Configure and Verify IPv4 Addressing and Subnetting
- Configure and verify VLANs (normal range) spanning multiple switches
- Configure and verify Layer 2 Discovery Protocols (Cisco Discovery Protocol CDP and Link Layer Discovery Protocol LLDP)
- Etherchannel (LACP)
- Configure and verify inside source NAT using static and pools
- Configure and verify NTP operating in a client and server mode
- Configure network devices for remote access using SSH
- Configure and verify the DHCP client and relay
- Configure device access control using local passwords
- Configure Layer 2 security features (DHCP snooping, dynamic ARP inspection, and port security)
For a complete list of the CCNA Exam Labs Guide, you can download a PDF copy below.
6. HOW DOES CISCO SCORE THE LABS?
It is not clear how Cisco scores the Exam labs or how much weight it carries in terms of percentage of total score. A good guess would be that it is not critical for passing the exam, that is not in any way suggesting that it is not an important component of the exam. The official passing score for the CCNA 200-301 is 820 from a total of 1000 score points.
It is also likely that the Lab exam exercises/questions are scored automatically since the result of the exam is ready within the hour of completing the exam. The first preliminary result indicates either a Pass or a Fail, which is ready in as little as 5 minutes after completing the exam, then a second result which shows the detailed scores for each session is available for print within an hour.
Free CCNA LABS QUESTIONS PRACTICE
The best way to really crack the Lab Questions in the CCNA exams is to practice the various lab exercises using a good practice guide. Below is an excellent collection of lab setups you can use to practice for the exam. You can download them and practice with them. This complete lab guide is courtesy Neil Anderson.
FREE CCNA LAB Manual
You can find a selection of CCNA practice labs (Routing and Switch) in the sets of labs below. You could make a selection of Labs from the list based on the CCNA exam blueprint. It also contains a list of Lab CLI commands and how to use them. The lab exercises are in a sequential form and you can easily choose from them to practice specific configuration. https://www.freeccnaworkbook.com/workbooks/ccna
Build Your Own Labs
You can also build your own labs by using the Packet Tracer. The Software is available for download when you sign up for the Cisco Network Academy platform (Netacad). There is also a free course to practice how to use the Packet tracer lab.
What you should do for the exams
Ensure you do enough practice on Packet Tracer or use the free download above. It is a good idea to go through all the labs in the week of your exams. Go through the official Exam Guide and ensure you cover all the lab topics. The common lab topics for Cisco are VLANs, SSH, Network Address Translations (NAT), Network Time Protocol, Static IPv4 addressing, IP routing, etc. Also, in the exam, remember to save your lab configuration after you complete the tasks.
Try and manage the time you spend on each lab set of questions. It is possible you can still pass the exam even if you mess up some parts of the lab. (I skipped one of my labs because my keyboard was stuck). It is important you allocate adequate time for other questions. A word of advice – Ensure you test your keyboard, mouse, and other things you will be using for the exams. This applies whether you are taking the exams from home or from a testing center.
The introduction of Performance-Based Exam Labs by Cisco is not something you should be scared of. Labs or practicals are an integral part of your work if you choose a career in IT. They help prepare you better for your journey ahead. It doesn’t really make the exam much more difficult to pass. The CCNA exam labs questions are easy enough if you spend reasonable time on practice labs. Practice Lab simulations using Packetracer or download the complete practical guide.