How to Pass the CCNP Exam

How to Pass The CCNP Exam

Congratulations! You’ve decided to study for a Cisco certification!

The next question you’re thinking is: How do you get the CCNP? Schedule & Pass the CCNP test with Pearson Vue!
Tip: Scheduling the test before you study can help you focus to study.
To that end: If, at the date you schedule, you don’t feel ready; You can reschedule and push the date back. Ask your certification center for the “rules”. My testing center is 1 day [24 Hours] before your test. You can reschedule as many times as you want.

This post is laid out to help you start studying. No, this thread will not help you study specific topics – like EIRGP, STP, Redistribution… That’s the next step beyond this post. This post’s sole purpose is to help answer the never-ending questions: “How do I study”, “Strategies to study”, “How do I get the CCNP quick?”.

Bottom Line: I can not give you the answer for your situation. Everyone has their own goals, budget, work situation. However, I can share the many methods successful people have used to gain their Certifications. I will also share my own experiences. Let me reiterate these are MY own opinions.


SelfStudy >> How to Self-Study for the CCNP

The rest of the post is dedicated to those that are interested in self-studying. I would hope you are. It’s an exciting, vast world. One that I hope you can share my excitement someday! The networking world is much more involved than routers and switches. At the same time, most electronic information relies heavily on routers to route, and switches to switch. This is the door to all of it, and CCNP is your beginning to a successful networking career.

At the same time your motivation can burn out trying, especially when studying for the CCNP. I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy. Because it’s still going to require dedication, time, practice. But this thread is to make it somewhat less foggy.

Ultimately, the best way is get right in! Jump in and do it!


You’ll need to pickup  books!

Yes. I said it. Run for the hills, lock your windows, bar your doors. You heard me. You will need to read something. It’s going to be dry. It’s going to be boring, but it is something we all must go through. These book recommendations I hope will ease you into your CCNP studies.

First the books: These are the most-often recommended books self-studiers gravitate towards:


Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE) Foundation Learning Guide

CCNP ROUTE 642-902 Official Certification Guide (Official Cert Guide)

Cisco CCNP ROUTE Simplified


Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH) Foundation Learning Guide

CCNP SWITCH 642-813 Official Certification Guide (Official Cert Guide)

Cisco CCNP SWITCH Simplified


Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (TSHOOT) Foundation Learning Guide

CCNP TSHOOT 642-832 Official Certification Guide

Cisco CCNP TSHOOT Simplified


You’ll need to do labs…LOTS of them!

Practice makes perfect! Getting into the terminal, doing advanced configurations and practicing commands is a must-do for any CCNP candidate.

Emulators - Emulators will use the actual Cisco IOS. It acts like the real thing without the hardware! Great for saving LOTS of cash. I recommend using GNS3. This will not only teach you what you need to know but also save you a boat load of money. Unfortunately you will still need to purchase physical switches since GNS3 can not yet emulate them. However switching is in the works and should be available in GNS3 late 2014. If your craving for real equipment please search for my blog post on building a Cisco Home Lab.

-> GNS3vault

->101 Labs for the Cisco CCNP Exams

-> CCNP ROUTE Lab Manual (Lab Companion)

-> CCNP SWITCH Lab Manual (Lab Companion)

-> CCNP TSHOOT Lab Manual (Lab Companion) 


You’ll need to watch Videos!

So what’s the next-best thing to a real teacher in class? A video lesson. While not interactive, it can be used to help understand the fundamentals and can also add other bits of information that you would otherwise not have known about. My ultimate recommendation would be to go with Chris Bryant. He gives you great amount of detail and explains the topics like no other. Did I mention his course is hundreds of dollars cheaper than any competition? You need this course!

-> CCNP All-In-One Video Bootcamp with Chris Bryant



There you go! That is all you will need to pass your CCNP Exam (as well as personal motivation and desire). 3 Key ingredients, READ, LAB, and VIDEOS! Just to recap I will post all the essential items you should purchase to pass your CCNP certification exam. Goodluck and please let me know your success story when you pass!

Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE) Foundation Learning Guide

Cisco CCNP SWITCH Simplified

Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Networks (TSHOOT) Foundation Learning Guide

101 Labs for the Cisco CCNP Exams

CCNP ROUTE Lab Manual (Lab Companion)

CCNP SWITCH Lab Manual (Lab Companion)

CCNP TSHOOT Lab Manual (Lab Companion) 

CCNP All-In-One Video Bootcamp with Chris Bryant is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to