Margin to pass CCNA test.

CCNA Margin

In this article, we going to present to reader what are the technical margin to pass the CCNA Certification. Reader will better understanding how to study and pass their certification exam. The passing marks for 640-801 CCNA 200-125 (new exam code)  is 849/1000. Out of the 60 questions, assume each question has the same marks you need to get 51 questions correct. 51/60 = 85%

The question can be in the form of

a) Multiple Choice Single Answer Question

b) Multiple Choices Multiple Answers Question

c) Drag and Drop

d) Fill in the Blank

e) Router Simulation

f) Others

To be realistic, let assume everybody are just average. Below is the realistic target

No Questions Target Verdict
1 Multiple Choice Single Answer Some mistake 95% confident
2 Multiple Choice Multiple Answer Some mistake 95% confident
3 Drag and Drop Zero /no mistake 100% confident
4 Fill in the Blank Zero /no mistake 100% confident
5 Router Simulation Zero /no mistake

Whatever stated in the text, complete it

Even though you 100% confident. You will never get 100% mark
6 Others Zero / no mistake 100% confident

Generally, no matter how good and confident you are, you will get wrong for 3-5 questions either from router simulations and the multiple choice question. So, that will leave you with a margin of 3-4 questions with doubtful answers and the rest of the questions you must know 100%.

If the question is Multiple Choice Single Answer Question, statistically you may be unsure to choose from 2-3 choices. Thus, you have only 33% chances of getting it right.

If the question is Multiple Choice Multiple Answer Question, the number of different combination is 10 or ( 5C2 ). Assume, unsure in 4 out of the 5 choices, thus, you only have 10% – 25% of getting it right. Thus, if you are doubtful in 4 questions, chances are you will get only 1 question right.


Study 110% before you sit for the certification exam. Don’t take the exam if you are not confident and without adequate preparation as it will be a waste of money.

Get the latest exam scope correct at . This will be helpful in determining what you need to study. Candidate on budget tends to get books from library or friends. Thus most likely it is not the latest book and probability of an outdated book is high. In these books, some of the new syllabus may not be included in the book but some of the old syllabus is still be there.

You must have adequate hand-on experience or lab practice. There are just too many combinations in lab practice, thus it is something you have to understand and cannot be memorized. Without hand-on experience, you cannot pass the simulation exam. Those who failed the simulation exam normally fail the certification exam.

Don’t be over-confident.

Candidate mind: “Arh, I play with Cisco7000, 5 year working experience. Should be no problem for me?”

After the exam, when he see the score 780/1000 Failed.

Over-confident candidate tends to read the question quickly and assume their understood the question and give the answer immediately. Thus, they fail into the trap.

You must read the question and see the network diagram carefully before you answer.

Plan your time properly. Monitor your remaining time and progress every 20 minutes.

Off all the multiple choice questions, you can only be unsure of 3-4 questions. The rest you have to be 100% sure.

Try out some CCNA preparation test question (At least 200 – 500 questions) either from Cisco Press, Cisco Leaning Connection ( or other third party vendor before you sit for the certification exam. This is certainly helpful.

Now, if someone just come and tell you that they managed to pass by flipping through the books for 1-2 weeks. Would you buy their story? I definitely will not buy the story unless I said “aksjhdf;lasdf0980q2935234k5tlnglsajdgvo8sadgsazfdvg;l” to him and he recalled it back 85% correctly to me.

Good Luck.

published in 23rd July 2006. (republished here as old website  is no longer available).

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