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CCIE: Open Ended Questions are gone …

May 6th, 2010 1 comment

… at least for R&S (Routing & Switching) and Voice.

According to my friends at INE by May 10th you don’t have to answer any OEQ anymore! Great!

Reasons?

  • 4 Questions will not assess what you really know
  • Cisco 360° candidates had not to pass OEQ – this was unfair
  • It was just not usable

The 30 minutes will be reallocated to the configuration section.

It might, that previous attempts that failed OEQ section solely will be re-graded.

What comes next? No OEQ for SP and security? Troubleshooting for SP?

Let’s be surprised.

I’m still waiting for the offical annoucement on cisco.com … 😉

[Update:]

Now official on the cisco learning network:

With more than six months of exam results now available, 
Cisco is able to report that the troubleshooting components 
of the CCIE R&S v4.0 and CCIE Voice v3.0 lab exams are 
performing well in validating expert level networking skills.  
Considering these results, Cisco has decided to eliminate 
the Core Knowledge questions from the current CCIE R&S v4.0 
and CCIE Voice v3.0 Lab Exams.  
Beginning on May 10, 2010, CCIE R&S and CCIE Voice Lab Exams, 
in all global locations, will no longer include the four 
open-ended Core Knowledge questions.  The total lab time will 
remain eight hours.  For the CCIE R&S Lab Exam, this means 
candidates will begin with the two-hour Troubleshooting section, 
followed by a six-hour Configuration section.  
For CCIE Voice, candidates will have the full eight hours to 
complete the integrated exam.  At this time, only the R&S and 
Voice tracks will be eliminating the Core Knowledge questions.

Cisco Update: Core Knowledge Questions Now Available for All CCIE Labs

December 17th, 2009 No comments

From the newest Cisco@Learning Newsletter:
Core Knowledge Questions are now coming for:

  • Service Provider
  • Storage
  • Wireless

I see, life is getting hard also there…

Effective January 4, 2010, the Cisco CCIE® Service Provider, Storage, and Wireless lab
exams will add a new type of question format in a section called Core Knowledge. In
this new section, candidates will be asked a series of four open-ended questions
that require a short written response to be entered into the computer, typically
several words. The questions will be randomly drawn from a pool of questions
on topics eligible for testing. Candidates can review the topics by visiting the
CCIE track information on Cisco.com or the Cisco Learning Network. No new
topics are being added as a result of this change.

Candidates will have up to 30 minutes to complete the Core Knowledge section
and may not return to it once they have moved on. A passing score on the Core
Knowledge section is required to achieve certification. Core Knowledge questions
were implemented on Routing and Switching labs in February 2009 and Security labs
in June 2009, and allow Cisco to maintain strong exam security and ensure that
only qualified candidates are awarded CCIE certification. Candidates with exam dates
on January 4, 2010 or later should expect to see the new question format on their lab
exam.
[More Information]

Cisco Networkers Event 2010 in Barcelona

November 23rd, 2009 6 comments

So, some of you already might have noticed, that I’m able to visit the Cisco Networkers Event in Barcelona.

Taking the opportunity I’m going to visit several tracks. Maybe I see some of you there ,-)

Monday, January 25
09:00 – 18:00 TECSPG-2001 Deploying IPv6 in a Service Provider Network
Tuesday, January 26
10:30 – 12:30 BRKMPL-2104 Deploying MPLS Traffic Engineering
12:45 – 13:45 BRKGENPNL-1834 Large Scale Network Management
14:15 – 15:45 BRKIPM-2001 Hierarchical QoS and Policies Aggregation
16:15 – 18:15 BRKDCT-2002 Next Generation Datacenter Networks
Wednesday, January 27
09:00 – 10:30 BRKSEC-2003 IPv6 Security Threats and Mitigations
11:00 – 12:30 BRKSPG-2007 FTTx Architecture and deployment
12:45 – 13:30 ITMCCS-1807 Telekom Slovenije Advanced IP/MPLS Aggregation Network
14:15 – 15:00 ITMPCS-2106 Mitigating the Risks of Advanced Network Services
15:30 – 17:30 BRKSEC-2202 Understanding and Preventing Layer 2 Attacks
18:00 – 19:30 BRKIPM-3000 Advanced LFA – a simple protection technique for IP/MPLS networks
Thursday, January 28
09:00 – 11:00 BRKMPL-3016 Advanced Topics and Future Directions in MPLS
11:30 – 13:00 CCIE SP Written CCIE Service Provider Written Exam
11:30 – 13:00 BRKGENPNL-1000 Does NAT improve network security
(if I do not want to go to the written exam)
13:45 – 15:45 BRKSEC-3000 Advanced Cisco IOS Security Features

Starting with CCIE Service Provider

November 16th, 2009 No comments

Well, short update.
I’ve decided today to start with the CCIE SP training ,-)
My written test will be 28th of January at the Cisco 2010 Networkers Event in Barcelona.

Learning@Cisco’s FREE Self-Assessments

August 18th, 2009 No comments

I’ve received an email from the Learning@Cisco website that they’re offering now free CCIE self-assesment test (written test) for:

  • Routing and Switching
  • Voice
  • Security
  • Wireless
Take a Learning@Cisco Self-Assessment and you'll learn what you already know 
as well as receive recommended training and guidance for you to take the next 
steps on your learning path. Learning@Cisco Self-Assessments are available for 
Routing and Switching, Voice, Security and Wireless.

I’ve tried the assessment test and I think the questions are partially easier than I’ve had on my written exam and some are … well… ,-)

If you finished the test you will get directed to the ‘Guidance‘ page where you get further material for your studies.

But anyway, here’s the link for the assessment test – try it yourself.

Cisco Revises its Popular CCIE R&S Certification

May 5th, 2009 No comments

I got this morning another mail from cisco with updates to the CCIE certification:

Cisco has revised the certification requirements for CCIE Routing & Switching
(CCIE R&S)-the expert level certification for network engineers.

The new certification standards reflect the job skills employers look for
at the expert level and are outlined on the Cisco Learning Network at
CCIE R&S v4.0 written exam topics and CCIE R&S v4.0 lab exam topics.
The revised CCIE R&S v4.0 exams are scheduled for release on October 18, 2009
and will immediately replace the currently available v3.0 exams. 

To support the certification changes, the Cisco 360 Learning Program for
CCIE R&S is being updated with new lessons on MPLS and Troubleshooting,
additions to the instructor-led workshops, new lab exercises for
self-paced practice, and new performance assessments.
The Program is the only authorized expert training currently aligned to
CCIE R&S v4.0. The program is delivered globally by Cisco Learning Partners. 

Save the Date: Two Live CCIE R&S Certification Webinars, May 20, 2009
Cisco will conduct two live webinars on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 covering
enhancements made to the CCIE R&S certification and to the
Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE R&S to align with the updates. 
Attendees can choose from calls at 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM PST.
Click here to register.

For more information on the updates, the Cisco 360 Learning Program for
CCIE R&S, and how to locate an authorized Learning Partner, access the
Cisco Learning Network.

By just having a quick look on the new lab blueprint I noticed following changes:

  • MPLS needs to be configured (PE, CE)
  • IPv6 increased (Multicast, EIGRP)
  • Security: the zone based firewall and IPS (Intrusion Prevention System)
  • Troubleshooting is a new section

On the written part I’ve noticed that analyzing a network and proposing changes to due e.g. a migration has also been added. Sounds like kind of CCDE stuff in there… Some IOS have been upgraded to the T-train and some Routers  (-3725s,  +1841s / +3825s) and Switches (no more 3550s) are replaced.

The Lab format did also changed: 2 hours independent troubleshooting and then a different 6 hours lab.

I think this new blueprint is now closer to what we have in real world. Troubleshooting is one of the key aspects which was missing in v3 – you had to troubleshoot what you’ve fucked up. As far as I remember in the old 2-day CCIE lab exams you had troubleshooting on the 2nd day. Now part of this came back. Thats great!

I’ve added the 2 PDF’s from Cisco which the blueprint details to the download section.

[Update]: Petr from Internetwork Experts made a great post about this.

Yet another Internetwork Expert Promo

April 30th, 2009 No comments

I just got this mail from Internetwork Experts which is quite cool:

Hello Cisco Certified Users:

If you are considering CCIE
certification, TODAY is the day to get the CCIE training materials/Bootcamps
that you need and save some money at the same time!

25% off all training
Today Only (April 30th, 2009)!

Discount Code: APR30X

http://www.internetworkexpert.com 

Training available for: CCIE (R&S, Voice, Security,
Service Provider), CCIE R&S Written, CCENT.

Please contact me with
any questions.

Best regards,
Stan

Stan Yee
Corporate &
Channel Sales Manager
syee@INE.com

Internetwork Expert,
Inc.
http://www.InternetworkExpert.com 
Toll
Free: 877.224.8987 x709
Direct/Outside US: +1.775.785.3026
Online
Community: http://www.IEOC.com 
CCIE Blog: http://blog.internetworkexpert.com 

Follow us on Twitter for updates, special promotions/offers:
http://twitter.com/inetraining

Just watching the twitter link gives me the impression that day have everyday kind of a “sale”-day ,-)

How to prepare for the R/S Lab Exam?

April 14th, 2009 5 comments

Well, everyone has probably a different approach but in detail there are all quite the same.
To pass the lab exam you need to follow some strategies:

Know what Cisco wants from you

Use the Cisco Blueprint to get an overview. But since the blueprint is too less detailled, write your own blueprint. You can download mine if this helps you.
It is also important that you crosscheck the blueprint with the DocCD to ensure that you don’t miss a thing.

Plan your studies

You have to plan your studies. I’ve reserved 2 evenings (well..more or less nights) and 1 full weekend-day to practise the lab. I was always learning monday and wednesday evening and the full saturday or sunday. It is important to have some fixed days because it allowes you to be flexible, tohave spare time (and your wife will be glad also) and to have some kind of a constant rhytm.
A good study plan is key to your success.

Plan when you want to learn what and when you want to do which lab. I told myself in november last year that until mid of january I want to finish all 20 labs from internetworkexpert. And I did it!

Know the features

You have to know what feature does what. You don’t have to know it into it’s very detail (see next point) but you have to know that:

  1. A feature exists
  2. How it works
  3. Where to find detailled informations (see next topic)

Of course, the more you know about the feature and how to configure it, the more time you have during the exam and the more relaxed you can thru it.

Know where to find the stuff

If you never clicked yourself thru the univerCD (aka DocCD) you’re doomed to fail. You don’t have to know every feature by heart, but you have to know where to find it within 20 seconds.

Some examples:

  • Regular Expressions: 12.4 -> Terminal Services -> Appendixes -> Regular Expressions
  • Protocols / Port Numbers / ICMP Types: Security -> Firewall Applicances -> ASA 5500 -> Command Line Guide -> Reference -> Addresses, Protocols, and Ports
  • Protocols: Wireless -> Aironet 1250 -> Appendix A: Protocol Filters
  • DRP: is under “Network Management”
  • Regex Engine Performance Enhancement: can be found under 12.4T -> Routing -> BGP
  • Control Plane Policing: It is not under security. Check out QoS -> Part 4: Policing and Shaping -> Configuring Traffic Policing -> Control Plane Policing.
    But since some days theres a new section “Cisco IOS Security Configuration Guide: Securing the Control Plane, Release 12.4” which contains the same as above.

Have good notes

I dont know how you learn, but I’ve started to write my own Wiki with my notes and to keep them in order (my paper-notebook was just a chaos, this is why i’ve choosen the electronic version ;-))

But don’t forget: the univerCD is the best base for material and notes.

Have good training material

I’ve used the workbooks from InternetworkExpert:

  • Volume I: Is good to get to know how the Feature is used. It is divided into topics: Layer 2, BGP, OSPF, QoS, …
  • Volume II: Are full 8hour labs. Some are more difficult, some are quite easy (at least I had the impression). With Vol II you learn how to do whole labs. You learn about timemanagement, testing, etc.
  • Volume III: Are core labs (4hours) just about Layer 2 and Routing  (“Routing & Switching”).

Beside of this you can also do some assessor exams directly from cisco. But they are quite expensive but also quite close to real lab tests.

I’ve heard that the training material from IPExpert is not bad, but I have no experience at all.

Read a lot

No single source can be used to make you pass the lab exam. You have to get your knowledge thru different sources: Cisco website/DocCD, RFCs, books, forums, blogs, links in the internet, google searches, etc…

I will publish in some days the list of books i’ve used for my studies.

Some words about timemanagement during the lab

If you finish some training labs in more than 8 hours: no panic. The more practise you have, the more time you get. I’ve had at the end about 4-5hours average to finish a training-lab including the whole testing/debugging. When I was at Cisco in Brussels i finished about 90% of the lab before lunchtime. I had on both tests more than 3 hours left when I finished my lab to test, reread the whole stuff, etc.

Be a teamplayer

I’m quite sure you got some friends which are also going for the CCIE. Learn together. Subscribe (and be active!) on mailinglists, participate in forums, read blogs, … do whatever you like, but be active on this. Beside of learning there’s also a lot of fun behind becoming a CCIE ,-) Don’t be afraid also to ask people if you need more informations or help.

Play around and be open-minded

There’s not always a masterplan how you can solve a task. If you need to filter traffic between devices you can use ACLs but what about L2-filtering (on vlan)? How to make routes external in ospf? Ever thought about using a second ospf process and redistribute?

If a you know other ways to solve a task solve it in different ways. Test if your idea is working, but just try it. Don’t be to blind to just always use way number X to solve task Y. Play around!

Testing and Debugging

Testing is key to pass. If you don’t test what you’ve implemented you gonna fail for sure! Test every single task. You will spend a lot of your time during your studies to learn how to test a single feature. Don’t trust any solution unless you try and prove it by yourself in the lab.

Register for a lab

Once you’ve got a lab date, you’ve got some pressure. You’ve got a target to reach. I’ve needed that target to be more effective.

Last but not least: have fun!

Yes, that right. You can have fun during our preparations. Imagine all the new things you can learn; imagine how much time you can spend in just playing around with features and configurations; imagine how proud you can be once you passed everthing. Becoming CCIE is more than just studying…