Tips and Tricks for Passing the CCNP ROUTE (642-902) Exam

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Taking on the Cisco Certified Network Professional certification in itself is a big undertaking and it typically begins with the Cisco ROUTE exam. The current ROUTE exam (and its previous iterations (BSCI & ACRC)) has long been known as an exam that separates the serious from the not so serious and requires candidates to sharpen their skills considerably over the associate level certifications.

This article takes a look at the changes that have been introduced in the new CCNP ROUTE 642-902 exam providing you with some tips and tricks on how to prepare and pass the challenging exam.

CCNP ROUTE Exam Changes

What we'll review first are the changes that have been introduced in the ROUTE exam; these include a focus on design and implementation tasks. Previous CCNP exams focused almost exclusively on the technological theory as well as the configuration/troubleshooting Command Line Interface (CLI). A knowledge of the tasks required for both implementation and verification plans is required to pass the newer exams and should be an integrated part of the preparation process.

The hard part is not overthinking what this means; an implementation plan is very simple as it is followed by everyone regardless of whether it is written down or not. An implementation plan is simply a detailed list of tasks that are required for a specific feature to be implemented. For example, how does someone change a flat tire. First, locate spare... second, locate jack and method of tire lug nut removal... third, jack up the car... fourth, remove flat tire... fifth, install spare... sixth, lower car and remove jack... seventh, stow old tire and continue trip.

The same is true for the verification plan, just think of what steps are required to verify that something is fixed or if the problem has been resolved. Using the same flat tire analogy, the person changing the tire would want to make sure that the lug nuts are tight and the tire has sufficient pressure before continuing down the road. When starting to drive down the road on the spare tire the driver would want to ensure that everything "feels right" running on the spare before going on and driving as normal.

CCNP ROUTE Study Direction

So what is the magic bullet for passing the Cisco ROUTE exam? This is simple: Don't overthink the exam. There are seven high level categories that the ROUTE exam is split into:

  1. EIGRP: Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol
  2. OSPF: Open Shortest Path First
  3. eBGP: External Border Gateway Protocol
  4. IPv6: Internet Protocol version 6
  5. IPv6/IPv4 redistribution
  6. Layer 3 Path Control
  7. Teleworker and branch services

Take each category and focus on it by itself until the material is very familiar. Don't worry about being familiar with absolutely everything; this is what gets many candidates in trouble. You want to know enough to be comfortable with the material, so that each concept makes sense; you don't have to know everything that's written in your CCNP ROUTE book like the back of your hand.

If you don't have a great deal of Cisco work experience, take advantage of video training (like TrainSignal's CCNP ROUTE Training or physical classroom instruction. For those candidates with more job experience, the use of video and physical training may not be required. All candidates should take advantage of the self-study materials that exist from a variety of providers; these materials solidify the concepts and provide a continued method of review.

Practice exams in particular are a great resource because they help you not only validate your knowledge before attempting the exam, but also practice taking the exam and getting used to the types of questions that are being asked.


When it comes down to it, the methods that are used to successfully study for any exam, including the CCNP ROUTE exam, are subjective and highly dependent on the your learning style. However, when it comes down to it, the material is the same and many resources utilize techniques that allow you to learn the concepts regardless of learning style.

Most candidates will find out early in their professional careers which training series/publisher/author/instructor best fits into their specific learning style and will stick with them as long as they provide up-to-date coverage of the new material as it is released. But if studying from a book didn't go so well last time around try a class or video training instead and see if it works better for you.

The biggest tip is to be well rested the night before the exam and to avoid cramming the night before, this almost always ends up being counterproductive. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the exam and make sure that you're walking into the testing center confident and ready to tackle the exam.

Good luck!

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Sean Wilkins

Sean Wilkins is an accomplished networking consultant who has been in the IT field for more than 20 years, working with several large enterprises. He is a writer for infoDispersion and his educational accomplishments include: a Master’s of Science in Information Technology with a focus in Network Architecture and Design, and a Master’s of Science in Organizational Management. Sean holds certifications with Cisco (CCNP/CCDP), Microsoft (MCSE) and CompTIA (A+ and Network+).