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Should You Take The Single or the Two Exam Approach To CCNA?

With the latest version of the CCNA exam, Cisco offers two possible exam track options of either one or two exams. See also CCNA break down.


In the May 2016, Cisco has just announced the ICND1 and ICND2 exam refresh from version 2.0 to 3.0. The new exam numbers are:

  • 100-105 ICND1 v3.0
  • 200-105 ICND2 v3.0 
  • 200-125 CCNA v3.0

In content, CCNA = ICND1 + ICND2. You can get Cisco certificate CCNA Routing and Switching (CCNA R&S) with either single exam approach or 2 exam approach.

The question types on 100-105 ICND1 v3.0, 200-105 ICND2 v3.0 and 200-125 CCNA v3.0 are the same:
  • multi-choice, single-answer
  • multi-choice, multi-answer
  • Testlet (one scenario with multiple multi-choice questions)
  • Drag-and-drop
  • Simulated lab (you can see a network topology, read lab description, access the devices. The goal is to fix a problem by changing device configurations)
  • Simlet (you can see a network topology, read lab description, access the devices. Instead of changing device configurations, you answer multi-choice questions based on the current state of the network)
1) The Single Exam Approach
  • Exam Number: 200-125 CCNA v3.0
  • The exam consists of 50-60 questions over 90 minutes and covers all CCNA exam topics
  • cost  $325.00 US

2) The Two Exam Approach
  • Exam Numbers:  ICND1 and ICND2
  • The two exam approach consists of 100-105 ICND1 v3.0 and 200-105 ICND2 v3.0
  • 100-105 ICND1 v3.0 consists of 45 to 55 questions over 90 minutes
  • 200-105 ICND2 v3.0 consists of 50-65 questions over 90 minutes
  • $165.00 US each for the Two Exam approach.
Either approach will allow you to successfully become a CCNA R&S after passing the required exams. There are advantages to taking either of the exam tracks and these include:

Single Exam Approach (200-125 CCNA v3.0) Advantages:

  • Only one exam required to become a CCNA  R&S and it covers all topics
  • More time efficient than taking two exams

Who Should Take The Single Exam Approach?

Take the Single Exam Approach to the CCNA if: ·
  • You are looking to reduce the time spent obtaining the CCNA
  • If you are well prepared for the exam topics on the CCNA exam than the single exam approach is the way to go. This approach is generally recommended for more experienced candidates such as those who have experience with networking technologies.

Two Exam Approach (100-105 ICND1 v3.0 and 200-105 ICND2 v3.0 ) Advantages:
  • Exam is broken up into 2 smaller sections of CCNA exam topics
  • Allows more time to learn and understand topics of each exam
  • Excellent for candidates new to Cisco technology

Who Should Take The Two Exam Approach?

Take the Two Exam Approach to the CCNA if: ·
  • You are new to Cisco technologies and networking basics

You will be successful following either approach if:
  • You have a complete understanding of all CCNA exam topics
  • Have experience with router configuration/simulation
  • Have completed numerous configuration examples and questions on CCNA topics
CCNA R&S certificate is just one of the CCNA certificates provided by Cicso. Other CCNA certs includes: CCNA Wireless, CCNA Security, CCNA Cloud...

The CCNA exams is the precursor to other higher level Cisco certifications. Successfully completing the CCNA exam will allow a candidate to pursue other Cisco certifications such as:
  • CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
  • CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert)

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