All About the Cisco Certified Network Associate Certification

Congratulations! You have made your first step in beginning your journey to joining the Cisco Career Certifications group of certified professionals. CCNA is the first step into your journey.

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is the most popular certification among all Cisco certifications. CCNA certification is a prerequisite for several other Cisco Certifications, which of course adds to its popularity.

The exam itself is a computer-based exam, with multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and drag-and-drop style questions. The CCNA exam is delivered by our testing vendor, Sylvan Prometric, which you can reach at 1-800-829-NETS, or you may register online at As we continually update the exams, the duration and number of questions per exam will vary. When you register for your exam, the registrar will reserve the appropriate time. You should check with Sylvan Prometric for the exact length of the exam.

NOTE Be aware that when you register for the exam, you might be notified of a specific length of time, and when you actually log in to the testing software at the testing center, you might find that the testing time is 15 minutes shorter; that's because Sylvan Prometric expects some time to be required for getting settled and taking the tutorial on the testing engine.

The CCNA exam is not an easy, read the book and you pass kind of exam. It is surprisingly hard, but Cisco's philosophy is that by passing the exam, you fully understand the concepts. More importantly, Cisco wants to be sure that passing the exam proves that you have the skills to actually implement the features, not just talk about them. For instance, you can expect questions that ask for the name of a router command that displays a particular piece of information—most of us don't memorize all the types of things displayed by every show command! So, the difficulty helps enhance the value of the CCNA certification, which ultimately is better for those of us who are getting certified.

Also, in order to ensure the exam proves that you know your stuff, the exam does NOT allow you to go back and change an answer, as many other exams allow, and as the original version of the CCNA exam allowed.

Although it is a difficult exam, if your time is spent on training, experience, and study, you are preparing yourself for success. If you don't prepare adequately, it is more than likely that you will not pass the first time. The concepts and commands covered on the exam are not secrets locked in some vault, though—the information is available in many places and forms, including this book. So, while difficult, passing the exam is certainly attainable with proper training and preparation.

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