How to pass CCNA Certification in first attempt?

CCNA certification is the first and basic requirement for working as network professional in most organizations. The 90 Minutes CCNA composite certification exam consists of 50-60 questions and costs USD 295.

The passing percentage for the CCNA certification is 85% and according to some resources the exam has a failure rate for the first attempt is (+/- 95%). Whats worse? some intellectual students plunged into as many as 3 times failures.

According to the online surveys and discussion forums, following are the main reasons of failure in CCNA certification exam in first attempt and the precautionary measures you can take to avoid them.

Right study material

A lot of freshers prefer to rely on a single or free/cheap resources available on the internet. They are full of misleading information and also contains outdated material.

All the publications by cisco press are no doubt the most authentic resources and should be the first choice for the preparation of any cisco certification. The benefit is not only the successful exam preparation but also a thorough knowledge of the course that other resources do not cover. You need not only to pass the exam but to master the overall course content to be confident and successful in your professional career. So make your choice wisely.

Split the CCNA Composite exam (Optional)

You think the CCNAX 200-120 composite exam is difficult for preparation and you do not want to risk all of your money for single attempt, you can easily attempt the split versions. Cisco has provided ICND1 (100-101) & ICND2 (200-101) respectively. Together they complete CCNA. Their exam prices are USD 150 each.

Get benefit of modern technology to Test your readiness

The most important and the most overlooked step before attempting for the CCNA Certification exam is to test for readiness.

Generally first attempt failures were not aware of simulators, catalysts and practice apps. Even very well prepared candidates taking their chance without fully test their skills and have more tendency to miss the shot by very few marks.

There are many FREE “Test your readiness” apps available on the app stores. Give it a try to them, they come up with sample multiple choice questions and LAB scenarios. If you score more than 97% in multiple attempts, you should feel confident to attempt for the CCNA Certification.

There are some professionally designed apps also available by Best Exam Guides.

CCNAx (200-120) Exam Prep
ICND1 (100-101) Exam Prep
ICND2 (200-101) Exam Prep


All “Test your readiness” apps only works if you are already prepared for the exam or at least have a fairly decent amount of knowledge.

The best things about these above mentioned apps is that they help you closely monitor your mistakes, weak areas and help you fill all the gaps in your preparation. These apps share some great features e.g.

  • You can reveal the answers.
  • A list of correct, wrong, skipped and revealed answers are recorded for monitoring.
  • Accumulative statistics for consecutive attempts performance monitoring.
  • Command line based LAB scenarios to simulate the real exam.
  • Drag & Drop scenarios to simulate the real exam.
  • The questions are split into 4 different exams that are much easier to attempt.

Attaining more than 95% in at least 5 accumulative quiz attempts surely gives 100% confidence to attempt the real CCNA certification exam.

Study with job or internship

There is a chinese proverb “One foot cannot stand on two boats”. Generally fresh graduates / college pass outs are highly motivated and enthusiasts to get a job and perform great in their first job. The demanding nature of professional life does not allow them to study properly.

If you are thinking you can work and study together and get prepared for CCNA Certification exam, higher chances are both tasks will suffer badly.

It is strongly recommended that you take leaves for dedicated preparation for the CCNA certification exam, because thats what professionals do for more advanced certifications.

Planned vs unscheduled Study

A number of students do not schedule their study at all. Pickup the book and study whenever they feel like methodology is inappropriate for the preparation of any professional certification.

There are numerous methodologies for planned studies. All of them summarizes on systematic and scheduled study along with frequent revisions. e.g. Define milestones, objectives and daily tasks and achieve them effectively along with regular revisions.

GPA system vs absolute percentage

Students throughout in their study life are usually familiar with the GPA system or a very low passing percentages requirements in some countries (33%, 40% etc). They rely their gut instinct more than their absolute surety to pass the CCNA certification exam which has a much higher absolute passing requirement of 85%.

Switch interest or stick to the plan

The freshers are found to switch their interests multiple times due to lack of confidence and fear to loss of money before they attempt the exam. This causes significant breaks in their study pattern.

You should believe in yourself. Understand that hopping around in different paths won’t lead you anywhere. You were born to win, but to be a winner you must stick to the plan. If you have planned to choose your career as network professional, don’t get fascinated by any other career options. Every path has its own pros and cons. Its only YOU who make yourself stand out in any particular field.

Once you understand that fact, you will less likely to change your mind repeatedly and your motivation and dedication will be increased to achieve anything.

Confidence vs arrogance

There is a saying “There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent”. Cisco certifications generally are deep and comprehensive in nature. They are unlike most of the professional certifications. If you are honest with yourself and have true confidence on your preparation then there is absolutely no harm to appear in the exam. But if you are taking cisco certifications lightly, think twice. Every failure attempt costs the candidate USD 295 approximately and a bundle of frustration and demotivation to appear again.

Be honest with yourself. Make sure you have true confidence in your preparation. Being arrogant is not an option.