The BSCI exam is a computer-based exam. You can take the exam at any Prometric or Pearson VUE testing center. See the Cisco Training and Events page ( for more information about registering for your exam.

Your testing center can tell you the exact length of the exam. Be aware that when you register for the exam, you might be told to allow a certain amount of time to take the exam that is longer than the testing time indicated by the testing software when you begin. This is to allow time to get settled and take the tutorial about the testing engine.

The exam is difficult in subject matter and also in format. Questions may be multiple-choice/single answer, multiple choice/multiple answer, fill-in-the-blank, drag-and-drop, or simulations. Expect questions that require you to pick the correct answer based on output screens and configuration output. Also be prepared to configure a router or organize a diagram to demonstrate your understanding of the practical application of routing. Visit for a certification exam tutorial:

Another difficult aspect of the exam format is that you are not allowed to go back and change an answer. Candidates who are unsure about an answer will be forced to guess rather than have an extra 15 minutes to think about it at the end of the exam.


One of the prerequisites for professional-level certification is CCNA. If you have completed the CCNA then you are already familiar with the formats and techniques used in Cisco tests and the BSCI test will not surprise you in that regard.

The goal of this book is to help you efficiently study for and ultimately pass the Cisco BSCI exam (642-901). You cannot pass the BSCI exam through rote memorization. The goal of this book is to ensure that you understand and retain the topics. A happy side effect is that you will also be prepared to apply these concepts on the job.

The first step in efficient study is to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses and to delegate study time accordingly. The methodology used in this book helps you assess your current understanding of the topics and then review those topics, quizzing yourself at the end to ensure you've retained what you've learned. By "dipping into" the sections that you need, you can quickly access and review the information you need.

This book is intended for anyone interested in passing the Cisco BSCI exam or interested in learning the material that is included on that exam. BSCI is attractive both as a step toward certification and as a way to prepare for important job roles.

This book is intended as a final-stage preparation tool. Before reading this book and taking the exam, you should have either taken the Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks (BSCI) v3.0 CCNP course; read through Building Scalable Cisco Internetworks (BSCI), Third Edition (Authorized Self-Study Guide); have a couple of years of LAN switching experience; or have some combination of these prerequisites.

In addition, this book assumes that you have achieved the CCNA certification and understand the following concepts:

  • Common networking terms

  • Binary, hexadecimal, and decimal numbering and translation

  • OSI reference model

  • TCP/IP protocols

  • IP addressing and subnetting, including complex variable-length subnetting.

  • Routing protocol theory and configuration of simple networks using

    - Static routes and default routes

    - EIGRP (Enhanced Internet Gateway Routing Protocol)

    - Single-area OSPF (Open Shortest Path First)

  • Standard and extended access-lists

  • Point-to-point WAN links using HDLC or PPP

  • Frame Relay WAN links, including point-to-point and multipoint subinterfaces

Although you can read this book cover-to-cover, it is designed to be flexible and allow you to easily move between chapters and sections of chapters to cover just the material that you need more work with. Each chapter covers a subset of topics on the BSCI exam. This book is divided into five parts.

Cisco might make changes that affect the CCNP certification from time to time. You should always check for the latest details. Also, you can look to this book's website for information pertinent to how you might use this book differently in light of Cisco's future changes.

The CCNP BSCI Official Exam Certification Guide is designed to help you attain CCNP, CCDP, or CCIP certification. It is a certification book from the only Cisco-authorized publisher. We at Cisco Press believe that this book will help you achieve certification, but the real work is up to you. We hope you find your time well-spent with this book. Good luck!