The Cisco Certified Network Associate Exam (CCNA 200-301) is one of the most popular Networking Certification exams. This does not come as a surprise as Cisco is the leading vendor for Networking devices. Taking the CCNA thus gives lots of competitive advantage over many other similar Networking Certifications. It is a great way to kickstart a career in Information Technology. If you are looking forward to taking this certification exam, I have made a list just for you in this blog – It is a collection of the best free courses for the CCNA 200-301 exam. These are some of the best online courses for the CCNA.
If you do a Google search for study materials on the CCNA exams, the bulk of the results will require you to pay for the courses. Another problem is that many of the courses are out-of-date, misleading, or not in tune with the latest updates on exams. There has been a major overhaul of the CCNA exam in recent years, so it helps to stick to courses with good feedback or taught by expert tutors. You will save some valuable time in collating your study materials so start your preparation as soon as possible. You will also save valuable time searching for the right materials and get right into your studies.
So let’s get down right into it.
What competencies does the CCNA certification provide?
The CCNA 200-301 is a Networking course – that is, the process by which devices such as computers, routers, mobile phones, switches, etc. communicate and share information. Networking is the foundation of Information Technology. The CCNA is designed to give a complete foundational and mid-level knowledge of the core concepts of Networking. For Cisco, It is an Associate-level course to teach and validate skillsets in these six key sections; these are Network Fundamentals, Network Access, IP Connectivity, IP Services, Security Fundamentals, Automation, and programmability.
These will give you competencies or skills in
- Basic Routing and Switching – You can configure routers and switches.
- Networking Fundamentals – To help you troubleshoot a network
- Network Access – Allow or deny certain communication
- Wireless Access Point – Wi-Fi, radios, etc
- Internet Protocol (IP) Services – Understand various IP Services and protocols such NAT, DNS, DHCP, etc
- Automation and Programmability – Know the basics of Cisco DNA Center, Automation, Configuration management, etc.
Can you learn CCNA by yourself?
Most people are used to the idea of being taught a concept or technology, which explains the need for many boot camps for certification courses. These are sometimes very good learning and networking opportunities, albeit, prohibitively expensive in some cases. So can you self-study for the CCNA certification? Can I really learn the technology and pass the exam through self-study or with free Online courses? The answer is a resounding yes.
The fact is a large chunk of people who become IT professionals achieve it through self-study. They are self-taught. All it takes is access to good study resources, and the discipline to commit to a study routine. It also matters little if you are a beginner, or lack a college or university degree. You can learn the CCNA course materials all by yourself, excel at it, and pass the exam. It takes your commitment and discipline.
How long does IT take to self-study for CCNA?
The CCNA is not exactly an easy exam. It is considerably broader than other similar Networking exams like CompTIA Networking+ and as such you will need a considerable amount of time to study and practice for the exam. The amount of time you spend will depend on a number of factors such as prior experience, individual learning speed, or the amount of time you can spare for it. In my opinion, putting up 1-2 daily for 3 to 5 months will be a reasonable time to prepare for. There are those who see it as a 60-hour course content, in practice, however, it may be more.
Some of the best Free CCNA Online Courses and Resource materials you can use to prepare for the CCNA 200-301 exam are listed below.
1. JEREMY’S IT LABS FREE CCNA COURSE
This is most arguably the best free course offered fully free for the CCNA 200-301. It takes you from an absolute beginner to a professional level, from the basic definition of what a network is to advanced concepts in Wireless and Network Automation. Jeremy takes you step-by-step through the CCNA journey. His course is a video course, offered through YouTube. Each video is about 20-30 minutes long and comes with a separate lab. configuration. You will have enough material to get your hands on enough practical work with this course. Jeremy also takes his time to constantly update the course content as Cisco introduces new concepts.
Jeremy introduces the main subject discussed for each topic, outlines the learning objective, and then goes through each of them step-by-step. You get a recap at the end of each topic, a series of test questions or quizzes. He also features a free bonus Exam Practice question from Boson ExSim (one of the best exam simulation software). Each Topic also comes with a dedicated video for Labs. You get to practice the concept you learned in a simulated environment.
Another feature that makes this course a great study resource is that it comes with a separate deck of Anki flashcards for quizzes, which is a good memory aid. The flashcards are downloadable and you can add to the deck by creating new ones. Also, you can review the deck of cards leisurely. Jeremy’s IT free CCNA course Playlist is available at the link: https://youtu.be/H8W9oMNSuwo
Key Takeaways: Jeremy’s IT Lab Course for the CCNA is a complete course to help you pass the CCNA. Each topic has a dedicated video for labs, and there are downloadable Anki flashcards for quizzes, The course features limited Exam practice questions from Boson Exsim.
2. Free CCNA 200-301 Course: Complete Unlimited By DAVID BOMBAL
This is a free complete CCNA 200-301 course, with unlimited access. The tutor is David Bombal. He is a renowned Cisco Networking expert with several decades of experience to his credit. You really cannot talk about CCNA online without really making mention of David Bombal, He has one of the largest collections of materials relating to CISCO in general and has inspired many (myself included) to switch to IT. David is a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert or CCIE ( The highest level of the Cisco Certification Hierarchy) which makes him an authority in the field. You will find a link to his complete free course at https://davidbombal.com/free-ccna-200-301-course-complete-unlimited-2022-course/
In the CCNA course, you will find a hands-on practical to help cement the various networking concepts. The course is not just designed to pass the CCNA, it goes beyond teaching you what you will likely encounter in real life. You will sometimes find him demonstrating some Lab exercises using a real networking device. David is more of a practical guy and encourages you to build your own labs with the Packet Tracer software. You may initially struggle with the Labs as a beginner, but with consistent practice to gain mastery and confidence.
He likened learning a new technology to learning to ride a bicycle, you only become better by actually practicing to ride- not reading about how to ride a bicycle. You will find more than enough Practical labs for each topic covered and the answers demonstrated in subsequent videos. Lab configurations are now part of the CCNA exams, so this course help you prepare for it. There are also quizzes to assess your understanding of topics.
Key Takeaway for this course: It is complete, with a lot of emphasis on practicals, It goes a bit beyond what you need to pass the CCNA exam. An excellent way to learn the technology and a good reference to solve real-world networking challenges – on the job. It is best to combine with other courses to cover the more theoretical aspects.
Other Free CCNA Course Material
These are not full CCNA Courses but they are great materials you can use to supplement your studies for the CCNA
1. Free CCNA Course Guide
These are study notes that are especially useful for revision purposes, probably just a few days before the examination. They contain CLI commands and other things that may sometimes be easy to forget. It is available at https://study-ccna.com/free-cisco-ccna-study-guide/ or you can download your Free CCNA Course Guide
2. CCNA Labs PDF
This is available from Neil Anderson, as part of his materials on the CCNA 200-301. He is one of the older hands on the course with lots of experience. This is a complete collection of all the labs in the CCNA. This, as well as other free materials, are available for download at https://www.flackbox.com/ or Download CCNA Labs Pdf
3. CISCO OFFICIAL DOCUMENTATION
What better place to get excellent information on the Cisco course than the official Cisco Guide or website? You will need to familiarize yourself a lot with the documents. I would suggest you only pay attention to subjects that are related to your CCNA exams as the official guide tends to be voluminous. You do not want to spend too much reading things that you will not need when you just starting up with Cisco. You can always catch up later. The official certification Guide by Oddem is Kind of pricey. It is an excellent reference guide that covers everything for the CCNA. Comes in two volumes, each containing over 1000 pages)
4. RYAN BENEY FREE CCNA COURSE
This course covers many of the CCNA Exam topics with the exception of a few (that is why I did not include them in the first category). The topics treated are relevant and treated in a way that is easy to understand. It will aid your understanding of many of the exam topics. Ryan uses a lot of diagrams to make his explanation clearer. The link to the free course is https://youtu.be/yu4g-KskNtw
5. CCNA Quiz
You will find CCNA exam-type quizzes at https://davidbombal.com/free-quiz/. The quiz topics are for Subnetting, Binary, Decimal, Hexadecimal conversions, and subnet quizzes.
6. CCNA Syllabus
The CCNA 200-301 Exam has 6 sections. You can find the details of each section and the weight each carries for the exam in the PDF below. It is advisable to keep a copy as a reference for your preparation. Download the CCNA Syllabus PDF
7. Packet Tracer Download
Create your own practice labs with the Packet Tracers software. It is great to learn and prepare for the CCNA 200-301 Exam. You do not have to get real Cisco equipment to practice how to configure networking devices. Packet Tracer is the recommended software for labs at the CCNA 200-301 exam difficulty. To download a free copy of the latest Packet Tracer software, you may need to sign up and log in to the Cisco Network Academy (Netacad.com), Select resources > Download Packet Tracer
8. CCNA Audiobook Download
This is available for free by Paul Browning. It is the Audiobook of Cisco CCNA Simplified. You can study for the CCNA rather passively – while engaged in other activities such as your daily workout or driving. This Audiobook is a 9-hour long audio file, although this was made before the latest CCNA update, the key concepts have not changed fundamentally. Also, note that you cannot pass the CCNA with this audiobook alone as you will need to do some hands-on practice. It helps you learn the CCNA subconsciously while you are active in other activities.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2YLY2sDznI (Credit: https://www.howtonetwork.com/)
A POINT TO KEEP IN MIND FOR THE EXAM
Here is a point you should know to pass the exams, you should be familiar with the style and difficulty of the CCNA exams. You may need an Exam Preparation simulation. They can be a bit expensive but a good Exam Preparation Simulation is good value for your money. You should STAY AWAY FROM EXAM DUMPS as they are illegal and counter-productive. Your goal is to learn the technology, pass the exam, and become employable. Exam dumps can derail that goal.
The two common Exam Question Simulations are the Boson Exsim Package and The Alphaprep for The CCNA. For a review of the Boson Exsim Package, you can check THE LATEST REVIEW OF THE BOSON EXSIM PRACTICE EXAM
Additional Study Resource (Paid)
If you choose to explore further with some paid courses, here is a list of relatively cheap courses on Udemy, taught by some of the authors mentioned earlier. They are the best-rated courses on Udemy for the CCNA. This is a viable alternative if you do not like YouTube videos.
Best Udemy Courses For the CCNA
- 1. Jeremy’s IT Lab Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/course/complete-cisco-ccna-200-301-course/ Rated 4.7
- 2. Neil Anderson Udemy Course: https://www.udemy.com/course/ccna-complete/ Rated 4.8
- 3. David Bombal Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/course/complete-networking-fundamentals-course-ccna-start/ Rated 4.6
The CCNA 200-301 exam is a Networking Certification exam that is widely accepted by many Hiring Managers, With a disciplined study routine, a beginner can hope to gain valuable Networking skill sets and pass the exams in about 3-5 months. Some of the best free Courses to help you achieve this include the Free CCNA Course by Jeremy IT Labs and that offered by David Bombal. They come with lab practicals, quizzes, and practice questions. There is a list of supplementary materials to equip you to pass the exam such as a downloadable complete lab guide, Cisco official documentation, Quiz practice, etc. There is also a collection of excellent Udemy courses to help you prepare.