Every two years, I need to re-certify for the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert certification (CCIE). This time I intend to post my findings on this blog. I intend to describe where to get Example Questions from and how to read them (works for all Exams, not only Cisco exams)

Previously, I had planned to write following other parts:

  • Part 2: (canceled): hints about how to answer the R&S 400-101 questions — better see online version of 600 CCIE R&S questions from Feb 2016; it already has a good set of questions and answers.
  • Part 3: (planned): how to get Cisco Routing&Switching hands on experience using a GNS3 Cisco Routing&Network simulator or maybe better by using the Cisco dCloud, since GNS3/dynamips does not support the most recent IOS versions and the installation is not necessary with dCloud, saving us precious time.

Now let us accomplish part 1:

Document Versions

  1. (2015-12-09) initial release
  2. (2015-12-23) added some hints on my experience with A+ VCE and added a hint from an old colleague that the CCDP test 352-001 is easier to achieve than the R&S 400-101 test. I also added an online free resource for the R&S 400-101 test I have found.
  3. (2016-04-27) updated the link to the online version of the CCIE R&S questions from Feb 2016 (was a link of 500 questions from Dec. 2015 before); added Cisco dCloud link. In the last chapter, I also added a hint how to seach for a specific question and its explanation on the same site.

Tl;dr – Summary

We can retrieve example questions for certification from ExamCollection and read them using VCE Simulator from Avanset or BlueStacks Android Simulator on a PC. Alternatively, you can use VCE Simulator Mobile or A+ VCE on iPad or Android tablets. A+ VCE offers a demo mode that allows to see all questions with a trickThis link seems to offer a free conversion of the VCE files to PDF, but I have not succeeded to do so. There is also online repository of 600 CCIE R&S questions (Feb 2016). However, the free VCE files as well as the online repository seem to cover only ~60-70% of the questions you will see in a real test.

Where to get Example Questions from?

Free and premium VCE files with example question can be retrieved from ExamCollection after registration (for free). You will find all kinds of tests, e.g. Microsoft and Cisco using the search field. Also the new 400-101 Routing&Switching Test, or the 350-080 Data Center tests (to be replaced by 400-151 after June 22, 2016).

Last year I only have used the free VCE files, and almost 100% of the test questions had matched (score 944/1000). I intend to live with the free versions of VCE files this time again.

Alternatively, you might want to check out one of the many resources you find on the Internet nowadays. E.g., I have found an online repository of 600 CCIE R&S questions (Feb 2016), which comes with good explanations.

Note: this time I have found out that the free VCE files and the online version of the 400-101 test cover only 60-70% of the exam questions. I have not tested the commercial variants, e.g. on this link, but I guess, they will be more complete. For the 400-101 exam, the commercial variant currently has 937 questions instead of only 500 to 600 tests in case of the free VCE files and online repository, respectively.

A Hint to CCIE Recertifiers

Note: if you happen to re-certify an existing CCIE, an old colleague of mine had given me the hint that the CCDE test 352-001 test is easier to achieve than the CCIE R&S 400-101 test. The CCDE 352-001 exam has less questions (~400 questions in the buy-versions of ExamCollection) than the CCIE 400-101 Routing&Switching Test (~950 questions) and the latter test seems to be very challenging. Also the 350-080 Data Center exam seems to be very challenging: a colleague has taken the exam twice without success before switching over to 352-001.

Note: all exams are refreshed on and after July 25th, 2016. See e.g. this official statement about 400-101 or 302-001 from Cisco.

How to read the Questions?

The VCE files seem to be encrypted and require a VCE reader. The VCE reader I had bought 2 years ago does not accept the new VCE files. I now have several possibilities:

If you say, „buying is better than subscribing“, do not forget that you might not be able to open new VCE files next time you need to take the test. That happened to me: two years ago, I had bought the editor version of VCE Simulator from Avanset and I thought that I can use it for the next ten years. Now, two years later, the software refuses to open new VCE files. What a pity. Subscription licenses might not be so bad at the end.

Experiences with A+ VCE

This time, I have opted for the A+ VCE for iPad. Currently, this software has some problems (seen in iOS 8):

  • problem with pause function: if you pause the test and switch to Safari for Internet research, more often than not, the tests stops without notice when you try to come back and resume the test. A workaround is to save the session, each time before you leave the  to the other app.
  • crash problems with the timer: if the timer counts down while you are not working with the app, I had the problem that the app was crashing every every time I had tried to start it. After the re-installation, I was shocked that the software had forgotten, that I had payed for the buy version already. However, on the main page, there was an option to restore the add-ons.
  • problem with marked questions mode: if you learn all marked questions and save the session because you want to continue learning later on, the app gets confused about which question you were: e.g. if you have a VCE file with a total of 500 question with 250 questions marked, and you save the session at question 97 of 250 marked questions, the saved session will forget that you were in the „marked“ questions mode and will show you question 97 of the 500 question (which may be a totally different question than the one you had expected.
  • Once, I had problems importing the VCE files from behind a HTTP proxy („Invalid File“). However, the support team is very responsive and the problem was solved by directly connecting to the Internet.

All those issues were seen with iPad2 and iOS8 and might be gone with higher versions (however, I doubt it).

Demo for free

If you want to explore the VCE files before investing any money: A+ VCE comes with a free demo mode and you can view up to

  • 12 questions on BlueStacks
  • 61 questions on Android

You can also view all questions if you follow the instructions on this youtube post: the trick is: when you re-take the exam, before starting the test, use the slider on the botton to navigate to another first question. I have tested it and it works fine.

Also the VCE Exam Simulator allows you you import any VCE file and see the first 5 questions for free. This seems to work fine and a colleague of mine is using it with no reported problems so far (demo tested on iPad 2 and productive training on iPad 3).

PDF for free

This link and that link offer many VCE files also as PDF, e.g. navigate to the Cisco 400-101 files. Others can be found here.

Note: the first link pretends to offer a free conversion service of VCE files to PDF, but it does not work for me: to convert a VCE you need to post comment, but  there is no button or field on the page that allows you to leave any comment.

How to find the answer and explanation to a specific question?

If you find a question in the VCE or PDF (e.g. „Which three components comprise the structure of a pseudowire FEC element“) and you want to find a quick answer, you can try to search like follows using Google:


E.g. try: site:www.ccieexam.org Which three components comprise the structure of a pseudowire FEC element

The Feb 2016 questions and the Dec. 2015 questions of this specific site have proven to offer good explanations for most of the questions. Only, if the explanation is not sufficient or the answer is wrong, as happens sometimes, you need to dig deeper by omitting the site directive and work with a few keywords only.


  1. Finally, I have passed the CCIE Routing&Switching exam (400-101) today. However, I have to admit that I should have bought a commercial VCE or PDF file e.g. on http://www.examcollection.com/400-101.html with >930 questions instead of relying on the free VCE files or online exam collections with 500 to 600 questions. The exam had surprised me with ~40% new questions that were very hard to understand and answer and I was lucky to pass the exam.

  2. Wow congrats. I’m trying to renew CCIE and couldn’t believe how hard the written is now for R&S. This is 100% harder than the version I wrote 2.5 years ago. I’m writing my 3rd time tomorrow and appreciate your post.

    1. Hi Jack,
      thanks a lot and good luck!
      I have made the same experience. 2.5 years ago, I had 944/1000 points. This time, it was much, much harder. Note, that 400-101 will go from v5.0 to v5.1 on and after July 25th: See http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/exams/current-list/ccie-routing-switching.html for details. I bet, it will be even harder after that, because there will be many new questions.

      I cross my fingers. Let us know the results, if you wish.
      Best Regards,

      1. It was tough but I passed with 830. It was my 3rd attempt.

        Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

      2. The first 2 attempts I got 720, and 750. Cisco changed the policy so that you can only writ the exam 4 times in 1 year so I was starting to get worried. I’m very relieved that I was able to finally pass it. I also studied for 6 months for it, and by far it was the hardest written exam i’ve ever wrote.

        Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Bell network.

  3. The only thing that counts: you have made it!

    *thumps up*

    P.S.: next time I will head for the CCDE 352-001 instead . Even if the questions are as hard as for the CCIE R&S 400-101 (which I doubt), the pool of questions for 352-001 is substantially smaller (~400 questions vs. 950 questions). I hope, that does not change, since I have no time to learn for the 352-001 before July 28, since I am starting freelancing soon: IT consulting&training&system software development.

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