Demystifying the CCDE Exam Format: A Comprehensive Guide


The Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) certification is widely recognized as a pinnacle achievement for network design professionals. It demonstrates an individual’s advanced knowledge and skills in designing sophisticated, large-scale networks. If you’re considering taking the CCDE exam, understanding its format is crucial for effective preparation. In this article, we will delve into the key aspects of the CCDE exam format, helping you navigate this challenging certification process with confidence.

Overview of the CCDE Certification

Before we delve into the exam format, let’s briefly review what the CCDE certification entails. CCDE is designed for experienced network architects who possess expert-level knowledge in network design methodologies. The certification validates the ability to create and evolve network infrastructures, translating business requirements into effective and scalable network designs.

CCDE Exam Format

The CCDE exam is a two-part process, consisting of a written and a practical exam. Both components are designed to assess your knowledge, experience, and ability to design complex network solutions.

 Written Exam


Duration: 2 hours.

Format: Multiple-choice questions and scenario-based questions

Number of Questions: Approximately 90


The written exam covers a broad spectrum of topics related to network design, including:

Network infrastructure design

Intelligent network service design

Design methodologies and principles

Network optimization and convergence

Network security design

Preparation Tips

Study the official Cisco CCDE exam topic guide.

Review relevant Cisco documentation and whitepapers.

Practice time management to answer questions efficiently.

Practical Exam


Duration: 8 hours.

Format: scenario-based design questions

Number of Questions: Typically, there are 3 scenarios.


The practical exam assesses your ability to analyze business requirements and translate them into an effective network design. Key areas covered include:

Layer 2 control plane design

Layer 3 control plane design

Network services design

Network optimization

Preparation Tips

Develop a systematic approach to network design.

Practice with hands-on design scenarios.

Familiarize yourself with Cisco design tools and resources.

Passing Criteria

To achieve CCDE certification, candidates must pass both the written and practical exams. The passing score for each exam is set by Cisco and may vary.

Additional Considerations

Exam Availability

The CCDE exams are not offered as frequently as some other Cisco certifications. Check the Cisco website for the latest information on exam availability.


The CCDE certification is valid for three years. To maintain certification, candidates must recertify by passing the current CCDE written exam or any CCIE written or practical exam.


The CCDE certification is a challenging but rewarding achievement for network design professionals. Understanding the format of the exam is a crucial step in your preparation journey. By mastering the content of the written and practical exams and developing hands-on design skills, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a Cisco Certified Design Expert. Good luck!

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