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CCIE Voice Written Exam Study Guide

As of October 12th, 2010, Cisco has put into effect version 3 of the CCIE Voice Written exam (#350-030).  It consists of 100 questions and lasts for approximately 2 hours.

The major differences between version 2 and version 3 are the addition of CUPS (Cisco Unified Presence Server) and the update of the UC applications from version 4/5.x to 7.x - finally!   The update to version 3 now makes the CCIE Voice Written exam an excellent preparation tool for the CCIE Voice lab.  Previously, there were antiquated concepts on the written exam that had no bearing on the current CCIE Voice lab.  Many of these older concepts have been removed now to make the written exam aligned with the lab portion.

It should also be pointed out that both the CCIE Voice Written exam and the CCIE Voice Lab consider troubleshooting concepts to be a testable option.  While this seems like a pretty obvious thing to include, it is something that you should include in your preparation.  Make sure you know your debugs!  You will need to be familiar with these for the written exam, and certainly be fluent when it comes to the lab portion of the CCIE Voice certification.

Read Our CCIE Voice Written Reading List

You can find the full CCIE Voice version 3 blueprint here, but it does require a CCO account to access. 

CCIE Voice Written Exam Topics (version 3)
  1. Infrastructure Protocols
  2. Telephony Protocols
  3. Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM)
  4. IOS IP Telephony
  5. QoS
  6. Unified Messaging
  7. UCCX
  8. Presence
  9. UC Security
  10. Application Protocols
  11. Operations and Network Management
CCIE Voice Written Exam Strategy

Preparation for the CCIE Voice Written exam can seem daunting.  But, I like to consider it more like building a pyramid.  It may take what seems like a long time to build the base of knowledge - but if you focus on this very important phase, you'll find that it strengthens the later portions of your pursuit to become a CCIE.  Don't be in a rush!

I'd suggest first getting the Cisco CCNP Voice certification (CCVP).  This provides an excellent base of knowledge upon which to build.  Note that the exams for this certification are slated to change after 2/28/2011.

CCNP Voice (formerly CCVP) Categories:
  • CVOICE - Cisco Voice over IP
  • CIPT1 - Implementing Cisco UCM 1
  • CIPT2 - Implementing Cisco UCM 2
  • TUC - Troubleshooting Unified Communications
  • QoS - Quality of Service
Once you have established solid understanding of the "core" concepts above, it is time to then focus on disciplines that are not included sufficiently (in my opinion) within the CCNP Voice track:
  • Unified Messaging
  • UCCX
  • CUPS
  • UC Security
  • Application Protocols
  • Operations and Network Management

Obviously the more you can read, the better.  There is a lot of material, but if you step through it systematically and avoid the temptation to rush through it all, you will be able to pass the CCIE Voice Written exam.  I suggest that you print off the blueprint from Cisco and use the checkboxes on the form to keep track of those areas that you feel that you've adequately covered.

Personally, I like to designate three categories that I feel are my weakest at all times.  The categories that I select will change over the course of my preparation, but it keeps me focusing on areas that need the most work.  Simply put, I focus my reading and study on the three topics that need improvement and take stock in where I stand every couple of weeks.  Once you get the full blueprint from Cisco, you can narrow your focus even more by selecting sub-topics as your focus.  The main point of this exercise is to break your preparation into smaller chunks so that you avoid feeling overwhelmed with trying to learn it all - all at once. 

How do you learn about these topics, you ask?  Well, there are many ways to accomplish this.  Hands-on experience certainly is a great way to reinforce concepts that you will find on the CCIE Voice Written exam, but reading, studying, and reviewing the material is the way to get prepared for the CCIE Voice Written exam in the shortest period of time.  You will have plenty of time to get hands-on as you prepare for the lab portion of the certification.

If you have the resources to purchase training from companies like IPexpert, Internetwork Expert, or New Horizons, certainly do it!  These programs will greatly supplement your learning experience, however, you must still plan on doing a lot of reading and study on your own.

See the extensive reading list that I've compiled below from many sources.  While it is not ultimately necessary to read each and every one, I hope that you'll find a wealth of knowledge contained within each and every resource listed.  Some are publicly available documents, and others are books that you can consider adding to your library.  I always consider Cisco Press books to be a good purchase; I'm always pulling them off the shelf to review!

Read Our CCIE Voice Written Reading List 

Good luck and please feel free to share any ideas that you have personally found to help your pursuit! 

More Information
CCIE Voice Written Exam Topics v3

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