The CCNA Certification is actually at the Associate level of Cisco’s hierarchy of certifications, so there are no technical prerequisites for the CCNA Exam. This means that you do not have to take any previous exams before you can qualify as CCNA Certified. However, there are age restrictions for any Cisco certification:
- Under 13 years — Cannot sit for exam even with parental consent
- 13-17 years — Can sit for exam with parental consent
- 18 years and above — No age restrictions
Even though there are no prerequisites from Cisco’s end, the CCNA Exam (200-301) may be better suited to those with one to two years of experience in Networking. This should not discourage those who do not have any hands-on experience and still want to take the exam; you will only need to work harder and use the tools available to make you competent for the Global Exam (200-301).
What study materials do you require to get started?
As with any certification exam, there are various study materials to help candidates prepare for the CCNA Certification Global Exam and these materials are available in different formats. For example, there are study guides, self-paced videos, workbooks, lab guides, practice tests, and so on. Some of these materials are from Cisco while others are available from other vendors.
Cisco has provided a free online list of approved study materials. You can do a web search to find study resources from other vendors. Just keep in mind that, regardless of the study materials you use, you need to make sure that you cover the entire content of the exam.
The study materials you decide to start with will depend on the manner in which you learn. Some people prefer videos to textbooks, while some nod off immediately after they start watching a video. This section will provide a sample guide (and plan) of study materials to prepare for the CCNA Exam.
- Start with Self-paced Videos so that you can cover a lot of ground quickly. This is especially useful if you are new to networking. Seeing concepts explained visually does a lot to aid understanding of such concepts.
- Get the Official Certification Guide (OCG) for the CCNA exam. If you only read one guide, this should be it because it is the only self-study guide that Cisco approves. These guides are usually quite bulky but are worth the effort.
- Labs. Videos and study guides cannot replace hands-on experience. This used to be tricky because it meant you needed access to expensive Cisco Devices like Routers, Switches & Firewall. You need to practice 100% of the CCNA Exam content with a combination of different Network Topologies using Real Cisco Devices.
- Practice Tests. Unless you are using dumps (which we do not encourage), no practice test can ever show you the exact questions that will come out on the real exam. The best you can get from practice tests is knowing what kinds of questions to expect on the real exam.
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