In a continuing effort to protect the integrity of the CCIE program, Cisco has announced a major change regarding the retake policy of the CCIE Written and Practical Lab exams. These changes take effect on August 1, 2014. Assuming a candidate happens not to pass on their first attempt at either a written or a practical "lab" exam within a given track, the frequency with which they will be allowed to retake the exam will change dramatically from past allowances, effectively not allowing the candidate virtually 'unlimited' retakes within a single calendar year (more specifically, within 12 calendar months from the date of the first attempt).
Changes to CCIE Practical Lab Exam
Perhaps the most interest for most people will be the frequency with which one will be allowed to re-sit for a CCIE Lab exam. Assuming a candidate does not pass on their first attempt at a given lab exam, they will still be allowed to attempt to retake the exam after 30 days has elapsed. The major change comes with the possibility that the candidate does not pass on their second attempt - after this attempt they must now wait for another 90 days to make their third attempt. Unlikely, but assuming a failure on attempt three, and a need to sit for attempt four, the candidate must wait another 90 days. Same goes for attempt four to attempt five. After a very, very bad year whereby a need to appear a sixth time becomes necessary, the wait period goes up to a full six months between attempts. The changes can be seen in a screenshot from a recent webinar below (after the jump).
Changes to CCIE Written Lab Exam
Next up are the changes to the CCIE Written exam. These changes are a bit more straightforward - wait time between failures increases from 5 days to 15 days, and you simply may not attempt the written exam more than 4 times in a single calendar year. Again, the changes can be seen in a screenshot from the same webinar.
The webinar discussed above can be found here, and it goes on to discuss a large number of other very interesting topics such as the new role of the Network Programability Engineer (SDN, OnePK, ACI/APIC) and the dedicated DevNet lounge that Cisco will have coming up in a few weeks at Cisco Live in San Francisco. Some other smaller changes are also announced in the webinar, such as the new re-scoring policy. The major changes announced above start around the 35 minute mark into the webinar. The re-scoring policy change pertains mainly to the new fact that a candidate may now pay $400USD to have any relevant output (show, debug, etc) obtained by scripts or by proctors during the grading of your CCIE lab exam (any CCIE lab) reviewed again to decide if they may possibly reverse your previous 'Fail' to a 'Pass'. This is different than the reread (which is still only available for the R&S and SP tracks at the cost of $600USD), whereby your full lab configurations are reloaded onto the relevant devices and the entire grading performed a second time. Also of interest and discussed in the webinar are the current policies of rescheduling labs both outside of the 90 days for free and also within the 90 day window for a small fee (if your credit card or wire transfer has already been processed).
The changes Cisco is making are done with one purpose in mind - namely to protect the integrity of the CCIE Program while maintaining that candidates apply themselves aptly in a rigorous manner leading up to their attempt at an examination. Anyone properly prepared, with a thorough understanding of every possible permutation of every technology listed in the blueprint for the track they are studying for, still has only to go and apply the technologies they've studied hard to learn, and expect success.