What is CCNA IOS?


Cisco IOS is Cisco System's Internetwork Operating System software that powers its switches and hubs.

Think of Cisco IOS as being similar to Windows on a PC. The PC is the hardware, but you need Windows software to make the PC function.

Cisco IOS has both a command line interface (CLI) and a graphical user interface (GUI).

It is essential that you know both methods of configuring Cisco devices to pass your CCNA exam, in particular the CLI.

We have a free video for you to watch entitled "5 Ways to Learn Cisco IOS".

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Is the CCNA Hard?

Studying for the CCNA exam The answer to this question depends on the extent of your existing knowledge of computer networking and Cisco device configuration.

If you are a seasoned network administrator who works in a company with Cisco infrastructure (switches and routers) and you are able to configure these devices using Cisco IOS commands, then with a little revision you should be able to pass the CCNA exam.

For all the rest of us, the CCNA course will require extensive training in order to master the concepts and learn how to design and configure LANs and WANs.

The CCNA syllabus requires understanding of basic mathematics, information technology (IT) and electronic principles, but don't let that put you off! The CCNA course is highly rewarding and can be of huge benefit to your career in the IT industry.

Start a free trial of our CCNA Video Training to determine if the CCNA is for you.


Both the CCNA and CCNP are part of Cisco Systems IT certification program.

There are five levels of certifications in Cisco's certification program. They start with the entry-level CCENT and progress through to the associate-level CCNA, professional-level CCNP, expert-level CCIE and finish with the Cisco Certified Architect.  The Cisco Certified Architect it is the highest level of accreditation achievable within the Cisco certification program.

There are also more specialized certifications such as the CCNA Voice, CCNP Voice, CCNA Wireless, CCDP, CCIE Security. The diagram above only shows the most common Cisco certifications at each level.

In order to begin studying for a professional-level certification such as the CCNP you need to pass the CCNA exam first, however you don't need to get the CCENT certification to take the CCNA exam. Read more about the CCENT and CCNA.


Here are the latest CCNA exam fees from Pearson VUE, scroll down to find your country.


CCNA Salary

The graph below shows typical jobs that require the CCNA certification in your country, plus the average local salary for each job type.



CCENT stands for Cisco Certified Entry level Network Technician.  Cisco launched the CCENT is 2008 to help make gaining a networking certification easier.  Before the CCENT existed the CCNA was Cisco’s entry level qualification.

As a networking student, you now have two routes to gaining the popular CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification.  You can either take one exam or take two exams (ICND1 and ICND2).  When you pass the ICND1 you get the CCENT certification, then when you pass the second exam (ICND2) you will be CCNA certified.

Certification Exams
CCENT Pass one exam - ICND1

Two options:
Pass one CCNA exam or pass ICND1 and ICND2 exam

Each ICND exam is approximately half the CCNA syllabus giving you the time and flexibility to gain a certification (CCENT) and learn the subject matter in more depth while working towards your CCNA.

If you are fairly new to networking it would be preferable to take earn the CCENT certification first (by taking the ICND1 exam) rather than trying to learn all the knowledge required to pass the CCNA in one go.    On the other hand if you have been working in IT for some time and already have a good understanding of networking you may prefer to take the CCNA exam straight away.  Take a look at the pros and cons of obtaining your CCNA via the CCENT route below.

Pros and Cons for CCENT


Pros Cons
Less to study and memorise You will pay for two exams (ICND1 and 2)
Less pressure/commitment on yourself Takes longer to pass the CCNA
Learn the subjects in more depth CCENT is not as well known as CCNA
Get a CCENT qualification when you pass You won’t be able to apply for CCNA jobs
  Your knowledge will be tested to a greater depth over two exams because its roughly twice as many questions than CCNA exam

Taking the CCNA Exam in India

We get a lot of emails asking how much it costs to sit the CCNA exam in India and how to locate a test center.  Well as of May 2012 the price is $295 USD.  You can check the latest price on the Pearson VUE price list, just look for the 640-802 exam code.

Locate a Cisco Test Center in India

Cisco CCNA exams delivered by a company called Pearson VUE.  Go to this page to find a CCNA test center in India.  Choose India from the drop down menu and then select your region.


CCNA Exam is not all Multiple Choice

Unfortunately Cisco CCNA exam questions are not all multiple choice like our CCNA Test.  They vary from question-to-question and can include the following types of question.

  • Multiple Choice – Select the best answer from a choice of answers.
  • True/False – Identify the true statement from a selection of statements.
  • Select Multiple Correct Answers – Select all the answers that apply. You are told how many answer options you need to choose.
  • Select All That Apply – Select all the answers that apply. You are NOT told how many answer options you need to choose.
  • Freeform Response – No answer choices are provided, you are required to input your response.
  • Exhibit – You are given a diagram or configuration and asked questions relating to it.
  • Scenarios – Asks a question that you might face in the real world.
  • Simulations – Tests your ability to fix and configure Cisco devices.

CCNA Pass Mark

Cisco does not publish the pass mark required to gain the CCNA qualification.  Cisco’s exam policies state that the CCNA “passing scores are set using statistical analysis and are subject to change.” “Cisco does not publish exam passing scores because exam questions and passing scores are subject to change without notice.”

However the general consensus on CCNA forums and websites is that an average pass mark of around 85% (850/1000) is required to pass the CCNA exam.