Cisco incorporates new retake policy for two high-level certs

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The old adage applies in certification, much as in many other areas of life: If at first you don’t succeed, give it another shot. Especially when taking a crack at high-level certifications, it’s fairly common to need to bounce back from a failed first attempt. Among all the suggestions for how to better your performance, one that’s given quite reliably is to take the time necessary to regroup, review and restudy before reattempting.

Cisco is raising the bar for exam retakes on two top-level certs.Now the experts at Cisco Learning Network, the certification and training arm of networking giant Cisco, are formally enforcing the “don’t rush it” approach for certification candidates who attempt either of two top-level exams. Over the weekend, on Aug. 2, a retooled retake policy took effect regarding the Cicso Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) and Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) written exams, with a second revised retake policy now in effect for the lab portion of CCIE.

The new standard for retakes of the CCIE and CCDE written exams is still relatively lenient. Whereas previously, exam candidates were required to wait at least five days before reattempting either exam, the new standard requires them to wait at least 15 days. Additionally, there is now a limit on the number of times that either written exam may be retaken in a given 12-month period. There is no limit on the overall number of retake attempts. Candidates who attempt either exam and fail, however, may only retake either written test up to four times in the ensuing 12-month period.

So if Tom takes his CCIE written exam and fails on May 15, he may only retake the test up to four times before May 16 of the following year. At that point, another retake would be available and the 12-month clock would reset.

The new retake policy for the CCIE lab exam is a little trickier. The old standard for CCIE lab retakes was that candidates had to wait 30 days, beginning the day after a failed attempt, to retake the lab. Under the new guidelines, however, candidates are required to wait 30 days before even scheduling a next attempt. And it gets even more restrictive after that. Candidates who fail on their second attempt are required to wait 90 days before scheduling another attempt. At that point, the 90-day standard remains in effect until a candidate makes a fifth failed attempt. If that happens, then a new 180-day standard takes effect. Essentially, if you can’t hit that nail on the head in your first five attempts, then it’s time to take a serious break to reconsider, regroup and review.

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CertMag Staff


Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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