Cisco has released their ‘official’ grading policy concerning the new open ended CCIE questions. [HT: Realpro27 on IEOC forum]. Here’s the skinny:
The Core Knowledge section will consist of four short-answer questions that will be delivered via computer. Candidates will have up to 30 minutes to type their answers to these questions. Once you have submitted your answers (which will typically require a response of five words or less), you may begin your CCIE lab. You will not be allotted extra time to finish the lab. You cannot return to the Core Knowledge section after you submit your answers. The short-answer questions will be manually graded (spelling and grammar will not be penalized). The Core Knowledge section is scored as Pass/Fail. If you correctly answer at least three of these questions, then you will pass the Core Knowledge section and will see 100% on your score report. If you miss two or more questions, then you will fail the Core Knowledge section and see a 0% on your score report. If you fail the Core Knowledge section, then you fail the entire lab exam. If you pass the Core Knowledge section then you will still need to score 80 points on your lab exam to achieve CCIE status. You cannot ask for a reread of the Core Knowledge section specifically, but it will be re-graded if you request a lab re-read.
To maintain exam security and the integrity of the CCIE R&S Lab exam, a Core Knowledge section consisting of four and [sic] computer-delivered short-answer questions is being added to the lab exam in all global lab locations. Candidates will be required to type out their answers, which typically require five words or less. No changes are being made to the lab exam blueprint or to the length of the lab exam. This new section covers core concepts and can be answered easily and quickly by well-prepared CCIE candidates. When candidates complete the Core Knowledge section, they may move immediately to the lab configuration portion of the exam.
Candidates will be given a maximum of 30 minutes to answer the four questions in the Core Knowledge section.
Note: Candidates will not be allowed to go back and change their answers in the Core Knowledge section later in the exam.
You must at least answer 3 out of 4 questions to pass the section.
Candidates must pass the Core Knowledge section containing the short-answer questions and the Lab Exam section to achieve CCIE certification. However, the Core Knowledge section is scored as Pass/Fail and the percentage of correct responses does not affect the candidates overall percent score.
A candidate must answer at least three of the four short-answer questions correctly to pass the Core Knowledge section, which will be indicated with a 100% mark on the score report. If a candidate answers fewer than three correctly, the Core Knowledge section will be marked 0%, indicating a Fail. A 0% does not necessarily indicate the candidate answered all the questions incorrectly and the zero does not get averaged into the overall score. Candidates should be aware that it is possible to pass the configuration and troubleshooting parts of the exam but fail the Core Knowledge section and therefore not earn CCIE certification.
Note: To protect the integrity of the exam, we cannot disclose how many short-answers you correctly or incorrectly answered.
For Short-Answer Question Examples, please visit the Instant Answer “CCIE Lab: Short Answer Question Examples“
You can surf over here and download a PDF with some examples of the type of questions you can expect in the Core Knowledge section. Since there are only two questions (currently) in the PDF, I’ll just post them here to save you the CPU cycles:
1) Refer to the diagram above. On which routers can you enable summarization in OSPF?
Highlight for answer: Any ABR router.
2. What protocol do the following statements describe?
Integral to IPv6
Every node that implements IPv6 must fully implement this protocol.
Many IPv6 functions utilize this protocol e.g. MTU path discovery, and neighbor discovery, etc.
Highlight for answer: ICMPv6
If I got those two questions, then I would have blown my one incorrect answer on question 2. I also would have probably asked for clarification on question 1 as well as writing a blurb about “assuming that none of these routers are ASBRs”.
You can see from the examples that you’re either going to know the answer or not. You can also see that this questions will not likely be limited to “core” subjects (IGPs, switching, BGP) only. This is good to know. I haven’t spent much time on IPv6 theory because it’s not a core topic, and the IPv6 implementation on the lab is pretty basic. I know how to make it work, but I haven’t memorized the theory. It looks like that will need to change. 🙂
You may have noticed that I’ve been posting “Open Ended Question of the Day” posts lately. I’ve started my final pass through the Cisco Documentation (reading all of the configuration guides for the core topics) and formed some open ended questions from that material. I have to hand it to Cisco, it’s difficult to create good, open ended questions from the material without simply asking for a candidate to answer with a configuration command.
Internetwork Expert has begun work on a Core Technology Simulation Product and you can sample four questions from that product here. I got 3 out of 4, but – once again – missed the IPv6 question. 😦
Thank you to Cisco for providing more clarification on the grading and composition of the new Core Knowledge section of the CCIE lab.