CCIE Pursuit Blog

November 3, 2007

CCIE Lab Scoring

This thread over at GroupStudy shines a light on some of the CCIE lab scoring questions.

Here’s the original question followed by responses from the big guns at IPexpert and Internetwork Expert:

Hey peeps,
Quick question on grading, the exam guide says something like you need to get all points in a section for it to be marked correct, no points are awarded for a partially completed or partially correct section.
that’s cool, my question is what constitutes a “section”
For example, if Bridging and Switching is task “1” and has sub tasks such:
1.1  2 points
1.2  2 points
1.3  3 point
1.4  2 points
1.5  3 points
does that mean I have to 1.1-5 all correct to get any points (12 in this case) in bridging and switching, or does it mean I have to get all of 1.1 right to get my 2 points, all of 1.2 right to get another 2 points, etc etc


No, the partial credit rule has to do with tasks INSIDE a point section.  So if each of those subsections (1.1, 1.2, etc) had two tasks each but you only did one of them correctly in 1.3, you could get points for 1.1, 1.2, 1.4 and 1.5 still.

Now, there are “exceptions” or variations to that.  This is a results-based grading in most instances.  So there’s a chance that what you did not get working in 1.1 made it impossible for 1.4 and 1.5 to work, so by that you would lose multiple areas.

Having the right commands in doesn’t necessarily mean that things are working everywhere you expect.  That’s why it’s important to do your own show/debugs to let the router/switch tell you that you’ve done a good job!


 Scott Morris, CCIE4 (R&S/ISP-Dial/Security/Service Provider) #4713, JNCIE-M
#153, JNCIS-ER, CISSP, et al.
VP – Technical Training – IPexpert, Inc.
IPexpert Sr. Technical Instructor

Here are a couple questions and answers from the Ask the Expert session in regards to grading (edited by me for clarity 😉

Q – How are points awarded in the exam? Per question or per section?

A – You are marked down points for questions, not per section. Suppose you have 4 QoS questions, 2+2+2+3 points total 9 points. If you got the first 3 correct then for the QoS section you will get 6 points or around 66% of the section. Again, candidates are given points per questions.
Q – Let’s say we have a multicast task that is worth 3 points. Suppose I can get it working but to do so I have to create a loopback interface, and that breaks one of the requirements of a 2 point task in an earlier section. Do I lose the 2 points for the earlier task, or 3 for the multicast task, or 5 for both tasks?

A – If in order to get your 3 multicast points you need to create a loopback that breaks a clear exam restriction on a earlier question you will lose points for the early question (worth 2 points per example) but not lose points for the multicast question.

Brian Dennis, CCIE4 #2210 (R&S/ISP-Dial/Security/SP)

Later in the thread a poster asks about the scoring feedback that you receive after failing the lab (if you pass you don’t get this feedback, just a number).  Here are a couple of responses:

When you receive your lab, it will have all that information there.  So you can see how many points each section has.

There is no magic formula, each exam may be different.  That’s what makes the grade report difficult.  While they give you percentages of major sections, it’s up to you to remember how many points there were in correlation to the blueprint in order to attempt to figure out a score.

In the long run, the score really doesn’t matter!  If you don’t get 80 points, you get a score report in order to help you figure out which areas of the blueprint you need more work on than others.  If you do get 80 points, you get your CCIE number, and NOT a score report.

Scott Morris, CCIE4 (R&S/ISP-Dial/Security/Service Provider) #4713, JNCIE-M
#153, JNCIS-ER, CISSP, et al.
VP – Technical Training – IPexpert, Inc.
IPexpert Sr. Technical Instructor

Hi Lim,

I realize I’m the wrong Scott to be answering, but I found it very interesting that Maurillo Goritos’ recent “Ask The Experts” session on Netpro actually addressed point percentages on a couple of different occasions.  Conventional wisdom I think has always held that this is NDA stuff but Maurillo apparently doesn’t view it that way.  Here are a few quotes:

“The Security topics in the lab represent about 6% to 8% of the exam and the blueprint cover basically:

1. AAA
2. Security server protocols
3. Traffic filtering and firewalls
4. Access lists
5. Routing protocols security, catalyst security
7. Other security features”
“Keep in mind that Switching and IP routing are about 70% of the exam.”

One gets the impression that we could have gotten a full official record of the current lab point breakdown if we had asked the right questions.  I got into the discussion towards the very end, though, it was too late by then.

Other things of note were that no changes to the written nor the lab blueprint is in the offing.  No changes to lab hardware are eminent or even decided upon at this point.   More lab locations are likely to be announced in early 2008.  Elvis is indeed alive and well (rooms with Hoffa).  Wireless is still under consideration for its own CCIE track or perhaps incorporation back into R&S.  The blueprint will shortly be updated to clarify a few things to do with multicast.



Cisco Technical Knowledge Library and CCIE Exam Guide 3rd Edition

My brief vacation is over [sigh] and I’m starting the slow process of catching up with work over the weekend so that it does not bite me in the ass on Monday.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide – 3rd Edition is now available on our Cisco Technical Knowledge Library:

Title: CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide – 3rd Edition   
Date: 2007.11.01
Duration: 1221 pages
Level: Professional 

What the hell is the Cisco Technical Knowledge Library?  Good question:

Cisco Advanced Services
Technical Knowledge Library

The Technical Knowledge Library contains a wealth of content centered on Cisco products and technologies.

Content in the Technical Knowledge Library includes a catalog of Cisco Advanced Services job aids, whitepapers, and video on demand; self-study resources such as Cisco Press books and Networkers Online; and content developed for your company by Advanced Services.

The Technical Knowledge Library is offered to you based on your organization’s service contracts with Cisco Advanced Services. Use of this content is governed by contractual agreements between your company and Cisco Systems, Inc. Content may not be reproduced, shared, or distributed to unauthorized users. If you have questions about approved use of Technical Knowledge Library content, please contact your Cisco account team.

I guess that my employer pays enough cash to Cisco to rate free Cisco Press PDF and training classes.  There are a number of good courses available.  My favorite feature is all of the training sessions from Networkers are recorded and available on this server.

Now to get cracking on those 1221 pages.  🙂

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