The “Ask the Expert” sessions are open question and answer sessions with the an actual CCIE lab proctor. The excerpts below were taken from the most recent session.

In regards to security topics on the exam:
The security topics listed below are defined by the R&S lab blueprint and make up about 6-8% of the exam:

1. AAA
2. Security server protocols
3. Traffic filtering and firewalls
4. Access lists
5. Routing protocols security, catalyst security
7. Other security features

In regards to IP Services topics on the exam:
Cisco is not testing Mobile IP. VRRP and GLBP will fall under IP/IOS Features. The total points for this section are around 8 points which includes all other content.

In regards to how the lab tasks need to be completed and how the lab is structured:
There is no mandatory order in which you must complete the exam. You can start in any section, skip sections, and come back to sections at a later time. The exam is structured on a basic flow such as: Switching, IGP, IP/IOS Features, QoS, Multicast, Security and BGP. But again you can do it in any order. Naturally some sections, such as IGP, depend on Switching, so it is suggested that you start with Switching to build the basic foundation, then start with the basic IGP. Later, you can come back and complete the more advanced features on Switching or IGP.

In regards to DVMRP on the lab:
Learn the basics of DVMRP as this topic is not explored in depth on the exam.

In regards to Layer 2 Multicast features (IGMP Snooping, MVR, etc):
You should consider looking at the L2 Multicasting as well when preparing for the exam. Consider looking at Cisco’s Configuring IP Multicast Routing

In regards to adding extra configurations and aliases:
You are not penalized for adding extra configurations as long as this will not break a specific restriction. Aliases don’t need to removed if they do not interfere with accessing the device when the exam is over.

In regards to the cabling of the network and diagrams:
The physical connections are pre-cabled so you don’t need to touch them. In some lab locations the racks are remote so you will not even see them. If you suspect you have a physical problem, ask the proctor to verify it for you. The lab document has L1/L2 diagrams for the physical connectivity as well as an IP or topology diagram and an IP Routing diagram.

In regards to any upcoming lab changes:
There are currently no expected changes regarding the CCIE R&S lab exam. Both the lab blueprint and hardware specifications are expected to stay the same for the next year. Any changes will be announced 5 to 6 months in advance.

In regards to no CCIE labs dates in Sydney, Australia:
Currently the lab location in Sydney, Australia is only staffed by a part-time proctor and therefore only offers limited date availability. Cisco is actively looking for a full time proctor and expects the facility to offer greater lab availability beginning first to second quarter of 2008.

In regards to how points are awarded in the exam:
You are marked down points for incorrect questions, not for entire sections. Suppose you have 4 questions within the QoS section with point totals of 2, 2, 2, and 3 for a total of 9 points. If you get the first 3 correct for this section you would receive 6 points or around a 66% for that section.

What is the acceptable late arrival to the exam center?
If you arrive within the first 2 hours after the exam has begun you can still take the exam but no extra time will be allotted. Arriving after the 2 hour mark you will no longer be eligible to take the exam. If you are traveling to take the exam it is suggested you to plan to arrive the day prior to the day of your exam.

What items are allowed or not allowed in the lab environment?
All personal items must be removed from your person before entering the lab environment, but make sure to bring your identification, as it will be required to register at the reception area prior to the exam. Pen, pencils, scratch papers, etc will be available for you at the lab location. Food and drinks are generally not allowed, unless they are pre-approved by the proctor.

Is food provided by Cisco?
Lunch is provided by Cisco, in either a restaurant style cafeteria or ordered and brought to the facility for you.

What are the bathroom/washroom access policies?
Cisco provides washrooms/bathrooms and break rooms near the lab environment, accessible for the duration of the exam, however only one lab candidate is allowed at a time.

What types of questions may be asked of the proctor?
You can ask any question that you feel you need clarification on. Proctors are there to help you understand the questions and requirements presented by the test material.

Can we report the proctor for a bad performance, or is there someone else to question regarding hardware issues?
Any issue that you feel has negatively affected your exam can be reported to Cisco customer service. All hardware related questions or concerns must be brought to the proctors attention during your lab session. If a problem does in fact exist, any time required to repair the issue will be added to your lab session.

What will happen if tasks within the test conflict with another section of the exam?
If you find that you must configure a device in a way that would affect a previous task restriction, make sure to bring up your concern with the proctor, who will be able to advise you regarding the situation.

About Brian Dennis, CCIE #2210:

Brian Dennis has been in the networking industry for more than 22 years, with a focus on Cisco networking for the past 16 years. Brian achieved his first CCIE in Routing & Switching in 1996, and is currently the only ten year CCIE that holds five CCIE certifications. Prior to working with INE, Brian taught and developed CCIE preparation courses for various well known training organizations. Brian not only brings his years of teaching experience to the classroom, but also years of real world enterprise and service provider experience.

Find all posts by Brian Dennis, CCIE #2210 | Visit Website

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6 Responses to “Highlights from Cisco’s Recent CCIE R&S “Ask the Expert” Session”

  1. HP says:

    Thanx a lot,very good topic.I wish it will repeat again.

  2. Mahmoud Khonji says:

    Great information about the exam. Glad to heard about the marking scheme, fair enough and easier than my initial thoughts :)

    Few questions, how often do physical problems (cabling, bad equipments) happen?

    What do does the “facility” mean exactly. Is it the lab? How noisy will the lab be during that time?

  3. Pushkar Bhatkoti says:

    Gr8 information, keep it up.

    Pushkar Bhatkoti

  4. [...] 9th, 2008 by matt in test.taking Brian Dennis from Internetwork Expert recently blogged about the Highlights from Cisco’s Recent CCIE R&S “Ask the Expert” Session on Internetwork Expert’s CCIE [...]

  5. Pushkar Bhatkoti says:

    If someone is heading Japan lab, its good there is no noise in the testing room. My pod was the noisy one bcoz I was testing the call routing and phones were ringing here and there. That may have disturbed the other pod (RS or Security) guys. But the room was really quite. Proctor is also nice and he keeps things simple.

    Just be careful form the voice guys, they may make the phone calls and may disturb you.!


  6. I’ve been looking for this precise information on this subject for a while.


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