My second attempt

Hello guys,

I'm just back from my 2nd (failed) attempt.
This time was very different comparing to my 1st attempt… from my point of view TS went just fine, I completed 9 tickets (I left the last one because it was very complex and I thought it was better to save that time for the configuration part: I was not able to complete it before the time was up anyways) and before leaving the session I double checked everything was working without violating any restriction.

Configuration part was a bit tricky but I eventually completed the session and I was very confident this time I nailed my certification.

Came back to the hotel waiting for my score report. The email eventually arrived and with a bit of surprise it was a FAIL.
I passed the configuration part and failed TS with 68%… this means three tickets failed (2 failed + 1 not attempted).
I'm more than sure I didn't violate any rule and all 9 tickets were working like a charm before I saved all the configs and quit the TS session. Anyway I'm human and I can be mistaken, for sure everything was working so looks like I didn't respect some restrictions.

I immediately submitted a critique and asked for a re-grade (250USD).

I know I'm kind of crazy because more than likely I wasted my money but this is something I had to try.
The bad thing is now I have to wait up to three weeks to get my result and I cannot reschedule the exam in the meanwhile (There's no refund for the scheduled lab if the grade of the previous one turns into a PASS).

Do you guys know anyone that succeeded after a re-grade - just for statistic purpose :)

Anyways - I will wait for the re-grade and will accept a FAIL without complains (if two proctors evaluate the same way than it means I was wrong). Hopefully the next time will be the end of this journey.


  • Sorry Friend, and good luck for re-garde. I know some ppl passed on configuration when they went for re-grade but don't know about the TS part.


  • Sorry to hear that, seems like you are very close to passing though and you have the configuration part down which is good. Maybe you solved the tickets in another way than was expected so the config was working but maybe you missed some small detail. Seems that TS is the most difficult section for many people nowadays.

  • TS is indeed very, VERY hard. But as Cristian was saying on another topic, once you have a thorough understanding of the technology there's nothing that you cannot face.

    The real problem according to me is the guide lines. I was also telling the proctor about this, the TS restrictions (the general ones, not the ones specific to a certain ticket) should be available BEFORE the exam. It is very hard in two hours to analyse the topology, fix the issues and go back and forth with the documents they provide with the restrictions. I just want to use the two hours for TS.

    As far as I know it is actually a law problem: the exam can't be more than 8 hours. This is because a proctor can't work for more than 8 hours (+ lunch break) on a regular basis.

    I'm very happy with the overall CCIE lab approach of INE material, but frankly I think INE - with regards to TS - should focus more on the real lab where you have very short time so it's impossible to draw logical diagrams of a network composed by 35 devices. I also appreciated the technique of not using "show run" but just technology specific "show" commands but again - not applicable to real lab.

    I hope Cisco will release its IOU very soon because right now it's almost impossible to prepare for TS is a proper way with "just" 10 devices.

    Let's wait and see what happens. In the meanwhile for CCIE candidates out there: Read the restrictions TWICE before starting the exam. It's better to do 9 tickets respecting the rules than fix 10 tickets using forbidden solutions ;)


  • With a properly tweaked Dynamips you should be able to run around 20 routers or so. However no proper switching functions. I think INE should provide a TS topology in some way but I understand that this is difficult doing legally. Did you try any of the Cisco360 labs?

  • I didn't try any Cisco360 lab. I've heard TS labs are similar to the real ones in term of topology and complexity however I don't think I can afford going with two learning vendors - this is becoming very heavy for my wallet.

    Let's hope I will pass the next one otherwise I need to buy a mask and rob a bank to pay the 4th attempt - lol :)

  • Sorry to read about your failed lab.


    Cisco web says approx 0,3% rereads results in change from fail to pass.


    And this interview says 1 out of 5000 rereads results in change from fail to pass.

    But I have read in about a few candidates who was changed from fail to pass.





  • I'm starting to regret the reread. This will more than likely ground me for at least 3 week. My intention was to try again at the end of september... and booking the flight/hotel one week before will cost A LOT.



  • Sorry to hear about that my friend. I hope your re-read will end with your result being turned to a pass. From my previous experience, i would have thought it is quite unlikely for a change of grade on the TS. The config would possibly have better options. Lets wait and hear how it turns out though.


    A clear understanding of the requirements is crucial. For example, QoS is very tricky in the sense that a solution that meets the task requirements may not necesarily be correct but rather the one that Cisco expects. If you have not looked at the Cisco 360 QoS VoD, i would advise you do. Also check the Frame Relay VoD. There are some nice tricks there that they emphasize which are very crucial.


    Lastly, i had a similar experience on an unsuccesful attempt last year. I was sure i had passed TS but when the results came, i could not believe what is saw. I worked on those weaknesses and did pass in April.


    Michael Nabutali (CCIE 28640, R/S)

  • sorry to hear that, knowing the cisco answer is what is puzzling all this time. how to know what they want cann't they write configure xyz lol and make things and easier or at least release a IOU for study it is nearly impossible to get TS topology on real gear :(

  • I'm not arguing about the task wording. I think the wording is much more straightforward than any INE lab.

    Also, anybody can "configure XYZ", I'm proud to have attempted twice this wonderful, challenging exam - it will be an immense satisfaction when I'll finally nail it! This exam really evaluates an expert engineer and there's nothing I would change from a technical point of view.

    I would just like to have a _CLEAR_ DOs and DONTs. Something that cannot be misunderstood like:

    If the task doesn't explicitely allow:

    - you can't remove any ACL line

    - you can't create any interface

    - you can't disable any technology (IGP, BGP, access-group, line login, etc...)


    This is a clear, small, plain guide line. In the task you specify any further instruction. I prefer to have a task description with 2/3 more lines than go back and forth reading the DOs and DONTs.

    Anyways - althought I'm quite sure I did the exam in the best way and will wait for the re-grade, I'm seriously considering to book another lab for the end of Sept.

    Statistically 0.3% of rereads turn into a PASS and I don't want to let go 4/5 weeks before booking the next attempt so I won't lose my speed and hands-on practice. It will be very expensive to book short-notice flight and hotel room, possibly more expensive than a payed useless lab date (in case I will pass the re-grade).



  • soul,

    Sorry to hear you didn't pass the Troubleshooting section. All I can say is keep studying the technologies, protocols and troubleshooting techniques, but don't skip configuration practice.

    If I remember correctly, the average number of attempts to pass is closer to 3 than to 2, so hopefully your 3rd attempt will be the one - it was for me...

    Good luck![Y]

  • Hi All,

    I heard that TS is quite actually not quite almost overwhelming part of exam having 30 devices and spotting which device or segment has an issue i very tough, I just want to know how did you or anyone handle this kind of situation? with this kind of scenario you really need speed and mastery of technology..appreciate any suggestion for this type of situation.ty

  • Hello Soul

    Hear about your story. Hoping you will pass in the re-grade process, but if not then Work Hard again..come back with Good News.


    Happy Studying

  • When i took the exam (April 2011), the devices that correspond to the question are highlighted. That helps to identify devices for the pertinent question. I would suppose the feature is still there. Someone who may have taken exam more recently can probably advise if that has changed. Also, it is generally easy to navigate to the appropriate section because the routers are uniquely numbered. In Dubai (where i took exam), the screens are really wide hence the problem of spotting the appropriate routers is not much of an issue in my view.




  • I can't disclose any detail about the exam itself because of the NDA. What I can say is that each ticket only involves a portion of the network and you easily understand what this portion is. There will be no ticket that spans the whole topology.

    There are two key factors when facing TS:

    1) Structured approach (INE vol 4, Cisco360 TS VOD - which I've been starting yesterday)

    2) attention to guide lines restriction (this post :)

    There's no general rule to succeed in TS but a thorough understanding of all blue print technologies and experience in TS (real life experience + CCIE hands on practice) will be crucial.

  • Hello Daniel

    Do you any read on for tweaked the dynamips to run 20 router and so. I am looking for that alternative as well.



  • If you check my profile and go to my blog you can check posts tagged with Dynamips. I have written posts on idlemax which is the key ingredient.

  • Poll time :)

    Guys - I'm really struggling about this. I would ideally wait for the re-grade and THEN book my next attempt - however I'm really tempted to book my flights/hotel and lab date for the beginning of October in a few days because the flight price is increasing dramatically. I don't want to lose other time, I think in a month and something I can be up to speed for another date.

    What would you do? Re-grades usually take 3/4 weeks and 0.3% of them turn into a PASS. Waiting for the result would mean doing the next attempt in November/December to have low prices for the flights... I don't want to wait 3 more months, I fear the upcoming winter activities (job activites will increase, renovations at home, etc..) will kill most of my time in preparing the next attempt.

  • sorry to hear about your 2nd attempt failed but i have heard reread is quit hard to make fail to pass but hope fully you were completely near by with your finel passing score so hope you will get your number 

  • The statistics are not very good for rereads and I think the TS might even be more difficult to get PASS than config. It depends how you feel about the exam, do you feel there is a chance that the result can change or are you just kicking yourself for a damn near pass.

    If you push hard now and focus on TS and weak areas you will definately pass next time unless you have really bad luck.

  • Daniel,

    Thanks for the reply

    Is the topology is same as INE Topology.



  • First of all thank you all guys for your messages.

    Well, I just feel I did not violate any restriction, if I'm right that means I nailed 9 tickets (89%). It's not a desperate attempt to get my number :)

    However, as Daniel pointed out, the stats are not on my side - moreover, even if I'm right (and probably I'm not.. it can happen to miss some restriction rules and still think I'm right) I don't think Cisco will be happy to admit a human mistake or worst a mistake of their grading system - there's no other way to verify.

    However, I think in a couple of days I will be booking my 3rd attempt.

    Sounds like betting against your favourite football team: if your team wins you are happy, if they lose you are happy anyway ;)

  • Well... I've just reveived my re-grade. A second proctor reloaded my configs and confirmed my score.

    Looking at the email they sent to me I have now realized I won't ever again ask for a re-grade, looks ilke I did the right choice booking my next attempt before they came back to me.

    I'm still not sure I violated any rule but that's ok, let's look forward and prepare at best for the next round - I will nail this, even if it will take 10 more attempts.

  • That's the best approache.. NEVER EVER GIVE UP..!!


    All the best for your next attempt.


  • That's the spirit to have never give up. You will understand what I am saying after you nail the lab on the next attempt. Good luck mate

  • Hi Soul,

      As other said "DO NOT GIVE UP, EVER!" instead concentrate on areas that you didnt pass or not strong and make sure to take some mock labs in your preparation to assesss yourself on these weak areas, INE Team/IEOC will for sure support you in whatever they can with your next attempt. 


    Well... I've just reveived my re-grade. A second proctor reloaded my configs and confirmed my score.

    Looking at the email they sent to me I have now realized I won't ever again ask for a re-grade, looks ilke I did the right choice booking my next attempt before they came back to me.

    I'm still not sure I violated any rule but that's ok, let's look forward and prepare at best for the next round - I will nail this, even if it will take 10 more attempts.


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