Passed CCIE R/S Written v5

ccie14023ccie14023 Posts: 183Member
Well, I haven't seen too many write-ups of the CCIE R/S Written version 5, so I thought I would try to help the community out. On a personal note I reached the 10-year mark as a CCIE, and the biennial recertification is becoming more and more burdensome. I may go emeritus next time. I've also been working at Juniper for 5 years, and my Cisco knowledge is not quite where it was before I started here. Also, as an architect, I do far less hands-on work than in the past, so that doesn't help either.

For my first attempt at the CCIEv5 I attempted to do what had gotten me through the last exam (v4) two years prior. At that time Boson had a very good set of four practice exams, and I went in when I was passing the Boson exams at 90% or higher. Well, Boson has not released the v5 version of their exam, but I had the old ones still installed. Figuring that the v5 exam couldn't be that different, I re-ran the old Boson exams and then used the blueprint to supplement my knowledge for any area that was different. I failed miserably.

Second attempt. I did an extensive brain **** of the questions I remembered and made sure I could answer them if they cropped up. Then, I basically took the advice of someone on LinkedIn and went through the blueprint line by line, reading the Cisco docs for each subject area, and inputting questions about these areas into an Anki flashcard database. I developed 242 flash cards in Anki. If you're not familiar with Anki, it is a spaced-repetition flash card system that is a very effective tool for quizzing yourself on any subject. My advice is, however you want to memorize stuff, just google each subject area and read the docs. If it's MLD, look up "Configuring MLD". Just looking at that doc as an example, at the top there is an information section which gives you general facts about the protocol. For example, it tells you that MLD cannot be manually enabled, but is automatically enabled under certain circumstances. Write that down, learn it. Learn as many of these factoids as you can. Then study how the protocol works so you understand it, and don't just have factoids. Usually there is an example of how the protocol works. Read it, think about it, reproduce it on a sheet of paper. Then study the config guides carefully. Make notes on tricky spots, like whether a timer is in minutes or seconds.

You should also memorize the standard stuff, admin distances, reserved 224 addresses, LSA types, etc., etc.

OK, this said, a couple thoughts. I took my first Cisco exam in 2000, I have two CCIEs and one JNCIE. In short, I've taken a LOT of tests. In addition, I have been a question writer for Juniper exams and have been through our own process for developing tests. The CCIE v5 written is doable, but overall poorly written. There were a few questions that I can't believed they released. They were either intentionally worded confusingly, or none of the answers was correct. I saw one where the answers provided were clearly wrong, and I ran it in the lab when I got home just to be sure. There are a lot of "factoid" questions which are not that hard to answer, but these really prove nothing. When I wrote the questions at Juniper, we were specifically told NOT to ask silly things like "what MAC address does protocol X use" or "what IP protocol number is used for Y"... These just waste time. I'm not saying we were always successful, but as a Juniper test-taker myself, I've found our questions to be fair and reasonable. This test was silly. I'm not sure who they have writing their exams, but the fact that IGMP is listed as a layer 2 technology on the blueprint gives you some idea that they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Anyhow, I hope this helps some folks taking this exam.

Comments

  • AwesomeGarrettAwesomeGarrett Posts: 257Member
    Congratulations!!! icon_thumright.gif

    I've read similar reviews. People that have recertified their CCIE certification as many times as you, have mentioned that since the cisco learning academy absorbed the CCIE program it has not been the same.
  • OfWolfAndManOfWolfAndMan Posts: 923Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Good stuff to know man, thanks! I'll try out a flash card app as well.

    Also, congrats!
    :study:Reading: Lab Books, Ansible Documentation, Python Cookbook 2018 Goals: More Ansible/Python work for Automation, IPSpace Automation Course [X], Build Jenkins Framework for Network Automation []
  • down77down77 Posts: 1,009Member
    Congrats on the pass, and achieving the 10 year mark as a CCIE! I've worked with a few CCIE/JNCIE Architects and they have always been on top of their game. A close friend of mine is a "Double Double (2xCCIE, 2xJNCIE) who worked for Juniper and I remember the pain he went through re-certifying both OEM's credentials. I will be there one day!

    I would agree with you about the useless trivia questions on expert level exams. I recently worked with Cisco on one of their tracks and I loathed the fact that they kept what I will call nonsense questions as part of the exam pool. Many other engineers voiced the same concern as part of the workshop in San Jose, so I hope that they do take this under consideration.

    Again congrats on the pass!
    CCIE Sec: Starting Nov 11
  • jensmith592jensmith592 Posts: 23Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    congratulations
  • ccnpninjaccnpninja Senior Member EuropePosts: 1,008Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Congrats!
    من طلب عزائم الأمور ، هان عليه بذل النفس فيها - محمد إبن ابي عامر
    www.keyboardbanger.com
  • ande0255ande0255 Posts: 1,178Banned
    Thanks for the insight, I'd be interested in what you think about Cisco's current lower level certification exams, some questions I appear to be written by someone who barely knows english and never got weeded out of the question pool. It honestly amazes me how some of the questions fall through the crack of the QA checks (if those exist).
    Back in my day we used to route packets on 56k lines, through the snow, uphill both ways.

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  • ccie14023ccie14023 Posts: 183Member
    Well, I passed my CCNA in 2000 and my CCNP in 2001, so I haven't seen any of the questions from lower level exams in quite some time. I hate to see candidates fail exams because the questions are poorly worded or confusing. In my opinion the vendors have an obligation to ensure their tests are fair and understandable.

    I've never written questions for Cisco, but here at Juniper I have to say the process was quite rigorous. We had a group of subject matter experts and we debated every single question and its answers multiple times, reviewing both technical accuracy and wording. A lot of questions were thrown out or reworded because they didn't pass muster. It was a long and tedious process, but everyone in the room took it very seriously. I would again say that my experience with our tests has been excellent, and I'm not just saying that because I work for Juniper.

    In my view, tests should look for understanding more than regurgitation of facts. I can't tell you how many times I've memorized the HSRP MAC address for a test, which is something I would look up if I ever needed it. Scenarios are better than simple fact recitation. Now there are always gray areas--for example, I could write a question that asks what happens to a Type 7 LSA when it hits an ABR. Is this just a factoid or does it truly test your understanding of how NSSAs work? But in general, pure regurgitation wastes a candidate's time.

    A lot of the pressure on vendors is due to the brain **** industry. When your questions are stolen and put on the Internet in a matter of weeks, you are under constant pressure to write replacement questions and keep the pool fresh. This of course leads to less time for review and QA. It's unfortunate that the urge to **** on these exams has made it harder for honest candidates.
  • jamesp1983jamesp1983 Posts: 2,475Member
    Congrats! Thanks for the write up.
    "Check both the destination and return path when a route fails." "Switches create a network. Routers connect networks."
  • BobMeadBobMead Posts: 55Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    ccie14023 wrote: »
    Well, I haven't seen too many write-ups of the CCIE R/S Written version 5, so I thought I would try to help the community out. On a personal note I reached the 10-year mark as a CCIE, and the biennial recertification is becoming more and more burdensome. I may go emeritus next time. I've also been working at Juniper for 5 years, and my Cisco knowledge is not quite where it was before I started here. Also, as an architect, I do far less hands-on work than in the past, so that doesn't help either.

    For my first attempt at the CCIEv5 I attempted to do what had gotten me through the last exam (v4) two years prior. At that time Boson had a very good set of four practice exams, and I went in when I was passing the Boson exams at 90% or higher. Well, Boson has not released the v5 version of their exam, but I had the old ones still installed. Figuring that the v5 exam couldn't be that different, I re-ran the old Boson exams and then used the blueprint to supplement my knowledge for any area that was different. I failed miserably.

    Second attempt. I did an extensive brain **** of the questions I remembered and made sure I could answer them if they cropped up. Then, I basically took the advice of someone on LinkedIn and went through the blueprint line by line, reading the Cisco docs for each subject area, and inputting questions about these areas into an Anki flashcard database. I developed 242 flash cards in Anki. If you're not familiar with Anki, it is a spaced-repetition flash card system that is a very effective tool for quizzing yourself on any subject. My advice is, however you want to memorize stuff, just google each subject area and read the docs. If it's MLD, look up "Configuring MLD". Just looking at that doc as an example, at the top there is an information section which gives you general facts about the protocol. For example, it tells you that MLD cannot be manually enabled, but is automatically enabled under certain circumstances. Write that down, learn it. Learn as many of these factoids as you can. Then study how the protocol works so you understand it, and don't just have factoids. Usually there is an example of how the protocol works. Read it, think about it, reproduce it on a sheet of paper. Then study the config guides carefully. Make notes on tricky spots, like whether a timer is in minutes or seconds.

    You should also memorize the standard stuff, admin distances, reserved 224 addresses, LSA types, etc., etc.

    OK, this said, a couple thoughts. I took my first Cisco exam in 2000, I have two CCIEs and one JNCIE. In short, I've taken a LOT of tests. In addition, I have been a question writer for Juniper exams and have been through our own process for developing tests. The CCIE v5 written is doable, but overall poorly written. There were a few questions that I can't believed they released. They were either intentionally worded confusingly, or none of the answers was correct. I saw one where the answers provided were clearly wrong, and I ran it in the lab when I got home just to be sure. There are a lot of "factoid" questions which are not that hard to answer, but these really prove nothing. When I wrote the questions at Juniper, we were specifically told NOT to ask silly things like "what MAC address does protocol X use" or "what IP protocol number is used for Y"... These just waste time. I'm not saying we were always successful, but as a Juniper test-taker myself, I've found our questions to be fair and reasonable. This test was silly. I'm not sure who they have writing their exams, but the fact that IGMP is listed as a layer 2 technology on the blueprint gives you some idea that they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

    Anyhow, I hope this helps some folks taking this exam.


    Thanks for the advice, any chance you can share your cards with me.
    Press RETURN to get started

    :roll:
  • ccie14023ccie14023 Posts: 183Member
    BobMead: Anki has a public database for people who want to share decks. I may post them there. However, I need to clean them up as some cards I wrote were brain-dumped from my own test and I don't want to get busted for sharing. Time permitting I will post them and let the group know.
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