Learning strategies for CCNP 350-401 exam

On 5 Jun., 2021

Many people have difficulty communicating their knowledge during CCNP 350-401 exam, especially due to excessive anxiety.

Learning strategies for CCNP 350-401 exam

Indeed, high stress interferes with cognitive functions (eg: concentration, memorization) and thus interferes with performance. Different strategies for preparing for and taking 350-401 exam, as well as for controlling your stress, can improve the situation.


Set concrete and specific study goals for yourself. For more on this, see the text on time management. Obviously, you will be less susceptible to anxiety if you start your study early. In order for your long-term study to be effective, review what you have learned previously before starting to study any new part of the material.


You can try to simulate CCNP 350-401 exam in order to practice. To do this, develop a bank of questions and try to answer them under conditions similar to those provided for during the evaluation (limited time, closed or open books, etc.). If you do this exercise in a group, you will also be able to identify what others consider important in the subject.


The anxiety experienced before an assessment is most often caused by doubts about your preparation as well as your ability to cope with this assessment. These doubts and fears can take many forms: fear of failing, of not getting the intended grade, of having memory lapses, of being fooled, of running out of time, etc.

If you experience a high degree of anxiety before this new CCNP exam, your doubts may become certainties in your mind. For example, a perception of the type "I'm going to fail for sure, for sure" is characterized by the certainty of fear, which increases anxiety. However, your uncertainty regarding the 350-401 exam is not a certainty! Therefore, a first step in controlling your anxiety is to identify your fears and assess them, since the facts do not always justify them. Indeed, if you are well prepared, why be sure to fail? On this subject, you can also consult the text Stress, anxiety and perceptions.


What are you worried about the CCNP certification exam? Try writing down any doubts you have in mind about the assessment on a piece of paper. This exercise will make it easier for you to take a step back from your doubts.


How are you preparing for the exam? If there isn't any, it's normal to have a high degree of anxiety… if your studies are important to you! However, if you have put in the time for good preparation, it might be worth considering before you overly fear the exam. Take your course notes or another document in which most of the concepts are summarized (eg: detailed course plan). Test your comprehension and your memorization by an overview of the various information. If you have mastered the vast majority of concepts, is it certain that the exam will go badly? Before doubting your means too much, analyze your competence based on real facts.

Most exams assess what you have learned in the course. If you are proficient in the material, you have a good chance of success. However, there may be poor performance despite sufficient preparation time. Usually, there are reasons for poor performance: good comprehension, but lack of memorization, good memorization, but incomprehension, panic during exams, last-minute study, gaps in the prerequisites for the course, etc. Analyze the possible reasons for the poorer results and try to remedy them. This is more effective than being very worried without taking action.


If you have mastered the material, you can do a brief review of the concepts and rest. You will need your energy during the 350-401 exam and it is ineffective to strive to study familiar concepts. If you are late, there is no other way but to gamble for everything. Avoid sleepless nights though, because if you lack preparation you will need your whole head.


Anxiety can arise at different times when taking a test: right at the start, when you encounter a difficult question, or towards the end, when time is running out. In any case, your attention turns away from the examination and the material to focus on fears, anticipations, on a less constructive way of thinking. It is this diversion of attention, along with the physiological activation of anxiety, that causes blackouts and difficulty in thinking well.


  • Start with the easier questions

  • It warms your mind and builds confidence

  • Stop work and breathe gently for a few seconds

When anxiety rises, the resulting lack of focus can create careless mistakes. It is preferable to take a break of 20 to 30 seconds and to breathe well in order to let the tension drop.

Redirect your mind to matter

When you experience a lot of anxiety, your attention is no longer directed to the matter but to negative thoughts. Try to redirect your attention to the concepts studied by evoking it more broadly towards the most precise. For example, if you are experiencing a degree of anxiety that interferes with your concentration, take a few seconds to breathe and try to remember what you saw in the course in general: What was the subject of the course? What did you see in the other chapters? What are the other concepts of the chapter referred to in the question? Remember other exercises you did in the course, even if they are unrelated to the question. This way of doing things will allow you to more easily redirect your attention to the material,


Many people who are anxious during 350-401 encor exam foresee catastrophes as soon as the answer to a question is not obvious to them on first reading. The concepts studied are complex and numerous, so it is normal not to always know the answer from the first reading. Take the time to think properly, it is your task on the exam and it is normal.

For exam questions

Read the question carefully and underline the key words. Is there more than one question in what is asked? Take the time to understand the descriptive elements of the question (e.g. compare, list, explain).

Write in the margin or on a draft sheet what comes to mind on the first reading.

Make an outline of your ideas and organize them logically before writing the answer, this will decrease confusion in the texts.

You can paraphrase the question as an introduction to the answer if it is relevant. Keep sentences short and write when you have the structure of your answer in mind. If you are short on time, write the ideas in your plan. You could get a few points out of it anyway.

For multiple choice questions...

Recite the answer before looking at the choices. You will be less influenced by a series of false assumptions.

If you hesitate between 2 statements, try to find the arguments which prove the falsity of each of them. It is often more enlightening to find which statement seems the most false than to try to identify the one which is most likely...

Don't trust the bosses of answers; anything is possible (eg 8 "c" in a row).

For open book exams...

According to Spoto, open book exams have certain peculiarities. In general, the questions will focus more on the in-depth understanding of the concepts and their application to practical cases. It is less frequent to find questions whose answers are found verbatim in your notes or your readings. So, during the preparation, promote understanding of the concepts by asking yourself questions about their concrete applications. If you have examples or case studies in your documents, analyze them well.

In addition, ask yourself about the possible links between the concepts, the differences, the similarities in their description and their applications. While reading, make indexes of the concepts under study by writing the title of the concept and the pages where it is mentioned in your documents authorized for the 350-401 encor exam; you find the information more quickly. Do these indexes throughout the session, not right before the exam.

Finally, don't underestimate open book reviews. Try to know the main concepts well, because you will not always have time to search your documents for all the information necessary for the answer.


Before the exam, think about strategies to use if you ever become anxious. This will allow you to react more quickly and keep calm. During the examination, the die is cast; it is therefore a question of thinking as best as you can about the matter.