The new CCIE Version 4.X exam of R&S certainly causes the need for extreme Time Management strategy practices. In other words, without a rock-solid Time Management approach for each of the three lab sections – you fail! This three part blog series will examine Time Management strategies for each exam section – in order.

The first exam section you face is the Core Knowledge section. This section consists of four, short-answer style questions. You are not permitted to use the DOC-CD during this section, but you may use the scratch paper provided by the proctor. You could also ask the proctor clarifying question(s) in this section, but they are highly likely to be more evasive than usual during Core Knowledge.

From a Time Management perspective in this section, you actually have more time than you need! Isn’t that strange for a CCIE exam section! You are given a total of 30 minutes for the 4 short-answer questions.

Now here is the trick…you must resist the temptation to RUSH through these four questions in order to gain time in the Configuration section. Yes, it is true that if you finish the questions in 4 minutes, you will gain 26 minutes in your Configuration section, but realize that if you rush and FAIL this section, you have FAILED the entire exam. The fact that you gained 26 minutes for the Configuration section did absolutely nothing for you.In fact – it hurt you!

I train my students to basically ignore the clock in this section. Your job is to read the questions very carefully and carefully input your response. Before submitting, go back and read the question and your answer carefully one more time. Then, click Finish. If you end up with 15 or 20 minutes of extra time for the Configuration section, great, bonus. But the main point is clear, you must pass the section!

I hope you will join me in Part 2 where we look at the most critical section for a Time Management strategy – Troubleshooting!

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8 Responses to “Time Management in the CCIE R&S Exam – Part 1 of 3”

  1. Ian Finlayson says:


    Off the subject slightly, any news on the material that was going to be created for doing a general FULL review of the v.4 material similar to the old flash cards and the CCIE ref guide which you made. I thought Petr had mentioned something of that nature was coming very shortly??


  2. Nadeem Rafi says:

    i really like the idea to ignore the clock in first section… This makes sure to have proper time to answer in good shape. Rather than trying to rush.

    Great advice.

  3. Frias says:

    Great advise! I am really in the expectation for the troubleshooting section! I am going in a few days to sit, so this kind of advice can make some difference! Thanks!

  4. Hello Ian!

    Great to “see you” again my friend.

    Graded Labs has some excellent things coming for us. First, in December, a new engine for the Core Knowledge Simulation. Then closely following that, a review tool for key facts that you are going to LOVE. I am here in Reno this week so I will meet with them and try and blog some more detailed date information.

  5. duofilm says:

    I have always wondered why is it that in the other sections you are pressed for time and in this first section you are given so much time to give 4 SHORT answers. Humm!!! Where is the catch?

  6. Ian Finlayson says:

    Hey… Many thanks for the updates.. I will be looking forward (as always) to reading the blogs about the new updates!

    I think a review type tool is essential alright, I am still working my way through Petr’s excellent QoS Manual, but feel that I have done nothing but QoS the last couple of weeks, now can I remember all that Multicast BiDir and IPv6 etc :)

    Enjoy Reno… again ;)

  7. Pooples says:


    I just took the lab on Monday. I finished my (easy) core knowledge questions in ten minutes to get extra time in the troubleshooting section. YOU DO NOT GET THE EXTRA TIME! You have to log off of a Windows section for the core knowledge section and then log in with a different username/password for the troubleshooting/configuration section, so there is no way to track the time. You log in to the testing GUI, and once you start the troubleshooting section, the clock starts at 120 minutes (displayed on the GUI), no matter how much time was left over. Now since you are logged on to the same session for troubleshooting/configuration, if you finish troubleshooting first you will get the extra time for configuration. Please pass this along to your students so that they do NOT rush through the core knowledge section for no reason.

    BTW, the troubleshooting section was awesome and fun.

    No I didn’t pass… But next time I will…


  8. Christian Biasibetti says:

    Thank you~, and thank you Pooples … is the first time that I can read real answer to my doubt about the new exam/lab.
    If you have more info, please share to us.

    Christian B.


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