CCIE Security Lab Exam FAQs

The following are some frequently asked questions about the difficult 1-day CCIE Security lab exam.

1. When did the lab format change from 2 days to 1 day?

October 2001. All CCIE certification labs worldwide now test candidates in the 1-day format.

2. Where can I take the CCIE Security lab exam?

Locations where you can take the CCIE Security lab exam follow:

• Brussels, Belgium

• Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina, USA

• Sydney, Australia

You can find more information at scheduling_lab_exam.html.

3. What is the maximum score and what is a passing score?

The total exam is worth 100 points and the passing grade is 80 percent. The passing rate for first attempts is very low, so expect the possibility of taking the exam more than once. Cisco will not release the passing rate.

4. What if I have a question and cannot find the answer?

E-mail your question to [email protected]. All questions receive a response from the CCIE team within 72 hours.

5. What happens after the exam?

You will be escorted outside the lab. You receive an e-mail notification within 24 hours. The e-mail advises you to log on to and enter your written exam results (written exam date, score, and your candidate ID will be required), and you will be presented with a breakdown of the main sections and your percentage score in each section. You can fill in a critique regarding your lab experience; be sure to provide all the feedback you have—good or bad. Candidates can receive free lab attempts for valid excuses or lab inconsistency and human errors. For the price of U.S.$1250 plus taxes, you want to make sure you have been given every opportunity to pass.

6. Can I use Notepad and Windows Calculator?

Yes, you can, but you are not permitted to save any files. You can, however, cut and paste to and from Notepad. Calculator is very useful for determining subnets and bit boundaries or converting hexadecimal to decimal.

7. How many times can I take the lab exam?

You must allow 30 days between lab exam attempts. There are no minimum score requirements.

8. What happens if I pass?

In addition to becoming a CCIE, you also gain access to exclusive CCIE chat forums and merchandise, and you receive a CCIE plaque and certificate. Expect these to be mailed to you between 3 and 6 months after your test date, depending in what part of the world you reside.

9. What happens if I fail? Am I told in which areas I scored poorly?

Cisco will not tell you specific areas of weakness; that is left to the candidate to decipher from the brief score report. You can, however, pay a fee (U.S.$250) to have your lab routers re-examined for accuracy. If you strongly feel you have passed, then the investment of $250 is well worth the expense. Even with a regrade, no additional information is provided to you— only a brief score report by e-mail and your new grade (pass or fail). Some candidates have e-mailed me to say they have successfully passed after being told they had not. A regrade is really a personal decision. If you feel you scored 75 or more, then I would recommend a regrade.

10. What materials can I bring into the lab?

You are permitted to bring only necessary medication and a dictionary. No other materials are permitted. Cisco provides refreshments at all CCIE lab sites. Lunch is also provided during a lunch break (30 minutes). The lunch break is mandatory and CCIE staff escort you.

11. What is the proctor's role?

You can seek clarification from a proctor if you do not understand a question or the objective of a question. The proctor cannot provide answers but can ensure that you understand the question. The proctor can also make any changes required in case of network hardware failures or exam mistakes. The proctor is there to ensure that you have the best possible chance of success and should not hinder your ability to pass the test. If you feel otherwise, you can e-mail your concerns to [email protected]. The CCIE program manager's core responsibility is the welfare of the candidates, and you never know, your case might warrant a free future lab.

12. Where can I find out more about CCIE and the different certification tracks? The following URL provides information about the CCIE tracks:

13. How often do I need to recertify?

You must recertify every 2 years to maintain your CCIE status; otherwise, your CCIE status will be changed from active to suspended and finally to inactive. An inactive CCIE means you cannot purchase CCIE merchandise or participate in the CCIE forum.

If your CCIE certification is suspended, you lose all CCIE benefits and CCIE privileges with until you recertify. After 1 year of suspended status, your certification becomes inactive and you will be required to retake both the written and lab exams in order to restore your active CCIE status.

14. What examinations or alternative methods can I take to recertify my CCIE? Currently, you can use a couple different methods to recertify your CCIE:

• You can take any of a number of different written exams; for details on available written exams, visit index.html

• You can achieve a CCIE recertification from a CCIE track you do not currently possess. For example, passing your Security lab exam will recertify the R&S track if you possess one.

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