11 Things you should know About The CCNA Exams

The Cisco Certified Network Associate exam is a great way to start your journey or advance your career in IT. You need to be aware of the following pieces of information to help you better plan for the exam, knowing what to avoid and things that will be helpful to you both short and long-term. Here is a list of things you should know about the CCNA Exam.

1. Exam Cost

The Cisco Certified Network Associate Exams cost $300. And it is a single exam. The same is true for the other associate-level exams – CyberOps Associate (200-2010) and DevNet Associate (200-901). You could make a payment for the exam through the use of vouchers or directly using your credit cards. Vouchers can be purchased in your local currency and will only be used within your country of purchase. Also, they have a validity of one year and they are non-refundable.

2. Exam Duration and Number of Questions

The Exam is 120 minutes long and the number of questions is usually between 97-104 questions. There have been cases where some persons got 91 questions to answer in 150 minutes (It included 2 labs), I can’t tell if this is abnormal or if Cisco has this was doing some trial stuff.

3. Exam Labs

Expect to see some Labs for the CCNA 200-301 Exam. This is in line with Cisco’s announcement of introducing the New Performance-Based Lab Exams. You will be given some configuration in a simulated form, you will have networking devices connected and you may be asked to type in the appropriate commands in the Command Line Interface (CLI). Without disclosing more details, you will likely have 2 sets of lab exercises, each with like 5 sub-questions.

4. Booking the Exams

There are two options for booking the Cisco exams. You could take the exams online from the comfort of your home or you could go to a testing center accredited by Cisco(Using a proctor). Note however that taking the exam online is not available in all countries and that you will be required to disable some software in your system, have an active webcam, install the onVue Software, good internet connection, and have a government-issued -id, etc. CCNA is also available in multiple languages and some sort of concession is given to persons whose first language is not English. You can check the status of your testing center at the link

5. Exam Validity and Recertification

The Validity of your certification is for 3 years. At the expiration of that time, you will need to take a recertification exam. The cost of the recertification exam is the same as the $300. Recertification ensures that you keep up to date as the curriculum is constantly being revised. Taking a higher tier exam such as the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional) can recertify you for the CCNA. There is also the option of recertification through the Continuing Education Program where you learn and earn credits.

6. Retaking the Exam

In the event that you fail the CCNA exam, you can retake the exam after waiting for a minimum of 5 days. (Hint: You are likely to see similar questions when you do a retake of the exams). For the instance where you want to increase the validity of your certification (i.e. You already passed the exams), you must wait for a minimum of 180 days from the day of the last exam you passed.

7. Passing Score For The CCNA

The official passing score for the CCNA 200-301 is 820 from a total of 1000 score points. Be aware that not all questions give you a score on the exam. There are test questions in the Exam that are used for “research” before they are introduced mainstream. You don’t score for passing them, and you also don’t get penalized for them. So if you see a strange question on the exam, it might be Cisco doing their “test”. There is a claim that Cisco also uses such dummy questions to “track” people who use exam dumps to prepare for the exam. Cisco frowns at the practice. There is no way to tell anyway, just be aware. There is also a minimum score of 300 points on the exam. Cisco kind of has a minimum baseline score- Let’s call it scores for putting in the effort to sit for the exam.

8. Not All Exam Questions Scores Point

This may sound weird. There are questions in the exams for which you will not be allotted any score for getting them right, and nor will you be penalized for getting them wrong. Cisco claims to use them for “research”, to test candidates in order to introduce new questions in future exams. There is also the claim that it helps them in some ways to detect “cheating”. How do you know these non-scoring questions? Well, you don’t, treat each question with the same priority. Don’t spend too much time trying to figure out the answer to “strange questions”.

9. Exam Dumps

Exams dump or brain dumps- Should I use them, it is considered cheating, and if detected that a candidate used exam dumps, your certification can be withdrawn even after years of passing the exam. So stay away from them. I am not giving a moral lecture here, I am only saying that it could get you into serious trouble with Cisco.

10. Non-Disclosure Agreement

Well, you will need to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Cisco that you are not going to disclose the details of the examination to anyone. It is one of the conditions for taking the exams. It is one of the reasons the use of dumps is prohibited.

11. Exam Results

The results of the CCNA exam are available within minutes of submitting your final answer. If you used a Proctor for the exam, you will likely get a print-out copy from the center. The result will typically state whether or not you passed the exam, with a breakdown of how you performed (in percentage) in the various sections. You will get an email with instructions on how to access your result- the same email you used in registration.

How long is CCNA 200-301 valid for?

The CCNA 200 – 301 certification is valid for 3 years, after which holders of the certificate will be required to retake and pass a certification exam. The alternative to keeping your CCNA valid is to have a higher Certificate from Cisco. Holders of a higher certificate such as the CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professionals) will automatically have their CCNA validated.

How To Revalidate the CCNA

Take another exam or sit for a higher level exam such as the CCNP to validate lower cadre certs.

Hope you found these helpful.



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