CCIE Pursuit Blog

October 27, 2007

$1400 And They Can’t Afford Copies???

This comes from the recent Q&A with Maurilio Gorito (content manager for the CCIE R&S exams) on Ask The Expert at

Maurilio, having failed CCIE once and ready to fail again in January, I hope this does not breach NDA but, I was wondering why we are not able to write on the exam papers/lab diagrams during the lab, this added to the likelihood of making a simple mistake. This was very much the case on the diagrams as info such as AS numbers or OSPF processes were missing and simply writing them on the diagram would mean I would not have to look time and time again at the config. I am not blaming this for my failure but it all added to the already very difficult exam. Could we not have a photocopy of the exam and that could be handed in at the end?

This is something that bothers me as well.  I have heard that Cisco gives you some network topologies, BUT you are not allowed to write on them.  This has lead to many candidates recommending that you draw your own topologies (sometimes with colored pens) so that you have a topology that you can mark as you wish.

Here is Maurilio’s response:

Hi Andy,

In most of the lab locations we do re-use the lab doc for the next candidate and then we give you blank paper so you can draw and to make notes as needed.

I will get your suggestion to discussion internally to see how we could add it in consideration.

Thank you for the feedback.

WTF!?!  Cisco wants to reuse the exams so you aren’t allowed to write on them?  $1400 doesn’t cover the cost of copies?



  1. Lol

    Comment by xcke — October 27, 2007 @ 11:28 am | Reply

  2. I see two logical reasons for only allowing you scratch paper.

    1. When the CCIE was a two day exam, a portion of your score was determined by you diagramming skills (you will notice almost ALL ccie’s 7000 and below use colored pencils because of this). By not allowing you to write on the exams it forces you to draw detailed and accurate diagrams to successfully complete the lab.

    2. Obviously control of the lab content is high on the proctors minds. If all documents were replaced each day, then there would be countless more documents to control, and the risk of the labs getting into the wild

    Just my 2 cents
    Colin McNamara
    CCIE #18233

    Comment by Colin McNamara — October 27, 2007 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

  3. Wow, but it sure makes things so much harder for me! But I will surely want to practice colored pen diagramming when completing mock labs of my own.

    It would suck to trip over my own feet

    Comment by Luis — October 28, 2007 @ 11:54 pm | Reply

  4. @Colin – Both of your points are good. I was unaware of the history behind diagramming in the lab. Your second point makes a lot of sense, I wish that Maurilio would have mentioned it in his response.

    Comment by cciepursuit — October 31, 2007 @ 10:35 am | Reply

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