Earlier this year in April, we reported to you about a major change in policy to retakes of the CCIE Written and Lab exam. Just today Cisco updated that policy with a major blow for anyone who has been preparing under the old pretenses. Namely that: “These policy changes will be applied retroactively from the date of a candidate’s first lab attempt.” The seemingly innocuous announcement can be found on their CCIE Lab Policy page, just above the table indicating how long you must wait between attempts. This means that if you already have, for instance, two attempts (and unfortunate fails) going into August 2 (when the new policy goes into effect), you would have to wait 90 days from the time of your last attempt to retry the exam. This still gives folks a chance to get another attempt (or 2, possibly) in before this Aug 2 deadline, regardless of the number of previous failed (or missed, if you simply didn’t show) attempts. But of course the real goal of Cisco here is to try to get you to study harder before even attempting your first CCIE Lab – which isn’t a bad idea for everyone.

So as always – Happy Labbing and STUDY HARD!

About Mark Snow, CCIE #14073:

Mark Snow has been actively working with data and traditional telephony as a Network Consulting Engineer since 1995, and has been working with Cisco Call Manager and voice-over technology since 1998. Mark has been actively teaching and developing content for the CCIE Voice track since 2005, and the Security track since 2007. Mark's story with both data and voice technology started out quite young, as he began learning around the age of five from his father who was a patented inventor and a research scientist at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Mark started out on Unix System V and basic analog telephony, and went on from there to large data networking projects with technologies such as Banyan Vines, IPX and of course IP, and large phone systems such as Nortel 61c, Tadiran Coral, Avaya Definity and of course Cisco Unified Communications Manager in both enterprise and 911 PSAP environments across the US and internationally. Mark is also an accomplished pilot and punched his ticket in 2001. When Mark isn't learning, labing, consulting or teaching, he can be found either piloting or possibly jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, hanging off a rock somewhere or else skiing out west. He also might just be enjoying a quiet day at the beach with his wife and two wonderful young kids, Ryleigh and Judah.

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12 Responses to “Study Hard, The Policy is Retroactive”

  1. Alim H. Ali CCIE | #36988 says:

    I don’t think the policy should be design this way – It’s not fair for people who took labs at the beginning of the year (argument sake)and be penalized if they do not attempt until after August 2nd due to lab availability and/or time.

    What it should be:

    When Aug 2nd comes – Everyone should be at T=0. Regardless of what happens prior August 2nd.



  2. Jay says:

    So I went out and clarified with Cisco in case anyone is wondering. This retake policy only applies to labs taken within the same track.

    For example, if you have failed the RS exam three times, but now wish to take on the Collaboration track you do not need to wait 90 days after failing the last RS lab exam to take the Collaboration Lab. You can take it as soon as you pass the Collaboration Written exam.

    I know this seems like common sense because it is a retake policy, but I wanted to clarify incase anyone had any lingering questions or concerns about it.

    Hope that helps!

  3. PabloML says:

    I guess Cisco is introducing this new policy to minimize the impact of people sitting there just to memorize the questions (and selling them afterwards).

    Note that after failing 5 times, you need to wait 180 days…

  4. Keenan Padgett, CCIE #39076 says:

    WOW…I appreciate the info Mark. Sure would be nice if Cisco released some info that test takers would be happy to hear lol – it is what it is I guess

  5. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the valuable update Mark. I hope you have time to answer one question for me.

    I am still not clear on what this means for written exam attempts. I recently failed the CCIE DC written exam and I am studying hard for a new attempt.

    In my case, would an attempt at the DC written exam after the 2nd of August count as my 1st attempt for the calendar year?

  6. Rusty S. says:

    Given that “Collaboration” is a evolution to Voice v3, I wonder if any previous attempts at v3 in 2013 will count against the retroactive total towards Collaboration in 2014 and beyond.

    I certainly hope they treat Collaboration seperately from Voice.

    There were a lot of candidates, including myself, struggling to find testing dates across the globe from Oct 2013 to Feb 2014. I remember camping on the portal refreshing every 10 minutes and taking whatever I could get the last few tries. A friend ended up paying $1500 + $1500 on top to a Cisco employee that was squatting seats and reselling them over WebEx during the sell out period. People were desperate to finish voice, terrified that the last 1-2 years of their studying life were gone to waste if not successful.

    At any rate, I personally would have been more careful in that period of chaos if I knew 6-9 months later it would be coming back to haunt me.

    The wording in the policy states “must wait x amount of days before scheduling the SAME lab exam.”

    What is your take on this Mark?

  7. Omar says:

    I had two “no show” attempts one on voice and other on collaboration. Does it count towards failed attempt. and how many attempts it’ll be considered for Collaboration


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