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.





  1. This is a huge weight off my mind. As I do practice scenarios, I find that I can typically get most of the subtasks done in a section, but sometimes I get hung up on one subtask. I’ll burn a lot of time trying to get it working. In the practice scenarios I’m doing from (DOiT v2), there is no scoring system, so I’ve had no idea how many points I might be earning if it were the actual lab. So I’ve gone on the assumption that if I want credit for the EIGRP section, for example, I have to get ALL the EIGRP components correct. All or nothing. This thread demonstrates that is ISN’T all or nothing, which is a huge relief! My chances of passing have gone up bit. 🙂

    Comment by Ethan Banks — November 4, 2007 @ 8:01 am | Reply

  2. […] About Lab Scoring on CCIE Pursuit Blog By Ethan Banks Check out this post on the CCIE Pursuit blog about lab scoring.  Great information! This entry is filed under Lab. […]

    Pingback by CCIE Candidate - A technical blog for Cisco CCIE candidates pursuing the routing & switching specialization. » Post About Lab Scoring on CCIE Pursuit Blog — November 4, 2007 @ 8:04 am | Reply

  3. Hi Ethan.

    I thought the same way about scoring that you did. I thought that if you had a section on EIGRP, you needed to get all of the tasks within that section exactly correct or you would not get any points for that section. This misconception is reinforced by the scoring feedback that I’ve seen others post because the categories are really broad (IGP, EGP, Security, QoS, and Multicast are some of the categories that leap to mind). It’s good to get the gospel directly from Maurilio Gorito’s mouth.

    That’s interesting that the NMC DoIT labs don’t have scoring. Maybe they save the scoring for their CheckIT labs only?

    Comment by cciepursuit — November 5, 2007 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

  4. any one answer me please> on my rs lab exam, i finished every questions, and i was able to ping every interface from any routers and switches. also i could ping multicast address. than i got 0% on bgp and 0 % on multicast . Is it possiable?

    Comment by now — November 8, 2007 @ 6:51 am | Reply

  5. […] actual lab and passing?  Wow – I wish I knew the answer to that question.  I was reading through CCIE Pursuit’s post about lab scoring, and based on that information, I’m doing better than I thought I was.  Knowing I can get […]

    Pingback by CCIE Candidate - A technical blog for Cisco CCIE candidates pursuing the routing & switching specialization. » Lab Strategy Update — November 11, 2007 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

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