You have finally come to a decision to get your Cisco certification, but you are not sure how it works or where to start.

Obtaining the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credential can be beneficial for everybody who works in the field of computer or information science.

The basic process to get a Cisco certification is passing the exams. Cisco gives you a choice of two approaches to get your CCNA 200-125 certification: 2-exam path and 1-exam path. Both approaches cover the same topics and are equally extensive. The difference is that the 2-exam path allows you to divide the topics into two separate exams. So how to decide which path to choose? It's important to know, that you don't have to decide on the path right away. Regardless of what you choose, your study scheme and sources would be the same either way. To prepare for the exam, you need to do a lot of self-studying. There are a lot of text books, online courses, spot classroom programs and practice exams to help with the preparation. If you are a student, there is also a number of colleges that will provide you with special programs destined to prepare you for the test. What you must know, that Cisco changes the exams every year, therefore you cannot expect to pass if you only relay on the past exam questions that you’ve seen and studied over the Internet.

At some point, you might want to take a different angle on studying, depending on the path you decided to take. If you decided to get the CCNA 200-125 certification on your own, for your own purposes, it is recommended to simply start with getting the first book, read a few articles or view a couple of videos. During that first step, you can decide on the path that suits you the most. To help you make a decision, here are a few arguments for each path to be considered.  

The 2-exam path:

  • The amount of information needed to be studied is too extremely big to remember it all at once for only one exam.
  • Taking two exams will help you stay motivated and will not allow you any distractions during your studying.
  • Being an amateur in networking and Cisco, you need a bigger specter and more angles of study to get a grip on how things work.

The 1-exam path:

  • You’ve got enough experience on this field, that covering everything in just one exam doesn’t sound impossible.
  • The requirement of your firm/employer/class is preparing and for the 1-exam choice.
  • Although you are a newbie in this field, you have a great memory, and always pass any kind of tests with flying colors.
  • You’re a highly driven person, that does not need any other motivation to reach a milestone, but the ambition to succeed.  

And how do the exams look like? While taking the exam, you are being monitored by a proctor via webcam and microphone. The space you are occupying has to be secured, which means, you are alone while taking the test. The exams mostly last up to two hours. This does not apply to lab exams, they usually last about eight hours. The tests can be quite demanding, as they go the extra mile with the job-relating variety of questions, and they consist of different types of problem solving obstacles(including multiple-choice single and multiple answers, drag and drop, fill in the blank and simulations).As a candidate, you get to use a board and erasable marker for an assistance as you answer the questions. If you don’t have it, one will be provided to you. Exams may also contain some non-scored items. These are placed randomly in the exam, with enough time to solve them, but their purpose is not to give a higher score. This items are there just to collect performance data on new items. When you complete the exam, you receive a score report and the passing score for that particular exam.  Lab exams, on the other hand, are a simple pass or fail. Within two days, using login, the results from the lab exam are available online.

When you pass the exams needed for the certification and after you sign the agreements they require, you will get a Cisco certificate and valid certification dates. If you are getting your cert by email, the waiting period is about three to five days. Certificates sent by postal mail will take longer, about six to eight weeks.

As for the prices for the exam, they vary by the level of the exam and by currency. You can find the cost information at the Vue website, by choosing your country and exam.

Now when you are a certified candidate, you must read and accept the Cisco Certifications Logo and Trademark Agreement (you can order logos through Cisco Certifications Tracking System). After this, you are an authorized user. But keep in mind that after three years, the certifications are no longer valid, and you will have to retake the expired exams.

Cisco certification exams can be taken at authorized test centers. You can register online, make an appointment by telephone or, if possible, simply by walking to the nearest Pearson VUE Centre.

As you can see, passing Cisco CCNA 200-125 certification exams is not such a nightmare as IT experts describe. The main thing is to have a good motivation and aspiration to get the certification. Then the dream of being a certified specialist will come true.