Friday, 28 November 2014

The 5 best CCNA books for exam revision in 2015

By Sarah Morgan

The CCNA is hard but the rewards are great – a Cisco Certified Network Associate certification can net you a £40,000 salary (average advertised) and get you into network engineer roles.

This certification also opens up progression towards the renowned CCNP certifications which in turn yield higher salaries and the prospect of senior positions in the IT industry.

To pass your ICND1 and ICDN2 exams and become a certified network associate in 2015, you’re going to need the best books for CCNA revision available on the market today.

Grab several of these books as early in your revision as you can and study them as much as possible.  Don’t waste time searching online - take a look at your best picks for 2015, in no particular order…

1. Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Official Cert Guide Library
Covering both ICND1 100-101 and ICND2 200-101 (both CCENT and CCNA), this package contains two entire books fully up-to-date with the latest CCNA exam topics.

  • Exercises based on key CCNA concepts
  • Pearson IT Certification Practice Test software – including 100’s of exam questions
  • 150 minutes of personal video mentoring from the author: Wendell Otom
  • Study plan suggestions and templates
  • 26 CCNA Network simulator labs

How good is it?

This book comes highly recommended - Amazon reviewers rate it 4.6 out of 5 stars rating (28 ratings). As a comprehensive base of knowledge it serves it’s a solid resource.

2. Cisco CCNA in 60 Days 
ISBN: 0956989292

This book was written by two guys who really know their stuff: co-authors Paul W. Browning and Farai Tafa are both CCIE and CCNP certified as well as being seasoned creators of CCNA revision material.

This book stands out because it approaches the CCNA in an opposite way to offerings like the Official Cert Guide Library.

Cisco CCNA in 60 days provides a dedicated study guide for each day for an entire month. After 30 days, the book proposes, you’ll be ready to take your CCENT exam and a month after this you’ll be prepared to take on the CCNA ICND2.

You’ll be checking in with your copy every day to read your daily dose, review yesterday’s lesson and track your progress.

It’s the ideal book for those of us who need a defined structure for their revision. However, if this isn’t your style of revising, it’s probably not the book for you.

IT professionals that stick to the ‘2 hours a day for 60 days’ requirement have found success. Though, only the determined few will be able to stick to this demanding schedule.


You’ll be able to register your book online at to access £250 of videos, exams, guides and even a forum to chat to your fellow 60 Day CCNAs.

How good is it?

Cisco CCNA in 60 Days comes highly rate for those that managed to stick to the demanding schedule. With an average amazon score of 4.8 out of 5 stars (36 reviews), it’s also very well received.

We love the focused scheduled, accessible and to-the-point writing and excellent motivational chapters to keep you going for the full 2 months. And don’t worry, it’s fully up to date with the material introduced in 2014.

3. CCNA Routing and Switching Study Guide: Exams 100-101, 200-101, and 200-120
ISBN: 978-1118749616

If you’ve been lurking around networking forums, chances are you’ve heard Todd Lammle’s name mentioned. Todd has authored over 25 books on Cisco certification subjects and can even boast that his book sales have surpassed those of Cisco Press.

The book covers ICND1 and ICND2 as well as the new topics introduced in 2014. Todd’s intuitive and knowledgeable approach is engaging and those new to the CCNA will find this especially appealing. Special attention should be drawn to topics like subnetting and route summarisation which are explained particularly clearly.

  • Companion Test Engine
  • Electronic flashcards
  • Network simulator
  • Practice exams

If you’re the kind of learner who occasionally needs a break from reading, you’re in luck: bonus content includes access to 40+ MicroNugget videos from CBT Nuggets.

How good is it?

Lammle’s reputation speaks volumes but his book is let down by some poor accompanying materials. The downloadable practice questions miss the mark as one Amazon review states: ‘don’t rely on them…not like the actual exam at all.’

Amazon reviews are largely positive, however, with an average score of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Ultimately, Lammel’s easy-to-understand and to-the-point writing are great for those looking to get through both ICND exams. But, you can expect less content and background reading than Cisco’s official offering – so if you just want to get through the exams, this is for you.

4. CCNA Routing and Switching Portable Command Guide (3rd Edition)
ISBN: 978-1587204302

Published by Cisco press, condensed and is brimming with valuable information this book could prove invaluable for anyone studying for the CCNA.

In it you’ll find every Cisco IOS® Software command, keyword, command argument and associated prompts.

Plus, you’ll also get tips and examples of how to apply these commands in real-world scenarios. It’s been revamped to cover updated ICND 100-101 and ICND2 200-101 topics as well as CCNA 200-120 exams.

This book won’t form the basis of your revision, rather it should act as a quick reference resource to help you memorise commands and concepts. Store it on your eBook and take a few minutes out whenever you can.

How good is it?

Though not widely in circulation, this book has been received incredibly well. Despite Amazon UK only listing 3 reviews (albeit positive ones), actually lists 68 customer reviews with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 – making it the highest rated book on our list.

5. 31 Days Before Your CCENT / CCNA Certification Exam A Day-By-Day Review Guide
ISBN: 978-1587204531 (CCENT)  
ISBN: 978-1587204630 (CCNA)  

The 31 Days series is for professionals who can see the finishing line. There are two books, both published by Cisco press, covering the CCENT and CCNA exams equally.

If you’re starting to fall to pieces with a month to go until your exam this book aims to get you back on track. You’ll be using the book’s day-by-day guide and checklist to organise, prepare and review your revision in the days before your exam.

  • Visual calendar summarising each day’s topic
  • Exam preparation checklist
  • Mental, organisational and physical strategies for exam day

How good is it?

This book succeeds in providing a handy summary of everything you need to know for both ICND1 and ICND2 respectively. We recommend using this book alongside Wendell Odom’s comprehensive Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching 200-120 Official Cert Guide Library.

The 31 Days to CCENT / CCNA doesn’t include the important practice exams and exercises found within Odom’s bulkier Official Cert Guide Library. But, when used in tandem, both books can give you a real boost during the most important month of your revision.

How to get CCNA certified in less than a week

Books are incredible revision tools but many of us can’t commit to the dedication and distraction-free environment needed. If this sounds like you, there is an alternative to a month of studying – take a look at our CCNA course and do it all in 6 days.

If you recently passed your CCNA, what books would you recommend? And for those studying – good luck! 

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.