Preparing for the CCNP Enterprise? Here’s How Long You Should Plan to Study for the 350-401 ENCOR Exam

by Ross Heintzkill | Published on September 12, 2022

Standing between you and the CCNP Enterprise certification from Cisco is the 350-401 ENCOR exam. The 350-401 ENCOR is a career-defining exam that covers enterprise network administration principles like infrastructure, virtualization, network assurance, security and automation. If you plan on earning the CCNP Enterprise, you'll want to know how long it'll take you to study for the 350-401 ENCOR.

We asked CCNP-certified pros how long it took them to study for the 350-401 ENCOR via Twitter, LinkedIn, and email. Read on and find out what nearly 800 people said, as well as how to speed up your own progress.

How long did most people need to study for the CCNP Enterprise (350-401 ENCOR)?

According to the results of our survey, IT professionals tend to take longer than 5 months to prepare for the CCNP Enterprise. Combining both the Twitter poll, LinkedIn poll, and a survey that was emailed to CBT Nuggets learners, 797 respondents shared how long they studied for the ENCOR. 40% say it took longer than 5 months to study for the 350-401 ENCOR, while about 30% of people were able to study for the 350-401 in 3-5 months. The remaining 30% took less than 3 months.

how long to study for cisco ccnp enterprise core survey data

Preparing for the core exam of the CCNP Enterprise will take at least 3 months, and in most cases, more than 5 months. The 30% of students who took less than 3 months are likely network administrators or engineers with more than 3 years of experience. People without a lot of work experience usually take upward 5 months to pass the 350-401 ENCOR.

How should you prepare ahead of taking the CCNP Enterprise exam? 

The CCNP Enterprise is one of the world's most challenging and comprehensive network professional certifications. You’ll want to use a comprehensive training course to adequately prepare for the 350-401, and plan to study for at least 30 minutes each day for a minimum of 3 months.

RELATED: Here’s What to Expect When You Take the CCNP Enterprise

Take a CCNP online training course

High-quality training is one of the best ways to pass the Cisco CCNP Enterprise Core (350-401 ENCOR) with 3-5 months of studying. But according to Blake Pierson, a CBT Nuggets coach, you should prepare to cover a lot of ground in the course. 

"Be sure to use the included practice exam and expose yourself to the breadth of questions in the bank," Pierson encourages. "This course covers a lot of content."

The thing that makes the CCNP Enterprise so valuable is that it tests real-world abilities in network automation, security, assurance, and virtualization — not just memorized facts. Challenging as it may be, there are several tools that can help you prepare for the exam. 

Use a CCNP study plan

You won't be able to prepare for the 350-401 without good study habits. According to Molly Billow, CBT Nuggets senior coach, you should plan carefully about how to develop a strong study habit. 

"Habits are things we do automatically," Billow explains. "To make a habit, there are three key ingredients: Cue, behavior, and reward." She recommends that learners create their own study cue – something like a specific time of day – that prompts a behavior (in this case, studying for the ENCOR), that’s followed by a reward.

A CCNP Enterprise Core study plan will help you stay on track while you learn advanced wireless configuration techniques, network virtualization concepts, approaches to network security design, and enough Python to automate network behavior.

Use virtual labs

The CCNP Enterprise course from CBT Nuggets includes multiple virtual laboratories — digital sandboxes where you can practice what you're learning. Rather than just watch a video and hope you remember what you learned, in a virtual lab you can put each lesson to use and actually commit it to memory.

Test yourself using practice exams

If you knew what the 350-401 ENCOR exam was like before you actually took it, you'd probably feel a lot more confident going into the exam. That's why the 350-401 ENCOR course from CBT Nuggets has practice exams — you can cut down on your prep time by knowing that you're ready, or focus on the parts you might have missed.

Learn from the experts

The CCNP Enterprise course is taught by Jeff Kish, a Cisco expert with more than ten different Cisco certifications to his name. Find out for yourself if video training is the best way for you to prepare for the 350-401 ENCOR — you can even watch the first video in the series for free.

The CCNP Enterprise core exam 350-401 has a reputation for being one of the toughest certification exams in the IT world. It takes an average of over 5 months to prepare for the 350-401 ENCOR because passing it takes a deep familiarity with a wide selection of different concepts of advanced network administration. Getting a CBT Nuggets membership and taking the CCNP Enterprise online training is one of the most reliable ways to bring your prep time down from more than 5 months while increasing your comfort with all the different network administration skills you need.

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