Enhancing Book CCNA Exams: New Questions for 2024

 In General, News

Can you guess – approximately – how many more unique practice questions you’ll see in the CCNA OCG Library, Second Edition, vs. the First edition? Or how many more timed CCNA practice exam banks come with the new Library?

Our author team did significant work to update and improve the question set that ships with the CCNA books for the new editions that will be released in mid-2024. Read this post to learn more about the changes and what that means for you.

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!

New Book Q&A for 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.

The What and Why Behind More and Better CCNA Q&A in 2024

A Brief Word about the Basics

I wrote another blog post that describes the practice tests that come with the CCNA Official Cert Guides. If you already read that, great! If you already understand the practice tests from using the 1st Edition books, great! You do not need to go back and read that earlier blog post.

However, if you do not know much about the CCNA 200-301 Official Cert Guide books (two Volumes), and the associated practice exams, then what you read here may not make much sense. So: Click here to read that earlier post first!

 

Overview: What Changed and Why

I started working on the 2024 editions of the new CCNA OCGs in mid-2022. The very first major task? To begin a plan to modernize the PTP exams that ship with the books.

You may wonder why practice questions. I spent some time reflecting on the books and the long-term effects of how we proceed from edition to edition. Our processes work well for identifying new topics for which we need to create new questions. The usual processes also work well for reacting when people like you click the feedback button to send feedback about a question. We even cover the task of removing questions when we remove content from the next edition.

What was missing? Once a question was written, we didn’t look at it again unless someone sent feedback. So I decided it was time to do a complete review of the entire question database.

I read every single question. I first gave myself permission to delete them if I thought the question just wasn’t good enough. More often, though, I made major or minor edits to a question to clarify wording, make answer phrasing consistent, fill in more detail in the explanation, add some formatting to the explanation, and so on. I deleted, re-wrote, or made minor changes to 30% of the questions. That was step 1, as depicted in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Big Changes for CCNA OCG Q&A for 2024

 

We then set about adding to the number of questions. I say we because that was a group effort between myself and my co-authors on the books. I’ve written and talked publicly about the various reasons why we updated the books in 2024 beyond the exam topic changes – so we added questions based on all those changes. Also, I looked for CCNA topics for which the exam databases looked a little sparse and added more questions. And when we got the new CCNA V1.1 blueprint, we added more for the new exam topics.

When the dust settled from all that activity, we had added about 200 unique questions to the product.

The net increase in the number of questions gave us a wonderful opportunity, resulting in the one change you are most likely to notice. With the additional questions, we could increase the number of “CCNA Full Exams”: The exams you use when you want to take a timed practice CCNA exam. For the print CCNA Library, that increase took us from two CCNA Full exams with the 1st Edition to four with the Second Edition.

I’ll use the rest of the blog post to walk you through a few more of the details – and some suggestions about how to use the new exams differently than you did with the 1st Edition.

 

A Little More about the Number of Changes

I promised to spell out more about the big improvements to the Q&A. Here it is!

First, focusing on the modernization and addition of new questions: I made those major and minor updates to a combined close to 200 questions (out of around 1150). I deleted about 50 more. Figure 2 shows the breakdown.

Figure 2: Analysis of Questions Deleted, Changed, Added for Second Editions

 

As you can see from the latter rows, we created another 200 or so questions. Some are about the new V1.1 blueprint exam topics, some about the interim V1.0 late 2022 updates, and some just to increase the number of questions. I also copied a few from prior editions. For instance, I added a chapter that was in the books from 2016-2020, removed for the editions that came out in 2020, but now I’m adding it back. So, I recovered those questions from the prior edition and copied them in.

In total, it’s about 175 more questions available among all products. The next figure depicts the increase.

Figure 3: Themes of Big CCNA PTP Q&A Improvements in 2024

 

Most of you would never notice the changes in the number of questions or the quality of those questions. But there are more Book questions (due to five more chapters in the combined books.) There are 20% more questions in the Part Review exams and, on average, 20% more in the CCNA Volume 1 and CCNA Volume 2 exams. But the biggest change happens with the CCNA Full Exams – the exams you use when you want a spread of topics across all CCNA.

 

The Huge and Obvious Change: 2X CCNA Full Exams

To take a timed practice exam with questions across all CCNA topics or to study with the same range of topics, you need to use one or more exams that go by the name “CCNA Full Exam.” As explained in the previous blog post, those exams combine questions from Volume 1 and Volume to so that one exam has about half its questions from each book.

In the CCNA OCG 1st Edition books, if you bought the CCNA OCG library, you received a number of CCNA Full exams. Figure 4 shows the numbers, with the covers from the first edition CCNA OCG Library (print) on the left and the Premium Edition eBook on the right. You received two CCNA Full Exams with the print CCNA OCG Library and four with the Premium Edition eBook.

Figure 4: Two or Four CCNA Full Exams: 1st Edition (2020 – 2024)

 

Simply put, you get double that number of CCNA Full exams with the new editions. We had enough questions to create those because of the increase in the total available questions. Basically, each question in the “CCNA Volume 1|2” exams lands in one of the CCNA Full exams. With the new 2024 edition print product (and with eBooks other than the Cisco Press Premium Edition), you get four CCNA Full exams. With the newSecond Edition CCNA Library Premium Edition, you get eight CCNA Full exams!!

Figure 5: Four or Eight CCNA Full Exams: Second Editions (2024 – 202?)

 

How to Best Use All These New Questions?

If I were a reader using the new Second Edition books, and I had bought the CCNA Library (print or Premium Edition eBook) – the ones that release mid-year 2024, with the covers in the previous figure – here’s what I would do.

  • I would use the Book exam and Part Review exam, just as with previous editions.
  • I would ignore the exams titled “CCNA Volume 1 Exam Y” and “CCNA Volume 2 Exam Y”. Why? All those questions exist in two places: In those exams and in a CCNA Full Exam. Let’s use the CCNA Full exams instead.
  • I would use the CCNA Full exams for all studying beyond the Book and Part Review exams.

Figure 6: Advice: Just Use the CCNA Full Exams with the New Second Edition Books

 

When using those CCNA Full exams, you need to make the choice of when you want to use study mode or practice exam mode. In study mode:

  • You can see the correct and incorrect answers after each question.
  • You can see the explanation after each question.
  • The exam experience is not timed.

In practice exam mode, you get the reverse. You get a timed exam event with an exam timer and a score, and you do not get to see the answers or explanations until after you complete the exam. You need to choose what you want to do in your study session and pick a mode.

Figure 7 shows a screenshot of the PTP web app user interface where you choose the mode. For instance, to take a simulated CCNA exam, to best mimic the real exam, I would suggest you choose:

  • Practice exam
  • 100 questions
  • Order by objectives: Off
  • Randomize questions: On
  • Randomize answers: On

Figure 7: Study Mode Vs. Practice Exam Mode

 

Finally, some people prefer to try and avoid re-using questions. The app lets you re-use the exams and questions as many times as you like – however, you might begin to remember the questions and answers. But if you want to avoid seeing the same question again, you can try different approaches, like the two depicted in Figure 8.

  • Top half: Use two exams in study mode for general review and study. Save CCNA Full exams 3 and 4 for two timed practice exam events just before exam day.
  • Bottom half: Reserve all four exams so you can have four separate timed practice exam events with questions you have not seen yet.

Figure 8: Use CCNA Full Exams as Practice Exam Events – Or In Study Mode

 

If you like that idea, then you know where you may likely land: You may choose to buy the CCNA OCG Premium Edition Library. With that book, you get eight CCNA Full exams, approximately 100 questions each. Yep, that’s a lot of practice questions! For example, you could reserve three exams for timed practice exam events and use five exams (about 500 questions) for practice throughout the study process (see Figure 9.)

Figure 9: Using Study and Practice Exam Modes with the CCNA Library Premium Edition (Second Edition)

 

Up Next: More about the CCNA OCG Library, Premium Edition

We just discussed how the CCNA OCG Library, Premium Edition, has eight CCNA Full exams. In the next blog post, I’ll take a more specific look at that product and how it differs from what you get with the CCNA Library print version so you know what you do and do not get with the premium edition CCNA 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.

Cisco

The Ultimate Guide to CCNA OCG Practice Exams (2024)
(Nearly) Infinite Q&A in the New CCNA Premium Edition Library
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