How to Study for the CCENT ICND1 in 10 Weeks

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If you’re just entering the IT world, it’s hard not to hear about Cisco’s CCNA certification track for routing and switching, particularly its recent changes.

In September 2016, Cisco updated this flagship certification. Luckily for test-takers, Cisco retained about 95 percent of the exam content, only removing obsolete technologies and emphasizing newer ones.

Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-105 is first of two new exams you’ll need to earn your CCNA, and by itself will grant you the entry-level CCENT certification, and we have the latest training for it right here.

Earning Your CCNA

You have two options to earn your CCNA. You can either take the composite exam (200-125), or two separate exams (ICND1 and ICND2). Most test takers new to the career field find it more manageable to take the two-test option due to the sheer quantity of information. On the other hand, if you have significant experience in a Cisco environment, you might be okay just taking the composite.

This study plan prepares you to earn your CCENT in about 10 weeks with Jeremy Cioara’s videos, but it also can be used independently as a study plan. Each CBT Nuggets course is designed by our expert trainers from the certification exam objectives, so even if you’re not yet a subscriber, you can use this plan to guide your studying efforts.

A quick note about terminology: Our videos are called Nuggets, hence our name. If you’re unfamiliar with CBT Nuggets, we offer a learning experience which includes everything you need to study for a certification exam, including in-video quizzes, virtual labs, and access to our Learner Community.  

This is based on the CBT Nuggets ICND1 Study Plan.

Week 1: Network Fundamentals

Videos 1-9. One of the key components of the CBT Nuggets Learning Experience comes with the experience element. That’s why trainer Jeremy Cioara starts this course with an entire Nugget on how to build your Cisco home lab during the first week. You probably won’t be using the lab this week while learning about the basics of switches, routers, cabling, and transmission speeds, but you will be soon.

Even if you’re not a subscriber, you can still watch how to build your own CCNA Home Lab for free on the blog.

Week 2: IP Fundamentals

Nuggets 10-18. IP addresses are important. So important, in fact, that you’ll dedicate two full weeks to IP addresses in this 10-week study plan. Last week, you learned the components. This week, you’ll learn how they connect and communicate.

Week 3: Core Network Models & Practice Test

Nuggets 19-27. You’ll be mulling a simple question this week, “What’s the right way to build a network?” As it turns out, it’s a not-so-simple question. That’s okay because Jeremy will teach you the basics with the Cisco Three-Tier Hierarchy, and then frames the hierarchy within the OSI and TCP/IP models. To really get a sense of what’s happening your network, you might want to download Wireshark and learn how to use it with Keith Barker’s course*.

Practice test. Take your first CCENT practice test this week to benchmark your progress.

*Note: The technology associated with this course is currently outdated. However, this course still retains value as a training resource.

Week 4: IOS Fundamentals

Nuggets 28-36. Are you ready for your deep dive into the Cisco world? If so, then get ready to learn Cisco IOS (Interconnected Operating Systems). The best way to learn the operating system will be through hands-on experience, so fire up your home lab.

Before you move on to the next week, you should be able to successfully use the most common IOS commands and base configurations (without your notes). Even if it takes a couple extra days to accomplish this goal, it’ll be worth it come test day.

Week 5: Switching Fundamentals & Virtual Labs

Nuggets 37-49. Jeremy designed this course putting topics in order of basic to complex. First, you learned the component parts of a network, how they fit together and communicate, and even practiced configuring those component parts. Now you’ll need to learn the “switching” part of the routing and switching certification. It’s time to get your hands dirty in the virtual labs with VLANs, trunking, VTP, troubleshooting, and configuring port security. Here are a few tips to help you supercharge your training.

Week 6: Routing Fundamentals & Protocols

Nuggets 50-59. Last week was a big week. You learned switching. This week, it’s time to get into routing, which means you should keep your home lab warmed up. You’ll be following along as Jeremy demonstrates static routing, routing between VLANs, L3 switching, and the wizardry of DHCP. You’ll also spend about an hour this week in the world of routing protocols.

Practice test. Take another CCENT practice test this week to benchmark your progress, and note the sections where you need a little extra study time. Here are a few tips on how to make the best use of your unlimited Transcender® practice exams.

Week 7: IPv4 Subnetting

Nuggets 60-65. IPv4 subnetting is so important to your success in the CCENT, CCNA, and your career that we have an entire course dedicated to the topic in addition to Jeremy’s five videos. We recommend using any of the free subnetting calculators and keep running through random IP addresses and masks until you can subnet them flawlessly.

Just like the IOS commands, you should make it a priority to learn subnetting to perfection. In fact, you might want to skip this section until the very end, so it’s fresh in your mind. You’ll need it for the exam.

Week 8: Access Lists, NAT & More (IPv6) Subnetting

Nuggets 66-74. This week, we have a smattering of security, network address translation, and the dreaded (or much hailed) IPv6. As you’ve probably come to expect at this point, you will be labbing it up once again with Wireshark and GNS3. After this week, you should be able to turn your router into a firewall (with access lists), configure NAT (both static and dynamic), and configure IPv6 addresses and static routing in GNS3.

Week 9: Device Management

Nuggets 75-78. You’re on the home stretch now. Remember how in Week 4 we said you shouldn’t progress until you can use the basic IOS commands and configurations? Put those skills to the test with a set of slightly more advanced Cisco functions. In fact, if you’re already an experienced Cisco professional, you can probably recover a password in your sleep, which is good.

Week 10: Practice, practice, practice

Congratulations! You’ve completed all the Nuggets in this course. Now it’s time to take a full-length practice exam and keep taking those practice exams until you’ve reached a 90 percent score. You should also take time to go back and review IPv4 subnetting and IOS commands, and keep labbing it up! The exam is very practical in nature.

Week 11: Rest and Test

Depending on when in the week you scheduled your test, it might be time to rest a little before the big day. It’s proven that you should take the last day to get into the right headspace for the exam. If you must study, then keep it light. Good luck on the big day!

Conquer the CCENT with Jeremy Cioara and CBT Nuggets. Start training today!

Not a CBT Nuggets subscriber? Start your free week now.

CBT Nuggets has everything you need to learn new IT skills and advance your career — unlimited video training and practice exams, virtual labs, validated learning with in-video quizzes, accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive community of professionals. Learn more about the CBT Nuggets Learning Experience.