Jason on Groupstudy recently passed his CCIE lab in RTP. He is the first candidate that I have read about who has given feedback on the new open-ended question portion of the (Routing and Switching) lab:
I was actually trying to avoid talking about the Open Ended question, because I don’t know what the NDA even allows me to discuss or not discuss about them and even though I just had them I still don’t know much about how they are used in the testing process. I will say that personally the questions were not difficult, but I’m sure that there’s is a very huge pool of them so in my opinion there’s no telling what a person may get. I still don’t even know how they’re graded or how that grade, if it exists, affects your overall lab results. Maybe they’re being vague about things on purpose…I don’t know. They are, just as their name implies, open-ended. No multiple choice…no interviews…just questions that you read and provide a typed response to. I agree with Cisco’s statement, that CCIE candidates *should *be able to answer them without much difficulty, but what if someone just so happens to get the handful of questions that they hadn’t prepared for as much as they should have even though they may have spent a year or more studying / testing / labbing? I’m sure something needs to be done if there are integrity problems with the lab material, but I just don’t know that these open ended questions is the solution they’re looking for.
You will NOT be able to reference the Cisco documentation during the open-ended question portion of the lab. Since Jason passed his lab (congratulation by the way) he did not receive a scoring report (well…the best type of scoring report, the one that just says ‘Pass’):
No, there are no references allowed for the questions. They never clarified about the points or weights for the questions. They really didn’t provide any information about that part of it at all. I wish I knew. Although the questions are “open-ended”, everyone should be prepared to answer very specific questions. I think that’s about all I can say.
Another candidate’s comment indicated that you needn’t worry about composing an essay response for each question:
Don’t stress about the questions. They are short answer questions for one question I answered with 2 words.
I encourage you to read the entire thread but here are the major points about the new questions:
You’re given the questions at your workstation and you answer them on your PC (not an oral interview).
You can ask the proctor for clarification on the questions.
You are given up to 30 minutes to answer the questions, but as soon as you finish them you can begin the lab.
You are not granted additional time for these questions. If it takes you the maximum 30 minutes to complete them, then you will only have 7.5 hours for your lab.
Hopefully this clears up some of the confusion and angst about this new addition to the lab.