CCIE Pursuit Blog

February 1, 2008

Are CCIE Rereads Worth It?

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 8:04 pm
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Brad Reese recently posted about the CCIE reread.  A reread is an option that candidates who fail the CCIE Routing and Switching lab may request.  Your final configurations are loaded on a pod and a different proctor grades your lab.  A reread costs $250 and can take weeks to complete.  Very few candidates actually pass the exam on a reread.  Brad points out this scary statistic:

Before requesting a reread, consider that historically only 0.3%of CCIE Lab Exam rereads have been changed from Fail to Pass.

Those are not very good odds.  Still, if you are within a few points of passing the lab it would be very hard not to request a reread.  For instance, if you failed with a score of 77 points you might only be one or two tasks away from passing.  $250 is only about 17% of the cost of another lab attempt (even less when you factor in travel and expenses).  So is a reread a good option if you are that close to passing?

Maybe not.  I’m completely talking out my ass here, but I have to think that if a proctor grades a lab and the final score is within a task or two of passing, they are probably going to double check their results.  In that case, if you score a 77, it is probably a solid 77.  Again, I am completely speculating on this point.

That said, if I were to fail the lab with a score 77 or higher, then I would still spend the $250 – even with the .3% chance of reversal.  The worst part would not be spending the $250.  It would be the agonizing waiting period.

November 7, 2007

CCIE Lab Swapping

I missed this posting when it came out on 11 October, but Brad Reese has a must read post concerning swapping CCIE lab dates.  The post started off very promising with the mention of a site that acts as a central point to exchange lab dates.  I clicked on the hyperlink and quickly discovered what I would have found out if I had read Reese’s article a little further: the site went up in February of this year and has exactly zero responses. 

From there Reese mentions the Group Study lab swap page, which is similarly dead.  He then lists a few more lively sites, including the Routing and Switching Lab Swap forum at routerie.com.  Still, with as many request for lab swaps as I see on various forum, you would think that these types of sites would be vastly more popular.

The great thing about Brad’s blog is that he is often able to go directly to Cisco and bounce question off of them.  In this case he uncovered some surprising and – for many CCIE candidates – disappointing answers from Lang Tibbels (PR Manager Corporate Communications for Cisco).  I encourage you to go to Brad’s post and read it in its entirety, but here are Lang’s responses (emphasis mine):

“According to the policies that govern our CCIE certification date swapping is not allowed.”

“If you give up a date you must reschedule via the online system.”

“If another candidate wants that date they must request it via the online tool.”

“A photo ID is required for the lab test and thus the ID must match the individual registered.”

“Our lab backlog varies by location, but on average is 1-3 months.”

“Our no show ratio is very low given candidates are charged if they don’t show, so many simply reschedule.”

“We are aware of the lab backlog and continue to work on expanding lab capacity.”

“CCIEs don’t have to take the lab test when recertifying.”

“New CCIEs have 18-months to schedule their lab test after passing the written.”

I’ve never delved into the exact process behind candidates swapping lab dates, but I always assumed that it was a simple matter of getting the two parties to agree to swap dates and those two candidates somehow got Cisco to go along with it.  I am surprised to find out that Cisco says that date swapping is not allowed as I’ve seen plenty of posts from candidates who have successfully swapped a lab date.

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