How many CCNA Routing and Switching exams are there? Which one is the best?
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The CCNA Routing and Switching certification exam validates the networking knowledge and skills of the certificate holder. If anyone presents this certification while applying for the job then the employer will automatically know that this person has enough knowledge and skills related to networking to achieve this certification. If anyone is planning to give this certification exam, then they should at least know the basic things about this exam. The first and foremost thing that they should be informed about is the two exam paths related to the CCNA Routing and Switching certification exam. The candidates can choose anyone these two exam paths. In one exam path, they will have to sit for a single exam whereas in the other exam path, they will have to sit for two exams. Giving a single exam does sound better than giving two exams, but there is a catch to it. So, there are three kinds of CCNA Routing and Switching exams.
Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1
This is the first exam that the candidates have to give if they wish to go on the two exam path is the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 exam. The questions in this exam will revolve around ICND1 Cisco device. This exam tests the candidates’ ability and knowledge to install, configure and troubleshoot small networks. This exam will test the candidates’ capability to understand the basic idea of networking, basic configuration of routers and switches, VLANs and network control and security. To be able to pass this exam, they must at least know the basic networking related topics like IP addressing, routing, switching, LAN, TCP and UDP, network models, OSI model and so on. They must also know how to operate the ICND1 devices at least in the basic level. Besides that the subnetting mask is an important topic of this exam. This exam also requires a basic understanding about dynamic routing; inter VLAN routing, virtual LANs and so on.
The exam tries to test whether the candidate knows how to configure the Cisco routers and switches and whether or not they are able to use that skills and knowledge in the configuration process or not. The next portion of the exam revolves around network control and security. These days many hackers and malicious attackers have tries to attack the network to cause chaos in the organization. This is where network security and control comes in. This exam tests whether or not the candidates know about different network control and security protocols and how to use those protocols or not. They will have to cover these topics: DHCL (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), Access Control Lists, Network Device Security, Switch Security, IPv6 and so on.
Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2
This is the second exam that the candidates have to give if they wish to go on the two exam path is the Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2 exam. The questions in this exam will revolve around ICND2 Cisco device. This exam tests the candidates’ ability and knowledge to install, configure and troubleshoot small to medium branch networks. The candidates will have to know advanced configuration of routers and switches. Just by knowing the basic configuration of routers and switches won’t help the candidates to pass this exam. This exam also tests their knowledge and skills related to WAN technologies. They should at least know different types of WAN technologies and their benefits. They should realize what kind of network requirements requires what kind of WAN technologies. Besides that the candidates must also cover Point to point protocol, frame relay, cable technology, Ethernet, Dial-up, satellite and cellular wireless and other WAN technologies topics.
Since this certification revolves around routing and switching, the candidates must also learn about IP routing and IP addressing. Some of the topics that are also asked in the exam are OSPF, EIGRP, IPv4 and IPv6. The most important portion of this exam is the STP (Spanning Tree Protocol) and switching loops.
200-120 CCNA certification exam
If the candidates do not wish to give two separate exams then they could always opt for a single exam path. They can simply take the 200-120 CCNA certification exam. The 50-60 questions will cover both ICND1 and ICND2 Cisco devices. So, basically it is a composite exam of the two exam paths. All the exam topics covered by the ICND1 and ICND2 Cisco devices will be covered in this certification exam. The difference between this exam and the previous two exams is that it will be of 90 minutes rather than 75 minutes. However, the number of questions asked will be almost the same. The candidates will have to study everything related to various types of network, IP addressing in IPv4 as well as IPv6, IP routing, WAN technologies, Troubleshooting, routing, switching, IP control and security and so on.
The big question here is which one is the best for the CCNA Routing and Switching certification. Both the single exam path as well as two exam paths has their own benefits. In the single exam path the candidates can finish the certification exam in one shot which means after the first exam they won’t have to start preparing for another exam. Besides that they will be given few minutes extra as the exam will be of 90 minutes. So, basically they will just have to solve 50-60 questions like the other two exams, but the duration will be 90 minutes. In the two exam path, they will have to give two exams separately. The plus point here is that they will have more time to prepare as they can prepare for certain exam topics for first exam and then other exam topics for another exam later on. Still 200-120 CCNA certification exam seems to be the best because they can finish the certification in just 50-60 questions rather than answering 50-60 questions two times for different exams.
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