Here’s How Long You’ll Need to Prepare for the CCNP Security Core (350-701 SCOR)

by Ross Heintzkill | Published on September 12, 2022

The CCNP Security Core is an advanced cybersecurity certification from Cisco that tests an administrator's familiarity with network, cloud, and content security as well as endpoint protection and secure network access. The 350-701 SCOR is the core exam for the CCNP Security, which also requires at least one additional cybersecurity exam from a list of six.

The CCNP Security is a challenging certification with a ton of information to learn. But how long does it take to study for the 350-701 SCOR portion of the test? To find out, we polled more than 490 IT professionals on LinkedIn, Twitter, and via an emailed survey. Read on to find out how long it takes to study for the CCNP Security core exam.

How long did most people need to study for SCOR?

The survey data is split pretty cleanly in half. About 60% of all IT professionals said it took less than 5 months to prepare for the 350-701 and about 40% said it took more than 5 months. About 20% of IT professionals said they needed 6 weeks to 3 months to prepare for the CCNP Security and another 20% said it took between 3-5 months to study for the 350-701 SCOR. Only about 15% of people who've earned the CCNP Security took less than 6 weeks to prepare.

how long to study for cisco ccnp security core survey data

The split in the data between more than 5 months and less than 5 months probably comes down to experience. If you have direct, first-hand experience configuring and administering Cisco security devices, the 350-701 takes much less time to prepare for. If you have no experience, it'll probably take you more than 5 months to prepare — unless you find an online course that explains technical concepts as well as gives you firsthand experience.

One of the hardest parts of studying for the 350-701 is sticking with it. Preparing for the CCNP Security exam for months is hard if you don't really want to learn the material. According to Molly Billow, a senior coach at CBT Nuggets, the best way to form a habit and stick with a long course is to tie the behavior of studying with a reward. That way your brain wants to form a new habit. 

"Make sure you choose a reward you really enjoy," Billow recommends, "because our brains are literally wired to repeat actions that lead to rewards.” For some folks, a reward can be something simple like a walk around the block. Others may want to treat themselves to a snack or a game. Dealers choice!

How should you prepare ahead of taking the CCNP Security Core (350-701 SCOR)? 

The 350-701 SCOR covers many different topics and skills in cybersecurity. The way to prepare ahead of taking the CCNP Security certification exam is with online training that covers all the topics that are on 350-701 SCOR. The CCNP Security's topics include describing and implementing Cisco network security solutions, managing application and data security in the cloud, configuring email and web security features, and understanding network telemetry.

Preparing for the CCNP Security takes a lot of time. You'll never be prepared for the 350-701 if you can't get motivated and stay interested in what you're learning. Samantha Matta, another coach at CBT Nuggets, says it's helpful to keep your end objective in mind when preparing for a tough test like the CCNP Security Core.

"Who likes getting hacked? No one!" Matta says. "If you’re interested in preventing this from happening we need more professionals to help and guard against attacks. If that sounds like something interesting, then put your cowboy hat on and be ready to become the sheriff."

With enough training and motivation, you'll be ready to take the 350-701 SCOR in a matter of months.

Tips to make sure you’re test-ready before SCOR exam day:

Even if you don't have experience, an online course can help you actively learn and practice skills will help you speed up how long it takes to prepare for the CCNP Security.

Learn from the experts

If you want to shorten how long it takes to prepare for the 350-701 SCOR, an SCOR training that covers all the material in the CCNP Security Core exam can help you get ready faster. The teacher for this course — Knox Hutchinson — knows the course material and the exam backward and forward.

Use virtual labs

Videos that explain technical concepts are helpful, but preparing for the 350-701 SCOR takes knowing how to actually do security configurations and perform administration. Virtual labs let you practice real-world skills and apply them in realistic, simulated ways. That way you're preparing for the CCNP Security test as you gain real skills.

Test yourself using practice exams

By taking a practice exam, you'll learn which subjects you're comfortable with and which need more time. That way, you can see what you still need to learn and what you don't have to waste time preparing for.

Real-world practice and high-quality videos are the best way to shorten how long it takes to prepare for the CCNP Security. CBT Nuggets trainers have personal experience with the 350-701 SCOR and know how to explain its advanced topics in ways that make sense and make it useful for your real-world job. Get a CBT Nuggets membership and you could prepare for the CCNP Security Core in under 3 months.

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