Today I passed the CCIE R&S Written exam. I know the CCIE Written is not a certification by itself, but I think it is a great achievement and demonstrates progress in a network’s engineer carreer. This exam was much harder than I expected it to be. A few folks told me that the CCIE R&S was basically a CCNP R&S exam but with a couple of added topics. From my experience, I can say that this is true to some extent. Before I give some advice on what future CCIE Written candidates should expect, I would like to talk about my preparation.
My preparation for the CCIE Written was to read Routing TCP/IP Vol 1 and 2, CCIE R&S Written OCG v4, Cisco QoS 2nd Edition, Cisco MPLS Fundamentals and targeted Cisco Documentation on uRPF, BFD, PfR/OER, EEM and IP SLA’s. I watched all INE CCIE written Video series and the CBT Nugget CCIE R&S video series. The only book I did not read cover to cover was MPLS Fundamentals. I used Boson CCIE exam practice tests in the last 2 weeks of preparation to identify weak areas of knowledge.
Let’s talk about the exam itself without breaking the NDA. The questions I was asked were clear and most of the routing and switching questions required to have deep understanding of the technologies. However, some of the questions were the usual trivia BS as in what bit does blablabla in this protocol. Compared to the CCNP R&S were you could, in my opinion, attain the certification with basic knowledge of BGP and some switching topics, in the CCIE R&S I was asked questions on advanced configuration and theoretical topics on BGP and switching. Also, in my exam, I was asked a ton of Multicast, QoS and IPv6 routing questions. Make sure you are solid with these topics if you are going to take the CCIE Written. There was also a bunch of questions on the advanced technologies, so make sure to read the Cisco Documentation pages on these technologies and how to configure them. I was lucky not to have too many questions on MPLS and the questions I did have on these were fairly easy.
In conclusion, I think the exam was good to test theoretical knowledge on routing and switching protocols but I can see how some people can fail this exam if they study only the Official Certification Guides. My best advice would be to add the Cisco Online Documentation to your studies and I would also highly suggest to lab every topic and at least configure them a couple of times, especially everything pertaining to IPv6 and the Advanced Technologies.
In my next blog I will talk about techniques I used to memorize some of the CCIE topics. Hope this was informative.