Experience of Getting CCIE Certification

On May 25 this year, I took the CCIE routing and switching laboratory examination of Cisco for the third time and finally passed it. It’s a tough journey to get CCIE certification. A lot of people usually take more than two years to pass, which is much longer than I expected. As so many IT professionals are interested in preparing and obtaining the coveted professional certification, I will introduce the whole process of my CCIE examination in detail through the article, hoping to give some help to those who are interested in becoming CCIE.

Overview of CCIE Certification

The following is a brief introduction to the background of Cisco Certified Internet Expert (CCIE) certification. CCIE consists of two parts. The first part is the written test / computer test, the second part is the all day „laboratory“ test, and the latter part is extremely difficult. I heard that on average everyone has to take 2.6 tests to pass. Almost no one can pass CCIE exam at one time. Most people can’t pass the exam at the second time.

The Journey of Textual Research

At first, I thought that getting CCIE qualification might be similar to getting MCSE + I, CCNA, CCNP and SCSA certificates in the past. Now of course I know I’m wrong. Before May 2000, I had never heard of CCIE certification. Later, I thought at that time: „I should also get a CCIE certificate,“ because my work was involved with Cisco products, and I met an old friend working in Cisco who was CCIE. My old friend told me that he took CCIE exam twice before he got the certificate, which was very difficult. I was a bit surprised to hear that: He is in deed still a Cisco employee! What’s more, he has been working as a system engineer in the company and in other companies for many years. How can he find it difficult?

I had been dealing with 3Com LAN / WAN products for six years before I passed CCNA examination in June 2000. In January 2001, I obtained CCNP certification and CCDA certificate, and then passed the CCIE written examination in April of that year. Then, in August of the same year, I took the CCIE laboratory examination in Sao Paulo, Brazil (the main reason why I took the examination abroad was that the waiting time in the United States was too long).

The first time I took the lab test showed that I didn’t know the difficulty and complexity of the test at all. However, although the examination failed, after all, it is a kind of experience. Thinking back to the first exam, in two days of exam time, I sat next to the examiner to check my first day of wrong project. After that, I found that the examination time of CCIE laboratory was reduced to one day from October 2001.

After the failure of the first exam, I did a lot of SPOTO hands-on exercises and read a lot of SPOTO CCIE lab materials. In January 2002, I took the second exam. I was confident that I would pass the exam, and I was disappointed again. But I fully understand that CCIE test I took is more likely than any other test I have ever experienced. The obstacles in front of me are much higher.

The Situation Became Grim

In the next three or four months, I tried my best to do experiments and intensify learning. Then I planned to take the third exam on a Saturday in May. When the examination day came, I felt that I needed more review time, but there was no other room on my schedule. I decided to go to the movie star wars with my family the night before the exam instead of cramming.

After breakfast the next day, I arrived at the test site around 7 A.M. o’clock. There were already seven candidates waiting there. According to the content of their conversation, it was obvious that six of these guys were „second comers“.

The lab test itself is cruel but fair. My strategy was to spend some time reading the whole experiment instructions, and then wrote down how I finished the task and the score of each task. I also drew a picture for use in the laboratory. I also asked the examiner for more paper in the first 30 minutes. He said, „do you need more paper?“ The examiner helped me a lot in the exam. He answered questions he could answer and was polite when he said he couldn’t. In the last 45 minutes in the lab, I had a lot of unfinished tasks left, and I didn’t have much time to complete them. I was a little nervous at this time, and there was a technical problem that I couldn’t control. The examiner told me that this question would not affect whether I finished the experiment. He suggested that I should pretend that there was no such problem and continue the experiment. It made me feel uncomfortable, but I did my best to finish the experiment.

Because it was Memorial Day, and it’s also a weekend. So I had to wait until after next Monday to get the results. In those days of waiting, I kept thinking „can I actually pass the exam?” I also calculated the points I might lose, and I thought I could not pass the exam. I knew that my family was also crazy about my neuroticism. For example, I may suddenly say, „oh my God, I forgot to configure XYZ. I’m done! “ On Tuesday morning, I got the exam result notice. Ah, when I saw the words that I passed the exam, I felt great. Now I have become a CCIE, No. 9369!

Final Word

The CCIE articles listed above provide a lot of details about my preparation for the exam. Another great test resource is the Groupstudy CCIE forum. In addition, CCIE #8726 also gave me excellent advice. He said: „the skills to pass the exam are comprehensive preparation, paying attention to the experiment, enjoying the exam, knowing everything and watching movies before the exam.“ CCIE # 9340 pointed out: „CCIE laboratory test is a marathon, not a sprint.“ I have these suggestions in mind, and it seems that listening to these suggestions has finally paid off.

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