How To Pass The CCNA

CCNA LogoI know there are a lot of people out there that have aspirations and dreams to achieve the CCNA certification, but they simply don’t know where to start. I have just finished posting a video to my YouTube channel about this topic, so go check it out below. Here are the four major steps to achieving your CCNA certification that I talk about in more detail in this video

Step 1: Find Your Motivation

You must first know yourself and know what motivates you and what is motivating you to get the CCNA.  For some it is the prospect of finding a better job that they actually love doing, and even making more money at it.  For some, the motivation is simply because they love networking and want to understand the in depth technologies.  There are many different reasons for many different people, but you want to find your personal motivation.   This will help fuel you and will help remind you why you are doing this in the first place when you hit rough patches in your path to success

Step 2: Create A Plan

Once you understand what your personal motivation is, you want to create a detailed plan.  If you study the minds and habits of successful people, you will find that they follow patterns to success, and you want to replicate those patterns.  Your goal needs to be specific and it needs to be tied to a specific date to be effective.  In  other words, “I want to get my CCNA” is not a very good goal because it is not specific enough.  “I will get my CCNA certification by following the specific study plan I have laid out by December 10th this year” is better.  The first statement is just a general dream, while the second is specific and tied to a specific date.  Now, write it down.  I know it sounds weird, but writing down your goals and actually putting them down on paper is very motivating! Try it and see for yourself.

At this stage, you want to find out what you are up against.  It is amazing to me how many CCNA students have no idea that Cisco releases a specific blueprint for what general topics you need to master for the exam.  Head over to to find the blueprint.  You can even download it in PDF form, and print it off. Keep a copy handy at home and at work if you can to stay on top of things.

Next, you want to get highly organized about attacking this thing.  Now that you have the blueprint, you should be able to devise a battle plan.  What you want to do is break things down.  The blueprint is already broken up into individual sections, but what you can now do is take those sections and start mastering them one at a time.  Also, you can setup a specific study schedule.  For example, figure out a reasonable amount of time that it will take you to prepare for the exam.  Let’s just say it is 6 months.  Now you have a timeline to work with.  Now, figure out how much time you will spend on each major blueprint topic.  Write it out. For example, maybe you find that you will dedicate week 1 to the first section of the blueprint and a solid two weeks for OSPF.  Whatever it is, write it down.  What topics will you study within what specific time periods?  What resources will you use to prepare?  Cisco Press exam study guides, configuration guides, video training and online forums are all great resources you can utilize.  Don’t forget to plan adequately for some hands on practice time as well.

Step 3: Find Mentors

Mentors help put you on the fast track to success.  Many people have gone before you, so make sure you are leveraging their knowledge and expertise to help you succeed.  This is one of the best things you can do to accelerate your learning.  If you know some network engineers at work, ask if you can buy one of them lunch and pick his brain on some networking topics.  Meet up for coffee and talk subnetting.  Get involved.  Most guys in this industry that are worth anything are very willing to give back and to help those that are willing to learn.  Do not expect everything handed to you either though.  Be willing to put in some work if you are asking for help.  Some of us don’t mind leading but don’t want to hold your hand either if you do not show any initiative.  Another thing you can do is volunteer to help out on projects that are being done by the team you might want to be on one day.  Maybe there is a big LAN upgrade going on and the guys could use an extra hand.  You might not get paid OT, but you can get some real world experience that is valuable, and make some good connections at the same time.

There are plenty of great online mentors out there whose expertise you can tap for free.  The world we live in now is amazing and the resources available to you are almost endless.  Some of the brightest, best engineers in the entire networking industry are out there and are willing to give back to you for free.  Check out CCNA study forums, the Cisco Learning Network (CLN), study blogs, YouTube videos, and other online resources to help get you moving.  There is truly a wealth of information out there

Step 4: Do The Work

If you are going to do something, do it right.  Do not take the easy way out by cheating, brain dumping, etc.  Not only does it devalue the certification you are working hard to get, but it also doesn’t do you any good.  If you get your CCNA by dumping exams, you will not know the technology, which means you will be useless in a real world situation.  The CCNA will help you get a foot in the door for job interviews.  What you do at that point is up to you.  Any network engineer worth their salt is going to be able to know weather you know your stuff or you don’t in a very short period of time.  Remember, the CCNA would not be worth having if it was easy.  Put in the work, and you will be glad that you did.  Enjoy the process of learning, and truly master all the topics that you need to in order to be successful.  This is the step where you actually put into practice and do the things you put together in step 2.  It is easy to understand and not easy to do.  Doing the work and not taking shortcuts is where most people fail and where you must succeed to be truly successful.  If you will commit to your plan and have some discipline, you will be successful!

Check out the YouTube video below. Leave a comment on the blog or video and tell me where you are in the four steps.  Have you found your motivation?  Have you created your master plan?  When is your exam scheduled and have you paid for it?  Have you found your mentors?  Are you willing to put in the work and pay a price to win?  Let me know!  I’d love to hear from you.

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  • This is quite a motivational blog for CCNA aspirants. Self-confidence is the first thing to achieve your goal. Next, you have to look for good Mentor and work for your goal

  • First of all thank you so much
    Iam really interested in taking ccna exam not only the exam iam fond of hup .switch.routers really I love them to much but I didn’t study networks at all mylife in school ,I studied telecommunication in school but now I know nothing my head is impty but iam really motivated to study but i don’t know how I begin I studied from YouTube ip TCP/IP ospf switch routers
    I need your help I don’t know from where to begin from the history of networks or from YouTube videos or books or whatever I know some institutions but befor that I want to prepare myself with a little knowledge can equip me with books website that well help me
    Many more thanks

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