CCIE Pursuit Blog

October 3, 2008

The CCIE Kicked My Ass and Stole My Girlfriend

Filed under: Cisco — cciepursuit @ 9:02 am

The Cisco score report was in my inbox this morning (it came in around midnight).  After about 15 minutes of trying to remember my username, password, certification ID, written score and date…I was treated to:

Thank you for taking the CCIE Routing and Switching Lab exam. We regret to inform you that your test performance did not meet certification standards. Although you did not pass on this attempt, take pride in being among the few Internetworking engineers who have qualified to take Cisco Systems’ CCIE Certification Lab examination. This in itself is an accomplishment and we hope that you will continue to pursue your certification goal.

That’s what I expected.  What I didn’t expect was the score report.  I didn’t even come close.  My absolute weakest technology is Security.  I score 100% in that category.  J’adore l’absurde.  🙂

The score report does NOT give you a final grade.  You could estimate your final score if you knew the points for each section and multiplied them by the percentages.  I don’t remember the point totals, and am thankful for that as I really don’t want to know what my final score was.

I’m going to take a week or two off (one week to catch up at work and another to catch up at home) then I’ll jump back on the horse again.  I’m going to be completely screwed for time but I’m going to try again in January.  I will be attempting to read every bit of the Cisco documentation that I possibly can between now and then.  I don’t think that I’m violating the NDA by telling you that the test asks you to configure technologies based on descriptions of that technology.  As I stated, the configurations themselves were not difficult (probably about a 6 – 7 in IE ratings) but figuring out what the hell they wanted was very difficult (at least to me).

Oh well, I’m off to do some winery tours so I’ll at least be able to drink away some of the memory.  🙂  Actually, I’ve been pretty okay with the whole process.  After I left the lab I grabbed a Diet Mt. Dew from the Cisco breakroom and affixed my name tag to it.  That $1400 can of soda will be my inspiration for my next attempt.



  1. $1400/can! Holy guacamole! The Bay Area really does have a higher cost of living than SoCal.

    Enjoy your wine tours and the weather.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — October 3, 2008 @ 9:13 am | Reply

  2. Well good to see you relaxed about it.
    And I cannot believe really.
    Anyway, 2nd times the charm.
    Out of curiosity, can you tell us how much you scored in L2 section?

    Comment by Barooq — October 3, 2008 @ 9:27 am | Reply

  3. Man if you did not pass it on your first attempt, it makes me wonder what some of these people are using to study that they passed on theirs…
    You were so on top of everything man…
    Thinking I am not even going to bother with mine man, if you didn’t pass forget about it for me lol…

    Comment by cciejourney — October 3, 2008 @ 9:34 am | Reply

  4. I took my exam at RTP and i can tell you the worst part of it was not the studying and the night before the exam but it was time after i had finished the exam awaiting the results. You tend to second guess everthing and although i passed i must admire your determination and courage for getting back on the horse again. It is very hard especially after all the scarifice. I would suggest you read the Cisco documentation to an extent where you can find really quickly topics that you are weak in. As far as I remember cisco doc examples are pretty good. That was my stratergy. Also in the exam try not to second guess yourself. I asked the proctor a lot of questions and he replied you are over thinking the question go back and read it again. Alot of the question in the lab could be straightforward. That been said always keep you guard up. I did not draw any diagrams except for BGP and multicast. I did Mock Labs just like you and scored 60% on average. I attended bootcamp and it solidfied my understanding of the technologies. I had my own rack at work and have 24/7 access to it. I also had a study partner which i found very helpful. Hope i have not bored anyone but Good luck in the future.

    Comment by ddagsyn — October 3, 2008 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  5. actually wat kind of ip features u encounter? i would say the ip feature portion coverage is quite big…

    Comment by William — October 3, 2008 @ 10:45 am | Reply

  6. Following you on your quest for almost a year now, it somehow feels strange to hear the result from your exam. It almost feels like I’m the one that took the exam. I guess I’m seeing myself years from now in the same situation and in my mind’s eye, I’m projecting what I would be feeling if I were in your position at that moment.

    I do like your attitude about it though. You seem to be cool about it all. Maybe it’s the California vibe. 😉 Good luck in January.

    Comment by Aragoen Celtdra — October 3, 2008 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  7. Sorry to hear this but everything happens for a reason. I am sure you will get it on your 2nd attempt bro. I agree with CCIE Journey, if you didnt get it then I might as well wait until I see you with a number lol I am no way near your level.

    Comment by — October 3, 2008 @ 11:45 am | Reply

  8. Sorry to hear that you didn’t pass. But don’t worry, it took me also 2 attempts to pass it. First time around I totally screwed up the multicasting section. The second time was much easier (about 1 month later), I finished at around 3 o’clock. My social life was also totally screwed untill I passed the lab, I am trying to pick up those pieces again… 🙂 I know it sucks right now but when you finally pass it you feel like the king of the world, good luck dude! I will be checking your site soon.

    Comment by Chris — October 3, 2008 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  9. Sucks. But whatever, you’ll own it next time I’m sure. =)

    Comment by stretch — October 3, 2008 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  10. Not what I expected and actually scares me a little. From reading your posts you have an understanding of the technology I am sure that not that you know the game is played you will get it on your next attempt.


    Comment by Andrew Dempsey — October 3, 2008 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

  11. I failed also the first time and I have changed my strategy. No more labbing,labbing and more labbing but reading ,only Cisco sources is their exam,reading and labbing.I have learned that knowing and understanding the theory behind the technologies is as important or even more important than configuring them.
    Maybe I am right.

    Comment by Giorgio P. — October 3, 2008 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

  12. I am interested were there any sections for which you felt you could have been better prepared for beyond wording/interpretation issues?

    Comment by Andrew Dempsey — October 3, 2008 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

  13. I hate to hear it. Good luck in January.

    Comment by Josh Horton — October 3, 2008 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  14. Dude. Keep your head up! Learn from your mistakes. Bug the crap outta of the proctor for every question you are even slightly unsure about. Like you, I found question interpretation to be a big part of the whole process. I ended up taking about 20 trips to the proctor when I did the lab.

    I’m sure you’ll open a can of whoop ass on the lab in January!

    Comment by Arden Packeer — October 3, 2008 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

  15. Well Cowboy You know what to do when you fall off the horse. You spur that son of a bitch and let him know who is boss!!! I think it is like Brian said If you are Smart then you tend to over think things. Just dont quit.

    Comment by Tony — October 3, 2008 @ 10:59 pm | Reply

  16. Sorry to hear you didnt make it man. Hopefully next time you will come through with the digits. Enjoy the time off

    Comment by navfett — October 3, 2008 @ 10:59 pm | Reply

  17. Bad luck man. Have a breather, clear your head and then knuckle back down to it. It’s been mentioned before – but it really is the best feeling when you get those digits. Keep at it!

    Comment by Brad — October 4, 2008 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  18. Sorry to hear you did not make it at the first try. This makes think that I won’t have a change on my first try. Let’s just study harder and beat the beast..

    Comment by Goingtobrussels — October 4, 2008 @ 5:34 am | Reply

  19. Shake it off dude, and consider it a one-day, $1400 bootcamp, which is cheap by California standards. I have to agree with other posts here that the prospect of my testing (December, for me) is pretty scary now because you seemed to be so on top of things on the Vol 2 labs, I thought you had it all covered- which I suppose is testament to the difficulty of this test. But I also believe you will get eventually. I know very smart people who didn’t get their number until the second and third attempts. You’ll get yours, and I’ll get mine- it’s a just a question of when…

    Comment by Rod — October 4, 2008 @ 10:03 am | Reply

  20. …remember, it’s not a failure unless you quit…

    Comment by Rod — October 4, 2008 @ 10:07 am | Reply

  21. Dude,

    You’ll nail it next time!

    I’m still trying to work up the courage to re-take the CCNA (missed it by about 50 points).

    Comment by Josh Crowder — October 4, 2008 @ 10:45 am | Reply

  22. Hang in there. Push on. Don’t give up.

    Comment by Ethan — October 4, 2008 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  23. Dude,

    Good luck for January 2009. We’ll see some numbers by then as all of us here hope for you :-).

    There was once a guy who told me … if you get beaten the first time, go home, take a beer and sleep. Then the next round go and try again. So I believe this applies very strongly to the CCIE :-).

    Comment by Nickelby Thane — October 4, 2008 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  24. Bad luck dude,

    Persistance is the key to success. Never give up and you will make it. You need to go away to come back so take some time off and and then jump back on the horse. Now that you have had an attempt you have some serious insight in to what to expect so January should be a breese. Hehehe.

    Mike – CCIE pursuer

    Comment by Mike — October 5, 2008 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

  25. Sorry to hear about the result, after all the effort you’ve clearly put into the lab preperation and this blog. Enjoy the time off before diviing back into it!

    Comment by nullrouter — October 6, 2008 @ 4:34 am | Reply

  26. Hey Buddy !

    Sorry to hear about this but the good thing is that you’re taking it well.

    Will you like to share more of your story with us so that we can learn from it.

    By the way, how did the CCIE stole your girlfriend ?

    Comment by Sesano — October 6, 2008 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  27. ah man, I thought you’d make it. Sorry to hear the bad news. You seem to know your stuff, prepped well.

    I bet you’ll get it next time. Don’t leave things too long, get into it as soon as you can again, and make sure you’re set for next time.

    Comment by CCIEDownunder — October 7, 2008 @ 4:08 am | Reply

  28. At least you can continue entertaining us with your exploits. Definitely the best CCIE blog i’ve read – keep it up. You’re THE MAN!!

    Comment by Gunga_Jim — October 7, 2008 @ 7:03 am | Reply

  29. Keep your chin up! It took me 5 tries to pass the Voice IE, and i can tell you this….no matter how many tries it takes you to pass, it will be worth it. Never give up!

    Comment by Chris Driggers — October 7, 2008 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  30. Hey man I’m also sorry to hear of this but know that next time you will own it. It’s only a matter of time b4 you have your no.

    Now let’s go find your gf!

    Comment by Roy — October 8, 2008 @ 3:26 am | Reply

  31. Failure is when we stop trying.

    -CCIE Pilot

    Comment by Mar Apuhin — October 10, 2008 @ 6:53 am | Reply

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