This post is intended to be a one stop aggregate of content related to the CCNA R&S, new users are encouraged to look through this post before asking these common post topics. Because I'm lazy I'll be copy and pasting relevant sections from other posts as needed :)
Can I use older versions of the study material?
No, at best you'll get basic information but you'll be missing topics, reading about topics you don't need to, and could generally not learn a topic well enough. It isn't worth trying to save money since failing the exam is much more expensive than some new books.
Saying that some video courses are still worth while, CBT nuggets for example has plenty of CCNA related series such as their CCNA packet capture course that is still good info though out of date.
You can occasionally save some $$$ by buying a discount voucher, a discount voucher is a voucher that is expiring sooner than a ordinary voucher, the less time left the more it is discounted. For example a CCNA voucher with 3 days left might get 50% off.
I have used these sites before and they work well.
www.itexamvouchers.com or www.getcertified4less.com
The Exam Change
CCNA 2.0 is being retired on the following dates:
Last day to test August 20, 2016
Last day to test September 24, 2016
Last day to test August 20, 2016
A common misconception is that ICND1 is a prerequisite for the CCNA, it is not. Rather the ICND1 earns the CCENT certification and the CCENT is the prerequisite for the CCNA. This distinction means that you can write the 3.0 ICND2 exam even if you have passed the ICND1 2.0 exam.
100-105 - ICND1 3.0
ICND1 Exam topics
Here is a summary of the changes in the new version:
RIP is now the sole routing protocol in this exam.
IPv6 Dual Stack was removed in favour of transition techologies
CEF has been removed from the exam.
High level knowledge of Firewalls, Access Points, and Wireless Controllers
Awareness of Collapsed Core architecture
Configure and verify IPv6 SLAAC
IPv6 Anycast addresses
Knowledge of LLDP
Troubleshooting DNS and DHCP related connectivity issues
200-105 - ICND2 3.0
ICND2 Exam topics
- Frame-Relay (HOORAY!)
- VRRP and GLBP (BOO!)
- Knowledge of IWAN
- Basic eBGP
- VPNs: DMVPN, Site to Site, Client VPNs
- Understanding the Cloud
- Understanding SDN
- Using APIC-EM's Path Trace application
200-125 - CCNAX 3.0
Composite 3.0 Exam topics
All in all some pretty fair additions and only a couple questionable removals.
Should you take the composite exam?
The short answer is....no, probably not.
Generally speaking the composite is only for the experienced network professionals who are used to certification exams. It is really meant for convenient switching to the R&S track from say Juniper.
Why not take it? It's just considered to be a much more difficult exam because:
It doubles the number of topics you can be tested on, this makes it so you must have mastered everything in the CCNA since it is fair game. This also makes repeat attempts harder since the question pool is large enough that if you do badly on say IP Services, you might instead get a security focus the next time.
You have a smaller margin of error: with ICND1 and 2 you can get say...10 questions wrong to pass with the minimum score so you can get 20 questions wrong and still be a CCNA. With the composite you can only get 10 wrong before failing
There is less padding questions, icnd1 may also you 10 subnetting questions but the composite may just ask a couple and move on the next topic. This makes things harder since your more likely to hit a hard question rather than get a few easier ones.
Cisco assumes your a network professional so they may hit harder than with the other exams.
Based on my own observations from watching this sub and talking to people, I would say a junior has about a 90% fail rate for the composite and it typically takes them about 3 tries to pass it. Incidentally they also tend to be bitter with Cisco after paying for so many failed exams. Long story short, it isn't worth it, I should also point out that you get the same CCNA no matter what path you take. The only difference is that with the two exam method you get the CCENT as well, which means you can get up to two kitty gifs!
Books by Odom and Lammle remain our recommendations for this CCNA version, you should read both to get both perspectives on topics. Generally Odom is considered to be more dry and technical and Lammle is more readable and approachable.
There are two main options for a home lab - physical and virtual. You can also mix and match as needed.
Because of the new version it is recommended to try to use IOS 15 in all your physical gear so you can utilize the modern features that IOS brings to the table. The router models don't matter all that much since features at the CCNA and CCNP level are mostly the same, you also don't need to worry about serial modules nearly as much because serial is a very small topic now.
Model numbers matter with switches though, you should aim to get 3 or 4 Cisco 3560 switches so your lab will last you well past your CCNA R&S studies, though you can pick up a some L2 Cisco 2960 switches if need be.
For virtual you have 3 main options
- Packet Tracer - a mostly functional emulation tool that meets most of the CCNA requirements, it requires very little resources or technical knowledge but only supports just enough IOS features for you to pass the CCNA.
PT 7.0 is out now and can be gotten for free from Cisco.
- GNS3 - a functional solution that runs real IOS images, the downside is you need to get your hand on IOS images. It also doesn't have native support for most L2 features.
Here is a blog post I wrote about setting it up end to end:
- VIRL - this is the most resource heavy option but its benefit is that Cisco provides IOS images to you.
Here is the post I did about VIRL:
Remember there is no back button so always read the question until you fully understand what it is asking you and you know what technology it is testing you on before answering.
If you can't think of an answer within a minute consider picking the best answer and moving on. You are unlikely to correctly figure out the question after thinking about it for another minute and will likely talk yourself into a wrong answer. You don't have a ton of time in the exam!
For people with a bit more IT experience, remember the context and level of the exam. There are many solutions to problems in the real world and at the end of the day the CCNA doesn't get too deep into topics. Keep the exam topics in mind when answering a question...for example if Cisco asks what device would run BGP? Then the answer would be a router even though most devices can support BGP these days from hosts to servers to firewalls etc. The reason why is the CCNA v3.0 only teaches about basic eBGP on a router so Cisco isn't going to expect you to know that Windows Server can do BGP.
The Best Answer
People also have a lot of issues getting used to the concept of the best answer. Like the BGP scenario above you have to keep the context of the question in mind, a router can indeed use a switch module to act like a switch and a L3 switch can act like a router etc but if they ask what device is best for switching then it will be a switch.
The Cisco Answer
The "Cisco Answer" is something that keeps popping up over and over, and in my opinion is drastically overblown and misunderstood in most cases. Basically it is the claim that Cisco wants you to answer the question their way as opposed to the industry correct answer. Generally this seems to be feed from the pitfalls I mentioned above:
An example of an old Cisco answer was back when other vendors first started supporting CDP and if you were asked if CDP only ran on Cisco you had to decide if Cisco was expecting you to know that polycom phones could do CDP. But generally those types of questions are gone in the R&S track at least (I'm told the wireless track needs more time in the oven)
The other place it comes from is when you are multi vendor and/or have a higher knowledge/experience level then the exam your writing. A simple example might be if they asked you how many link state routing protocols are supported by Cisco, a CCNA will probably say 1, whereas a more advanced candidate may answer 2. But considering CCNA doesn't mention IS-IS then 1 would be the CCNA correct answer. The trick is you have to keep your exam level in mind as your writing it.
Finally there is the obvious actual Cisco answer where if they asked you what OSPF's Administrative Distances is? Now on Cisco it is 110/110/110, on Juniper it is 10/150, and on HPE it is 10/150/150. So in this case they are looking for the Cisco right answer but that only really can affect you if you are multi-vendor.
Question Marks and Tab
Sim's generally have support for the
? but it can be limited if Cisco decides to remove them to make sure you know how to do a task or if they simply just don't fully implement them since the sim is just a flash animation they have to program. It is also worth noting that even if Cisco does give you full functionality, you would still need to know the full commands since Cisco can just straight up ask you syntax questions.
The Boson practice tests are highly regarded and tend to be of similar difficulty or more difficult than the actual exam.
New topic posts
I'll try to keep this updated as they pop up but here is the current posts that are cover the new topics
What is Metro Ethernet
What is MPLS as a WAN Service
What is BGP?