IT Certification and Training Blog

7 Question Types on Cisco Certification Exams

Mar 23, 2011 9:00:00 AM / by Kelly Mansfield

By Michael Aldridge

I am often asked by people who are studying for the Cisco CCNA certification exam about what kinds of questions they can expect to see. Cisco exams can include the following question types:

  • Multiple-choice, single-answer
  • Multiple-choice, multiple-answer
  • Drag-and-drop
  • Fill-in-the-blank
  • Simulation
  • Testlet
  • Simlet

Multiple choice question Most people are familiar with multiple choice questions. Some questions have one correct answer, and some questions have several. Fortunately, Cisco will always tell you how many correct choices there are, and the exam engine will usually warn you if you have selected too few or too many.


Drag-and-drop question Drag-and-drop questions require you to drag boxes to screen locations. Typically, you are asked to drag terms onto their corresponding definitions or to the proper categories. You might also be asked to drag items onto a network diagram.


Fill-in-the-blank question A fill-in-the-blank question requires that you enter your answer into one or more text boxes. Although I have never seen Cisco use fill-in-the-blank questions, Cisco could introduce them at any time, so be aware of the possibility.


Simulation question Simulation questions require you to configure one or more Cisco devices, including routers, switches, and other devices. I have seen both IOS-based and GUI-based simulations. All of the commands and features may not be available, but the ones you need to complete the simulation will be available. Simulation questions tend to strike fear in the heart of test takers. However, you can overcome your anxiety by getting some hands-on practice with live Cisco routers or with a robust network simulator product, like Boson's NetSim.


Testlet question Testlet questions are typically presented as a group of three to six questions. These questions are all based on a common scenario or network topology. Any required command output will be provided for you in the scenario text. You can answer the testlet questions in any order, but once you leave the testlet, you cannot return to it.


Simlet question Simlet questions are basically a combination of a simulation and a testlet. Like a testlet, you will be presented with a set of three to six questions that are based on a common scenario or network topology. However, you are not provided any command output. Instead, you must interact with the network devices and issue the proper commands to be able to answer the questions correctly.


You might not see all of these item types on every Cisco certification exam. However, you can be ready for any of them by checking out the Cisco Certification Exam Tutorial (shown in the previous graphic images). This is the same tutorial that you will see at the beginning of each Cisco certification exam. The tutorial includes one practice question of each type so you can get some hands-on practice. You can get even more practice by using a Cisco certification practice exam, such as Boson's ExSim-Max, which includes the item types you can expect to see on the actual certification exam.


If you are still concerned about the types of questions you might see on Cisco exams, don't be. If you fully understand the concepts, it doesn't matter what type of questions Cisco uses to test your knowledge, because you'll be able to handle any question they ask you!


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Michael Aldridge
MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+


Topics: practice question, Cisco certification, certification practice exams, ccna exam questions

Kelly Mansfield

Written by Kelly Mansfield

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