A Cisco Career Certification is valuable to any individual who is planning to break into the field of IT networking or take their career further. Getting the certification proves to employers that you have the necessary knowledge on various networking technologies and topics such as WAN, Ethernet, Network Address Translation and more.
Passing the Cisco Certified Network Associate or CCNA exam is one of the basic requirements for getting into coveted jobs within the industry, but getting certified is no walk in the park.
There are plenty of reasons why a person may fail to achieve this important certification. Here are some of the more common reasons, along with tips for improving your chances of getting certified:
1. Taking the exam blind
This error is more common among people taking the CCNA exam for the first time. There is a plethora of information available on the Internet regarding the Cisco certification exams. Cisco’s official website alone includes information on what to expect and provides access to study materials, exam topics and practice tests, among others.
2. Having no plan of action
Your chances of getting your certification are reduced if you do not devise an effective study plan. Certification guides contain basic information that is not applicable in all situations. The specified study hours, for instance, is only a recommendation and may greatly vary depending on your situation and ability to understand the topics.
When creating a study plan or a plan of action for your review, consider the following factors:
- When you plan to take the exams
- The topics you need to study
- How much time you can allocate for the review
- What training methods are available
- Your available budget
3. Not taking up training courses
Some people choose the self-study route and pass the certification exam on their own efforts. It can be done, but this is not to say that it would be easy. Even with the right books and study materials, it can be difficult to go through them on your own.
Signing up for a Cisco Certification Course from a reputable institution allows you to spend time with instructors who have passed the exam before and are certified. From them, you can gain insights on what the certification exams are like, what to expect, and which topics to focus your energies on, as well as review strategies.
During the training course, your instructors can share their experiences in taking their exams. At the same time, you can ask questions and clarifications on topics that you may have difficulty understanding. You can also use the classes as an opportunity to network and learn more about the industry, which is especially useful if you are just starting out in the field.
Some institutions may also have live network lab facilities that you can use in training for the certification exam. Take advantage of the facilities your review center provides to improve your chances.
4. Not taking practice tests
Practice tests give you an idea of what questions to expect for your certification exam. By taking practice tests and analyzing your results, you can learn which areas you do well in and which ones you need to focus more on.
Get your hands on as many practice tests as you can handle. Go through the practice tests provided by your review center, buy books, or try out the ones available online. The more questions you can find and answer correctly, the more confident you will feel in taking the exam.
As with preparing for any type of exam, leaving the review to the last minute can negatively affect your chances of passing and getting certified. There is a lot of material to cover. Even working professionals who have practical knowledge of Cisco products and networking technologies will have difficulty passing the exam without making adequate preparations.
Cramming information in such a short amount of time may cause you to easily forget what you’ve just studied. Allocate at least a few weeks of intensive study to give you time to absorb and learn the topics.
Cisco certification can open doors for people who want to enter the world of networking. By following these tips, you are increasing your chances of getting your certification.
Jerrin Samuel is the Executive Director at Regional Educational Institute (REI) in Abu Dhabi. Since 1995, REI has been at the forefront of education by delivering quality corporate training courses in the UAE, helping many businesses and organizations achieve greater productivity and higher customer satisfaction levels.