How to Study for the New CCNA Exam with Your Existing CCNA Books

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

You can choose to pursue the existing CCNA Routing and Switching certification or pursue the new CCNA certification come Feb 2020. However, this post does not talk about the choice, but instead focuses on how to pursue option 2:

You looked at the changes, your situation, and are choosing to study for the new CCNA 200-301 exam that comes out late February 2020. What can you study now to prepare for the CCNA 200-301 exam?

Interested? Read on!

Not “You Should the New CCNA,” but “If You Do, Here’s How”

I’m posting this blog post about 8 months before the release of the CCNA 200-301 exam. This post does not tell you to pursue the new CCNA. That’s up to you, and I’ve got two earlier posts from last week that spell out some of the things to consider when making that choice:

CCNA Program Changes and Your Reaction: Keep Studying

CCNA Content Changes and Your Reaction: Keep Studying

If you choose to pursue the existing CCNA Routing and Switching certification now and complete it before Feb 24, 2020, great! However, the study path for the existing exam is clear, with plenty of study resources available. You may not need any guidance at all.

However, most everyone who chooses to pursue the new CCNA now could use a little advice. If you choose to pursue the new CCNA certification (that is, the only remaining CCNA as of Feb 24, 2020, which does not have any words after the “CCNA”), then you have a small problem today. Given how Cisco chose to release information about their certification changes, no one has study material or courses available as of the June 10, 2019 announcement.

This post is about how you can study for the new CCNA 200-301 exam with existing materials while you’re waiting on the new CCNA study products (like my books) to get to market.


Perspective: Compare the Old and New Blueprints

One way to study for the new exam now, with materials built for the old/existing 200-125 exam, is to use any material for the 200-125 exam but ignore topics removed from the exam topics (that is, the exam blueprint). You can do a line-by-line analysis for yourself, but of course, I’ve been deep into the blueprints while writing the new books. Here’s a list of the significant topics not found in the CCNA 200-301 exam (new) vs. the existing CCNA 200-125 exam:

  • OSI
  • VTP
  • RIP
  • eBGP
  • IOS licensing
  • IOS upgrades
  • Most WAN topics (serial, PPP, MPLS, Metro Ethernet)
  • IPv6 Routing protocols
  • IPv6 ACLs

The removal of the “troubleshoot” verbs from the new CCNA 200-301 blueprint creates another challenge when studying with existing materials. The CCNA 200-125 blueprint has 28 exam topics that use the verb “troubleshoot,” while the new blueprint has zero. Any existing material that you use should have significant troubleshooting content; you could save time and skip any materials that are specific to troubleshooting.

Finally, some topics in the blueprint formerly had verbs of “configure” and/or “verify,” but now how a conceptual-only verb, like “describe” or “compare.” In those cases, you could choose to skip any CLI Commands about those topics in your existing study material. The topics include:

  • New ET 2.5: Describe… RSTP (formerly configure, verify, troubleshoot)
  • New ET 3.5: Describe… First Hop Redundancy Protocols (formerly configure, verify, troubleshoot HSRP)
  • New ET 4.4: Explain… SNMP (formerly configure, verify)
  • New ET 5.5: Describe… VPNs (formerly configure, verify, troubleshoot GRE)

You could start analyzing the blueprints for yourself, and use my books, and make your own choices. However, if you have my books, read on – I have some more specific suggestions for you.


Useful Data about the Existing Cert Guides Vs. the New Exams

Another way to study now for the new CCNA 200-301 is to follow this study plan. I’ve listed the ICND1 100-105 and ICND2 200-105 chapters (the existing books), along with notes about whether you should study those chapters for the new exam or not.

Here’s what I did to make these recommendations. I looked at each chapter in the existing books and looked at my notes about how I’ve built the new books. (I’m about 75% done writing/revising to create the new books.) For each existing chapter, I scored it:

3: Most useful to study, because I kept most/all of that content in the new books. I might have split it up into multiple chapters, or combined into a new chapter, or ordered the chapters different (I reordered several chapters) but most of the content is in the new books, updated as needed.

2: Medium usefulness to study. If I kept some of the existing chapter in the new book, but not all of it, it gave it a 2.

1: Low usefulness to study. An existing chapter from which I kept any small topic for the new books gets a 1.

0: Zero use for studying for the topics in the new exam blueprint. EG, nothing in the exam blueprint lists or implies RIP or VTP. The existing books have chapters that cover only those topics – so those chapters get a 0.

Here’s the list for the ICND1 100-105 Cert Guide.

ICND1 Chapter Study Priority? Notes
1 3
2 3
3 2
4 3
5 3
6 3
7 3
8 3
9 3
10 2
11 3
12 2
13 3
14 3
15 3
16 3
17 3
18 3
19 0
20 2
21 1
22 1
23 3
24 1
25 3
26 3
27 3
28 3
29 3
30 3
31 1
32 3
33 2
34 2
35 0
36 0


Here’s the list for the ICND2 200-105 Cert Guide.

ICND2 Chapter Study Priority? Notes
1 0 Duplicate of ICND1 Chapter 11
2 3
3 1 STP/RSTP becomes a concept topic
4 1 Chapter is devoted to troubleshooting
5 0 VTP
6 2
7 3
8 3
9 0 EIGRP is not in the new CCNA blueprint
10 0
11 2 Chapter is devoted to troubleshooting, but I kept some in the new books anyway. 
12 0 eBGP is not in the new CCNA blueprint
13 1
14 2
15 2
16 0 Duplicate of ICND1 Chapter 25
17 0 Duplicate of ICND1 Chapter 26
18 3
19 3
20 2
21 0 Duplicate of ICND1 Chapter 24
22 0 No IPv6 routing protocols listed in new CCNA Blueprint
23 0
24 0
25 0 No IPv6 ACLs listed in new CCNA Blueprint
26 1
27 3
28 2



Study Plan: Read Sequentially, and Skip 0’s, Maybe 1’s, Maybe 2’s

Before my new books come out, you can study with the old books for the new exam. Just use them as usual, but for a subset of the chapters. That is, begin by reading the intro and “Your Study Plan” at the beginning of the book. Use all the review tools in the book and at Just skip some chapters.

Which chapters should you skip? Make your choice based on the ratings in the tables. If you think you only have time to finish the chapters with a “3” rating, just read those. If you have time to read the 2’s and 3’s, read those.

Also, take a close look at the table for ICND1, and the ratings for chapters 1 – 18 (the first half of the book). They’re mostly 3’s, with some 2’s – you could complete half of the ICND1 100-105 book before even slowing down to think about which chapters to skip!


Buying Existing Books? Consider Buying ICND1 Only

I wrote this post for those who already own the books, but if you’re considering buying the existing books now, to study for the new exam, follow the plan.

Buy the ICND1 100-105 book (and not the 2-book library), complete all the 2’s and 3’s chapters before my first new book comes out. It’s late June, and the new “CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide Vol 1” is due late September. That ICND1 100-105 book might be enough to keep you busy until September.

If you think you might go for the existing CCNA, you have time – 8 months with diligent study is attainable. Also, if you fall just a little short, you will have already learned at least half of what you need for the new CCNA. Here’s a link for the CCNA 200-125 library.


Is This You? Weigh In!

I am curious. If you’ve chosen to pursue the new CCNA, and are getting started studying now, what’s your plan? What will you study? Will you wait, or get started now?

June/July Online Events for the New CCNA and CCNP Enterprise
Cisco Cert Redesign: 3rd Set of 5 Facts
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Michael A Smith

Hi Mr.Odom iam currently studying for my CCNA using your OCG icnd1 100-105 but iam half way through your book iam kinda stumped on whether to continue to get current before Feb 23 2020 or go new exam my thing is I have had to go back to refresh my mind on certain topics so I can retain it in memory which causes me to take more time what I mean to say is iam not sure I can pass two tests before the Feb 23rd due date.What should I do? I value your opinion on this matter.Thank You Sir.

Elvin González

Hello Mr. Odom
My question is the next:
Are we going to see DevNet topics the in the new CCNA book that you are releasing in September?

Are you going to release new CCNP books with DevNet in order we can study?..

Can we use IDEs like pycharm or eclipse to work with python for DevNet?

Hope you answer as soon as possible..
Thanks a lot…

Elvin González

Thanks a lot Mr.Odom, all my questions were answered..
Hope you have a great time..

Hugues Mabille

Dear Mister Odom Wendell,

I’m Hugues, Belgium student -:) thank you for your books, they really help me to pass the ICND1 last week.
And now I really don’t know what I need to do, study for the new CCNA exam, or studying for the ok ICND2.

May be it will be easy to finish the ICND2(all my previous study cover some part of the labo of (routing protocols and troubleshoting), and study for the new exam next year (end of the year).
Is that what I have to understand?

I ll thank you very much for the time you take to respond to my question!


Hugues Mabille

Hello Wendell,

Thank you very much for this clear response.

Just a little small question again.
What is the most important for the future, this certificataion (ICND1+2) , or the new CCNA?
Do I need to study the new ccna after February to be up to date? or pass to something up (CCNA Data Center or Security or Wireless, IOT…?

I’ll thank you already for the time you take to read,

Have a Nice Day!


Hugues Mabille

Hello Wendell,

That’s the best response of ever.

Every “students” have to remember it.
Studying Continuing to study but never forget to focus of the goals of your study.

Thank you,

Wish you the best for your next books.



Hi Wendell,

I got certified for CCNA in Dec 2018, had planned to do CCNP as well. Since cisco has revamped all cert levels, shall I go for the existing CCNP or wait till the exams are out in Feb 2020.

One more thing I noticed is CCNA is no longer required for attaining CCNP ?. So in this way candidates can now go directly for CCNP ? 😃


Just read your other post, CCNA knowledge is required for CCNP Enterprise. However Cisco mentions not required I guess they made the CCNP level bit easy perhaps. I think it might help someone who would achieve the new CCNA. What are your thoughts on this Wendall ?.


I am just now starting to study for both exams for CCNA. How long would you give each test to study for before Feb 2020? 4 months for ICDN1 and 3 for #2 or what are your thoughts?

Wilme Rosario

I saw in ciscopress that you are going to release ccna volume 1 and ccna volume 2 for the new ccna certification.

1- Is the volume2 an improved version of volume 1 or is it going to be the continuation of volume 1 to pass the new ccna certification?

2- Can I pass the new ccna cert just studing the volume 1 book?


Hi Wendell,

As someone on the cusp of starting studying for their CCNA, this post is really helpful. Thank you for making it! I think I may wait and take the new certification but I will see how I go.

Just out of curiosity, do you have an estimated time for when Vol 2. might be out of the new CCNA book (linking to Wilme’s question)? Do not feel you must answer if this is difficult, I’m just interested!

Many thanks,



Thank you, Wendell!



Hi Wendell,

I am wondering if new books you are writing for CCNA Vol 1 and Vol 2 are the same thing? Or just slightly different variation?

Thank you!


Hi Mr. Odom!

Great article you have there.. my name is Eric and I am about to start my CCNA R/S using the Cisco NetAcad Curriculum and looking at how the structure is I might not be able to know enough to take the CCNA R/S.

Would it be the best option to wait and for the new syllabus or use the current materials I have to self study

— (I believe knowing stuff under CCNA 200-125 would still be a applicable on the job so why not?) —

until there are materials on the new syllabus?

I would really appreciate a response! Bless!

Shameer Mulji

I am just starting my CISCO certification journey. Given all the changes I’ve decided to do the new CCNA exam. I noticed that CISCO offers online learning & labs for ICDN1 & ICDN2 through their Learning Network Store. Are you aware if they’re going to do the same for the new CCNA 200-301 exam?



Hello! So with the new CCNA book out for preorder, I was wondering if you think it’d be best to study ICND1 first to get some basic networking knowledge or should I go ahead and purchase the new CCNA book since there is just one CCNA now? I work as a helpdesk currently but would like to re learn networking, cheers!


Hi mr Odom and thanks for the great books. I wanted to ask something. I was reading now the ICND1 book and specifically the chapter for NAT but I realize that I will not have enough time to finish both books until February. The point is i bought the 200-301 book and I am not sure where to start…can you give me your lights please? I also enjoyed the book so far! Thanks in advance.


Mr Odom do you think that is better to finish the icnd1 book for the information it carry’s, or I am covered by the new one anyway?


Thank you Mr Odom. That will be awesome!

Tim Taylor

Mr. Odom. I have looked for the new full 200-301 simulator but cannot find it. Will there be a new 200-301 available for purchase?


Dan Brabbins

Mr. Odom,

I’ve been blessed with a great job where they are requiring me to obtain my CCNA within six months. I have decided to pursue studying for the 200-301 exam between now and 24 February 2020. If I’m able to do between 25 and 30 hours a week for studying (I’m essentially being paid to learn right now even though I’m doing some networking responsibilities on switches, etc) for November, December, January and February plus what’s left of this month of October 2019, would that be adequate time to be prepared for the exam?

Dan Brabbins

Thank you, sir! Especially for such a prompt response! I was expecting it to be a few days or so before I’d get on. 🙂

Dan Brabbins

That should be “before I’d get one.”.


Hello Mr Odom.

I need an advice:
What is Cisco going to do in order to test the associate level of knowledge currently found in the Data Center and Cloud concentrations?, how could I start to prepare in those areas? jumping right to the core exams from the CCNP?


Thank you so much, Mr Odom.

justin bean

hello I hope you see this but I just bought the ccna book, and I was wondering should I go front to back on this book or focus on certain chapters? thanks


Would it be possible to update the “Notes” section above, beside the chapters with “Study Priority? 1” , and let us know the section titles you kept? This way we can go back and read them.


I just finished up to Chapter 19 yesterday in ICND1 (didn’t notice this blog until after, and saw Chapter 19 is gone). I’m doing Chapter 20 now, and I see there’s a 1 on several of the next chapters, so I wanted to make sure I don’t miss something. I did just purchase your new CCNA 200-301 book today, so when that arrives (if it’s not already out of stock haha), that will help, but in the meantime I’m just trying to get what I can in without back tracking too much (and then get CCNA 200-301 volume 2 in late December).


Sounds like a great plan. Thanks very much for your help!

Crystal D

Dear Mr. Odom,

I just passed my CCENT two weeks ago (Thank you Lord Jesus and thank you Mr. Odom!!), and am on Ch. 3 for ICND2. Just in case I’m unable to sufficiently prepare by Feb 23, and as I already have your ICND1 and ICND2 book, COULD YOU PLEASE PUBLISH a book with ONLY the new material for the new CCNA exam as a sort of supplementary text for those who already have your older OCG library? And I’d suggest your include your wonderful numerically prioritized chapter guide from above!! This way we just need to purchase one supplementary book if we don’t make the deadline and reference your “study priority” for the remaining portion!

Thank you!!




I was thinking just those chapters which are substantively different. Because I’m going to go through the ICND2 book anyhow, and won’t really require a good portion of that information again by way of the new CCNA books. And I would gladly purchase this “supplementary version” regardless of weather or not I get my CCNA by the twenty-third of February…

Thank you for considering!



I’ve just passed CCENT on Network Academy and I’m thinking about getting a certificate at Pearson. What do you think, is it good having an exam in the old system or should I wait and get certificate in the new system?
Thanks for your help.


Hi Mr. Odom,
I have a question regarding CCNP Security Study plan. I don’t know if you’re only discussing about CCNA or about this topic as well but I feel you’re the best person to ask this question to.

Actually I am starting to prepare for SCOR(350-701) which is core exam for CCNP/CCIE Security. Now there is some Official study material by Cisco available on their website as below:

1) CCNP and CCIE Security Core SCOR 350-701 Official Cert Guide Book, Premium Edition eBook and Practice Test

2) CCNP and CCIE Security Core SCOR 350-701 Complete Video Course (Video Training) —- Price= 319 $

3) SCOR E-Learning Course —Accessible only for 180 days — Price= 500 $

Now I need a suggestion as which one should I choose between 2 & 3 ? Should I go for Video training or for E-learning course ?

Getting both will be costly for me so don’t want to spend extra, please suggest what is the best option for study ?

Moreover, Please do suggest if you think Book + video lectures/E-learning would be enough to pass this exam, if not, then please suggest any other useful study resource or option.

I would really appreciate your response on this.

Darryl Tillman

Wendell, I’m looking for some feedback from people who have recently taking the new CCNA exam, can you pls point me in that direction????

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