CCNA 200-301 | Everything You Need to Know to Prepare & Pass the Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions Exam
- August 5, 2020
- Posted by: Muhammad Afaq Khan, CCIE #9070
- Category: CCNA 200-301 V2.0
In this article, I am going to cover every bit of detail that you need to get started, to prepare and pass the Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions or the CCNA 200-301 exam. If you are already up to speed on what this exam is all about, you can go ahead and download my 105-hour CCNA learning plan by submitting the form shown below.
The Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions or the CCNA 200-301 exam is one of the many new exams that Cisco announced in June 2019 as part of their most sweeping career certification program update since inception (all the way back to 1993!). Not only did Cisco announce newer exams, they also revised rules for recertification as well as introduced the brand new Cisco DevNet certification. All exam and rule changes went into effect on February 24 2020.
The Implementing and Administering Cisco Solutions or the CCNA 200-301 exam is an Associate level 200 series exam. It is the exam to take if you are getting started with Cisco networking. There is no CCNA R&S or the Enterprise Infrastructure exam in the newer program format, i.e. there is only one singular CCNA and even that is no longer a prerequisite for the CCNP certification.
Older CCNA Exams
- Routing and Switching (R&S)
- Service Provider (SP)
CCNA Exam Topics or Objectives
The Cisco CCNA 200-301 exam topics include six sections. Based on my analysis of the official CCNA exam blueprint, 36% of the exam topics covered within the official CCNA exam blueprint contain theoretical topics whereas the other 64% of the topics necessitate some level of hands-on activity.
- Network Fundamentals (20% weight or about 20 questions)
- Network Access (20% weight or about 20 questions
- IP Connectivity (25% weight or about 25 questions
- IP Services (10% weight or about 10 questions
- Security Fundamentals (15% weight or about 15 questions)
- Automation and Programmability (10% weight or about 10 questions)
Let’s now cover each of the exam sections as defined in the official Cisco CCNA exam blueprint.
This section includes topics such as the network components, topology architectures, physical interface and cabling, IPv4 and IPv6 addressing, NAT, TCP/UDP protocols, wireless principles, virtualization fundamentals, and switching concepts. About 77% of the content in this section is about theory, whereas 23% requires hands-on.
This section comprises of topics such as the VLAN, interswitch connectivity, CDP/LLDP, LACP, STP, WLAN components, WLAN access for client connectivity. About 45% of the content in this section is about theory, whereas 55% requires hands-on.
This section consists of network core related topics such as routing table, forwarding decision, IPv4/IPv6 static routing, first-hop redundancy protocols. About 20% of the content in this section is about theory, whereas the other 80% requires hands-on.
This section comprises of topics such as the NAT, NTP, DHCP, DNS, syslog, QoS, TFTP/FTP and SSH. About 56% of the content in this section is about theory, whereas the other 44% requires hands-on.
This section is about topics such as key security concepts, device access control, remote access and site-to-site VPNs, ACLs, DHCP snooping, DAI, AAA, and WPA. About 60% of the content in this section is about theory, whereas 40% requires hands-on.
Automation and Programmability
This section is about topics such as controller-based networking, software-defined networks, data encoding format such as JSON (pronounced Jay-sun), REST APIs, device management with DNA Center, configuration management tools such as Ansible and Puppet. About 86% of the content in this section is about theory, whereas 14% requires hands-on.
If you compare the CCNA exam with the older now obsolete CCNA R&S written exam, you’ll notice that the two exams contain a lot of overlapping topics perhaps with the exception of Automation and Programmability section.
CCNA Exam versus the TCP/IP Stack
IMO, the best way to contextualize the new 200-301 CCNA exam is to compare it with the TCP/IP networking stack. Let me explain to you using a diagram where I have mapped out the exam sections to respective TCP/IP stack layers.
CCNA Exam and Job Task Analysis (JTA)
JTA is about the exam alignment with the actual role that you’re required to perform as a junior Enterprise network engineer. So, what are the actual roles that are out there that you can work in Enterprise Infrastructure space today.
- Network Engineer
- Network Automation Engineer
Now, based on those two roles, we can easily see that the CCNA exam maps nicely to both roles. The CCNA exam obviously only scratches the surface for each of those roles and mastery requires passing some of the CCNP level core and concentration exams.
CCNA Exam Costs or Fees
Each attempt at CCNA exam costs $300, like it does for all 200 and 300 series exams.
CCNA Certification and Recertification Costs or Fees
In order to become CCNA certified, all you need to do is to pass the CCNA 200-301 exam, so we’re talking about $300. For recertification, things get more interesting, since you’ve multiple options. For CCNA recertification, you’ve got the following five options.
- Pass CCNA exam again ($300)
- Pass one core exam such as the ENCOR ($400)
- Pass any one concentration exams ($300)
- Pass any CCIE Lab exam ($1600)
- Use Cisco Learning Credits >=30
It is worth noting that in the newer Cisco certification program format, all certification cycles last three years.
CCNA Exam Preparation
It can be a tough exam, but it all depends on your background.
So, if you are coming from a CCNA R&S background, you will find most of the topics such as the routing protocols familiar to you- my analysis shows that those topics make up 76% of the exam. On the other hand, if you are coming from a CCNP R&S or a CCIE R&S background, you may find as much as 90% of the exam topics familiar to you.
CCNA 105-Hour Learning and Study Plan
Now, to help you get started, I have put together a comprehensive 105-hour learning plan that you can follow to guide your CCNA exam prep. Watch the video below where I cover the CCNA learning plan in detail.
CCNA Practice Test
CCNA Exam Prep Bundle
Cisco CCNA Sandboxes
Currently Cisco offers Cisco IOS XE, and BGP related learning labs. You can get started by checking out the Cisco’s Enterprise Infrastructure sandboxes.
Author:Muhammad Afaq Khan, CCIE #9070
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