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Are you ready to tackle the CCIE R&S Version 5 written and lab exams? Or are you just interested in really mastering particular routing and switching technologies? Either way, this exciting new CBT Nuggets course is for you! Join Keith Barker and Anthony Sequeira as they guide you through the latest and current R&S technologies....
Are you ready to tackle the CCIE R&S Version 5 written and lab exams? Or are you just interested in really mastering particular routing and switching technologies? Either way, this exciting new CBT Nuggets course is for you! Join Keith Barker and Anthony Sequeira as they guide you through the latest and current R&S technologies.

Recommended skills:
  • Although not required, it is recommended that a person preparing for the CCIE in Routing and Switching already have the skills and knowledge addressed in the Cisco CCNA and CCNP for R/S. (Those courses are available in from CBT Nuggets).
  • Knowledge of using GNS3 will be helpful for individuals who plan on creating a virtualized network to practice with (GNS3 training is also available via CBT Nuggets).

Recommended equipment:
  • GNS3 or physical routers, and 3 physical switches.

Related certifications:
  • CCIE Routing and Switching, v5

Related job functions:
  • Plan, operate and troubleshoot complex network infrastructures

This course is the first of six courses that make up the entire curriculum. These six courses follow the official blueprint.

The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert, or CCIE, is a technical certification offered by Cisco Systems. The CCIE certifies the skills required of network engineers to plan, operate and troubleshoot complex, converged network infrastructures on a wide variety of Cisco equipment. The CCIE is one of the most prestigious networking certifications in the industry.
1. CCIE R&S v5 LAB Exam Format (12 min)
2. CCIE R&S v4 to v5 Topic Changes (4 min)
3. Finding CCIE Exam Information (10 min)
4. Bonus Tip Nugget: Why Do So Many Fail? (12 min)
5. Tracking Your CCIE Success (11 min)
6. IOS XE (23 min)
7. Bonus Tip Nugget: Documentation in the Exam (10 min)
8. Cisco Express Forwarding (28 min)
9. General Network Challenges (20 min)
10. Bonus Tip Nugget: Over-Configuration in the Lab (4 min)
11. IP Oper. - ICMP Unreachables (16 min)
12. Bonus Tip Nugget: Core vs Noncore (8 min)
13. Bonus Tip Nugget: Trackers in the Lab Exam (13 min)
14. ICMP Redirects (22 min)
15. IPv4 Options and IPv6 Ext Headers (28 min)
16. TTL and MTU (12 min)
17. TCP Operations (28 min)
18. UDP Operations (17 min)
19. Evaluate Proposed Changes to a Network (3 min)
20. Use IOS Based Troubleshooting Tools (23 min)
21. Apply Troubleshooting Methodologies (10 min)
22. Interpret Packet Captures (12 min)

CCIE R&S v5 LAB Exam Format


If there's one thing that remains the same, it's the fact that the CCIE route switch lab exam format will change. That's right. Version 5 is here with a whole new exam format. In this Nugget, Keith and I will explain the format of the new exam as well as its grading.


Now if you're like me and you fear change, we're going to start out here with some really good news and that is the written exam really hasn't changed at all from a format and from a grading prospective. Sure, of course, we have a new exam number. It's 400-101 for your CCIE routing and switching written. It's still going to be a two-hour exam.


It is still around 90 to 110 questions, and it's going to be made up of multiple choice, multiple answer multiple choice, drag and drop, potentially simulations. And that we can guess that it will be scored around 80%, 82%, 85% for a passing cut score. And it would appear Cisco is still going to keep with their policy of staying mum-- not telling anyone what the exact passing cut score is for the written.


And as of right now, please keep in mind, they're still going to be sticky on the subject of you sharing your exact score. That may loosen up in the future according to some Cisco folks that I've talked to in the learning department, but we'll just have to see.


So as of right now, we know that there's a passing cut score-- around 80% percent most likely-- and that we should be very careful about sharing our score on the written with anyone. Now let's turn our attention to where things changed-- the lab exam. That's right, the Version 5 lab exam undergoes a pretty dramatic change.


Now, first of all, let's cover some facts about the format. It is completely web-based. This is not a big surprise. This is not a big change from Version 4. You are not going to get any printed materials. Everything is delivered via a web interface. All diagrams, all tasks that you need to configure, all of it's web-based in front of you on your computer screen.


This is actually pretty convenient and useful once you get used to it. If you're old school and you're used to the paper-based, you might not like this. But once you convert to managing everything in windows on your screen, it's a really pleasant experience.


Now the second thing about this is all of these sections are virtual devices except for the diagnostic. This middle section that we're going to talk about-- there are no devices in it. But anywhere you have routers or switches, they're going to be virtualized.


And guess what? It really doesn't matter to you does it? No. Some have made a big deal about this, but I don't think that should be a big deal. The devices act, look, feel-- if you could taste them, they would taste just like Cisco routers and switches. No big deal that they're virtualized.


Now let's talk about the timings of these modules and what these modules consist of. So you start your exam, and you start right here with the troubleshooting module. It is going to be, initially, two hours total for you just like it was in the Version 4 exam. So you're Sitting there.


There's about 30 to 40 devices. There are, let's say, 10 to 12 trouble tickets that span those devices-- obviously, not all of them at the same time. The tickets are independent of each other. So no one ticket will impact another one. Now when you get to two-hour mark, a pop-up window will appear in the exam environment that says, do you want 30 minutes of additional time? This is wonderful for those students that were struggling with time constraints in the troubleshooting module.


If you say yes, you get your 30 minutes of additional time. That's great. Then you get to this new module-- the diagnostics module. This is exactly 30 minutes. It is fixed. When you start the diagnostic module, it is fixed at 30 minutes. If you were to finish it quickly, then you just sit there and stare at the screen.


You must go through that 30-minute time period. The diagnostic module, as Keith and I will be covering with you in the course, is like a written exam. There are no actual devices you're configuring. You are looking at output. You're looking at trouble tickets.


You're looking at show command data, and then you are answering multiple choice or drag-and-drop questions on what went wrong. It's an extension of the troubleshooting section. Then we get to our configuration module. Notice this is going to be with your remaining time, and the configuration section is many, many devices.


We can expect 30 to 50 virtualized devices in there where we're going to be configuring all kinds of fun things on those devices, and there is dependencies. So unlike the troubleshooting section, you could break one thing by fixing another. You could not gain certain configuration points if you didn't gain other configuration points.


Obviously, there's going to be all kinds of dependencies in that particular section. So now I know one of the things that you're concerned about is these timings. So let's go ahead and take the case of two different test takers. We've got Pokey and we've got Skippy.


Now Pokey is really, really a methodical, slow test taker. In fact, Pokey is me. Yeah, this is absolutely how I take tests unfortunately. And it's why I struggle with CCIE exams because I tend to be very deliberate and slow. So Pokey sits the exam, goes in, is two hours into their troubleshooting section, and sure enough, the popup appears.


It says, do you want more time? And Pokey says, absolutely I want more time. And they take 30 additional minutes for their troubleshooting module. They then go to the diagnostic module, and it is 30 minutes exactly in length. Then they go to their configuration module, and they have five hours.


It is an eight hour test, and that's how Pokey experiences the test. 2.5 hours for troubleshooting, 30 minutes for diagnostics, and 5 hours for the configuration module. If he had taken the Version 4 exam, Pokey is thrilled, really, with the Version 5 exam because he gained an additional 30 minutes in troubleshooting.


Now let's talk about Skippy. Skippy is unbelievably fast when Skippy takes tests, and I envy Skippy as long as Skippy passes the exam. So Skippy goes into their troubleshooting module, and they are done in one hour. And then they go in and they have to do their 30 minute diagnostic. This really aggravates Skippy because Skippy is done with the diagnostic section in 15 minutes, but Skippy must sit there for the full 30 minutes of that particular section.


Then Skippy gets to their configuration module. Notice what's happened here. Skippy gets 6.5 hours at the configuration module. Yes, 6.5 hours compared to Pokey. Pretty cool. But of course, Skippy doesn't need that. Skippy is done in four hours with that configuration module, and they walk out of the testing center.


And they are a CCIE, and they are really happy. So that's how these timings break out. That's the variation that we have in the timings of these different sections. There is variation here, variation here, no variation here, and that's how it all works out.


Well, now to explain the grading of this lab exam, let's turn it over to my dear friend, Keith Barker. Hey, thanks, Anthony. You know, Pokey and Skippy, as Anthony mentioned, have two different attitudes or two different styles. One's slow. One's fast. They both, however, have the possibility, the potential to pass this exam.


But to do that, besides taking the exam, they have to do two things. Number one, they have to have a high enough score overall to pass. So let's say, for example, this represents the overall score and let's say they've set the mark right here. Pokey going very slow, or Skippy going very, very fast, would have to have reached at least this score or better to go ahead and pass the exam.


Now you might think, well, gosh if I got enough overall points, I've passed, right? Well, the reality is there's a second thing that both Pokey and Skippy also need to do and that is they need to get the minimum number of points required for each of these modules.


So let's say, for example, in the troubleshooting module, they put the line right here. And for the diag module it's right here. And for the config module, it's right here. All three of those set by Cisco for each of those modules respectively. So besides having a score overall that was high enough, both Pokey and Skippy also have to have at least this amount in troubleshooting or better, a score of at least this much in diag or better, and a score of at least this much in configuration or better.


So in short, they have to pass at the scoring level for each module to also pass the overall exam. Both of these conditions have to be met for you to pass the exam. And from what Anthony shared with us, there's no going back. For example, if we did the troubleshooting module, then we go into the diag, then we go into config, if we have some extra time here, we're not going back to troubleshooting.


That ship has sailed. So the key is-- when we're working on troubleshooting, we want to nail it and do exactly what we need to do to pass that portion of our exam. So as an example, let's say Pokey gets a score of this inside of troubleshooting. Pokey gets a score of this inside of diag and a score of this inside of config.


So he's passed all three modules. And if his overall score is high enough to the level that they've set for passing, Pokey, when he gets his email the next business day and looks on the Cisco website, can then confirm that, yes, he is a CCIE. Now Skimpy, on the other hand, he goes into troubleshooting and let's say that Skippy gets a score very similar to Pokey's-- right about here.


He's looking at diag. And at diag module, he only scores this much. Now Skippy's not going to know that while he's doing it. He may have an inkling or a feeling or a hoping, but he won't actually know how well he did until the next business day when he gets the email saying check the Cisco website to see how you did.


And then even if Skippy got, for example, 100% in the config module-- so maybe his points overall were really close or high enough. Because he didn't pass each module-- in this example, the diag module--he scored too low. Skippy does not get to pass go, do not collect $200. Skippy is going to go through the process again of signing up for another lab attempt so that he can get an overall score and pass each module at a high enough level to earn a CCIE.

CCIE R&S v4 to v5 Topic Changes

Finding CCIE Exam Information

Bonus Tip Nugget: Why Do So Many Fail?

Tracking Your CCIE Success


Bonus Tip Nugget: Documentation in the Exam

Cisco Express Forwarding

General Network Challenges

Bonus Tip Nugget: Over-Configuration in the Lab

IP Oper. - ICMP Unreachables

Bonus Tip Nugget: Core vs Noncore

Bonus Tip Nugget: Trackers in the Lab Exam

ICMP Redirects

IPv4 Options and IPv6 Ext Headers


TCP Operations

UDP Operations

Evaluate Proposed Changes to a Network

Use IOS Based Troubleshooting Tools

Apply Troubleshooting Methodologies

Interpret Packet Captures

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Keith Barker
Nugget trainer since 2012
Anthony Sequeira
Nugget trainer since 2012