This is just a brief explanation of what the CCIE Routing & Switching v5.0 is and what the exam looks like if you are not familiar with it.

CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) is the highest technical certification in Ciscos certification program. Most people start out with the CCNA (Network Associate), and then proceed with CCNP (Network Professional).

Certification levels

There are many different parallel tracks in the Cisco certification world, but I’ve gone for the classic “Routing & Switching”. There are also separate tracks for Service Provider, Data Center, Wireless and so on.

The CCIE RS version 5.0 is divided into two parts, the written exam and the lab exam.

The written is a theoretical test with multiple-choice questions. You get around 100 questions that you need to answer in 2 hours time, and you need to score around 80% correct to pass. You can take the test at any Pearson VUE test center, and there are no requirements for taking this test.

After you have passed the written test, you can schedule your lab exam. This exam is only available at a few select testing locations, like Brussels in Europe or RTP and San Jose in the US. This exam is 8 hours long and divided up into three parts; Troubleshooting, Diagnostics and Configuration.

CCIE lab structure

The troubleshooting section is 2 hours long (+ optionally 30 additional minutes), diagnostics is fixed at 30 minutes and configuration is the rest of the 8 hour long test (config is 5h 30min if troubleshooting is done in 2 hours).

You have to score roughly 60% correct in each section to get a pass in that section, but the overall cut score when you add everything up is more like 80% correct to pass.

Read about my journey to becoming a CCIE.