A short while ago, Cisco talked about some upcoming policy changes for the CCIE that we wanted to share with you all. It hasn’t been published on their normal CCIE policy pages yet. But I will give you the important details in this post. If you want to see the presentation that talks about these changes, you can find that here. The presentation also covers some other CCIE topics as well. So it may be worth a view for the other included information.
With one exception (noted below), these changes should take effect on August 1. All of the images are taken from the presentation linked above.
Policy change #1- Written exam retakes
Current policy allows students to retake the written exam unlimited times with a 5 day minimum wait period between attempts. The new policy drastically changes this. Starting August 1, there is a 15 day wait period between attempts and a maximum number of attempts of 4 per year.
The wait period probably isn’t a big deal. But the 4 attempts per year could be an issue to some people. So if you have the strategy of taking the test early just to see what it’s like, you may want to alter that. Most of us usually won’t need more than 4 attempts to pass this exam. But it’s good to keep this limitation in mind as you plan your certification process.
Policy change #2- Lab exam retakes
Current policy is a 30 day wait time in between attempts. The new policy starting August 1 is that there is a progressive wait time as you take more and more attempts. As you can see in the chart below, it starts out with a 30 day wait after your first failure. After the 2nd through 4th failures, it’s a 90 day wait. After that, it’s a 180 day wait.
So let’s say you are starting fresh on your first attempt on January 1, 2015. You can get 5 attempts in your first year. After that, it’s 2 attempts per year. For ease of illustration, I fudged the real numbers and just rounded off to the nearest beginning of a month.
Attempt 1- January 1, 2015
Attempt 2- February 1, 2015
Attempt 3- May 1, 2015
Attempt 4- August 1, 2015
Attempt 5- November 1, 2015
Attempt 6- May 1, 2016
Attempt 7- November 1, 2016
Of course, this assumes you can even schedule your subsequent attempts when you want. For some tracks, bookings go out quite a ways so this might not even be possible.
Again, most of us don’t need more than 5 attempts. So it would be rare to run into the 180 wait period. But 3-5 attempts isn’t rare. So a fair number of people will hit the 90 day wait period.
Policy change #3- Lab rescoring
There has been a long standing reread policy for R&S and SP tracks where you can pay money to have your configs loaded up onto a rack and have the entire lab rescored.
Now a Review process is being introduced on August 1 that allows another proctor to view your answers and debug data and a rescore can be completed. The way that I understand what they said, this is different in that they don’t reload your entire configs. But instead they look at the output of the original verifications and proctor notes to do the rescore.
The nice part about the new review process is that it is available across all tracks. The reason that it’s not a full config reload is probably because that is not possible across most tracks. For instance, I know on Wireless and Collaboration there are many server configs. So in order to load up a student lab, server snapshots would have to be taken. Or in the wireless lab, there is a 7925 phone that typically would need manual configurations, and those could not really be saved for future re-scoring.
I don’t know what the odds of a review changing your score will be. But I guess it’s the best that they can do for these other tracks where a full config reload isn’t feasible.
Policy change #4- Lab exam rescheduling
This is the one change that is currently live right now. Previously, you could only change your lab dates if you hadn’t paid yet. You get charged at the 90 day mark. So if there are fewer than 90 days until your lab date, you were stuck with whatever date you scheduled. No refunds and no date changes were possible.
With the new policy, you can change your lab date for a fee. I don’t recall them mentioning what the fee was. But it sounded like it might be different if you were more or less than 45 days out. That is good news for those of us who have things change in those last 90 days.
Policy change #5- CCIE Emeritus exception
I haven’t even gotten close to my 10 year mark yet. But evidently the previous policy required that you be an active CCIE at your 10 year mark to convert over to the Emeritus status. Now there is an alternate way for those people who are in an inactive status. They just need to get a business transformation certification and then they can convert their inactive CCIE to the Emeritus status.
So this is helpful to those looking to move to the Emeritus status. Usually they aren’t looking to pass a technical exam like the CCIE written if they are interested in the Emeritus program. The business transformation certificates may be more applicable to their current roles.
Thoughts about the policy changes
I think the changes are good overall. The last three changes actually increase our freedom and flexibility. The written and lab retake policies are the ones that make things more restrictive. But I don’t think they will have a significant impact to the majority of CCIE hopefuls. Very few people need more than 4 attempts at the written or 5 attempts for the lab. The longer wait periods will slow some people down. But they should have a positive impact on the program overall.
Definitely check out the video if you have some time. If you jump to the 34:35 timestamp, they start talking about why these policies are being implemented and then go over each of these policies. This part of the video spans about 11 minutes.