Here are some facts regarding this portion of the exam:

  • You must complete this portion of the exam before you start the traditional configuration portion.
  • You have a total of 30 minutes to complete this section, you may finish early if you like and immediately begin your configuration section.
  • You will receive 4 questions via the computer and you must provide short answers using the computer interface. The questions are not oral in nature. Typical responses require 4 to 5 words at most.
  • Spelling and/or grammar does not count against you.
  • The questions are manually graded by a proctor. If you purchase an exam re-read, they will re-grade your question responses.
  • You may not return to the short answer questions once you have begun the configuration portion of the lab exam.
  • You will not receive a score when you complete this section, but you must pass this portion to pass the CCIE. You will receive your score in the open-ended section if you fail the exam. The score is reported as 0% or 100% (pass or fail). You may only miss one question in the section in order to pass.
  • Most students finish the 4 to 5 questions in approximately 12 minutes.
  • The configuration portion of the exam has been reduced to accommodate this initial 30 minutes.
  • You still have a total of 8 hours that makeup the open-ended questions and the configuration portion.
  • You may not access the DOC-CD to answer these questions.
  • Using materials for the CCIE Written is an excellent method of studying for the Short Answer questions.

Here are some samples for the many, many different open-ended questions Cisco could ask for the R/S track. Please notice there is no need for panic if you are using one of our recommended study approaches.

Bridging and Switching

  • What is the size of the 802.1Q tag?
  • Examine the diagram shown, describe the flow of traffic in VLAN 12 from Switch A to Switch D.
  • What is the trunk setting that allows the port to trunk only if the port receives the proper DTP frames?

IP IGP Routing

  • What are the five possible metric components for EIGRP and which two are used by default?
  • Given the network diagram shown, what is the path traffic will take from Router A to Router B?
  • OSPF bases cost on what value?
  • Which routing protocol uses a destination Multicast address of


  • What issues can the use of a peer group solve in BGP?
  • What are the default administrative distances for BGP?

IP and IOS Features

  • How can a Cisco router assist a client PC to obtain a DHCP address from a DHCP server located on a remote subnet?
  • What technology allows a router to respond to the name resolution request of a host as if it were the destination host itself?

IP Multicast

  • Which multicast PIM method uses a flood and prune approach?
  • Which option for RP assignment is an open standard?
  • What is the purpose of the override keyword when statically setting an RP?


  • What happens to traffic in the priority queue of the LLQ method that exceeds the specified rate?
  • Which bits of the ToS byte are used for DSCP markings?
  • Between AF21 and AF32, which has the higher drop probability?


  • Given the access list and assignment shown in the diagram, what happens to Telnet traffic?

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

129 Responses to “CCIE R/S Lab Sample Open-Ended Exam Questions”

  1. Lee Kite says:

    Thanks Anthony you would not believe the panic this has caused amongst the chaps at BT who are due to take the exam this will go along way to restoring calm

  2. Anthony Sequeira says:

    My cell phone and e-mail has runneth over!


  3. Jeriel Atienza says:

    Hi Anthony

    Thanks for clarification, if the Doc CD is still avaliable on the lab exam, do we can access these answers? Or after 8hours Cisco will shutdown the tunnel connected to http://www.cisco.com/web/psa/products. :-)

    Hope ear u

  4. It is my belief that you will not be able to access any reference materials for this oral exam.

  5. federic0 says:

    why they could not extend the lab exam duration to 8h+15min? does the dinner is going cold ;)

  6. Seba says:

    Those questions look more like CCxP level, not CCIE :)
    On the other hand if we go into detail deep enough, it will switch to CCIE level ;)

  7. Issa AbuEid says:

    Is it oral or written questions, can u please help

  8. Burhan says:

    These Questions will appear before starting the lab exam.and they are using almost same format as with CCNP or CCIE written exam.but one thing is still confusing that how much is the worth of these questions?

  9. Cisco has not released that information yet. They are just telling us that the student must pass this section in addition to passing the “classic” hands on lab portion.

  10. [...] Internetwork Expert has posted a list of example questions.  Those can be found here. [...]

  11. Howard Hooper says:

    This is great thanks Anthony!

    I suppose with cisco taking this line of thought now they may be using it to demonstrate another way that makes the CCIE different from other people i.e. it can be easy for someone who has been working with the equipment for years to just type in a few commands to fix a problem but when asked what these do their answer can sometimes be “…I dunno but look the lights are flashing now!”,
    It seems like these questions may be aimed at establishing not so much a candidates grasp of HOW and WHEN to configure something but WHY.
    As a CCIE candidate I’ve found myself focusing more on the ‘WHY’ behind the things we do i.e. Ok we put these commands in here but WHY would we need to do this.

    It’s interesting to imagine that many CCIE’s may have once been the children that badgered their parent’s with the continuous “but why?” questions :o )

  12. Carlos Yoncon says:

    Just received an answer from Cisco, saying the short answer questions are computer based.
    Also they are presented before the lab.


    Response (Certification Support Center) 01/18/2009 11:26 PM
    Dear Carlos Andres,

    Thank you for contacting Certification Support.

    The questions are not oral questions, they’re computer-based.

    If you have further questions regarding the CCIE Certification Program, please visit http://www.cisco.com/go/ccie or visit the CCIE Instant Answers at http://www.cisco.com/go/certsupport.

    Kind regards,

  13. Anthony Sequeira says:

    Wow – great information – thanks so much!!!!!

    I updated the title of this article – and will update the text as well.

  14. Ketul Shah says:

    Hi Anthony,

    When you say computer based, do you mean multiple choice answers?
    Similar to CCIE Written exam!!!!


  15. uk.helpdesk says:

    I personally feel they should have left it the Oral way it was carried out in China.

    I have heard some students already say ” Hey no need to drop the date and panic we will get dumps very easily as this is a computer based test”

    I feel there is more required from Cisco to ensure they really mean what they are trying to acheive and maintain integrity of this exam!!!



  16. My best guess is that you will launch an applet on the desktop of your PC and see the 4 or 5 open-ended questions. You will then be able to submit several paragraphs to answer each one.

    You will then need to submit those to start the traditional lab portion.

    They will DEFINITELY not be multiple choice as that makes an open-ended question impossible.

  17. Regarding dumps – I sat down coming up with open-ended questions on the blueprint and within 5 minutes had 10.

    There are so many questions Cisco could ask on the blueprint that they will be easily able to constantly revolve them from a GIANT pool.

    I pray they do that.

  18. @Anthony

    Cisco Would stop itself for being a laughing stock if what you have guessed is not true.

    Conducting Oral I guess was not practical even if you have 4 candidates and say an average interview would last for 12 min that still will take almost an hour one can very well imagine what would happen in locations where more seats are available.

    My worry is A computer based exam in subjective format will be very difficult to grade and time consuming as well but I hope your guess is true.

    But if my worst fears come true and you get a multiple choice format aka CCNA then would be a matter of a month or two before you can have them before your lab.

    The only saving grace then would be that since only 4-5 question being exposed and say you have a question bank of 200 question to start with so it may not be that easy phew!

    Enjoy the panic for the time being

  19. Brian says:

    hello all!! I have a question.
    Cisco said like this “Effective February 1, 2009, Cisco will introduce a new type of question format to CCIE Routing and Switching lab exams.” what this mean??
    Does the new exam start from 1 Feb? or they will announce it 1 Feb then, will adjust it any other day?? I heard any rumor the new exam will be adjusted on 11 Feb.
    in fact, my lab date is 4 Feb. so I am very worry about that

  20. Anthony Sequeira says:

    Hi brian!

    As I understand it – the open-ended questions will indeed appear on Feb 1, therefore you will see them at the beginning of your lab.

  21. Nick says:

    For sure some fellow candidate from the forum will will give the lab exam and shed some light on our questions after Feb 1st.

  22. Zafar says:

    Just got an email from Cisco learning centre, it says:
    candidates will be asked a series of four or five open-ended questions, “on the computer screen”, drawn from a pool of questions based on the material covered on the lab blueprint. No new topics are being added.

    So that makes it clear that its gonna be a written thing..looking at the Cisco FAQ link it also says that doc cod will not be available…

  23. Zafar says:

    Ooops! just scrolled above and it was already discussed….

  24. ca says:

    According to the cisco cert website, it states the open ended questions will be delivered on the computer screen. But it does not say if you will be answering them by typing into the computer or orally to the proctor.

  25. I did have a student confirm through Cisco that you cannot access the DOC-CD.

    I would assume you are typing them in.

  26. Yaman says:


    Thanks to you all for the informative ansewers, I may get rediculed for saying this, but I feel relieved as my lab is on Friday the 30th Jan 2009. I think I already have enough on my plate, and even though I think I’ll be alright answering these 4/5 questions the exam stress may get to me, so kinda feel lucky I chose the last day before the new addition.

  27. [...] http://blog.internetworkexpert.com/2009/01/14/ccie-rs-lab-sample-oral-exam-questions/ criado por gudines    19:17 — Arquivado em: Redes – TI — Tags:ccie routing switching lab open ended questions — [...]

  28. Pedro Mindlin says:

    For those of you that are not native english speakers, here is the answer to a question I posted to Cisco on the language we have to use for the answers. My concern is that writing and expressing oneself in a foreign language is not as easy as reading and understanding a question:

    “The short answer questions for CCIE R&S lab exam will be asked in English and candidates are required to answer them in English.

    Please note all CCIE lab exams are conducted in English under the same environment all over the world and the short answer questions are formal part of CCIE R&S lab exam thus will be conducted in English.”

    This also makes it clear that these questions are to be answered in writing, not multiple choices. I’ll take them on Feb 4th, hope they are really short…

  29. Sean says:

    Its Feb. 2nd now. Anybody have any new information or samples?

  30. StatusCCIE says:

    Hello All,

    Is there any news regarding the new CCIE Lab exam ?

    Since we are the 4th of February 2009, i guess there should be someone who has already took the exam…

    Thanks in advance,

  31. [...] hxxp://blog.internetworkexpert.com/2009/01/14/ccie-rs-lab-sample-oral-exam-questions/ [...]

  32. Aboody says:

    Any Update please.

  33. Anthony Sequeira says:

    I just did a major update to the blog post- check it out.

  34. [...] CCIE R/S Lab Sample Open-Ended Exam Questions By Anthony Sequeira, #15626 (site InternetWorkExpert) [...]

  35. JP Senior says:

    Anthony – This sounds spot on to exactly what I would expect from an open ended question. These all seem very realistic and reasonable for the open portion of the exam.
    I appreciate the time you set aside to update this post (And the email I got when it was updated, too).

    I wholly agree that using the Internetwork expert study strategies (And -proper- studying for the written component) will knock these open ended questions out of the park.


  36. Nick says:

    As i thought there is no need to have any stress about them. If you cant answer the above samples you are wasting your money taking the exam in the first place.

  37. Sean says:

    The questions for me were very simple. No need for anyone to panic.

  38. Pedro Mindlin says:

    Hi, I have taken the lab on Feb 4th. My score on the practical part was 83%, but I’m not a CCIE because of the Core Knowledge section. I got four questions, all simple and easy, but unfortunately one of my answers was wrong. I had doubts about it, but the rush to do the lab made me just submit the first answer I thought of. As there were no values for the questions and no passing score for the section, I had no idea this would cost me the certification.

    I already opened a case with Cisco to complain about this lack of information, as I’m certain I would at least had spent some more time to make sure I was right on that one.

    I’m really mad that I got through the hardest part and that a stupid simple question that I completely dominate made me fail everything. This is an awkward situation.

    Anyway, I just want to let you guys know it can happen. I hope more people complain to Cisco so at least they make it clear.

    And I’ll just have to pass the lab again…

  39. Nick says:

    @Pedro, that sucks indeed.I hope you get some clear answer.

    Was the time left after the Core Section enough?

  40. shami says:

    your statment is not clear to me, as u mentioned core Knowledge section

    1).do you mean in one of the open ended question u missed /answered incorrect or
    2). lab config portion


  41. Pedro Mindlin says:


    Core Knowledge is the official name of the short answer/open-ended questions section as it appears on the score report.


  42. AHarris says:

    Hello Pedro,

    Just to clarify, Did you fail the test because you missed 1 of the Core Knowledge Questions? Is it still possible to pass after missing 1 or 2 of the Core Knowledge Questions if you do well on the traditional Lab?


  43. Timothy Chin says:

    Same thing with me. I took the lab Feb 6th and my score report shows 0% on the core knowledge and I failed the lab but all of my other sections were strong with the lowest being 67% on one of the other sections. I’m pretty sure I answered 4 of the 5 questions correctly. I had doubts on one of the questions. So in other words if you get one question wrong the whole thing is marked as 0%? Can somebody clarify this?

  44. Nick says:

    If you missed one question does it mean the passing score for this section is also 80%? Or?

  45. shami says:


    If you could share your experience on score report “Core Knowledge” section (did you get any % there or also like Mr.TimothyChin.)?


  46. StatusCCIE says:

    Hi Timothy,

    Could you please send me your email address ?

    I also have some questions regarding the Core Knowledge section…

    Thanks in advance,

  47. Pedro Mindlin says:

    @Nick, I finished the lab section 2 hours before the end, so yes, the time left was enough. I could have spent some more time on the questions considering I had one doubt.

    @AHarris, the questions are so easy and direct it is easy to know which I answered right and which I answered wrong. I’m confident enough to say I couldn’t have missed all four of them, but the score was 0%. I do not know if you can compensate the Core Knowledge questions with the lab questions, because Cisco doesn’t clarify that, but it seems that this is not the case, you have to pass on both sections independently. The problem is that we don’t know the question values and the passing score for this section.

    @Nick, as we can see by Timothy’s post, it seems that even 80% is not enough…

    @Timothy, did you file a complaint with Cert Support? Please consider doing it…

    @shami, I also got 0% on the Core Knowledge section on my score report.

    Regards, Pedro.

  48. AHarris says:

    Thanks for the quick response Pedro. As I’m understanding if you miss one of the Core Knowledge Questions you basically fail automatically and spend about 6-8 hours doing a practice lab at the amount of 1400$. Awesome. I understand that the questions are easy, but when you make the transition from prepping for the Written Test and the Practical Lab, you ignore little details that you can look up on the DocCD.

    If the Core Knowledge section was going to have that much of an impact they should have given people at least 6 months notice so that they could reorganize their test taking strategy. I thought that their policy was to do an announcement 6 months prior to any lab changes.

    Anthony, thanks for getting this blog started.

  49. Anthony Sequeira says:

    My pleasure. Our own Scott Morris is in RTP and will get us some more information this week I believe. HE WILL CERTAINLY TRY!

    Please note that I update this blog as more information is discovered. I do this by editing my original post.

  50. shami says:

    what’s RTP ?

  51. AHarris says:

    RTP = Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

  52. Anthony Sequeira says:

    We Americans tend to think we are the only damn place in the world!!!!

    So sorry – thanks AHarris!


  53. shami says:

    Mr.Pedro & Mr.Timothy,
    1). Is it possible to go back to the pervious question to correct it at any stage before starting lab configs, for example if candidate is on Question 3rd & he thought to add some more stuff in Question 1st’s answer?
    2). Is proctor mentioning at the beginning that a candidate (or all attending candidates) have some specific time to answer the questions? and then to proceed lab config portion?

    thanks for sharing your experiences

  54. Pedro Mindlin says:

    AHarris, it’s not just a practice lab, it’s a real practice lab, graded by real CCIE proctors! You may even score 100% on some sections and get to know it!

    shami: yes, you can go back and forth on the questions before you submit them. You have 30 minutes maximum for this section.

    Regards, Pedro.

  55. mtm says:

    I also took the R&S with the new open ended questions on Feb 4th. I unfortunately failed both the lab as well as the open ended questions….although I did pretty well on the lab portion.

    As for the open ended questions, I was told by the proctor that you are allowed to miss one question and still pass that section. Also, all 4 or 5 of the questions you get are graded as one complete section called Core Knowledge.

    If you get more than one question wrong (in the mind of the proctor), you get a 0% on that section and effectively fail the lab regardless.

    I too was pretty sure that I got at least 3 out of 4 correct, but obviously that is not the case.

    Although I totally agree that the questions are fairly high level and straight forward, they are not gimmes. A few people above mentioned how studying “theory” for the written is quite different than how you study for the hands-on. I can’t agree with and stress this fact enough.

    Even if you’ve had decent written exam training as well as hands-on training, do yourself a favor and read up on as much theory as you can before stepping foot in that lab.

    I plan to spend a lot more time reading before my next attempt…considering how long it’s been since I took my written exam.

  56. CT says:

    Sounds like Cisco is taking this straight to the bank folks! PLEASE FILE ALL COMPLAINTS TO CERT SUPPORT!!!!

  57. Timothy Chin says:

    I spoke with Cert Support on the phone today and created a case and the agent said there has been alot of problems with the open ended questions and people getting 0%. It seems that if you get one question wrong you fail the lab automatically even if you do score 80 or above on the actual lab. On a side note, I took the lab in RTP and before we sat at our rack locations the proctor stated that when you answer your questions to hit the back button on your browser and double check to make sure your answers are still there before you actually submit them because there have been problems with the answers not being submitted to the database. It seems like they have had issues before there and it looks like even though you answer the questions there may be a chance that they have not even been submitted to the database which makes it look like the questions have not even been answered thus giving us a score of basically 0% on the core knowledge which may have something to do with it. I also explained this to Cert Support and they are looking into it. Hopefully I will have an update within 24 to 48 hours.

  58. AHarris says:

    Thanks Timothy, that is Great to know. If they want to introduce something like that it should be at the end of the 300+ Dollar Written test that you can take anywhere at anytime, and not right before the 1400 Dollar 8 hour Test that you have to fly to. Also they really need to make sure the new system is working before they force it on people. I am all for the integrity and the security of the test, but I have a problem with people wasting thousands of dollars, on something that is still under development. Good News is that while reading another blog on IEOC.com, I did see a Candidate that is certain he missed one question, but he still passed.

  59. Bob says:

    Add me to the failure list with a 0% on the open ended questions. I thought all but one of them were easy, but received a zero in the Core Knowledge section. BTW, I would have passed COMFORTABLY without the questions.

    I submitted a complaint to Cisco, and asked for a regrade.

  60. CT says:

    This is outrageous! If the point is to protect the exam why even let you take the lab portion if you failed the open-ended questions? Make sure to ask Cisco to offer you a free re-sit.

  61. CT says:

    I have also opened my own CertSupport case regarding these issues. I want to see what they are doing in response to all these issues. I believe at this point the exam has been compromised due to the introduction of these questions and what seems to be a poor QA process related to the exam engine.

  62. JP Senior says:

    I’m sick to my stomach at this news. Go Cisco. This isn’t “Value” this is a bank roll.

  63. CT says:

    That is ridiculous, how can missing 1 out of 4 or 5 questions equal 0 percent? Does that make sense to anyone here. What kind of grading system is that? Seems like Cisco is making it up as they go. They should admit fault and reconsider and revisit this open ended question section.

  64. CT says:

    Bob, according to Cisco you probably used braindumps to memorize the lab since you did not pass their Core/knowledge section. Bob are you sure you didn’t cheat and purchase braindumps? After all this system is to catch all the braindump users isn’t it? Dont take it personal Bob I am just trying to make a point.

  65. Anthony Sequeira says:

    Hey ct- that stuff will not fly on our site.

  66. Stan says:

    Well, I really think that this is something Cisco did introduce without careful consideration. After all the lab is supposed to be an open book test and a practical one on top of that. I am not sure that it is at all fair to fail people on a $1400 test (excluding accommodation, travel etc) by stressing them out prior to a very taxing 8 hours of configuration work. After all I have access to my library every day at work and so far I have yet to come short solving real world issues. Last but not least I agree that Cisco has failed to follow their own rule of introducing changes to that exam 6 months in advance.
    In my opinion Cisco needs to make changes to the flawed written exam to make it more braindump proof, for I am not sure I understand how is introducing this Core Knowledge written portion of lab preventing cheating at certain testing facilities?!

  67. Nick says:

    If Cisco wanted to catch the braindumpers they should just ask you in the end of the lab why you did such and such solutions like old times.
    And change the labs every two weeks or have a big number of labs.


    All this doesn’t catch braindumps. Who guarantees me that in a month there wont be braindumps of core section?

  68. CT says:

    Anthony, my point has nothing to do with Bob or his integrity, in my opinion Bob is a CCIE! The problem is that like Bob there could potentially be many others who studied honestly and spent a lot of time understanding the technologies in the end to fail b/c of Ciscos’ inadequacy to properly integrate this new section into the Lab. Please dont take of offense and you can take down my post if you dont find it appropriate.

  69. Bob says:

    I don’t find it offensive at all. I was actually chatting with a proctor about this last week, as I was trying to figure out the point spread, check, and re-check my answers. I told him I was uncertain how a person could cheat this test, but if they wanted to catch those people, the questions truly needed to be more open-ended in nature. I also took the written over a year ago, and I did very well on it. Didn’t use a braindump, but I used to teach Cisco at one of the local schools. Believe me, I’m upset at myself and Cisco alike for my “performance” on the open-ended questions.

    And make no mistake, they are NOT open-ended at all. At least not the ones I had. It’s alright, I figure I will truly be an expert by the time I pass this test next month ;)

  70. AHarris says:

    Excellent Point Nick. There could be a million questions, but people will still make braindumps that may not be on the test, but will at least give you an idea of what to study for. I can understand some of the measures they’ve put in place for security purposes, and its not like they came up with this idea overnight. I know that at least 8 months ago they were hinting at implementing something like this at the last Networkers Conference. 8 or 6 months ago they could have mentioned that it would now be part of the Lab Exam. Or at least make it 20/30 Open Ended Questions so that you don’t get screwed because you forgot 2 obscure topics. Also, when some people scheuled this test, they did it knowing they would have access to the DocCD at all times. I think it would be fair that for the first few months they allowed access to the DocCD while answering the open-ended questions. I know people invest alot into this exam financially, mentally and time-wise. It just sucks. As you can all see I have alot on my mind about this, but now it’s time to stop crying over milk that about to be spilled and move on. For those who have taken seen the Core Knowledge section, At what level would you rate the questions (CCIE Written, BSCI, or CCNA)? Also, do you think that reading through Routing TCP\IP Volumes I & II along with the “CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Quick Reference Sheets” would be sufficient. I know most of us are upset, but we’ve made the complaints that will hopefully not fall on deaf ears. It’s time to accept it and move on.

  71. Bob says:

    The questions vary in difficulty. Several were very, very easy while others required a little more thought. As for the exams, I always thought the BSCI exam was tougher than the CCIE written. Strangely enough.

  72. Nick says:

    Of course we accept the change, and we welcome it as an effort that the certification we will hopefully get, will still have a value.

    Just as many have said before after 1 month of practise labs i have no memory what an opaque lsa is! Now i have to also start looking for such things 3 months before my lab :)

  73. steven says:

    there’s an interesting quote from a CCIE trainer:

    “I work on the CCIE team. The short answer section is graded on an “all or nothing” basis. If you answer the minimum number correct you will get 100%. If you don’t achieve the minimum, your score shows as 0%. It is indeed possible that you answered two questions correctly. ”


    source: http://forums.cisco.com/eforum/servlet/NetProf?page=netprof&forum=Career Certifications&topic=Certifications&topicID=.ee702b1&fromOutline=&CommCmd=MB%3Fcmd%3Ddisplay_location%26location%3D.2cc2fef2

  74. Nick says:

    Question: If the total Core is worth 21 points does it mean the lab is worth 79 points? Or there are two different sections with different grading and passing scores?

  75. AHarris says:

    Nick from what I’ve seen, and Steven’s post, your second question would be correct. Each are independent worth 100 points. So considering if you get 5 question worth 20 points each, you will need to score 80% on the Core Knowledge and 80% on the Lab. Can anyone confirm this? Also, can anyone confirm whether or not if the question are similiar to the samples that Anthony has above. If so that would make me feel more comfortable. I’ll probably just re-read through some of the Config Guides looking to refresh on some of the “Gotcha” topics. Anyone took it recently that would like to share their thoughts\advice on the exam.

  76. ccie_boy says:

    nice discussion , aharris your first question deserves a reply , but i believe the second one is against the nda .

  77. AHarris says:

    I was reading through BGP Config Guide and it mentioned that in Jan 2009 a new RFC 5396 was implemented to allow for 4 billion AS numbers with a new numbering format. Nothing to do with this forum, but I feel a bit stupid for not being aware of something that major that already happened. Maybe I do need to read through those things more often.

  78. steven says:

    Aharris: this RFC only concernes 32bit as numbers. config should be the same. maybe we should know that we can use the temp. as number 23456 for 32bit as numbers. but anyway, it’s not supported yet in 12.4 so it will not shown up in the lab…

  79. Anthony Sequeira says:

    AHarris – these questions are indeed similar to what you will see in the Lab.

  80. AHarris says:

    Thanks Anthony. With questions like that and the “follow the traffic” type questions it probably won’t be so bad. Also, I’m not trying to get any one to violate the NDA. If I ask a question that’s out of line then let me know. These forums are filled with people talking about their lab experiences and advice without giving specific information.

  81. Anthony Sequeira says:

    Yeah – we all need to be careful about the NDA of course.

    My sample questions ARE NOT from an actual lab – therefore we are all good.

  82. YA says:

    I gave the CCIE R&S Lab exam last week. Going into the exam, I knew I wouldn’t pass as I wasn’t adequately prepared. I had only covered L2, IGP & BGP in my studies & I did fairly okay in these sections. However, I was surprised to see I got a 0 on the Core Knowledge section. I was pretty confident I got 4 out of the 5 questions. Most of the questions were easy. One was not. It was a poorly designed question — a trick question.

    If I were in a position to pass the lab portion, I would’ve been pretty angry for failing the exam because of one trick question. I have opened a case with Cisco on this.

    Now, back to studies. :)

  83. kike says:

    One more to the list. I took the exam this week and I failed, about the questions 1 easy 1 very hard 1 with poor English probably because they tried to make it as tricky as they could and 1 mild.
    The lab according to my calculations (not %) is closer to 90 than to 80…
    At this point I see two options. Go through all the documentation and study by hard or just keep trying until getting a set of “nice” 4 or 5 questions (brute force).
    About the question “why Cisco doesn’t ask this questions in the written exam” I don’t know what you guys expect to hear, if they do that the won’t get the money from people failing the lab and also there will be less people taking the written, so this way they first get money with the written and then with the lab.
    This is indeed a very smart way to fight the recession…

  84. Worried says:


    One question to the gents who have given the LAB exams. Did any of you feel the lab is actually reduced to accommodate the open ended questions.

  85. ccie_boy says:

    now all those who filed complaints to cert support ,plz share the response from cisco.
    its a serious matter !does that mean getting even one question wrong will cost you certificate ?

  86. I was in Banglore on 18th for CCIE security Lab with one of my friend appearing for R&S. following is what i witnessed.

    1.There were four questions asked to each candidates proctor did briefed everyone regarding the way one is supposed to handle the questions basically one must describe and justify there is no scope for “Yes” and “No” stuff.

    Nobody is allowed to leave for any reason till one is done with you have a maximum of 30 min as already being mentioned.

    My freind scored 86 in Lab and 0% in Core I can only imagine how he must have felt and so many others who have gone through similar expreince.

    Now i would not like to comment on kind of questions but Please go through CCIE Written blueprint and all the topics covered under it.

    during lunch proctor told me that passing % has gone down by 50-60%.

    Now i know many of you will grudge Cisco for doing it but try understand in the long run its for your betterment what’s the use of burning mid-night fuel for a certification which is losing its value so take it with a pinch of salt CCIE was never supposed to be easy but believe me just refresh your Written topics and you would be good to go.

    All the best to all.

  87. AHarris says:

    Thanks Chandan,

    That was some great information, especially when you didn’t have to worry about it on yours. I think that for the most part we’re all accepting it now, and you are exactly correct about the value of the certification. We can’t just have something because we want it. Myself personally, I would have appreciated a bit more of a warning. It’s kind of like studying for a Physics Final Exam, and a few days before the test they tell you the test will have 5 random questions from a Chemistry class you had last year as a prerequisite. If you miss 2 of those you fail the course. Maybe my analogy is off, but I’m getting prepared. It’s a good excuse to go through Config Guides, and read Cisco’s explanations of some technologies.

  88. Kevin says:

    Add me to the list of 0% on Core Knowledge. I’ll open up a complaint too, and I for one will NEVER take the test again as long as this is in place like this, it’s ridiculous. I don’t need a cert that bad, and I don’t have that much $$$ to keep throwing away because I get one slightly obscure question in the beginning. I’m glad my buddies passed before they had to go through this.

  89. YA says:

    Here’s the response I received from Cisco:

    Dear ,
    As the manager for CCIE Operations, your case was forwarded to me. I would like to help you understanding how the scoring works on the Short Answer Section. First, you must pass both sections of the exam in order to certify. On this particular section, you must score a minimum number of questions correctly in order to receive any marks. However, it is possible to have one incorrect answer and still pass. Therefore, you do not have to have all questions answered correctly, but, it is a requirement that you have most of them answered correctly. If you do not get the minimum number of questions correct, you will receive a 0 for this section. If you do get them correct, you get a 100%, therefore, you are not given points on individual questions. There are only two scores you can receive a 0% or a 100%.

    With regard to the one XYZ question – if you have a complaint regarding one of questions, I would open a case that is relevant to the Short Answer Question “Content” so that you can discuss express your concerns about this item with the team who does the actual test question development.

    With regard to what questions you got marked incorrectly, we do not provide that type of feedback on this section. Therefore, I cannot tell you which questions were marked incorrectly. To do so would violate our Confidentiality agreement. I cannot provide you with an answer to with regard to this concern.

    I hope that I have clarified things for you. And I do wish you the best of success on your next exam attempt.

  90. ccie_boy says:

    thanks chandan ,ya for valuable feedback .

  91. Paren says:

    Hello Guys,
    I passed my R&S lab today. I got 4 “so called” open ended questions. I had no problem answering those questions maybe because in the last 3 days I read the following books cover to cover
    1. CCIE routing and switching flash cards by Anthony Sequeira and Kevin Wallace and
    2. CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Quick Reference Sheet again by our best friend Anthony Sequeira.

    So guys study hard and hope for the best.

    Good luck to all.

  92. AHarris says:

    Congratulations Paren,

    I was looking at the Exam Quick Reference Sheet myself. I’m a big fan of Doyle, but its a bit more to digest. I won’t insult you by saying, take some time to relax. I will instead say Good Luck on the next Lab that you have planned.

  93. MichaelG says:

    Congratulations Paren!! Great job!

    Also, thats an awesome tip as well!! Thanks!!

  94. AHarris says:

    You all have probably seen me on here as one of the biggest complainers on this blog and I’m trying to find the most creative way to say that I passed, but I passed. I also had no right complaining since I scheduled the test on Feb 9th. I saw an opening on the 26th and went for it. I’m not saying that anybody that failed, was not prepared, but if you take some time to go over the actual Written Information you will be more than fine. Some good materials were mentioned above, but I will continue to endorse the config guides. You can go through them in a few days, and I work 12+ hours a day with about 5 hours on the weekends. Do your practice labs, and ask yourself “Do I know what happened?” I failed my first attempt in September , and honestly believe I should have had a 90 at the least. Over the last few months I realized what that I missed some major concepts that stopped me from passing. I wish you all the best in your pursuit and I hope I’ve been helpful to at least 1 person. I didn’t hate the change, but my frustrations were aimed more towards the expense of the lab financially and mentally. I would have preferred it introduced in a manner where people had more time to prep for it, but I know we all hate hearing this, and I really hate saying it. “If you’re prepared for the test you won’t have any problems” Anthony thank you for this forum so that we can voice our concerns and get clarity with the new Core Knowledge section. Next Up Service Provider.

  95. David Granzer says:

    I have read CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Quick Reference Sheet, page 14 says RSTP port roles -> Alternative port — this port is quickly converging backup port to the current DP on a segment.

    Should be an alternate Root Port ?

  96. Heartly Congratulation Aharris

    It clearly shows that “there are more demons in a person mind then out there”.

    Good to see a positive change and hopefully others will get the drift its a test so study hard good also that you reconfirmed my opinion about the Written stuff.

    I am sure you are going to party as hard.


  97. Anthony Sequeira says:


    That error and a couple of more are noted in the errata – downloadable here


  98. Chris Daly says:

    I just wrote the RS lab on Friday – am waiting for my results but am not hopeful on the Core Knowledge section. There were 4 questions – I was only sure of one of them (the other 3 covered material I hadn’t studied – I was cramming from my CCIE handbook from 2006 and the topics weren’t in there – at least I don’t recall them). So if one is familiar with the topics covered in the 2 docs listed:
    1. CCIE routing and switching flash cards by Anthony Sequeira and Kevin Wallace and
    2. CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Quick Reference Sheet again by our best friend Anthony Sequeira.
    as well as the Cisco Quick reference sheet, should that be enough to do well on the Theory questions? Also, it would be helpful to know further in advance what changes are coming to the exam. My next attempt I’m not booking more than a week in advance (assuming a spot opens up)

  99. David Granzer says:

    Chris, Could you share the topics ?

  100. Chris Daly says:

    Topics covered in Core Theory section were:
    -IP Addressing
    -(forget what the 3rd question was…)

  101. Marek Tyban says:

    It looks like topics covered in written exam, so similar preparation as for the written should be sufficient or these question were more difficult ?

  102. Chris Daly says:

    I don’t think they were significantly more difficult – the BGP question was easy enough, and the IPv6 question was probably answerable had I had more time – the other two I had never seen before. My biggest worry is that they ask something about some obscure routing protocol feature or multicast timer and I can’t recall it – with only 4 or 5 questions it doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. – Basically if you get even one question wrong, it seems like you’re toast. I don’t know if they would award partial points or not.

  103. From what our students are reporting, prepping from written materials is perfect – but just make sure that you apply the Lab blueprint as you go through. In other words – they will not ask MPLS questions.

    Also, you can miss one question and still pass the section. Miss two or more and you are toast for the whole day. :-(

  104. Alex says:

    It looks like the level of knowledge needed to pass Open-Ended questions is similar to the written exam.

    The problem by doing the written exam well in advance is to get hit by the forgetting curve (see wikipedia) when passing the lab. Practising for the lab focuses on using the technologies but doesn’t help to remember things that can be easily be found in Cisco Documentation/routers such as timers, packets structures, etc…

    Will it be best to prepare for the lab first, when ready for the lab, prepare for the written, pass the written, then immediately after book the lab hopping to find an available seat asap?

    Maybe an idea for your CCIE 3.0 program? ;-)

  105. We are releasing a product within days to help with this new lab section – look for a blog post later today.

  106. Niyi says:

    Pls, could you help provide answers to all the sample questions as this will help.

  107. misa says:


    At this week I did my CCIE lab( R&S) exam.
    when i receive my Score report, i didn’t believe in my eyes. All Section in my Score report were 0%.
    With that result i think it only fall in 4 case:

    - Case 1 : I did not do any thing(it is noway ).
    - Case 2 : I did not save any my configuraton in all devices( it is impossible, i use WR command and i look it work- i didn’t reload any thing in my lab exam).
    - Case 3 : I did all things wrong(it is noway, i can sure).
    - Case 4 : I did config in devices in one Rack but when Proctor Grad my lab exam, he uses another Rack( and of course every Section in my Score report were zero).

    Can you explain for me. With 0% score report i can use ReRead function.

  108. munawaz says:

    Bridging and Switching
    • Explain the advantages of MSTP (802.1s).
    MSTP, which uses RSTP for rapid convergence, enables VLANs to be grouped into a spanning-tree instance, with each instance having a spanning-tree topology independent of other spanning-tree instances. This architecture provides multiple forwarding paths for data traffic, enables load balancing, and reduces the number of spanning-tree instances required to support a large number of VLANs.

    • Explain the advantages of RSTP (802.1w).
    The RSTP takes advantage of point-to-point wiring and provides rapid convergence of the spanning tree. Reconfiguration of the spanning tree can occur in less than 1 second (in contrast to 50 seconds with the default settings in the IEEE 802.1D spanning tree).

    • Explain the differences between 802.1Q and ISL.

    -Native vlan is tageed in ISL and untagged in 802.1Q.
    -ISL encapsulates IP packet while 802.1Q inserts a 4 byte tag.

    IP IGP Routing
    • Explain the advantages presented by the DUAL algorithm in EIGRP.

    The DUAL finite state machine embodies the decision process for all route computations. It tracks all routes advertised by all neighbors. The distance information, known as a metric, is used by DUAL to select efficient loop free paths. DUAL selects routes to be inserted into a routing table based on feasible successors. A successor is a neighboring router used for packet forwarding that has a least cost path to a destination that is guaranteed not to be part of a routing loop. When there are no feasible successors but there are neighbors advertising the destination, a recomputation must occur. This is the process where a new successor is determined. The amount of time it takes to recompute the route affects the convergence time. Even though the recomputation is not processor-intensive, it is advantageous to avoid recomputation if it is not necessary. When a topology change occurs, DUAL will test for feasible successors. If there are feasible successors, it will use any it finds in order to avoid any unnecessary recomputation. Feasible successors are defined in more detail later in this document.

    • Why does OSPF use a DR in an Ethernet LAN environment?

    DR’s exist for the purpose of reducing network traffic by providing a source for routing updates, the DR maintains a complete topology table of the network and sends the updates to the other routers via multicast. All routers in an area will form a slave/master relationship with the DR. They will form adjacencies with the DR and BDR only. Every time a router sends an update, it sends it to the DR and BDR on the multicast address The DR will then send the update out to all other routers in the area, to the multicast address This way all the routers do not have to constantly update each other, and can rather get all their updates from a single source. The use of multicasting further reduces the network load. DRs and BDRs are always setup/elected on Broadcast networks (Ethernet). DR’s can also be elected on NBMA (Non-Broadcast Multi-Access) networks such as Frame Relay or ATM. DRs or BDRs are not elected on point-to-point links (such as a point-to-point WAN connection) because the two routers on either sides of the link must become fully adjacent and the bandwidth between them cannot be further optimized.

    • Why does OSPF feature different network types for use in an NBMA area of your network?

    IP and IOS Features
    • How can a Cisco router assist a client PC to obtain a DHCP address from a DHCP server located on a remote subnet?

    A DHCP relay agent is any host that forwards DHCP packets between clients and servers. Relay agents are used to forward requests and replies between clients and servers when they are not on the same physical subnet.

    • What issue does HSRP help solve?
    redundancy protocol for establishing a fault-tolerant default gateway,

    IP Multicast
    • Discuss issues that exist with the PIM Dense-Mode protocol.
    Dense Mode Tradeoffs

    o Source trees fully distributed
    o Optimal reverse paths/low delay

    o O(S x G) state requirement
    o May carry (S,G) for every S in the internet
    o (S,G) prune state even though not “on-tree”
    o Data driven forwarding state construction

    • Describe differences between Custom Queuing and Class-Based Weighted Fair Queuing.

    -With CQ, bandwidth is allocated proportionally for each different class of traffic. CQ allows you to specify the number of bytes or packets to be drawn from the queue, which is especially useful on slow interfaces. 16 user queues

    -WFQ offers dynamic, fair queueing that divides bandwidth across queues of traffic based on weights.One queue per class, up to 64 classes

    • What are the advantages presented by DSCP markings when compared to the legacy IP Precedence approach?


    • Describe the basic operation of CBAC on a Cisco router.
    CBAC works to provide network protection on multiple levels using the following functions:

    •Traffic Filtering

    •Traffic Inspection

    •Alerts and Audit Trails

    •Intrusion Prevention

    Bridging and Switching

    * What is the size of the 802.1Q tag?

    -4 byte(The 802.1Q tag is 4 bytes. Therefore, the resulting Ethernet frame can be as large as 1522 bytes. The minimum size of the Ethernet frame with 802.1Q tagging is 68 bytes. )

    -The ISL frame encapsulation is 30 bytes, and the minimum FDDI packet is 17 bytes. Therefore, the minimum ISL encapsulated packet for FDDI is 47 bytes. The maximum Token Ring packet is 18,000 bytes. Therefore, the maximum ISL packet is 18,000 plus 30 bytes of ISL header, for a total of 18,030 bytes. If only Ethernet packets are encapsulated, the range of ISL frame sizes is from 94 to 1548 bytes.

    * What is the trunk setting that allows the port to trunk only if the port receives the proper DTP frames?
    switchport mode auto

    How to disable split horizon in OSPF?
    OSPF has similar functionality as split horizon, by allowing advertising LSA 3,4 only to backbone area.
    no capability transit

    IP IGP Routing

    * What are the five possible metric components for EIGRP and which two are used by default?
    Relaibility,MTU,Load,Bandwidth,delay (Bandwidth and delay are used by default)

    * OSPF bases cost on what value?
    * Which routing protocol uses a destination Multicast address of
    (RIP version 2)

    * What issues can the use of a peer group solve in BGP?

    Peering involves two networks coming together to exchange traffic with each other freely, and for mutual benefit. This ‘mutual benefit’ is most often the motivation behind peering, which is often described solely by “reduced costs for transit services”. Other less tangible motivations can include:

    * Increased redundancy (by reducing dependence on one or more transit providers).
    * Increased capacity for extremely large amounts of traffic (distributing traffic across many networks).
    * Increased routing control over your traffic.
    * Improved performance (attempting to bypass potential bottlenecks with a “direct” path).
    * Improved perception of your network (being able to claim a “higher tier”).
    * Ease of requesting for emergency aid (from friendly peers).

    * What are the default administrative distances for BGP?

    IP and IOS Features

    * What technology allows a router to respond to the name resolution request of a host as if it were the destination host itself?


    IP Multicast

    * Which multicast PIM method uses a flood and prune approach?
    Dense mode

    * Which option for RP assignment is an open standard?

    Bootstrap router (BSR)

    * What is the purpose of the override keyword when statically setting an RP?
    The override keyword specifies that if there is a conflict between the RP configured with ip pim rp-address and one learned by Auto-RP, the RP configured with this command prevails.


    * What happens to traffic in the priority queue of the LLQ method that exceeds the specified rate?

    * Which bits of the ToS byte are used for DSCP markings?
    * Between AF21 and AF32, which has the higher drop probability?
    AF21 is low drop and AF32 is medium drop.

    (Can some one validate these and answer the ones i missed)

  109. Hi Misa!

    YOU HAVE A MAJOR ISSUE HERE – you need to open a case with Cisco!

    It should not cost you anything for them to investigate what happened. It had to be an error on their end.

    It sounds to me like at the very least, you have a “free” retake coming from Cisco.

  110. misa says:

    thanks for sharing.
    But have any one ever hear this situation?

  111. Marty says:

    Much appreciated. Thanks.

    I have only one thing to say. I see you emphasizing a lot on certain answer which I do understand. But I heard that Cisco wants from us short answers and many of the candidates that have failed are supporting the idea of short answers.
    My question to you how can we approach this answers. Should we emphasize in our answers or be brief to the point?

  112. misa says:

    Because my final report is not clear, then i can not say about how is right or wrong. But in my mind, the opened end questions is not difficult.And the result of opened end question section is not effect to the lab sections.

  113. Arwin Erasga says:

    Cisco wants everyone to know that pursuing RS CCIE should and must know the in and out of the technologies involved, no matter what.

  114. Abhi says:

    I think if somebody could help me get

    “CCIE routing and switching flash cards by Anthony Sequeira and Kevin Wallace”

    As i dont find the new edition or version online to buy and even in ciscopress.com it shows “this evaluation is not for sale”

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  115. saurabh says:

    Hi Guys my 2 cents ,I took lab on 16th march Lab attempt was gd but hrd luck due to open ended ques..at CCIE level if sm one ask u abt very very basic stuff e.g pckt header fields I surely go nuts !! As you all already aware in those ques no partial mrkng n its must to hit 3 out of 4 min else 0 so it will become either hit or miss for lab portion ,if u miss wat ever you do in next 7.5 hrs its all waste… passing is 80% n they divided 79(lab)+21(ques) so u hv to clear ques to get ur ccie no..!! I landed safely in lab potion but in open ended I Got 0 hence fail n moreover due the type of ques came like picking tadpole from ocean and asking its name..demotivating me to try for other attempt they shld hv chk ur implementation and design skills rather out of wrld things and they degraded value of lab portion as I need to score only 59 marks there as once I clear opn ended ques part 21 mrks with me so total will 80 n CCIE no with me ..so as a whole LAB purpose is defeating ,feeling pissed off due to this sick rule !!

  116. abhi says:

    Can somebody help me get “CCIE routing and switching flash cards by Anthony Sequeira and Kevin Wallace “. Where can i buy it , in ciscopress.com i find this is not available for sale ?

  117. Yeah – Cisco is no longer printing it – used copies are selling for over $100 now – crazy.

    I helped develop a better product here if you are interested:


    This directly addresses practice and study for the Core Knowledge section, it helps with the lab, and finally, it helps with the written.

  118. abhi says:

    Thanks… I would definetly go with this product.

  119. JCF says:

    I recently took the R&S lab.
    I believe based on % and recalling the point totals that I passed the lab.
    However , and we all know what is coming next, I failed the core tech section, so I failed.

    What puzzles me is that I thought I answered 3 of the 4 correctly. I even verified that I may have gotten all 4 right.

    2 of the questions were very very vague.
    Anthony’s docs are very helpful, do not get me wron.
    For these 2 they were not. I have started to read the configuration guides ( all of them ) for my next attempt in May.

  120. AHarris says:

    I haven’t added anything in awhile, but I will give this advice to all when taking the test. Some say elaborate, and some say be brief\concise. I would recommend you take a middle approach. When I answered the questions in one sentence. Then in a second sentence gave an brief description of the technology\scenario. This worked for me. However, if you type in anything extra and you’re wrong it could possibly cost you points. Just keep in mind that the questions are being graded by humans (I think), that understand the topics inside-out.

  121. Kike says:

    Totally agree with AHarris. What I did was first explain the scenario / technology and then reply to the question. One more thing, in one of the questions I had to explain a technology, I explained it in 3 different ways, using around 10 lines, when we are suppose to reply in just one or two lines but it is graded by humans, in my case I took the exam in Brussels, it means that a Belgian guy (who normally speaks french) graded an Spanish guy (me) in English… so… try to make the other person understand what you mean, no worries about writing too much. At least it was what I did. I don’t remember replying one single question with less than 4 lines.
    Hope this helps

  122. FailedAtFirstAttempt says:

    I attempted my first attempt on March and also got 0% on the Open ended question. Personally I think the open ended questions are an advantage if you really lucky and got the questions that you have well prepared for, since there is a large pool of questions. I actually go back to ccie support to clarify why did I failed this section and was told that I only managed to score less than 3 correct questions. They can’t discuss the exam content with me as this is bound by NDA. I agree with some in this forum as there is less transparency in this case. I believe grading an open ended questions is very subjective and NDA is another hurdle

    But if you managed to pass this section, then it’s an advantage to you, since you only need to gain another 59 points to pass the lab exam. One of the ccie candidate whom I spoke to agree that the lab portion is easier than the previous before the introduction of open ended questions. Anyway he gained his ccie number after the introduction of this open ended question which is after several attempts :p

    Anyway, I personally think if you want be a CiscoCIE expert, you need to be bound by whatever certification requirements released by Cisco. No complain about it :p

    FYI, I also bought interworkexpert Core Knowledge product and was quite disappointed because it also did not cover intensively on all the topics :(

  123. Hi FailedAtFirstAttempt!

    Keep at it – next time should be your final time!

    We are adding questions almost every day to the Core Knowledge product and being sure to attempt to cover all areas. By the weekend we will hit 450 questions.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  124. FailedAtFirstAttempt says:

    Hi Antony,

    Thanks for the prompt feedback.
    I am thinking of giving it another try on this coming june. Have been reading and sharpening my core knowledge and hopefully after the addition of “additional resource link” and “question number” feature in your Core Knowledge.

  125. FailedAtFirstAttempt says:

    Hi Aharis,

    I confirmed with the CCIE lab manager and was told that the proctors are well trained to grade the open-ended question. Actually I believe there is no need to write the answer in more than 1 sentence as the proctor will read your answer and grade it.

  126. ducktak says:

    Passing Lab exam first try today, thanks for Antony’s Core Knowledge notes, no RFC, port number stuff asked.

  127. [...] the CCIE questions are going to be, but I’ve found some resources with sample questions, like INE’s CCIE Blog. The plan is to post one question a week with you guys (hopefully) answering in comments. I will [...]


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