In the IT world some skills such as programming take years to learn and hone. This creates an intimidating environment for those who year to break in into IT fields. Yet not all skills are that specialized or rigorous.
Often it’s hard to know which skills you should learn to kickstart your career. In tech. One of the more challenging paths is that of a Cisco Certified Network Associate. The CCNA is a certification that shows proficiency in networking concepts and hardware. One of the most sought after skills is networking. It’s challenging, rewarding, hard, and yet invaluable as a skill. Every business needs the internet, and every small business needs a network. Much like CompTia exams, Cisco offers numerous certifications that show potential employers who has put in the work to be considered a certified network technician. As the gold standard for showing skill in networking, the CCNA is an important certification to consider.
The CCNA is a rather basic level in regards to networking because it is such a large concept. Being a certified Network Associate can start you on the path toward several rewarding and high paying jobs. Networking isn’t easy though. It takes a lot of hands-on experience and personal study. Knowing which test to even take can be confusing for people.
What is it?
There are several different certifications offered by Cisco that cover a broad spectrum of concepts and skills. For those who want to get a good foundational course though, we recommend taking the 200-125 Exam.
This exam covers quite a bit of introductory networking and gives a great platform for growing in skill. While networking can be intimidating, with a little preparation and study, you can be certified in a matter of weeks. Granted, this path is not for the wavering. If you want to be certified in a couple of weeks, you need to study, watch videos, and train for a couple hours a day.
Don’t be discouraged though! It’s totally possible! We are here to offer some tips and help on getting ready to take the CCNA Exam in a matter of weeks!
So where do we start?
Pick one of the 9 Certifications
CCNA has 9 subcategories. Routing and Switching is the best “overall” beginning cert though for Cisco work. For the sake of this process, we are going to assume that CCNA R&S (Routing and Switching) is the certification that you are pursing. Many of the concepts will still carry over between sub categories as well, so don’t be afraid to pick one and commit to it.
One Exam Vs. Two
There are two ways to get certified as a CCNA through Routing and Switching. You can take two separate exams or take a combined exam. Regardless of whether you split the test up or take both tests at once, the questions and content would be the same. It’s important to know how you want to take the test though because you can study half the concepts for one week and test then switch and test again or study everything for two weeks and test.
Step 1: Schedule the Exam around two weeks from when you plan to start studying
This incentivizes studying. It can be hard to stay focused if you have nothing to lose. Yet when a significant amount of cash is on the line (The exam is almost $300) then you are motivated to push through tired nights and boring notes. You have skin in the game. It hurts to lose. Start by scheduling your exam. This forces you to commit to this process.
Step 2: Create a Schedule
Studying with an upcoming deadline requires a fair amount of discipline. Schedule your study time and commit to making it a priority. Put the Exam date on the calendar so that you are reminded of the urgency of study. Next take all the exam concepts and divide them by fourteen. Make sure that you master 1/14th of the test each day, while also reviewing previous days.
Step 3: Block out AT LEAST two hours a day, one in the morning and one in the evening.
Getting certified takes a fair amount of commitment. It’s easy to feel discouraged when looking at the time commitment. Still, studying for an exam is all about taking normal time captive. There are 168 hours in a week. If you take 14 of these hours and apply them to learning a new skill, it’s definitely possible.
To be ready to test in two weeks you must be brutally honest with yourself. Do you spend too much time on unimportant things? We have all binge watched a TV show or wasted time doing something inconsequential. Look for little moments that you can redeem for more time. Always be honest with yourself and others about what holds you back from studying and growing. You NEED to find two hours in the day for study at a bare minimum.
Step 4: Take the Exam-labs test
We all enter IT fields with varying levels of knowledge The online tests offered at Exam-labs.com show real questions and offer a great point of entry for the CCNA Exam.
Step 5: Rank the subjects you need to study by importance
Taking a practice exam can give you a good point of reference for where you are at with networking. Most people will know a few rudimentary things, but this can help you hone in on the necessary knowledge to concentrate on for the test. Note the things that you struggle with, these can be used to make a study guide.
Step 6: Create a list of subjects to study
Take the Exam-Lab results and create a guide that helps you see where you are lacking in networking knowledge.
Step 7: Gather Components for a test network
While knowing concepts is great, having a physical place to test your knowledge is invaluable. Testing a network requires several Ethernet cords, a router, a switch, a hub, and two-four computers. There are MANY more parts to a network and as you learn, you will want to buy, borrow, and test these components out. For the sake of connecting computers together on a network though, these basic components can help you get started. Ideally you’ll want several devices to test network set-ups and troubleshoot you own set-up.
Step 8: Build A Network
Murphy’s law states that what can go wrong, will go wrong. Networking is one of the most fundamentally challenging aspects of IT. This is because numerous devices, operating systems, software, data, and more must interact in such a way as to send and retrieve information along a broad spectrum of network setups. It’s almost useless to study for this exam without taking the time to set up a test network and practice some of the basic skills that the exam seeks to show.
Step 9: Study, Study, Study!
There are numerous resources online for free such as this video series by Exam-labs, or free exams such as those, http://blog.goodfoodgiftcard.com.au/?cert=exam/200-120. To be certified in two weeks, you will need to spend at least an hour studying Networking every day and an hour each day practicing both real world test set-ups and digital ones.
One of the advantages of Exam-labs material such as those offered for the CCNA 200-125, is that it is real-world knowledge. The questions found on Exam-Labs tests are similar to those that would actually appear on the CCNA 200-125. Learning to answer these questions can boost your confidence and motivate you to learn more.
Step 10: Take the Exam-Labs test, repeatedly until you have memorized many of the answers
It is a good for those who struggle with confidence to be reminded of how obtainable these certifications are. These Exam dumps cover enough information to help you easily pass your first CCNA test. If you can ace the Exam-labs material, there is a good chance you can pass this exam. Take these concepts to your test network as well!
Step 11: Repeat
For the next fourteen days, study for an hour, test for an hour, write down what you need to improve on and repeat the process. It may seem like a waste to study so much, but it is amazing how quickly the skill-set and knowledge to pass the CCNA exams will start to accumulate.
Step 12: Take the Exam!
It’s ok to be a little nervous but after two weeks and putting in several hours a day of study and recreating a network, you should be ready. So take the Exam! If you have studied and aced the Exam-Labs material, as well as put up your own Network and practiced network concepts, it should be quite easy to pass this exam. So go for it!
Step 13: Pass!
And with that, we hope that you pass the exam! Tests can be intimidating, but they are so rewarding. Certifications open the door to greater opportunity and push you to become a better person to learn a new skill and enter a new industry.
Did this help?
Are you getting ready to take a CCNA exam? Did this guide help? Be sure to comment in on ways we can improve our guide process as well as share your own success stories! We are grateful to help you succeed with the CCNA and hope to see you as a certified CCNA member soon!