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

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 200-301 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.

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By certskills November 6, 2019 09:05
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