Monday, April 28, 2008

CCIE LAB Learn Process

I will separate the LAB study process from the Written Exam as they are 2 different process from my point of view, so my study to the lab started at the end of 2006 after I passed my Written Exam, first my plan was to study for 4 months using Rack Rental but as I progressed I saw that this target was not realistic and I had a lot more to practice and to study before I will attempt to go to the lab so I scheduled my lab for mid August 2007, I rented almost 600 hours of rack time and scheduled almost every day a lab session, very important detail I forgot to mention is that I purchased the IEWB from Internetworkexpert. At first stage of my study the version that was available of the Work Book was 3 that was according to the old LAB format with 2 Catalysts only later they released version 4 and 4.1 according to the updated format of 4 Catalysts, but never mind that, at first few months I had a lot of mess in my brain as I didn't had any structured plan on how to approach the lab, then I saw that that mess is getting me no where I stoped and done a study plan divided to subjects that need to be covered and to the importance level meaning that OSPF BGP EIGRP... FR, VLAN, VTP, STP... all these are core subjects and needed to get the highest focus then I taken the Security QoS Multicast IPv6 and other miscellaneous subjects and given them a lower priority and each subject like that I divided to sub category and gave them also priority, finely I had a structured plan of approach and I started working according to it but yet again I saw that I have short time to my LAB so I postponed my first lab attempt to Jan 16 2008, I have rented additional ~500 hours, also I didn't mention but I done also a lot of reading both books like TCP/IP vol 1 and 2 CCIE R&S Practice Labs CCIE Practical Studies vol 1 and 2 RFC's of OSPF BGP RIP IGMP and more It is needless to say that the books are sufficient but it is nice to know the source of the books and some time I found the RFC information clearer then the books. The final stages before the first attempt was almost 3 weeks of each day 8hr doing full lab from the IEWB. I managed to solve most of the labs within 6hr max. as I mentioned my first attempt was in Jan 16th in San Jose California and it was unsuccessful, although I did 100% on the core subjects I had failed the other miscellaneous subjects and there is no excuse for that as most likely I was not ready for all areas, I got my answer on the morning before my flight back and that was a depressing moment (or should I say a week), but after a week I decided that I should not let this effect me and taken my conclusion from the test result on what I need to give my attention and prepared another plan for making my knowledge in these areas stronger for my next attempt that I scheduled for April 18th 2008 (this was passover evening in Israel) I have scheduled this time only ~80hr of rack time and focused on reading. the second attempt I have had in my first 20 min a blackout I said to my self what the hell do I do now?! but then I taken a step back and started all over again reading and taking notes only after ~40min I have started my configuration and from that moment I went trough it like a tornado it was like the cartoons where you get the spot light above your head and then you start doing every thing fast, I got my spot light and went trough one section after another by lunch I had finished almost 80% of the test then when I returned from lunch I finished all the config by 2PM after all checks and 2 full lab reboots. I must say the proctor was very nice and answered all my questions, my suggestion is in your question do not ask for an answer ask for clarification meaning make the proctor know that you know what you are talking about and do not shoot in the dark for answers. Although I finished at 2PM I stayed and tested my configuration until the test timed out just to make sure, I probably went trough the lab 20times, and very important thing SAVE CONFIG. After the lab I was so nerves starting to question my self although deep down I felt that I passed, I had a very long weekend waiting for the report but then it came at 5AM San Jose time Sunday I saw my number and what a wonderful feeling. Now I will take a time off before my next quest
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