Hello to all our faithful Blog readers! I hope this post finds you well!

I cleared the Written on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008 and I thought I would give you a quick review of this exam.
Several of my peers have indicated they thought this exam was actually too easy, and I must admit that I would have to agree with them. I know this is all very relative, but the minimum passing score is so low, and so many of the questions very easy and obvious, it was strangely simple to pass. Here are the details:

  • Number of questions: 105
  • Time allowed: 2 hrs
  • Minimum passing score: 57 (Yes – 57!)
  • Multiple choice, drag and drop – No Simulations

By far, the best way to prep for this exam is to study the CCSP curriculum. Just be sure you are studying older versions of the courses. For example, this exam focused on versions 5 and 6 of the PIX/ASA software. The new SNAF course would not be appropriate study materials as it covers version 8.x of the software now I believe.

Taking a look at the blueprint, it is very accurate as far as topic coverage. For example, they give RFC2827 as an RFC example you need to know, and sure enough, you need to know it! ☺ Keep in mind that most of these topics are fully covered in the CCSP curriculum. For the others, I simply used free resources on the Internet, such as wikipedia and RFC sites, to find study materials.

While the blueprint is very accurate, I did find the exam lacking in two areas that the blueprint did have me study – IPV6 Security and Wireless Security. These are two categories in the Cisco Security General section.

Keep in mind that you can go back and re-visit previous questions in this exam. This is important since you will find that some questions actually help answer previous ones.

You also have a review period at the end where you can revisit all the questions, or revisit those you have marked for review.

I found the toughest questions dealt with NAC. This was purely the result of the fact that many of us are not studying NAC yet as it has yet to really show up in the Lab blueprint. It is sure to soon, however.

Best of luck on this exam for those of you yet to clear it. I sure hope this post helped you. I would love to create some training materials for mastery of this exam…let me know if you would be interested. . .

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19 Responses to “A Review of the CCIE Security Written Exam 2.1 #350-018”

  1. Jo says:

    Hmm Security/Voice/SP what one to do next!?

  2. Matt says:

    “For example, this exam focused on versions 5 and 6 of the PIX/ASA software.”

    This doesn’t look right. The ASA started with 7.0 and I can’t believe they are testing on PIX 5. Is this a typo?

  3. To Jo: I would be sure to pick the area you are most passionate about. I am passionately avoiding Voice! :-)

    To Dara: Thanks so much!!!!! I forget to take time to celebrate any more :-(

  4. Dara says:

    Congratulations !!!

  5. Jeffrey lefkowitz says:

    I took it a few weeks ago and was surprised how much it has changed in the last 18 months. While the passing score was surprisingly low, the amount of technology was amazing. I did get some wireless security stuff on mine but no IPv6.

  6. Jo says:

    I dont know any Voice CCIEs at the moment, so havent yet found out how much of a pain it will be. I am sure I will find out soon enough.

    Security is off the books for me, I have my CCSP and thats enough at the moment. :)

  7. Jo says:

    …and well done for getting the Written done!

  8. congrats and let me admit here that i have been really enjoying your gems, it has added to the flavor of IE.

    though i cleared it on feb, and i did find it moderate apart from Nac(Yes sir!) and its been three attempts to lab already.

    what i do like about Security is its very true to Rfc.

  9. Opps my bad should have been blueprint nor Rfc

  10. To Matt:

    Yeah – now I am confused trying to remember exact versions – but I know this for sure – they are not testing on Current Versions of ANYTHING.

    For example – it is IPS 6.X currently and you will be tested on 5.X.

  11. Matt says:


    Gotcha. I was just really confused. ;-) I figured the written was behind the times like the lab, so PIX/ASA 7.x and IPS 5.x (per what’s listed on the site today).

    Thanks for the excellent review of the test! I had no idea the passing score had gotten so low! It’s interesting to hear about the Wireless Security and IPv6 (or lack thereof), too.

  12. Carlos says:


    Congrats on clearing the written and success on your future security lab!

    I am studying to take the security written by the end of January, I am currently CCSP. There is no specific test for this written exam. Some recommendations?

    I am currently using the Network Security Technologies and Solutions by Yusuf Bhaiji, the CCSP IPS by Earl Carter, and the Cisco ASA: All-in-One Firewall, IPS, and VPN Adaptive Security Appliance By Omar Santos & Jazib Frahim.

    Nice day!

  13. Yes – those are excellent titles and will be the base of your studies. Use the written blueprint as your reading guide. When you get to topics that are not in your texts, then use cisco.com and wikipedia to fill in the blanks.

  14. Carlos says:


    Great advice.

  15. Carlos says:

    Not easy at all.
    The security written was painful before the change, I don’t imagine it getting worst next, next, next to the finish.

    Success in your lab.

  16. Heather says:

    Does anyone know if the test has changed since October 2008? I’m trying to find out if it still does not have any simulations.


  17. Dan Hughes says:

    Hi – when you say NAC do you mean framwork or appliance?

  18. As I recall – the focus was on the framework.

  19. Anantha Subramanian Natarajan says:

    Congrats Anthony on Passing the written ……Also thanks for the review

    Anantha Subramanian Natarajan


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