Which CCNA Blueprint Should You Pursue? Old vs New (2024)

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Cisco announced Version 1.1 of the CCNA 200-301 blueprint on April 22, 2024. They also announced an exam cutover date of August 20, 2024. If you happen to be studying for CCNA in those months, you need a plan! This post (and the embedded video that discusses the same topic) will hopefully help calm your fears, help you choose, and get you focused again on your studies.

Learn about the details below!

Read this Post, or Watch this Video

I launched the YouTube channel Network Upskill in April 2024. You can watch a video about the same topics in this blog post or keep reading – your choice!

Cisco Reveals CCNA 200-301 Version 1.1 (April 2024)

Other Posts/Videos in the 2024 Announcement Series

My current plan has about 10 posts and matching videos related to the 2024 announcements. I made them, and even I’ll get confused about what’s what. So, here’s a repeating reference to the blog posts and matching videos.

Your Three Options: Old, New, or Go-for-Old + Pivot-as-Needed

This post is not so much about revealing secrets about the exam. Instead, it’s about giving you a second opinion and a sounding board to consider your options. The options matter to each CCNA candidate on a personal level. So, your emotions may run high, even though the decision itself may be cut and dried. Hopefully this post can help you sort the pros and cons to choose a path that works for you.

I see three options:

  • Go for the Old: Pursue passing the CCNA 200-301 exam per the Version 1.0 blueprint. That may mean you have to work even harder between April 2024 and August 21, 2024, the last day to test with the V1.0 blueprint.
  • Try for the Old but Be Open to a Pivot to the New: You can continue towards CCNA V1.0, but be relaxed and willing to pivot to the new exam.
  • Go for the New: Go ahead and set your sights on the new exam.

Figure 1: Three Options

For the rest of this post I’ll give you some pros and cons of each so you can decide what’s best for you. Also, I’ll mention my plans to help you with the transition to the new blueprint and exam if you don’t pass the old by August 21st!!


Option 1: Go for the Old

It’s almost demotivating, right? To think of it as old? Who wants to pass the old exam? But it’s probably the wisest choice if you’re close enough to complete the task before August 21st, 2024. Assuming you’ve already begun studying seriously for CCNA well before Cisco’s April 22, 2024 announcement of the new CCNA 200-301 V1.1 blueprint, here are some points to consider – both pros and cons.


  • Cost: You probably have purchased all your study materials already. Passing with the old removes the need for new materials and the effort required to find study options online.
  • Knowledge: The old and new CCNA blueprints overlap at least 95%; the differences are small. In terms of what knowledge, you do not learn when passing V1.0, you miss out on very little.
  • Perception: It is very unlikely that anyone who knows about the blueprints would care which version of the exam you pass. The blueprint revision is minor, so the exams should be considered as similar in content and challenge level.


  • Perception: A hiring manager who knows less detail about CCNA might think passing V1.0 is slightly less impressive than passing the V1.1 exam. You can and should combat this by passing the V1.0 exam and learning about new V1.1 exam topics 2.5.d (the new STP features) and 6.4 (about AI in networking.)
  • Emotion: The process may be stressful. I don’t want to gloss over that too much. If you think you may not make it by August 21st, and a mindset like “I must pass or else” will be bad for you, then… don’t choose this option. The next option may be better for you.


Option 2: Go for the Old, but Be Ready to Pivot to the New

Does anyone else out there think of the famous “Friends” episode with “pivot” in it when they were moving the couch? Anyway…)


  • Cost: You probably have purchased all your study materials already. That material should cover the old V1.0 blueprint.
  • Cost: You can pick up the new content without purchasing more products. I will even help. So, for the preparation cost, be aware that you should not have to spend more, even if you pivot to the new.
  • Time: This approach takes the time pressure off – you do not have to worry about the August 20, 2024 cutover date – which lets you focus on your study.
  • Perception: As mentioned in the first section, people who know the CCNA exam will not care which exam you passed.


  • Perception: A hiring manager who knows less detail about CCNA might think passing V1.0 is slightly less impressive than passing the V1.1 exam. You can and should combat this by passing the V1.0 exam and learning about new V1.1 exam topics 2.5.d (the new STP features) and 6.4 (about AI in networking.)
  • Emotion: This option may also feel stressful to some. It’s up to you to decide whether you think it would be stressful or just want to avoid it.

I will help you if you need to pivot. If you bought my books for the V1.0 blueprint and are willing to use some other resources for the new exam topics, I should help you avoid having to buy the books again. So, I help you find those resources; I’ve been doing this kind of thing here in the blog for quite a while.

The idea is simple: I’ll help you find ways to study the new exam topics without the expense of buying new products. Yes, you could buy the new editions of my books, and if you do, thank you. But I will help you by posting a blog post, by around September 1st, with notes about how to learn about the new exam topics on your own. That post will list things like:

  1. Links to the IOS documentation about how to configure routers and switches for HTTP/S access.
  2. Links to descriptions of AI/ML (for instance, to some material at Cisco’s DevNet site.)
  3. It will refer to labs about REST apI authentication (again at the Cisco DevNet site.)
  4. I will teach about the new STP topics in my regular O’Reilly Online course beginning in September, so I’ll record that content as some YouTube videos, and have those on the NetworkUpskill channel by then.
  5. It will link to Cisco DevNet resources about Terraform (exam topic 6.7) and API authentication (exam topic 6.5.)


If you focus on the V1.0 blueprint – study, learn, and practice – and then learn a little about the small number of new topics in the V1.1 blueprint – you should be fairly well prepared for the new V1.1 exam.


Option 3: Study for the New Exam

The earlier you are in your CCNA studies right now, the more likely you may already think that you should be studying for the new exam. That’s a perfectly reasonable approach. I don’t see any cons to this choice, so I won’t break down my analysis as pros and cons. Instead, the question becomes: Do you use the V1.0 materials you may have already purchased, or spend some money on additional materials? Let me walk through both options with you – and I see it as opportunities with each.


Option 3, Study w/ Old Materials

Simply put: Save some cash, use the old materials. How? There’s almost nothing removed from CCNA by the new V1.1 blueprint. You can save a little time by skipping learning about Puppet and Chef, and maybe not worry about memorizing details about Cisco DNA Center. That’s it. So, learn the content in your V1.0 materials, and then add to it for CCNA V1.1 preparation.

As an aside, if you use my books for the V1.0 blueprint, make sure you download the PDF Appendix B for each volume. Those appendices have materials that are useful for both the V1.0 and V1.1 exams, so make sure to include those Appendix B PDFs in your studies.

If studying with old materials, follow the same plan described in the previous section for someone pivoting their study from V1.0 to V1.1. For the new CCNA V1.1 topics, use any resource, including online resources that I’ll point you to in a blog post later this year.


Option 3, Use New Materials

If you want to get new study materials, based on the Version 1.1 blueprint, great! Go for it. If you plan to start from the very beginning, you do not need any more help from me. Get the new products and start using them!

However, many of you who read this just after the April 22nd, 2024 announcement will be partial through your CCNA studies. To avoid wasting time, you need a plan to transition from your older V1.0 materials to the new V1.1 materials. Here’s how to do that if you’re using my books.

First, the books we were selling in 2020 – 2024 for the CCNA 200-301 exam based on the V1.0 blueprint rare first-edition books. The cover does NOT list “edition 1”, but they’re the first books we published for the 200-301 exam, so they are considered first editions. The new books, arriving mid-year 2024, have basically the same titles as the old, but with the words “Second Edition” tacked on the end. They are second editions because they are the second books we published for the CCNA 200-301 exam. Below, find some early mockups of the covers; note that the final covers weren’t available when I finalized this post:


Figure 2: CCNA Official Cert Guide Covers

To learn more the content we added to the new books – the second editions – check out the previous CCNA V1.1 announcement post!


Practical Advice: Moving from Old to New Books

The challenge in moving from studying with books or videos built for the V1.0 exam to products for the V1.1 exam comes in figuring out what to skip and what to use. I can at least help those of you who use my books.

The short version: Transition from one book to another after completing a book part. The books organize the content into parts, each part containing multiple chapters. Figure 3 shows the organization of the first seven parts of the CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide, Volume 1, for both the old edition (Edition 1) and the new (Edition 2).

Figure 3: Comparing Parts and Chapters in CCNA Volume 1 Editions 1 and 2

For instance, if you are currently reading chapter 6 in the old Volume 1 book (first edition), complete parts 2 through 7. Then, pick up the new Volume 1 book (second edition) and start with Part 3 (Chapter 8).

Once you decide where to cutover to read the new Volume 1 book, make sure also to read any content about new exam topics that you may have missed. Thankfully, there’s not much to worry about in Volume 1. Figure 4 spells out the details:

Figure 4: Read These Topics in the New (Edition 2) Volume 1

Of the items in Figure 2, the first two have to do with exam topics that changed for the V1.1 blueprint. The last entry relates to a change Cisco made in the interim update to the V1.0 blueprint in late 2022. (See this post for more on that interim update.)

If you have already read as far as Volume 2 in the first edition books, honestly, you might want to rethink your strategy. Maybe you could pass the exam with the V1.0 blueprint before it expires. However, if you want to pass the V1.1 exam, just take a similar cutover approach, finish a Part in the old Volume 2 book, and then cutover to the new Volume 2 book. Then use Figure 5 to ensure you catch new Volume 2 content related to the V1.1 blueprint and the V1.0 interim blueprint update.

Figure 5: Read These Topics in the New (Edition 2) Volume 2


In-Stock Dates for the New Books!

The books we published around January 1, 2020, for the CCNA 200-301 Version 1.0 exam, are considered edition 1 books. The new books, coming out mid-year 2024, are also for CCNA 200-301, because the exam number does not change, but they are considered Edition 2 books. As usual, we’ll have the two books, plus a two-book set, aka the CCNA Library.

Here are the projected in-stock dates: the dates the books should be in the warehouse so that the workers can send them to you if you pre-ordered!

Key Links

Here are a few helpful links related to the announcement.

Wendell Odom

Cisco Press

Note: Pages for the new products will be available 1-2 days AFTER Cisco’s blueprint announcement.


Minor CCNA Blueprint Update, but Major Book Updates for 2024
Introducing the New CCNA Books and Great Deals (2024)
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Adam West

Hi Wendell, in your 200-301 book, you mentioned that an alternate port transitions directly from discarding to forwarding without using any interim states like learning. This confuses me because surely there has to be some element of MAC learning to be had to ensure the now new root port knows where to send frames?

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