The CCNA Certification Exams What Theres More than One Exam

For the first time since Cisco announced CCNA in 1998, the CCNA certification has an option for multiple exams. Before Cisco announced these latest changes around summer of 2003, to get your CCNA certification, you just passed a single "CCNA exam." With this latest generation of the CCNA, you can either take a single exam to get your CCNA, or you can take two exams, with each of these exams covering a subset of the CCNA exam topics. Table I-1 lists the exams.

Table I-1 CCNA Exam Names and Numbers

Exam Name

Exam Number


Introduction to Cisco Networking Technologies (INTRO) exam


A subset of the CCNA topics; should be taken before the ICND exam

Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) Exam


A subset of the CCNA topics; should be taken after the INTRO exam



Can be taken instead of INTRO and ICND exams; covers the same content as the other two exams combined

So, you either take the CCNA exam or you take both the INTRO and the ICND exam to pass CCNA.

Like most Cisco certification exams, the names of the INTRO and the ICND exams come from two Cisco Authorized courses. Cisco's INTRO course covers a broad range of topics, from Ethernet cabling to virtual private networks (VPNs). The Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) course dives more deeply into core Cisco technology and protocols, in particular, switching and routing. Whereas the INTRO course covers a broader range of topics to a small amount of depth, the ICND course covers fewer topics but to more depth. Like their namesakes, the INTRO and ICND exams cover similar depth and breadth.

The CCNA exam simply covers everything on both the INTRO and ICND exams. So, if you want to save some cash and you are confident that you are ready to answer questions across the whole range of topics for CCNA, you can take just the CCNA exam itself. Alternately, you can focus on the INTRO exam first, master those topics, pass the exam, and then move on to the ICND exam.

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