ICND1 100-105 Exam Topics, Part 2: Performance Levels and Removed Topics

 In 200-301 V1 CCC No Category on Purpose, News

The new #CCNA and #CCENT are out as announced by Cisco on May 17th, 2016. The previous post revealed some of the specifics about the half of the CCNA R&S content covered in the ICND1 100-105 exam. This next post completes the analysis of the new ICND1 100-105 exam topics, with a look at the verbs in the exam topics as well as the topics that appear to be removed from the exams.

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Quick Disclaimer

With this post and others like it, I am reading the publicly posted exam topics and giving my personal opinion as to what those words mean. Note that the analysis in this and other blog posts represents my opinion of Cisco System’s publicly available exam topics for the old and new exams. I do not represent Cisco, and these opinions are my own.

Still in ICND1, but Higher Performance Level

Cisco exam topics list different verbs, and these verbs have specific meaning to those who work within the education world. If you scan the current exam topics, you will see the following verbs on most exam topics:

  • Describe
  • Compare and contrast
  • Configure and verify
  • Configure, verify, and troubleshoot

These verbs define the performance level that they try to assess through the exam questions. The verb describe requires a basic level of skill, while compare and contrast requires a little more skill. Similarly, exam topics that include the troubleshoot verb, instead of stopping at the verify verb, imply a deeper skill level.

For this latest ICND1 exam, Cisco has bumped up the performance level on several topics. All these were formerly listed with verbs “configure and verify”, and now have “configure, verify, and troubleshoot”. To be honest, on the actual exam, it might be difficult to tell the difference between a question for a “configure and verify” topic versus a “configure, verify, and troubleshoot” question. However, from an exam preparation perspective, you can and should prepare specifically for those troubleshooting topics, as follows:

  • Pay close attention to show commands, for status codes and their values when the feature is correctly configured and working
  • Pay close attention to those same status values when the feature is misconfigured.

The following list contains paraphrased exam topics for subjects that had a lower performance verb in the old exam, but that include all the verbs “configure, verify, and troubleshoot” for the new exams.

2.4 VLANs

2.5 interswitch connectivity

2.7 port security

3.4 Inter-vlan routing… Router-on-a-stick

3.6 Static IPv4 and IPv6 Routing

4.6 IPv4 standard numbered and named ACLs

4.7 NAT

5.4 device hardening

Figure 1: Topics Promoted to Troubleshooting Performance Level for ICND1 100-105


The Challenge is Finding Topics that have Truly Left the Exams

There is a danger (for me) to state that something is gone from the exam topics. Again, let me emphasize: this blog post analyzes the exam topics from the old and new exams. However, Cisco does not always use the same descriptions for the same ideas from exam to exam, so it’s not like there is a complete cross reference between the old exam topics and the new. So, just to give you a little insight into the challenge, as a lead in to discuss what I think is gone from the exam vs the old exam, consider these few comments.

As an example, consider these exam topics from the old ICND1 100-101 exam. Most of the nouns in this list of exam topics are not found in the new exam topics, with the exception of “collision domains”:

2.2 Identify basic switching concepts and the operation of Cisco switches

2.2.a Collision domains

2.2.b Broadcast domains

2.2.c Ways to switch

2.2.c(i) Store

2.2.c(ii) Forward

2.2.c(iii) Cut through

2.2.c(iv) CAM table

However, if you take a closer look at the new exam topics, some exam topics might give you reason to still study subjects from the above list of old exam topics. For instance, if you do another scan of the new ICND1 100-105 exam topics, you might notice these:

2.3 Troubleshooting interface and cable issues (collisions, errors, duplex, speed)

2.4 Configure, verify, and troubleshoot VLANs (normal range) spanning multiple switches

The first of these two exam topics does not list the term “collision domain”, but it does list the word “collision”. Certainly, to troubleshoot collision issues, you need to understand the concept of collision domains.

The second of these two exam topics makes a less obvious argument that you still need to understand broadcast domains. Virtual LANs (VLANs) are broadcast domains created by configuration. While that definition of a VLAN may be a simple concept, troubleshooting VLANs requires that you understand where broadcasts do and do not flow. So, while no longer listed explicitly, I believe that you still need to know about broadcast domains so that you can better troubleshoot VLANs.

Items I Believe Are Truly Gone

So, thinking about the problem this way…

  • The topic appeared to be in the old ICND1 exam topics
  • The topic appears to not be in any of the new exams

…I think of two topic areas that are literally gone from the new ICND1 100-105 exam topics and for which no other exam topic appears to include those topics. Stated briefly:

Switch internals: switch store-and-forward, cut-though, and fragment-free internal processing

Router internals: router process switching, fast switching, and CEF internal processing

For the new book, I chose to remove the above topics. (Each topic took about a page of the previous edition book, by the way, so it was not a lot of content to remove.)

However, for those of you who just like to be really sure you know everything, I added a new feature to the new books: an Appendix called “Topics from Previous Editions”. It holds some topics (like the above) that I pulled from the book for scope reasons, but for which I figured someone would still be interested in reading it. (Internally, I called it the hoarder appendix.)

In short, in my opinion, most of the old ICND1 exam topics end up somewhere in one of the new exams. (For those of you wondering, Cisco moved all the OSPF to ICND2 200-105.)

Polls: Your Favorite and Least Favorite New-to-ICND1 Exam Topic?

I’ve repeated two polls about ICND1 from the previous post; feel free to weigh in, or check back to the previous post to review the details.

Poll 3: Most Favorite New ICND1 Subject


Poll 4: Least Favorite New ICND1 Subject


Next Topic: ICND2 200-105

From a content perspective, CCNA R&S = ICND1 + ICND2. The next few posts break down the ICND2 half of the new CCNA R&S exam topics. Stay tuned!

Cisco’s Pages about the New (May 2016) CCNA R&S Exams
CCNA R&S 3.0: Roadmap to Wendell's Announcement Posts
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