Pursuing the CCIE certification path necessitates careful planning and comprehension of the exam structure. This article intends to give you with useful insights, tactics, and suggestions to help you successfully traverse your CCIE Certificate resources, from preparation to post-exam activities.
In this article, I’ll go over various CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure v1 study tips and tactics that you can employ. Actually, not only during your study, but also before and after the exam, whether you pass or fail. So, if you’re interested in taking the Cisco CCIE exam, keep reading.
Table of contents
- Navigating CCIE Certificate Requirements
- Cisco’s Expectations: A Pre-Exam Expertise Checklist
- Choosing the Right Tools: Devices for Effective Study
- Decoding the CCIE Certification Exam Format
- Achieving the Pass Marks: Cracking the Point System
- Unveiling Essential Resources
- Pro Tips for Effective Study
- Navigating the User Interface of CCIE Certificate
- Pro Tips for Exam Day
Navigating CCIE Certificate Requirements
Let’s take a look at the requirements to take the CCIE Lab exam.
To kickstart your CCIE Certification journey, you must first meet certain requirements. The CCIE Certification Lab exam, the ultimate test of your expertise, mandates passing the written ENCOR exam. Cisco has recently streamlined the process, eliminating the need for multiple prerequisites. Now, successfully clearing the written ENCOR exam grants you eligibility for the lab exam.
Cisco’s Expectations: A Pre-Exam Expertise Checklist
Cisco Certification Expects that you are already an expert before taking the exam on the following topics: Network Infrastructure, SDN– divided between SD-WAN and SD Access, Transport Technologies, security and services, and things like ACL, SNMP, automation and programmability. When Cisco updated the routing switching track to become the infrastructure enterprise, there weren’t many resources available for SDN. Especially for SD Access, that includes the DNOC, the management device on the SDA solution. So, to study SDA, you should actually use a lot of Cisco documentation related to installation and deployment. You can also use the Cisco Sandbox and Cisco D cloud for hands-on practice. They allow you to manage and configure stuff. Also, depending on the type of resource or environment you choose, you have more freedom to do some things that you might not do in others. The cloud allows you to do more things. You might want to take a look at Cisco Sandox and see if you can do the things that you need to do. Otherwise, pick the one that allows you to have more freedom during your study.
Choosing the Right Tools: Devices for Effective Study
Cisco provides the devices that you’re expected to use on the lab exam; some of them are VMS, and some of them are physical equipment. Keep in mind to use the Cisco-recommended iOS or software during your studies. If you’re starting on an earlier version or on a more updated version, you might find that the steps required to perform certain actions will be different than the ones that Cisco recommends using. In that case, you might actually encounter problems in the lab exam. So, try to stick with the iOS version and the devices that Cisco recommends unless you’re not able to use that iOS version. At the very least, look for equipment that is very similar to what Cisco recommends.
Decoding the CCIE Certification Exam Format
The CCIE Certification exam structure comprises two modules: Design and Deployment, Operate, and Optimize (DOO). The design module is a fixed three-hour slot, distinct from the configuration section. Understanding this structure is pivotal, as it determines how you manage your time during the exam.
Achieving the Pass Marks: Cracking the Point System
In order to pass the exam, there is a minimum number of points that you’ll have to score:
Success in the CCIE Certification exam depends on scoring a minimum number of points. The exam allocates 100 points, with 37 dedicated to the design section and 63 to configuration. Meeting the minimum acceptance points for each section is non-negotiable. Failing to meet these thresholds, both individually and collectively, results in an overall failure, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach.
Now, let’s look at the following example: Imagine that you scored 36 points in the design section. That would qualify you for that section because it is above the minimum. But you scored 32 points in the configuration section, and you have a total of 68 points. Now, this is below the minimum, or the qualifying score. So, this means you would fail, and that’s what Cisco refers to as failing.
Now, let’s look at another example where you score 23 points on design and 43 on configuration. If you look at the minimum score, they are above the minimum, but the sum of both scores is below the minimum qualifying score. So, in this case, the total score would be 66. So you will still fail in the exam. You have to keep both total and individual scores above the minimal threshold.
Unveiling Essential Resources
To master CCIE Certification, diversify your learning resources beyond Cisco’s documentation. Explore the Cisco Learning Network, seasoned documentation, and books from Cisco Press. Embrace a broader perspective by delving into technologies like BGP, SPF, SDN, and VXLAN from various vendors. Your goal is to become a technology expert, not just a specialist in Cisco products.
When you sit at your desk to take the exam, you’ll have a login screen. It is going to be 100% web-based. There is no printed workbook, so don’t expect any. You will have two monitors. Also, the environment is Linux-based. You’ll have a terminal emulator, color pens, and scratch papers. A very good thing is that you don’t have to remember how to convert decimals to binary or hexadecimals from the top of your head. Yes, they will allow you to use a calculator.
This is what the user interface looks like. By using the given two monitors, you can move the topologies to one side of the screen. You can simply look at the questions and look at the terminal on the other side. So it’s up to you how you want to organize. Don’t open too many tabs. Otherwise, you’ll be using too many resources on the PC. Don’t expect a super-fast PC with a super-fancy keyboard. No, you’ll get a crap keyboard and a crap mouse. Be careful with the limitations of their given PC.
Pro Tips for Effective Study
- Time Management is Key: Limit your practice lab resolution time to a maximum of five hours. Efficiency is crucial.
- Deep Understanding is Paramount: Be comfortable with technologies before the exam day. Know your configurations in advance to avoid last-minute uncertainties.
- Master Typing Skills: Enhance your typing speed and accuracy. Minimize typos during configurations by utilizing Notepad for command preparation.
- Practice Makes Perfect: Engage in repetitive practice until you feel proficient, as it significantly optimizes your time during the exam.
Navigating the User Interface of CCIE Certificate
On exam day, adapt to the 100% web-based user interface with two monitors. The Linux-based environment offers a terminal emulator, color pens, and scratch papers. Embrace the flexibility to organize your workspace efficiently, keeping in mind the limitations of the provided PC.
Pro Tips for Exam Day
Before the Exam:
- Organize Your Materials:
- Double-check that you have all the necessary materials such as identification, stationery, and any permitted aids.
- Pack everything the night before to avoid last-minute stress.
- Read Instructions Carefully:
- Take the time to thoroughly read and understand the exam instructions. Misinterpreting guidelines can lead to unnecessary mistakes.
- Positive Affirmations:
- Boost your confidence with positive self-talk. Remind yourself of your preparation and capability to handle the exam.
- Breathing Exercises:
- Practice deep breathing exercises to calm nerves. Controlled breathing can help manage anxiety and improve focus.
- Visualize Success:
- Take a few moments to visualize yourself successfully completing the exam. This positive mental imagery can enhance your performance.
- Plan Your Breaks:
- If the exam is lengthy, plan when you’ll take short breaks. Use this time to stretch and refresh your mind, but be mindful not to exceed allocated break times.
- Review Strategically:
- Develop a strategy for reviewing your answers. Allocate time at the end to go back and review any questions you marked or had uncertainties about.
- Avoid Exam Discussions:
- Resist the temptation to discuss the exam content with peers before or after the exam. This can create unnecessary stress and self-doubt.
- Stay Hydrated:
- Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated during the exam. Dehydration can affect concentration and cognitive function.
- Focus on the Present:
- Instead of worrying about the outcome, concentrate on each question as you come to it. Stay present and tackle each question with a clear mind.
During the Exam:
- Adaptability to Change:
- Be ready to adapt to unexpected challenges. In a dynamic office environment, situations may evolve, and your ability to adjust your approach accordingly is crucial.
- Effective Communication:
- Clearly articulate your thought process and solutions. Being able to communicate complex technical concepts in a simple and concise manner is a valuable skill.
- Collaborative Problem-Solving:
- Foster a collaborative approach to problem-solving. Seek input from colleagues and be open to different perspectives for more comprehensive solutions.
- Continuous Learning:
- Stay updated on the latest advancements in networking technology. A commitment to continuous learning ensures that your skills remain relevant in a rapidly changing field.
- Prioritize Security:
- Emphasize the importance of security in your solutions. In a network engineer role, safeguarding data and systems is a top priority.
- Resource Optimization:
- Strive for efficiency in resource usage. Whether it’s bandwidth, hardware, or software, optimizing resources contributes to a smoother network operation.
- Documentation Practices:
- Develop a habit of thorough documentation. Well-documented solutions make it easier for your team to understand and maintain the network infrastructure.
- Customer-Centric Approach:
- Treat colleagues and end-users as customers. Understand their needs and provide solutions that align with the goals of the organization.
- Stay Calm Under Pressure:
- Network issues can be high-pressure situations. Cultivate the ability to stay calm, focused, and methodical when addressing urgent problems.
- Compliance with Policies:
- Ensure that your solutions align with the company’s policies and industry regulations. Compliance is crucial for maintaining a secure and legally sound network.
After the Exam:
- Post-Exam Reflection:
- Take time to reflect on your performance after the exam. Document specific questions or topics that challenged you. This reflection can guide your future study sessions.
- Identify Weaknesses:
- Analyze areas where you feel less confident. This post-exam reflection is a valuable tool for focusing your efforts on strengthening your weaknesses in preparation for a potential retake.
- Share Insights with Peers:
- Discuss your exam experience with peers who may be preparing for the same certification. Sharing insights can provide different perspectives and valuable tips for improvement.
- Continuous Improvement Plan:
- Develop a plan based on your post-exam reflection. Outline specific actions you’ll take to address identified weaknesses and enhance your overall knowledge.
- Utilize Exam Feedback:
- If the exam provides feedback on your performance, use it to your advantage. Understand where you excelled and where improvement is needed, shaping your future study plan accordingly.
- Engage in Study Groups:
- Join or form study groups with other certification candidates. Collaborative learning can expose you to different approaches and insights, enriching your preparation.
- Rescheduling Decision Criteria:
- Establish clear criteria for deciding when to reschedule an exam. Consider factors such as readiness, personal commitments, and any unexpected challenges that may have impacted your initial attempt.
- Maintain Study Momentum:
- If you need to reschedule, ensure that you maintain your study momentum. Consistency is key in retaining the knowledge you’ve gained and continuing to build upon it.
- Positive Mindset for Rescheduling:
- Approach the rescheduling decision with a positive mindset. Recognize that rescheduling is a strategic move to enhance your chances of success rather than a setback.
Mastering the CCIE exam is not just about technical expertise; it’s about strategic preparation, effective time management, and maintaining composure under pressure. Follow these guidelines, adopt a holistic approach to learning, and embark on your CCIE Certification journey with confidence.
To enhance comprehension, please refer to this video: