What is CCIE Security Lab Exam Like – 2021 Guide

To build a freelancing IT career these days, it is almost mandatory to have some kind of certification or diploma. Most companies are looking for proven experts. Obtaining a solid certificate is not that difficult. The difficult part is finding a certificate that is still relevant in 2021. And something that will be relevant for the next 10 years or more. These days, most IT employers are looking for Cisco Certified Internetwork Experts, especially those specialized in security. However, to become a CCIE security expert, you will need to pass the lab exam.

Of course, passing the security lab exam will not be as easy as you might think. Even if you do have a lot of knowledge on the subject, you will still need to invest a lot of time to prepare.

At times, it might seem like it is impossible to prepare properly for this exam. There is so much information that you have to process and remember too.

However, there is no need to panic. There is tons of information online that can tell you exactly what the exam could and will look like. And, there is no need to look further because you are looking at a 2021 guide that is going to tell you everything you need to know about the CCIE Security lab exam.

Choose your path


When first submitting your application for a Cisco certification, you will need to decide exactly which path you are going to take. This is going to determine exactly what kind of expert is you will master.

The first path or “track” is for routing and switching. This is usually the one that most people take. There is also the option for a data center expert, service provider, wireless expert, collaboration, and last but not least, security. Security is also one of the more mainstream choices, but for a good reason. It is widely accepted, it is needed and it comes with a good paycheck.

Of course, getting a certificate for becoming a service provider or wireless expert is worth it, but it is not as demanded around the world.

Making this decision is not going to be easy. I am not going to lie to you. This is a decision that is going to affect the rest of your life.

To make the right choice and to take the right exam, you will have to think about where you see yourself in the future. If you are mostly focused on becoming a security engineer then you should probably take the security CCIE path. Start with what you are most comfortable with and finish with that.

Registering for the exam

Of course, before you can get to the lab exam, you will first need to register and pay the costs. The written test is around $450 and the lab test is a little bit more expensive, coming at about $1600.

Keep in mind, Cisco does not require you to have any kind of knowledge, experience, diplomas, or certificates to take the exams. Anyone can submit an application. But, if you fail, it is a huge waste of money so make sure that you are prepared enough.

It might be a good idea to consider getting some external help for your CCIE LAB test to ensure that you pass as suggested by SPOTO. With this external help, you will know exactly what to expect during the exam. They will provide you with all the information you need and they will answer all of your questions.

They might even provide you with some of the questions that could come up on the written test.

Nevertheless, once you have registered and submitted your application, it is time to prepare.

Test before the security lab exam

Before you can get to the lab exam, you will have to pass the written test. Want to successfully get a passing score, you can schedule for the “real deal”.

To pass, you will need a score that is above 845 points. Keep in mind, the score ranges from 300 to 1000. In other words, you cannot make a lot of mistakes.

A large portion of the exam, about 70% is going to be multiple choice questions specific to the path you have chosen. Basically, you will get a lot of questions regarding network security.

After that, there should be a few questions that are drag-and-drop. Basically, you have the question and the answer and you have to properly align all of them. It might sound easy, but all of the questions will be extremely complicated. Make sure you do not make a mistake here because the points you can get here are important.

With all the right answers in the drag-and-drop section, you will earn about 10% of the total score.

After that, you may get more multiple-choice questions that are specifically focused on securities and are more broad and overall about networks, evolving technologies, etc.

To finish this test, you will have about a maximum of two hours. After that, you automatically fail.

Time for the CCIE Lab Exam

Once you successfully pass the written exam, you can finally schedule the lab test. Make sure you have enough time between the two tests to prepare. Again, consider hiring services that could help you with the preparation process.

Remember that this test is going to be much more difficult than the previous one and it is going to last about eight hours. It is going to be long, excruciating, and complicated. Be ready.

At the beginning of the test, you will have to work on diagnosing and troubleshooting devices. That should probably take you around 2 to 3 hours. After that, you jump to the next section which is configuring the devices. This is the longest part of the tests is probably going to take about four hours or maybe even more.

As you can see, the CCIE Security lab exam is not going to be easy. Stay confident, but down underestimate it and you will pass. Although if you are having trouble, don’t hesitate to hire professional help.