Each of the five tracks of CCIE –
(a) Routing and Switching,
(c) Service Provider,
(d) Storage Networking and
(e) Voice, has its own written and lab exams that candidates should successfully pass before getting a Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) certification.
A written exam is just like any other exam that consists of multiple choice questions taken from various subjects, depending on the candidates chosen track. It is because of this very nature of the written exam that makes it easier for exam takers to pass mostly on first attempt. But then again, the challenge lies on the lab exam, requiring candidates to think of possible practical lab scenarios that will most likely appear on the actual exam.
The exam for the lab is what makes CCIE different from other certification programs. It costs around US $1,400 per attempt. It is usually a full day (8 hour) hands-on tests that measure a candidate s ability to configure and troubleshoot equipment. Because of this, there are only quite a few who pass this exam while others may need multiple attempts to complete it. This is not administered by Pearson VUE as there are only 10 specific Cisco lab exam locations worldwide – Bangalore, India; Beijing, China; Brussels, Belgium; Dubai, UAE; Hong Kong, China; Research Triangle Park, NC, USA; San Jose, CA, USA; Sao Paolo, Brazil; Sydney, Australia; and Tokyo, Japan. However, lab exams for a particular CCIE track are not available at all testing locations so it is better to inquire about it first. Say for example, the lab exam for Storage Networking is only available at Research Triangle Park, NC and Brussels testing centers.