CCIE Pursuit Blog

May 12, 2008

Booking the CCIE Lab

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification,Lab Tips — cciepursuit @ 9:19 am
Tags: , , ,

I passed the CCIE Routing and Switching written exam in mid March.  I was unable to login to the CCIE database to schedule my exam.  The problem was pretty obvious to me.  My test results listed my Cisco ID as “ID Pending”.  I had used Prometric for all of my previous certification exams and this was the first time that I had used VUE.  For some reason my Cisco ID was not in their system.  I waited the mandatory two weeks and then opened a ticket with Cisco.  I provided Cisco with all of my information and it looked like the issue would be resolved soon.  Then a week went by.  I asked for an update.  Another week went by.  Then the ticket was updated and set to close.  The last entry by Cisco:

“You need to login to the CCIE database to get your information.”

WTF???  I opened the ticket because I could NOT login to that database.  This was like telling someone who had locked their car keys in their car “You need to unlock your car and get your keys so that you can use them to unlock your car.”

I spent another week seeing if I could make headway with VUE.  That didn’t work so I opened another ticket with Cisco.  Within a couple of hours my issue was resolved and I could login.  It was now about 6 weeks since I passed the written exam.

I have been planning on taking my lab in San Jose in late July.  I plugged in July 21 to see which slots were available.  The database showed me dates in October.  Oh hell no.

I went a differnt route and just plugged in today’s date.  I saw a number of very recent dates available.  The database will show you 5 dates at a time.  I saw dates in mid June and then….early October.  😦

I bit the bullet and scheduled my lab for October 2.  I’ll just have to play the same dreary game that most candidates play: keep checking the database for slots that may come available for my preferred date.

So I plugged in my information with credit card in hand.  Then I got a bit of a shock.  I knew that Cisco does not charge your card until 28 days prior to the lab.  What I did not know is that you don’t need to provide a payment method until that time. 

Lab Request Completed
Your lab exam has been scheduled as requested and shown below. Be sure to review the lab preparation guidelines and best of luck on your exam.
Please print this page and keep it for your reference.
You may also click on Certification Status (at left) to review scheduled exams.
Lab Date: 02-Oct-2008
Location: San_Jose
Lab Type: Routing and Switching
Payment Due Date: 04-Sep-2008

So basically, anyone who has passed the written exam can schedule a lab date with no financial obligation until 28 days before the exam.

Cancellation Policy
Candidates must read and indicate they understand the CCIE cancellation policy before a lab date can be confirmed.

Lab dates may be cancelled or rescheduled without penalty up until the payment due date, 28 days before the scheduled lab date. Rescheduling is required for any change to lab date, track or location.
Once the payment due date has passed, we cannot refund payments for rescheduling, cancellations or no shows. Rescheduling a lab after the payment date has passed will require an additional payment of $1400US. Our labs have only a limited number of seats and we are unable to book another candidate to replace you so close to the exam date.
If you decide not to attend a scheduled lab date, you will be marked as a “no show” and will not be able to re-book any date for the next 30 days.

No wonder the lab is so booked up.  No wonder that a number of lab slots come available within 28 days of a preferred date.

I have seen this viewpoint voiced on GroupStudy and I support it as well: Cisco should take payment immediately when a lab date is scheduled.  That would decrease the number of “soft” slots that are scheduled.  Cisco could still allow you to reschedule outside of the 28 day mark, but just not provide refunds.  This would decrease the amount of daily lab date fishing.

As it stands, I’ll stick with the October date.  I hope to have a good idea of where I’m at preparation wise after the Mock Lab Workshop in June.  If I get a green light then I’ll start fishing for an earlier date.  If not, I’ll just stick with my October date.



  1. Or implement a reschedule penalty, same as what the airliners do.

    Comment by antoniehenning — May 12, 2008 @ 10:04 am | Reply

  2. Finding a date in Dubai is even more difficult.
    For 3 months i couldnt find a single date, far and near alike. 🙂
    There simply were no dates available at all.
    Then I found one on Sept 18th
    then a few dates opened up in May and June and went away within a day …
    Not a single date in July and August as I wanted.
    SO i am stuck with September 18th.
    By all estimation you’d be a CCIE by than:)

    Comment by badarfarooq — May 12, 2008 @ 10:49 am | Reply

  3. Good Luck I scheduled mine the week after in RTP on the 10/6/2008.

    Comment by Erica — May 12, 2008 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  4. Keep checking the site if your heart is set on July. I ran into the same issue, and several people mentioned that dates come up during the current month regularly. I ended up sticking with my date, rather than check and check and check like a rabid weasel, but I betcha you can get a July date if you start checking in about 6 weeks from what others have told me.

    Comment by Ethan Banks — May 12, 2008 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

  5. At the same time also not get to attached to a date, even though you have the date booked, Cisco can make changes as and when they choose/need to.

    I was looking for a date in dubai 6 months ago and eventually gave up. When I had to reschedule my date recently I noticed an early June date in dubai opened up, it was 1 day before the 28 day payment date, I think they open up just before then.

    Comment by ahenning — May 12, 2008 @ 5:47 pm | Reply

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