The Cisco Candidate NDA: What It Means to YouIf you are a Cisco certified professional or are planning to become one, you’ve undoubtedly heard the term NDA. The Cisco Certification and confidentiality Agreement, often referred to as the Candidate NDA, is the agreement every candidate must read and sign before taking any of the Cisco certification exams. But, like many of the agreements we’re faced with in our day-to-day lives, not everyone reads the Candidate NDA in its entirety before agreeing to it. Oftentimes, candidates are solely focused on passing the test and do not always have a full understanding of what is expected of them before, during and after testing. Because we want all of our candidates to put themselves in the best possible position for success, the Certs and Labs team is taking this opportunity to highlight a few sections of the Candidate NDA for better clarification. We hope our

review will help you better understand how to uphold your portion of the confidentiality agreement.


By definition, a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA, creates a confidential relationship between each party to protect its confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets. For Cisco, this means that we are responsible for protecting your identity and testing results. Likewise, as a Cisco candidate, you are liable for protecting Cisco’s confidential test questions and answers that you access during the exam. Understanding the requirements of Cisco’s Candidate NDA is one of the best ways to learn what the candidate responsibilities are.


Every time a candidate takes an exam, the candidate is exposed to live exam items. If you’ve tested before, some people might ask what questions were on your exam for suspicious or unfair reasons. That’s why it’s the candidate’s responsibility to understand that the questions they were exposed to are the exclusive proprietary and intellectual property of Cisco. Disclosing any items that were on your exam to anyone, even as a casual mention in conversation with a colleague or in an online study group chat, is a breach of the Candidate NDA and may be cause for enforceable action. Make sure you stay in compliance with Candidate NDA sections 2.1, 2.2, and 4.1 by never sharing the content of your exam with anyone.


To become certified, you must meet any of the program prerequisites and achieve the passing score for the requisite exam(s). After earning your certification, you will receive a certificate from Cisco signifying your accomplishment. However, per section 3 of the Candidate NDA, in order to maintain your certification, you must be current with all of the necessary requirements even if they have changed since the last time you tested. It’s always recommended that you verify your program’s current requirements before your certification expires so that you’ll  know what to expect for recertification.


Cisco has established certain conditional rules to minimize any unfair advantage by candidate misconduct related to the examination process.  In Section 4.1 of the Candidate Conduct Policy, the Candidate NDA lists many terms and conditions that candidates must adhere to before, during and after testing.  The Certs and Labs team has simplified some of these requirements in its Earned IT short form educational video series, which covers important topics directly referenced in the NDA’s Candidate Conduct Policy section.  Some examples include the warning not to remove exam content from the test center (“Serious Commitment”), the warning not to bring unauthorized materials into the test center (“The Power”), and to always report any suspicious activity (“Test of the Androids”). Other rules include the advisement of Cisco’s exam retake policy and the admonition not to misrepresent your exam results or certification status.  Section 4.1 of the NDA includes comprehensive information that can prevent you from entering into compromising situations that could result in unfortunate program sanctions.


These are just a few key highlights of the Cisco Certification and Confidentiality Agreement that are pertinent to your success as a Cisco certified professional. We hope these highlights demonstrate just how important the agreement is and how it can affect you.  And remember - you don’t have to wait until the last minute to read your agreement.  Please take the time to review your Candidate NDA and these additional Cisco exam policies  in advance so that you are fully in the know.  Good luck on your next exam!