CCNA Exam Tips and Tricks

Cisco CCNA certification has become increasingly complex with questions from multiple knowledge domains and topics. The following are some recommendations to score your best on the new CCNA 200-301 exam. 

CCNA Pre-Exam Practice Tests

Practice tests are essential and when designed properly should verify what you have learned and your exam readiness. They are well worth the cost. You should verify your skills before going into an exam that is $300 USD. The practice tests should have labs to practice operational commands and configuration. Each practice test should include the correct percentage of questions per topic. Practice until you score at least 85% and have honed your time management skills properly.

CCNA 200-301 Pre-Exam Practice Tests

CCNA Question Types

  • Multiple Choice questions have only a single correct answer that you must select from multiple options.
  • Multiple Selection questions ask you to select more than one correct answer from multiple options.
  • Drag and Drop questions require you to match a list of items such as protocols for example, with the correct description.
  • Unscored questions on the exam are not listed with the official CCNA syllabus. They are for research purposes only, and do not count toward your final score.

Exam Day Recommendations

  • The testing center will give you double-sided laminated paper at the beginning of the exam. Request 3-5 of them so you are not interrupting your exam.
  • There is a 15-minute tutorial before the exam starts. Use that time to create your whiteboard notes. It is a collection of facts and figures that you have for quick reference. The online testing option provides a digital whiteboard for students.

All exam cheat sheets including configuration tool and IOS commands are included with CCNA 200-301 Full Certification Prep Course available at Udemy.

CCNA Whiteboard

  • Subnetting is a key aspect of the CCNA exam for a variety of questions. It is easy as well to make mistakes when converting between binary and decimal values. Write at least all class C subnets on paper when the exam starts. Include the subnetting table and binary table shown for quick conversions.
  • Don’t burn time with a question you could only guess on. Take your best guess and move on to the next question.
  • Do not click Next until you are satisfied with your answer and ready for the next question. There is no review allowed or navigation permitted to a previous question.
  • Do not waste time considering your answers from previous questions. There is no back button or end of test question review with CCNA exam.
  • Complex questions are sometimes comprised of convoluted wording, drawings and show command listings. Consider fundamentally what the question is testing.
  • Read each question a couple of times carefully (to make a well worn point). Note the subtleties with each question that Cisco employs and what the question is really asking.

CCNA Sample Questions

It is common for students to get turned around, disoriented, and flustered when taking the CCNA certification exam. There are often complaints of ambiguity, poor wording, and obscure questions. While the problem of obscure questions can occur, most questions have subtleties testing your depth of understanding.

You must learn how to interpret and distill exam questions effectively to pass the CCNA exam. New exam questions are comprised of multiple choice along with matching drag and drop type. It is important to become intuitive and learn to distill questions based on keywords and intent.

Each question will have keyword descriptors that will help you select the right answer. Some keyword examples include respond, install, factory, state, and forward. There is an intent with each question as well to test a concept. This could include the purpose and operation of a switch trunk for example, or route selection algorithm. The following are examples that explain question keywords, subtleties and identifying testing intent.

Responding vs Operational

1. What command will verify that a router interface is operational and responding?

A. show running-config administrative only

B. show ip interface brief operational only

C. telnet inconclusive

D. ping correct answer

This question is testing your understanding of administrative and operational concepts for interfaces. The keyword responding is used here and that implies sending a packet to an interface and verifying that it is operational (up/up). The command show running-config is wrong. You are at the router and can only verify the interface is configured correctly. It is an administrative command that does not verify the interface is responding to arriving packets.

The question specifies you should verify the interface is responding and operational. You could have an Ethernet interface that is working fine and the problem is a downstream neighbor interface that is shutdown or filtering packets with an ACL.

The command show ip interface brief is wrong. You are at the router CLI issuing commands so there is no send/return of packets and you cannot confirm the interface is responding to arriving packets.

Telnet option is inconclusive since devices requires a Telnet configuration. You would not know if the problem was with the Telnet configuration (application layer), ACL filtering somewhere (application layer) or the physical interface.

Ping is the best answer. ICMP packets are sent to the interface and return with destination unreachable error or return pings received to confirm the router interface is operational.

2. What IOS commands will display the operational status of IPv4 configured interfaces? (select three)

A. show ip interface brief correct answer

B. show protocols correct answer

C. show interfaces correct answer

D. show running-config administrative only

E. ipconfig /all this is not an IOS command

F. show interfaces trunk Layer 2 interface only

This question asks for an IOS command that will display the operational status of all configured Layer 3 network interfaces. The correct answers would display the operational status of active interfaces with an IP address, and must be Cisco IOS command only.

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