Taking the Test

The night before you're going to take the exam, you should feel as if you are almost bursting with knowledge and can barely wait to sit for the examination. If you've reached this readiness level, you're prepared to take the examination.

On exam-day eve, you should relax and spend an hour maximum on the test materials. Go over The Cram Sheet as well as your own study notes. Don't sit up all night studying and worrying—if you want to do your best, you have to feel refreshed. Have a good meal, scan your study materials, and then get a good night's sleep.

On the day of the exam, eat a well-balanced breakfast and briefly review The Cram Sheet and your study notes. Ensure that you arrive at the testing center at least one hour before your scheduled time. Then, find a nice quiet corner to relax and mull over the main exam subjects.

Once you're sitting in front of the testing computer, there's nothing more you can do to increase your knowledge or preparation. Take a deep breath, stretch, and start reading that first question.

There's no need to rush; you have plenty of time to complete each question and to return to those questions that you skip or mark for return. Both easy and difficult questions are intermixed throughout the test in random order. Don't cheat yourself by spending too much time on a hard question early on in the test, thereby depriving yourself of the time you need to answer the questions at the end of the test.

On a fixed-length test, you can read through the entire test and, before returning to marked questions for a second visit, figure out how much time you've got per question. As you answer each question, remove its mark. Continue to review the remaining marked questions until you run out of time or you complete the test.

After you complete the exam, your test will be scored immediately. A few moments after you finish, the computer will indicate whether you've passed or failed.

You Passed!

Passing the CCIE Routing and Switching exam means that you're ready to take the lab examination. Within 48 to 72 hours, Cisco will be notified of your result, so there is no need to fax your result as was required previously. To set a lab examination date, simply contact your local CCIE lab administrator. The lab examination is popular, and you might have to wait a month or more for an opening. Make sure you agree to a testing date that you feel comfortable with and leave yourself plenty of time to study for the rigorous lab examination. After passing the written test, you have one full year to pass the lab examination, so, if necessary, you could study for a few months before taking the lab exam.

You Failed

If you fail the CCIE Routing and Switching written exam, don't worry about the result. While the test is fresh in your mind, jot down problem areas in a notepad (the sooner you make notes for yourself the better). Try to remember questions you felt less comfortable with and study that area before taking the exam again.

The CCIE written exam is not an easy exam to pass. In fact, this examination ranks among the toughest networking examinations in today's certification market. If you really want to be a CCIE, a first-attempt failure should not discourage you too much. In fact, a failed attempt should encourage you to invest in some serious study time so that you'll be able to pass the examination on your next attempt. A number of candidates have noted that the second attempt is much easier than the first. Further, keep in mind that the reason Cisco Systems makes the written examination hard is to ensure that you are fully prepared for the challenging lab examination.

That's it for pointers. Here are some frequently asked questions about the written examination and some bonus FAQs on the lab examination.

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