Your Options with the Two CCNA 200-301 Books: Volume 1 and 2

certskills
By certskills November 6, 2019 09:05

We – Cisco Press and I – decided to produce two volumes for the new CCNA 200-301 exam. We can explain the what and the why in a sentence each, but the two-volume approach presents additional questions about what to buy, particularly with the current rollout schedule.

In this post, I’ll hit the what, the why, and get into your purchase options at each phase over the next few months – focusing on how to get the books at the least cost and the quickest, depending on your goals.



CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide in Two Volumes: What and Why

First, the what.

We separate the content for the CCNA 200-301 into two books (volumes). Volume 1 covers a subset of the exam topics for CCNA 200-301, with Volume 2 covering the rest. In particular:

CCNA 200-301 OCG Volume 1: Fundamentals, Ethernet Switching, IPv4/IPv6 routing, and Wireless LANs.

CCNA 200-301 OCG Volume 2: Security, IP Services, Architecture, and Automation.

Why two volumes instead of one? The size. We considered producing one volume, but we estimated it would have been roughly 1300 pages long. At that size, using the physical print book would be a pain – too unwieldy and heavy to carry around. So instead, we made a two-volume set, with the usual plan to sell them for less as a 2-book Library. (More on the 2-volume Library later in this post!)

CCNA 200-301 Cert Guides: Content Breakdown

If you look at the exam topics for CCNA 200-301 (which releases Feb 24, 2020), and compare them to the CCNA Routing and Switching 200-125 Exam (which retires Feb 23, 2020), it is clear that the new CCNA 200-301 is derived from the old CCNA 200-125 exam. Not only does CCNA 200-301 include many of the same technologies, the phrasing of the exam topics is similar.

To give you a sense of scale, by my estimates, the new CCNA 200-301 exam keeps roughly half the content/topics from the soon-to-retire CCNA R&S 200-125 exam. Of course, the new CCNA 200-301 adds new topics, by my estimate about 25% by size compared to the old CCNA R&S 200-125. So from the perspective of how much you need to learn for the exam, the job is now about 75% as much to learn as with the old CCNA R&S 200-125 exam.

Once we chose to go with two volumes, I had complete freedom for which topics to put in which book. By choice, I made Volume 1 about core routing and switching: Ethernet switching, Wireless LANs, IPv4 routing, and IPv6 routing. The following figure, from the Introduction to Volume 1, shows the breakdown based on book Parts, with the chapter numbers listed in parentheses.

Volume 2 get the rest. Compared to the old CCNA R&S 200-125, CCNA 200-301 adds more security topics, loses and adds a number of IP services, and adds new automation topics. The next figure shows the part and chapter breakdown for Volume 2.

What to Buy/Order - Once All the Books are Available

For a moment, pretend it’s already January 2020. It may already be by the time you read this, but I published this post early November 2019. With the publishing schedule at that time, all three of these products should be out by January 2020, and could be pre-ordered from the publisher in November/December 2019:

If you are reading this blog post in January 2020 or later, buy the library. It will be cheaper (that’s actually the point of putting making the library in the first place.) The CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide Library is literally a cardboard box with the two volumes inside – nothing more, nothing less. So, if you know you’ll want both Volume 1 and 2 – and anyone studying for the CCNA 200-301 exam probably will – and you can buy the two volumes cheaper by buying the Library.

What to Buy/Order: Now til Year End 2019

In this interim time in late 2019 in which only Volume 1 is available, some of you might see those prices and choose to wait for the Library to get the cheaper price. However, I talked with Cisco Press a while back and they happily agreed to provide a coupon to solve that pricing problem so you could buy Volume 1 now, and Volume 2 later, for approximately the same price as the library.

Simply put, if you buy Volume 1 directly from Cisco Press before Volume 2 is in-stock, you’ll get an emailed coupon. That coupon lets you buy Volume 2 at such a discounted price so that your total cost for both volumes will be roughly the same price as it would have been if you had waited for the library to be in stock. So, buy Volume 1 now and get started studying with no worries about waiting for the cheaper CCNA 200-301 Library.

Fast and Worldwide: eBooks

eBooks can be the fastest way to get the new book content for most any Cisco Press book for the obvious reason that it does not require any of the time to physically distribute the book. In modern publishing practices, the eBook isn’t derived from the print book, but the opposite, so the eBook files are typically ready before the printer finishes printing, binding, and shipping the volumes of print books to the publisher.

In short, you can often buy these eBooks on the same day the print book is in-stock, and in some cases, a little earlier.

In this case, there are eBook versions of both the CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide Volume 1 and Volume 2. Of note:

  • Amazon sells a Kindle version.
  • Barnes and Noble sells a Nook version.
  • Cisco Press sells the Premium Edition, which supplies eBook files in Kindle, Nook, and PDF formats, plus extra practice questions.
  • O’Reilly (Formerly known as Safari Books Online) includes all Cisco Press books in their content subscription service.

For convenience, you can find the pages to purchase the Premium Edition of the products here:

CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide, Volume 1, Premium Edition and Practice Tests

CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide, Volume 2, Premium Edition and Practice Tests

 

The following table details the various sources for eBooks.

Source Kindle Format Nook Format PDF Format Standard PTP Q&A Adds Extra PTP Q&A
Cisco Press (Premium Edition) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Amazon No Yes No Yes1 No
Barnes and Noble No Yes No No No
O’Reilly No No No No No

1 Amazon support for PTP QA requires a process in which Amazon supplies a PTP license code directly to the Amazon customer, a process which may require some follow-up with Amazon.

Worth a Few Day's Wait: Print Book Plus Premium Edition

One last note on the eBooks: If you want both the print book and an eBook, it may be worth the wait to get the print book and then buy the premium edition. Both CCNA 200-301 Cert Guide Volumes supply a one-time-use coupon to get 70% off the matching Premium Edition eBook. You’ll find the discount code in the cardboard sleeve in the back of the print book – making it worth waiting for the print book to arrive before buying the eBook.

Packet Tracer Labs - CCNA Vol 1 Chapter 7
CCNA Packet Tracer Labs - CCNA Vol 1, Chapter 8
certskills
By certskills November 6, 2019 09:05
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37 Comments

  1. Johnny Lee Clarke (@JohnnyLeeClarke) November 9, 21:23

    Very insightful I had a question or two answered!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Adarsh November 14, 17:50

    Looks like there is a typo in the 2nd paragraph of the section CCNA 200-301 Cert Guides: Content Breakdown
    .. “To give you a sense of scale, by my estimates, the new CCNA 200-301 exam keeps roughly half the content/topics from the soon-to-retire CCNA R&S 200-301 exam.” In the soon-to-retire CCNA R&S , it should be 200-125 instead of 200-301.

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author November 14, 22:09

      Fixed. Thanks Adarsh!
      Wendell

      Reply to this comment
      • Greg_E December 16, 22:11

        I have found that one of the cheapest ways to get these materials is to wait until Cisco Press has a holiday sale. I recently bought the new library, command guide, and both ebooks for only a little more than the library normally costs. Not sure if this is just something in the USA, but it might pay to keep track of things like this. Just finished the first section of book 1 and going through the review materials before I move on to the next section and labs. Hoping the hardware I bought about 3 years ago is still new enough for these labs, so far I think it will be. 2811 routers, 3560 and 2960 switches with IOS 15.x on everything, only FE connections for most things, but should be ok. If not packet tracer will have to carry me through. I’ll upgrade my lab when I start working on CCNP.

        Reply to this comment
  3. Tiago November 23, 20:12

    Will be available to buy ebook version of CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide, Library?

    Thanks
    Taigo

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author December 2, 15:26

      Tiago,
      I don’t know – you might ask Cisco Press directly for an answer. Presumably, a Premium Edition eBook library would simply contain the two eBooks (for Vol 1 and Vol 2). I’ve not seen them bundle the eBooks into a library before, but who knows. I’ll ask next time I talk to them, but you could try them online as well.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Daniel November 29, 17:11

    For me the ebook is the way to go. The extra questions are vital

    Reply to this comment
  5. Edster December 6, 00:18

    Very helpful and informational indeed.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ridwan January 4, 06:56

      While there is still enough room before the expiration of the current ccna 200-125, can I make use of the ccna 200-301 volumes for the 200-125?

      Reply to this comment
      • certskills Author January 7, 11:15

        Hi Ridwan,
        You can use the 200-301 books to study for the 200-125 exam for these last few weeks. However, note that because they are different exams, with some different topics in each, the books for 200-301 do not include material for all topics in 200-125. So you can choose any path you like, but honestly, if you’ve not chosen/purchased any study materials as of yet, I’d recommend pursuing the new CCNA. Just my opinion.

        Reply to this comment
  6. ashwin December 23, 12:26

    Cisco press ebook premium edition , does not support kindle format , as file size is 70 MB . amazon kindle doesn’t support file size bigger than 50 MB

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author January 7, 11:10

      Hi Ashwin,
      thanks for the note. If you have issues, please do contact Cisco Press (aka Pearson) via their web page. However, I’m confident the Kindle book works. I’ve seen it myself, and a quick google search shows the current Kindle specs that run to around 250MB for the files. And the publisher comes out with these files for thousands of books per year – so if there’s an issue in reading it, I think it would be an exception or error, not a systematic issue.
      Wendell

      Reply to this comment
  7. Cristhopher January 7, 18:58

    I bought the 2 premium editions ebooks the last week in the official cisco press site. Every ebook was in 36USD (of $45 listed price), but they offered me to fill a survey and got another discount and finally paid $60 for both. I would have like to buy the physical library, but due I am in another country, the shipping cost would raise the price, but I consider the library a real bargain for the customers in USA

    Reply to this comment
    • anishjp January 23, 04:34

      @Cristhoper: Does the package contains the Simulator Lite software?

      Reply to this comment
      • certskills Author January 23, 16:42

        Anishjp,
        I’ll jump in.
        Just in case, if you’re thinking “physical package”, there isn’t one – it’s 100% electronic. I figure you mean “package of what you get”, but wanted to make sure.
        Short answer is yes.
        Longer answer, if you buy the premium edition of the book, you get everything you get with the physical book, except your book is in multiple ebook formats vs. in print. And you get extra practice questions.
        Even longer: You can only purchase the Premium Edition from the publisher. When you do that, you establish a login at their site. Once purchased, the product shows up in your account under “Digital Purchases”. Then all the “rest of the package” shows up under the “Registered Products” tab, where you can navigate to the book’s companion website. That’s where you get to all the study tools, and a place to download the NetSim Lite.
        Hope this helps…
        Wendell

        Reply to this comment
  8. Wilferson January 15, 14:58

    Hi Wendell!

    I am trying to buy the Ebook version of the 200-301 Library book since I have your ICND1 and ICND2, I dont finde the link for the Ebook version and I leave in germany and the printed version I am afraid will be here in months or so and I want to get my CCNA as soon as possible, sadly I will no make it before February the 24th, but I want to get the new content and keep inproving so that I can get it shorly after February.. Can you pls send me the link of the Ebook version and maybe and if there is a discount copon I could have for a video couser I will apreciate it!! thank you in advance, Att: Wilferson Cabreja.

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author January 15, 15:30

      Wilferson,
      Sure. The links are in this post. Just do a find on “Premium Edition” – that’s the phrase in all eBooks from Cisco Press. There’s a link above for the Vol 1 “Premium Edition” as well as for Volume 2.
      Wendell

      PS – I saw all three of your comments asking the same question. FYI, I have an anti-span widget that requires me to approve a comment or two from a person before their comments can appear without being approved first. So, after a few more times posting here, there shouldn’t be a delay. FYI.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Maysoon February 1, 23:04

    Hello,
    I just bought the “CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide Library: Book + eBook Bundle” but I can’t access the e-book yet. It says the estimated release time is: Jan 28, 2020 (which is the same say it was published) so I really don’t understand when will I be able to access it?

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author February 2, 08:52

      Hi Maysoon,
      I’m sure the eBook is out. Some ideas:
      Login to your account at ciscopress.com, go to “my account” menu item (upper right), and then click the “digital products” tab. Your purchase process may have automatically populated the Premium Edition eBook and Practice Tests product to that page. I know for a fact that’s how it works when you purchase the Premium Edition eBook alone. I’ve not gone through the process of purchasing the Bundle.
      If that doesn’t work, it’s a question for the publisher. (I’m not involved in that end of the process – it’s all done by the publisher.) You can find “Contact Us” info again at ciscopress.com. But I’m hoping the above works!
      Wendell

      Reply to this comment
  10. Aggelos February 25, 12:00

    Hello Wendell,
    I have some questions and i need your help.I collate the curriculum (from cisco.com) for ccna 200-301v.1 and encor 350-401 v1. In 200-301 there is no mention 8n the study material for basic python,netconf,restconf,apis,firewall so I am confused about the study material and what I should study for 200-301 exam.I mean ccna volume 1 is enough for 200-301?

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author February 28, 10:26

      Aggelos,
      Last question answered first: Volume 1 is not enough for CCNA 200-301. You need Volumes 1 and 2.
      Middle question: Yes, Cisco placed the topics you mentioned into CCNP Enterprise Core, but not in CCNA 200-301. So you presumably do not need to know them for CCNA 200-301. Cisco did place other automation topics into CCNA 200-301, and those are in my CCNA 200-301 Volume 2 book.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Ibrahim February 29, 03:39

    Hello I want to ask do I have to buy both volume 1 and volume 2 or volume 1 is enough ?

    Best Regards

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author March 2, 10:31

      Ibrahim,

      Stated at the top of this post: We separate the content for the CCNA 200-301 into two books (volumes). Volume 1 covers a subset of the exam topics for CCNA 200-301, with Volume 2 covering the rest.
      You will find similar words on any page about the two-book library.
      So yes, you need both volumes.
      Best regards,
      Wendell

      Reply to this comment
      • Chuck Schlaegel March 2, 11:57

        Wendell
        I’m having a helluva time organizing my study time with all the sources of information that come from just you. I read the study plan section in Vol. 1, but using the many sources makes my study routine much more time consuming, less organized and less effective… that’s how it feels anyway. Can you help with this?

        also, I had been studying for ICND2 and know the information. Is CCNA 200-301 Vol. 2 enough to supplement what is already learned?

        Reply to this comment
        • certskills Author March 10, 10:56

          Hey Chuck,
          Sure. I do agree, it’s almost too many options. Definitely sounds like the case for you.

          Much better to simplify then. First, for concepts, use the book, and ignore this blog. Seriously. If you follow the plan in the book and read the chapter, review with the chapter-ending activities, and then move on to the next, that should be a good and less cluttered model. Up to you whether you want to use the chapter-ending activities in static form in the book (eg, for key topics, flip the pages of the chapter and look for the Key Topic icons), vs looking at that same content from the ciscopress.com website.

          Also use the practice exams that come with the book. I’m a big fan of using the questions per chapter, or per part, for review. EG, complete a chapter, and then use the exam engine to select only questions from that chapter, and then try and answer those.

          So far, read the book, use the book’s review, use the book’s questions. But you also need hands-on skills with the CLI. The least distracting and least cluttered way to do that (again, ignore the blog) is to invest the roughly $100 in the Pearson CCNA Network Simulator. It has hundreds of labs. The topic of each lab is in the title so you should be able to link terms from your reading to a lab that’s related. And the content can be arranged in the Sim’s UI by book chapter, so it’s easier to find related labs.

          A word of caution on the Sim. Buy it directly from CiscoPress! https://click.linksynergy.com/deeplink?id=8CqfX/OTAJY&mid=24808&murl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ciscopress.com%2Fpromotions%2Fspecial-offer-ccna-network-simulator-upgrade-142168
          Here’s why:
          It’s on sale from now til mid-year, because they’re still working on the new version for CCNA 200-301.
          The chapter organization is for the old CCNA 200-125 books, but it’s pretty obvious which chapters in the old match which chapters in the new. So the per-chapter organization still works pretty well.
          Buy the 200-125 Sim now directly from the publisher, and get a free upgrade – see the above link for the details.
          The publisher is offering a big discount right now – today it’s listed at $60, which includes the free upgrade. Their deal, you need to read their page, but it’s a nice deal.
          The 200-125 Sim has most of the CLI topics that you need for the new CCNA, because the new CCNA is actually smaller than the old for CLI topics in particular. So you can be productive now.
          The CCNA Sim is meant to be the least noise and most straightforward was to learn about CCNA – which is what you’re asking about.

          You can even kick the tires on the Sim. The books come with the rights to a “Sim Lite” which is the Sim with a subset of the labs. You can find a download link for that on the Book’s companion website. See page XLII in the introduction to the book about how to access the companion website.

          Hope this helps!
          Wendell

          Reply to this comment
  12. Jeremias Lopez March 18, 12:46

    Hello Wendell. First of all thanks for your book ! I got the library, and I am reading chapter 4 now. It’s easy to follow and pretty clear. I do have some level of experience working with a stack of 2960’s, 3580’s and even some old Sg300. I wanted anyway to go through the labs one by one, just to make sure that I have all the concepts covered. Yet, I am finding difficult to do so. I cannot download the Network Simulator Lite ( the link in the Ciscopress page does not work). I have come here and I clicked on the different parts for the book, up in the nav bar, but it takes me to links that don’t work. I do have Packet tracer in my computer, but I cannot find any lab for chapter 4. Am I missing something?

    Thanks for your help !

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author March 18, 14:45

      Hi Jeremias,
      Glad you like the books! Sounds like you’ve made a good start.
      On your web issues, I just tested all the features you mention and have no issues. I’m wondering if it’s separate issue. Maybe try from a different Internet connection (like from home vs work, or a coffee shop), or try different browsers. But I tried all the items you mention, and don’t have issues. Sorry I can’t give you a better clue!

      Reply to this comment
  13. Karlo April 30, 11:19

    Hi, could find reasonable answer to this…Is the CNNA Official cert guide Library good enough for passing exams? Is the coverage is as good as vol 1 and vol 2 ?

    Thanks in advance

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author May 1, 11:15

      Hey Karlo,
      Short version: the old books are useful but not sufficient for the new exam. I think that first figure above gets to the core of the issue. The old books for the 200-125 exam (and individually, the old 100-105 and 200-105 exams) cover about 50% of the new 200-301 exam topics. But then there’s a bunch of exam topics in 200-301 not in the old exams… and therefore not in the old books. So, it’s all good in terms of being useful topics for real life. But if the goal is to pass the current exam, the old books don’t cover all the exam topics.
      Wendell

      Reply to this comment
      • Karlo May 7, 08:04

        ok, thanks, so to clarify the newest books either vol 1 and 2 from 2019 and official cert guide are fine and will cover the exams 100%?

        Reply to this comment
        • certskills Author May 7, 10:19

          Since you’re wanting clarification, bear with me while I’m picky about your wording to make sure we’re clear:
          1) It’s not “either”, it’s “both”. Vol 1 covers some of CCNA 200-301 topics, Vol 2 covers others.So the newest books – published in 2019, with “200-301” in the title – both are required to cover all exam topics.
          2) “covers the exams 100%” is not the promise. “cover the exam topics 100%” is the promise of the books. Cisco publishes exam topics, to which we can write the books. But Cisco can also ask questions on the exam from outside the exam topics, per their published policies, and we can’t promise to cover those.
          Hope this helps,
          Wendell

          Reply to this comment
  14. Steve April 30, 17:03

    Hi Wendell, I’ve been researching the training options. I see the information regarding the new information. I’ve been looking at 200-301 premium edition, The CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide. Then I see all other options including the more expensive options with online video, and I’m unsure what to select. Not sure what questions I should be asking myself in order to select. Can you offer some guidance?

    Reply to this comment
    • certskills Author May 1, 11:27

      Hey Steve,
      Yep, I see what you mean. That’s something I should work with Cisco Press on improving on their site, and I should probably at least generate something else to help those who come to me. Let me give you a little bit of quick direction.

      First, you need to choose a comprehensive study tool – one that claims to cover all the exam topics – like my books, or a video course that claims to be about the entire exam, like Kevin Wallace’s CCNA Complete Video Course. Your preference on whether you want to use a book or video as your primary too.

      Most people use then a 2nd complementary comprehensive tool for a sort of 2nd look at some topics. EG, you read a chapter, feel like you just didn’t get it, so you watch/read the 2nd source on that topic.

      Those primary tools often have many study features (extras), eg, practice questions, like those that come with my books.

      Then you consider other helpful add ons. You may not know which ones you want til you’re into your study, but you may want: command reference books, or extra practice questions, or a lab tool (definitely). Or maybe my new subnetting products. Those may not be packaged with other products, making it easier to add them when you decide to use them.

      Then, one reason the publisher has a large number of options for you to buy is the usual “the more you buy the more discount you get” approach. EG, they probably have a deal to buy my 2-book set with the Pearson CCNA Simulator. The may have a deal to get my books with Kevin’s CCNA course. So if you know you more than just the one product, you can save $$. If you don’t know, get the individual product, and wait.

      The publisher almost needs a tool to guide you through the choice, thinking through it.

      Oh, and you can just join O’Reilly Online (learning.oreilly.com) and get most all of it for a monthly fee, probably for less than buying it all, depending on your study speed.

      Yep, it’s a lot. I’m going to try and give it some thought and give the community a better answer – feel free to follow up with specific questions.
      Wendell

      Reply to this comment
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