Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lunar New Year and some tidbits ...

Happy Lunar New Year to those who are celebrating it. I still have one more day here in the land of "hard to get Internet for me since I don't have a ADSL signal at my hometown" but after getting access from a 'friend' here, checked a few of the hundreds of my personal and work mails, one mail caught my attention. I have received news that Joshua Atterbury, a fellow CCIE candidate (now a holder no longer a candidate ;-)) has passed his CCIE in R&S!

Please head over to and congratulate him and you can send me free beer if you like to celebrate with him :-).

Also CCIE Flyer January 2009 edition is now out. Get it at and read up on the many interesting articles there. Feel free to comment on my article if you liked/disliked it and how I can improve on my probably lame writing skills :-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Open-Ended Questions for the CCIE

As some of you might have known, there will be an open-ended question exam for CCIE candidates before they step into the room for the lab exam. This is nothing new to be honest as the lab location in Beijing had this as a pilot project a few months ago. This is an attempt to filter out the well-prepared candidates and probably an attempt to filter out the dumpsters (as I have written in the CCIE Flyer in December 2008).

From the Learning@Cisco newsletter,

Changes to CCIE Lab and Written Exam Question Format and Scoring

Effective February 1, 2009, Cisco will introduce a new type of question format to CCIE Routing and Switching lab exams. In addition to the live configuration scenarios, candidates will be asked a series of four or five open-ended questions, drawn from a pool of questions based on the material covered on the lab blueprint. No new topics are being added. The exams are not been increased in difficulty and the well-prepared candidate should have no trouble answering the questions. The length of the exam will remain eight hours. Candidates will need to achieve a passing score on both the open-ended questions and the lab portion in order to pass the lab and become certified. Other CCIE tracks will change over the next year, with exact dates announced in advance.

Effective February 17th, 2009, candidates will also see two other changes in CCIE written exams. First, candidates will now be required to answer each question before moving on to the next question; candidates will no longer be allowed to skip a question and come back to it at a later time. Second, there will be an update to the score report. The overall exam score and the exam passing score will now be reported as a scaled score, on a scale from 300-1000. This change will not affect the difficulty of the current set of exams and will assure CCIE written exams will be consistent with Cisco’s other career certification exams.

If you guys like more information, visit This is currently for the Routing and Switching track but Cisco assured us that this will apply to other tracks as well. Now dumpsters, what is your next move? :-)

UPDATE : The open-ended questions are worth 21 points and the CCIE lab 79 points. However in order to pass the CCIE certification, you need to PASS BOTH the open-ended questions (scoring 4 out of 5 at least) and the lab. Also as some of you may already know, the open-ended questions are not interviews by humans but rather they are computerized questions like those in the CCIE written examination. An example which I think might appear on the open ended question will be something like "What is a OSPF type 3" ?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year all :-)

I have decided to postpone my written to the first half of 2009 as my confidence level is not really there yet. Hence I will need to read more beers ... er ... I mean materials for the time being to further boost my confidence level :-). Better to be well prepared than half prepared don't you think?

Traditionally I will come up with a list of TODOs or resolutions each year. This year is no different. I have added two significant entries which relates to me preparing for the CCIE. I am really hoping that I'll be able to hit the nail in the coffin this year for the CCIE ;-).

1. I plan to have the written cleared before March 2009 (supposed to be in December 2008 but oh well)

2. I plan to have a first attempt at the lab in June 2009 (supposed to be in August 2009 but the mobile lab in Singapore have been rescheduled earlier) but again it will most likely be deferred to a later date.

Ohter than that, I am also preparing to write a non-technical article on how VOIP has helped me in my communication with family and friends for the CCIE Flyer. I hope to have positive or negative feedback from you guys on this.