The Ultimate Guide to CCNA OCG Practice Exams (2024)

 In General, News

Drumroll, please… yes, the CCNA Official Cert Guides have practice exams!

Most of you are not surprised. What surprises me is that our surveys show that some people who buy the books do not even realize the exams are there; others know about them but do not use them. And they’re one of the best features of the books!

In this post, I’ll help you understand the fundamentals: The products, the exams, and when to use each. The next few posts go further, focusing on changes for the new book editions for 2024.

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!

Ultimate Guide to CCNA OCG Practice Exams!

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.

The Exams You Get with the CCNA Books

Introduction: CCNA OCG and PTP Products

Cisco Press names its Q&A software “Pearson Test Prep,” or PTP. You can install a PTP desktop app from the books’ companion websites. Alternatively, you can open a web browser tab and use the PTP web app, accessible from

For both tools, you need a free login that you establish once. After that, you can use the same login to access all exams for all products you buy from Cisco Press or any other books published by Pearson.

Your app displays no questions initially until you activate your first PTP practice test product in the app. Each time you get a new Cisco Press product (like the CCNA OCGs), you go through a process listed in the book to activate the associated PTP product using the PTP app. (You can find the instructions on the process in the introduction to each book.)

One factor that makes the CCNA Official Cert Guide (OCG) a little tricky is that it’s not really one book: It’s a two-book set (library) with separate books called Volume 1 and Volume 2. Figure 1 shows the covers of the new editions released in mid-year 2024 (2nd Editions). You can buy them separately or in a two-book set called the CCNA OCG Library.

Figure 1: Book Covers for CCNA Volume 1, CCNA Volume 2, and CCNA Library (2nd Editions)

For PTP, when you buy the CCNA OCG Library, the publisher supplies you with two PTP products that you need to activate:

  • A CCNA 200-301 Volume 1, 2nd Edition product
  • A CCNA 200-301 Volume 2, 2nd Edition product

Note that they do NOT supply a PTP product for the CCNA Library. So, if you buy the CCNA Library – a cardboard box with both books – you must register two separate products in the PTP app, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Concept: Registering CCNA Volume 1 and CCNA Volume 2 PTP Products in PTP App


PTP Exams and Objectives (Chapters and Parts)

Each PTP product has multiple exams, each with several practice questions. Understanding the various exams and the types of questions you will find in them can help you decide what to do when studying.

Each question has an associated objective. The objectives refer to either a book chapter or a book part. Why? So you can choose a subset of the questions in an exam by picking chapters or book parts.

To connect these ideas, consider a typical user’s three choices when using the PTP app, as shown in Figure 3. First, the PTP app requires you to choose one product (for instance, the Volume 1 product). In step 2, you select exams. You can pick one or more, or even all exams in the product. By doing so, you’re choosing the questions the app will draw from for your upcoming Q&A session.

Figure 3: Three Common Decision Points When Using the PTP App

For the third step, you can choose all objectives or a subset of the objectives: book chapters and parts. For instance, as shown in the figure, the user decided to use only the second exam and limit the questions to those about Chapters 4-6 to study content from those chapters only.

Choosing a subset of questions based on objectives is intuitive. However, if you need more information about the exams, the following few pages provide that detail.


Book Questions (the “Do I Know This Already Quiz” Pre-Chapter Quizzes)

Early in each book chapter, you will see a pre-chapter quiz. That quiz sits under the heading “Do I Know This Already?” so internally, we refer to these as DIKTA questions.

The publisher copies all these DIKTA chapter pre-quiz questions, naming the exam “Book questions” in PTP. The author of each chapter works with the questions in Microsoft Word. Once the book is finished, the publisher copies the DIKTA questions into the Book Questions PTP exam, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: DIKTA Question Copied into the “Book” Exam in PTP

Most people just use these by reading the printed pages in the book. However, because the publisher copies them into the “Book Questions” exam in PTP, you can also use them in the app for later review. Maybe you answer the Book questions after reading a chapter or completing an entire book part. (A book part contains 3-5 chapters.) In that case, it is likely more convenient to:

  1. Open the PTP app.
  2. Select only the Book exam.
  3. Select the chapters from which you’d like to see questions.

Figure 5 shows a screenshot taken from the CCNA OCG Volume 2, 1st Edition product (the new 2nd Edition product isn’t available yet for a screenshot.) Note the choice of the Book exam and three chapters checked below.

Figure 5: Screenshot of Selecting Book (DIKTA) Questions for Three Chapters

Part Review Exams

Each PTP product that ships with each CCNA OCG (Volume 1 and Volume 2) has a Part Review exam. To understand those, you just need an understanding of the organization of the books.

Each book has chapters, of course, but there are 53 chapters in the combined 2nd edition books. To better organize the content, the book table-of-contents groups chapters into 13 parts, as shown in Figure 6. Inside the book, a few pages signal each part’s beginning and end. For the new 2nd Edition books in 2024:

  • Volume 1 organizes its 29 chapters into 7 parts
  • Volume 2 organizes its 24 chapters into 6 parts

Figure 6: Parts in CCNA 200-301 OCG Volumes 1 and 2, 2nd Edition


Each part ends with a short few pages called the Part Review. Those pages suggest activities you can do to review the topics found in the entire multi-chapter Part. One activity: Answer the Part Review questions found in PTP. To that end, we include a Part Review exam in the PTP products. When you want to review a part, open a product, select only the Part Review exam, and choose the Part (objective) you wish to review.

Figure 7: When to Use the Part Review Exams (Stars)


Volume 1 and Volume 2 Exams

Remember, owning the Volume 1 book gives you the right to a Volume 1 PTP product, and owning the Volume 2 book gives you the right to a Volume 2 PTP product. So, if you want to use the Book or Part Review exams, there’s one in the product for each volume. For instance, the Book exam in the Volume 1 product has questions about only Volume 1, and the Book exam in the Volume 2 product has questions about only Volume 2. The top of Figure 8 reflects the separation between the exams in the products.

Figure 8: Exams with Questions from Only that Volume


In addition to the book and part exams, these products include additional exams with questions you can use at any time in the study process. These exams use names like “CCNA Volume 1” or “CCNA Volume 2”, as shown in the lower part of Figure 8. For the 2nd Edition books, these exams have approximately 100 questions each. With two such exams for each volume, there are about 200 questions each in Volume 1 and Volume 2 for these exams.


CCNA “Full” Exams: Exams that Draw from Both Volumes

Note that all the exams discussed so far have questions from the content in a single book. So far, no single exam has questions about topics from both books – that is, no single exam has questions from the complete breadth of topics in CCNA.

To have a practice session with questions from both books, Cisco Press needs to supply you with an exam in one product (you can only select one product at a time in the PTP app) with questions from both books. The solution? They do just that, and they call those exams “CCNA Full Exam X,” with a number to identify each unique exam. Some key facts about these exams:

  • Cisco Press creates these beforehand; you see them in the PTP app user interface.
  • The exams use the same questions in the “CCNA Volume 1|2” exams.
  • Each CCNA Full Exam has about half its questions from Volume 1 topics and about half from Volume 2.
  • Use these exams to practice and see questions from all CCNA.
  • For a timed CCNA practice exam event, use the CCNA Full exams.

Figure 9 shows where Cisco Press pulls questions from the per-volume exams when creating the CCNA Full exams. So, all questions from the exams with names like “Volume 1 Exam X” and “Volume 2 Exam Y” land in some “CCNA Full Exam X” exam.

Figure 9: “CCNA Full Exams”: Exams with Content from Both Volumes


So, where do you find these CCNA Full exams? In the Volume 2 product, as shown in Figure 10. Remember, there’s no “CCNA Library” PTP product to activate; you activate the Volume 1 and Volume 2 products in the PTP app. Cisco Press has to put these CCNA Full exams somewhere, so they include them with Volume 2.

Figure 10: CCNA Full Exams Packaged with Volume 2 Product (Not Volume 1)


Next Post: Cool Improvements for 2nd Editions (2024)

Almost everything in this blog post applies to the old CCNA Cert Guide Edition (1st Edition) and the new one arriving mid-year 2024 (2nd Edition). The only difference? The 1st Edition comes with two CCNA Full exams, while the new 2nd Editions have four of these exams. (Also, the hidden process of choosing questions to create those exams differs a little.)

Focusing on the new 2nd Edition of the books, we worked hard to expand and improve the questions and exams offered. For instance, I examined every question and updated it as needed. We wrote more questions.

Figure 11: Big Changes for CCNA OCG Q&A for 2024

In the next post, I’ll focus on the differences between the 1st and 2nd Editions so you get a better understanding of how we’ve improved the products!

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.


Introducing the New CCNA Books and Great Deals (2024)
Enhancing Book CCNA Exams: New Questions for 2024
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