New Cisco exam free retake policies: “ComeBack2009” and “Specialize”

February 5, 2009 at 10:08 am | Posted in Cisco | 28 Comments
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Once again Cisco and its authorized test provider, Pearson VUE, are offering free exam retakes between January 20 and July 20, 2009. Cisco has also rolled out a new program, called “Specialize,” promoting the new CCNA specialty certifications.

Both programs offer free exam retakes. However, you MUST fall into one of these two categories to take advantage of the offers:

  • You earned a Cisco certification that has since lapsed and are trying to re-certify, and you fail the applicable test, OR
  • You have a current Cisco CCNA certification and are trying to gain a Voice, Security, or Wireless specialty certification, and you fail the applicable test.

(I’ll grab the rest from the Pearson VUE site.)

The ComeBack2009 promotion is for anyone who has achieved a Cisco certification in the past, but for whatever reason has let their certification credential lapse. If you take a full-priced exam now and don’t pass it, you can get a second chance in the form of a free retake. This gives those with lapsed certifications a jump start toward earning back their credential. Candidates must complete all exams needed for a certification in order to gain back their certification. Further details can be found at

The Specialize promotion encourages those who currently have a Cisco CCNA certification to “specialize” in a Cisco CCNA concentration. Individuals who take a full-priced CCNA concentration exam, and fail the exam, will be given one free retake exam should they need it. This offer is only valid for 640-460-IIUC CCNA Voice, 640-553 IINS CCNA Security, and 640-721 IUWNE CCNA Wireless exams. Further details can be found at

ETA 4/17/2009: And we’ve just rolled out one of our most exciting products in years. In response to the huge volume of customer requests in recent years, we are now offering the Kaplan IT CCNA Simulator, a combination of network lab and exam-oriented scenarios that lets you virtually configure a network of common Cisco machines.

Click the screenshot for more information!


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  1. I have a question. What happens to those people who currently have an active certification (i.e. CCNA) and are trying to recertify it before it expires?

    I assume that the ‘Comeback2009’ applies to those people whose certifications have expired. Is there an promotion like the ‘SecondChance’ promotion?

    I feel that they fall between the cracks!

  2. That’s a great question, and honestly I don’t know the answer. I would contact a Pearson Vue testing center directly and ask. If they can’t give you a good answer, I’d go to Cisco’s certification online support:

  3. I am planning on taking the CCNP BSCI 642-901 exam to recertify my CCNA certification. I want to know if I am eligible for any promotions!


    P.S. Transcender has MORE information than either Cisco’s or Vue’s website to my knowledge! If I didn’t check them out, then I wouldn’t have known about it! I didn’t receive email(s) from Cisco or Vue about the promotion.

    • Shane, thanks for the kind words. Again, I don’t represent those companies so I can’t give you more information than what I have, but it’s nice to know we’re useful sometimes. :-)

      I CAN tell you that Transcender is redevloping our 642-901 practice exam even as I type this. The new version will be live and ready for download or purchase in six to eight weeks. ETA: The revision is just to freshen the content and the question pool, since this exam has been released for a while; the objectives are the same and the topic coverage will be the same. I hope I didn’t confuse you with my previous comment.

      • Also, with regards to which version of our practice test to buy: since we’re working on a revision of the SAME test (that is, the test number will be the same; it’s not a new version), it doesn’t matter when you buy. If you buy the current version, then when we refresh the question pool in the new release, you can simply upgrade your product online. Certain versions of our exams will upgrade automatically, or you can click the “Check for Updates” button in the test product.

        Hope this all helped!

  4. I stand corrected. I found a more detailed explanation of the promotion(s) on Vue’s website.

    Apparently Cisco sent out emails to those people who qualify for the promotion so I don’t apply I think! I still feel that people who have current active CCNA certifications who take a CCNP exam to recertify within the time period who pay full price for the failed exam fall through the cracks!

  5. Per Mike from Pearson Vue: The COMEBACK2009 promotion ONLY applies to the 642-802 exam, ICND1 exam, ICND2 exam ONLY!!

    I think that is UNFAIR since you can recertify a CCNA certification by taking a CCNP exam!

    I realize that I am in the wrong place but neither Pearson
    Vue NOR Cisco wants to listen or help me! If the COMEBACK2009 promotion ONLY applies to the above mentioned exams, then just put it accurately on Pearson Vue’s webpage! Cisco doesn’t want to even help me but to be fair I haven’t tried talking to their Certification Online Support!

    Thanks for the prompt reply!

  6. I have asked this question to Cisco Certifications Online Support. Hopefully they will listen and help me out.

    Thanks for your patience and your blog! I will update you if there are any changes.

    Thanks again

  7. Thanks for letting me vent, for listening to me and for pointing me in the right direction! Also thanks for telling me that your 642-901 practice exam will be revamped. I figure that if I didn’t see this blog, then I might not have known about it. And even if I received your email telling me about it, I wouldn’t have the time to prepare for it!

  8. Dear Members
    I take the CCNP ONT Today and fail can i retake the exam again in free of cost
    kindly guide me what can i do

    • You need to contact Pearson Vue directly, or contact Cisco directly. Look at some of the other comments in this thread. Good luck!

  9. I just took the CCIE R&S Written. I knew that I would not pass because I’ve only done a bit of preparations. The COMEBACK2009 promotion DOES WORK for the CCIE. My co-worker has used it to retake the Voice CCIE twice! Another guy in my company used it for one of the CCNP tests. I used it today to schedule my retake and it worked for me.

    • Awesome. Thanks for commenting where others can see the info. Good luck on your second pass!

  10. i have a question, i have a voucher full price and i had fail at 15-june-2009,
    can i retake as “ComeBack2009 promotion” free exam retakes between January 20 and July 20, 2009,

    Thanks so much

  11. Thank you very much for the post, i am very glad !!!!!!!!!

  12. Hi,

    Is there any idea to extand the time period of COMEBACK2009 promotion ?

    if it’s very help full for new candidate,


  13. Hi,

    I’m not a Cisco certified but I took the exam last july 15 & I fail. What is the process in retaking the exam? Can anyone direct me to correct link of personvue or an instructions will do.

    Thank you

    • We’re not affiliated with Cisco or Pearson Vue and have no information on this promotion beyond what is reported here.

      I’d try contacting PV directly:

  14. my question is now a days is policy have or not because i failed and i want to again appear in composit ccnp exam so plz tell me about it and how can i gain it again ?

    • You will have to contact Pearson Vue directly. We are not affiliated with Cisco or Pearson Vue and have no control over exam retakes.

  15. Hi! After July 2009 , any one Retake CCNA is coming?
    in this October 2009. rep

    • We won’t know unless Cisco and/or Pearson Vue announce it. Be sure your Pearson Vue account is updated and that you are scheduled to receive emails from them.

  16. Can anyone tell me why there is such a long lapse between the current CCNA exam, and the new one in August???
    I am not ready to take the CCNA exam by Novemeber 6th, but I looking to take it by the end of Novemeber. Do I have to wait until August now???

    • Linda, I’m not sure what you are asking. I went onto Pearson Vue and saw that I could schedule the 640-802 exam from now until next December with no break in availability. Can you clarify the issue for me?

  17. i gave my CCNP switch today and failed,re-take date showing on report card is 9th dec 2017…..will any extra charge for this retake date or its free of cost???… kindly advise sir…

    • According to Cisco, candidates who fail an Associate, Professional, or Specialist exam must wait a period of five (5) calendar days, beginning the day after the failed attempt, before they may retest for the same exam. Unfortunately, candidates are required to pay for each exam attempt, according to Cisco. They have sometimes run promotions in the past where you could get a free retake, and you should make sure your candidate profile is configured to receive promotional emails from Cisco so that you’ll be notified in the future: Good luck on your retake!

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