Looking over the questions asked to Maurilio Gorito during the latest R&S Ask The Expert Session, I tried to summarize some information and outline the new exam format. Here is how it looks to me so far.

The exam consists of three sections. A candidate must obtain the PASS mark in *every* section in order to pass the exam. All three sections are tested in sequence and grading occurs in the end of the exam. Even if the candidate fails in any of the section, he won’t know about this until the exam ends and grading has been performed. A candidate may finish any section in advance and move forward to the next section, which might be considered a time-management strategy. However, the candidate is not allowed to return to any previous section after it’s finished.

The following is the list of the exam sections:

(1) Open Ended Questions (OEQ) (0.5 hours): Four questions in total; A candidate needs to answer three questions out of four correctly to get the PASS mark in this section. A human grades the results. Most times, an answer could be as short as two or three words. Questions deal with the understanding of the theoretical concepts of the lab exam and don’t require intensive memorizing. The only tool the candidate has access to will be Windows Notepad, and no access to the DocCD is provided during this section.

(2) Troubleshooting Section (2 hours). Initial configurations are loaded in the candidate’s rack, and the candidate is presented with a troubleshooting scenario, formatted as a series of trouble-tickets. Additionally, L2/L3 & IGP diagrams are presented for reference. The section consists of approximately 10-15 tickets. Every ticket has point value associated with it and tickets DO NOT depend on each other (this is important to avoid cascading effects). The results are graded by the verification script and confirmed by a human. A relative score of 80% of the total section score must be obtained to get the PASS mark for this section. It is important to understand that this section is completely independent of Configuration section that follows.

(3) Configuration Section (5,5 hours). This is a new scenario on a new logical topology, different from the one presented during the Troubleshooting section. Of course, this section has its own initial configuration, which most likely includes IP addressing and basic IGP/BGP settings. The formatting is similar to the old exam, with the tasks, point allocation per task, diagrams and so on. 
The approximate number of tasks here is 25-30. The section results are graded by the verification script and confirmed by a human. A relative score of 80% must be obtained to get the PASS mark for this section.

It is rumored, by not confirmed officially that the OEQ section has 21 points and the Troubleshooting + Configuration section has 79 points allocated. This allocating may probably change with time, but apparently the fact that all task points sum to 100 remains true. And again, you have to obtain approximately 80% points in every section (around 80 points total) to pass the exam.

Finally, for the new topics being added to the exam. It appears that major stress will be on new routing features, such as MPLS VPN and EIGRPv6. However, the MPLS VPN tasks will be pretty basic, not covering any advanced scenarios such as CsC, InterAS VPN, mVPN, MPLS TE and so forth. For the other new technologies added to the lab:

1) PfR (Performance Routing). Should be pretty basic, and does not require any deep knowledge of PfR. Will not appear in all labs.
2) Security feautures: IPS and Zone-Based Firewall are NOT covered in-deph as well. Only basic configuration of the IPS feature is required with no deep understanding of the signature engines and signature tuning. Most likely you just need to know the basic configuration scenarios and be able to copy-adapt-paste the configuration samples from the DocCD.
3) 802.1x IBNS. All you need is to know how to set up the 802.1X control. No RADIUS server will be present in the lab, so this part is pretty basic as well.
4) SDM will not be present in the lab ISRs, so all configurations are purely CLI-based.

I’ll be updating this post to reflect any new information posted in the NetPro forum thread.

About Petr Lapukhov, 4xCCIE/CCDE:

Petr Lapukhov's career in IT begain in 1988 with a focus on computer programming, and progressed into networking with his first exposure to Novell NetWare in 1991. Initially involved with Kazan State University's campus network support and UNIX system administration, he went through the path of becoming a networking consultant, taking part in many network deployment projects. Petr currently has over 12 years of experience working in the Cisco networking field, and is the only person in the world to have obtained four CCIEs in under two years, passing each on his first attempt. Petr is an exceptional case in that he has been working with all of the technologies covered in his four CCIE tracks (R&S, Security, SP, and Voice) on a daily basis for many years. When not actively teaching classes, developing self-paced products, studying for the CCDE Practical & the CCIE Storage Lab Exam, and completing his PhD in Applied Mathematics.

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8 Responses to “New CCIE RS v4.0 Exam Format”

  1. Rizzo says:

    Grilling hot Lab format for candidates. Let’s see what arsenals INE got under their sleeves to counter it. It would be interesting to see.

  2. Andy Hogard says:

    Thanks a lot for the post. I would also like to know, if for features such as IOS-IPS and IOS-Zone FW ..use of any GUI such as SDM will be allowed or will it be all CLI.

    I tried to post the question to “Marilio” ..but the site kept returning me some null java applet error. :’(

    I am also expecting responses on GS, but so far all in vain.

  3. Arwin Erasga says:

    Waiting for the new R&S workbook for V4.0….

  4. [...] made few comments about CCIE RS v4.0 which I believe would help anyone who’s planning to take CCIE RS [...]

  5. To: Andy

    As I can see that, Marilio already replied to you, and statated that IPS is not to be tested in the new exam (though it’s mentioned in the blueprint!)

  6. To: Andy

    I just posted a detailed question to Maurilio, hope we’ll hear some information soon.

  7. Brandon Roberson says:

    Hi Peter,

    Great post! I would suppose reviewing and being intimately familiar with this reference would be a plus..;-)?


  8. Elton says:

    i have done training boot comp in London with ine. Today i have give the CCIE exam and failed. I didn’t understend why in L3 section i didn’t take any points when i am sure that most of this section i have configured correctly and i have prove it with show command. any body any idea why?? becouse the chanse is 100% percent to faild again if i not undestend this point


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