CCIE Pursuit Blog

December 19, 2007

Inside The CCIE Lab

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification,Lab Tips — cciepursuit @ 6:28 pm
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Here is a brief video (.asf format) that gives us a glimpse into the CCIE Lab (you’ll need to cut and paste it into your browser as WordPress keeps replacing ‘mms:’ with ‘http:’:


I found this in a post over at the IE forums:

Inside the CCIE Lab

It turns out that this video is part of a longer video that you can view at the Cisco Certifications Community(you’ll need to have a CCO account or Cisco Certified to log in) under “Community TV” tab and the year 2005:

27 Apr 2005
How to Become a CCIE
Take a virtual tour of the CCIE lab and review ways you can earn your CCIE. 

[Updated 20 December: I initially posted about the wrong VOD (there are multiple “How to Become a CCIE” shows.  The 27 April show contains the clip referenced in this post.  The 14 December show has some good, basic information on the taking and preparing for the lab though.] 

I haven’t watched the entire video yet.  I’m sure that it’s somewhat dated, but it is interesting to get a peek inside the lab.  This quote stood out to me:

“The biggest mistake that most candidates make is that they do not read the entire exam before they begin.  Therefore, during the course of the exam they lose precious time because they make configuration errors early on that they find they have to go back and fix…”

In the same forum post, one of the posters gives us another glimpse into the lab:

I’ve been to Brussels for the R&S lab before (unfortunately a failed attempt [he passed on his next attempt]). In a nutshell:

You arrive between 7.20 and 7.40 at Cisco, sign in at the front desk, get your badge and wait in the lobby with other candidates (the tension is palpable  ), unsurprisingly only guys there, 8 to 10…). At 7.45-50, the proctor comes and guides you to the CCIE room. He explains basics for a few minutes (where the toilets are, shows the break room with a couple drink machines, cellphones/bags/etc. to be put on tables at the back of the room, assigns pod number, explains that he will answer any clarification question about the exam but won’t give or hint at the solution). The exam starts around 8.00, the proctor distributes the questions. There are a couple scratch sheets on the table (more can be asked from the proctor if needed), as well as a dozen pens of various colours, and of course a PC (with on the desktop shortcuts to SecureCRT sessions to all the routers and switches; also available are Notepad, Calculator and Internet Explorer for the univerCD).

Lunch at 12.00. The proctor distributes a coupon so you can eat for free (sort of, $1500 lunch, 20% VAT and service included  ), then guides you to the cafeteria (self service). Eat quickly or a light meal, because before 12.30 it’s time for everyone to get back to the lab until 16.30.

You’ll get the results in your mailbox the same day or the next day, usually (except if you take the exam on a Friday, then you can have to wait until Sunday evening, as was the case for me).

Status Update: 10 – 16 December

I got back on the horse last week.  The vast majority of my study time was spent tackling IE Volume II lab 3.  I felt okay about my progress on this lab.  I felt awesome after I finally was able to solve a route redistribution task on my own.  Then I fell on my face in the BGP session. 

I am still forgetting basic things within a technology if I haven’t practiced that technology for a while.  Because of this, I am going to implement a new study strategy this week.   I have finished nearly all (Multicast being the exception) of the IE Volume I labs.  I have repeated a number of them.  In the past I have repeated all of the labs for a particular technology that I am having difficulties with.  After I completed the labs for that technology I would be competent in that technology, but then I would discover that my skills had deteriorated in another technology.  Did that make sense?  Using a workout analogy, I would discover that my bench press had deteriorated so I would do a ton of chest exercises.  My benchpress would improve a lot.  Then I would do shoulders and discover the same thing.  Shoulders, legs, arms….then back to chest only to discover that it had deteriorated in the meantime.  That probably made even less sense, but I’m sticking with that analogy.  🙂  A better method would be to work out all the body parts on a regular basis (with possible emphasis on weak parts).  I think that I can apply the same methodology to my CCIE studies.

Going forward, I am going to do a small sample of labs from each of the Volume I labs.   I plan on reading 4 labs (complete them in my head if possible) and doing 4 labs from each technology.  I will initially focus on core tasks (IGPs, Switching, and BGP) and then incorporate more non-core tasks (QoS, Multicast, IP Services) as I progress.  Hopefully this will help me to maintain my knowledge in each technology.

Here are my goals from last week: 

Finish the Volume I QoS labs and some BGP labs.  Review route redistribution.  Review multicast.  Do Volume II lab 3.

I completed Volume II lab 3 (posting now – should be complete by Friday).  I also completed the Volume I QoS labs.  I did not get a chance to review route redistribution (I’ve already done that this week).  I did not get around to reviewing multicast.

This weekend I am going in to work to build out a new lab.  My current lab sits on my desk.  I use it after-hours as I don’t have remote access to it (I could, but I would be breaking a ton of security rules) and it makes enough noise to bother my co-workers if I run it during working hours.  A colleague of mine was building a remotely-accessible CCIE lab but he doesn’t have time to finish it.  The devices (3700s for the routers and 2 3550s, 1 3560, and a 3750 for the switches) are all racked, but need WICs, cabling, CompactFlash cards, and IOS images.  I just ordered CompactFlash cards (those things are hoarded like gold at my job) and I have an old box of 1000 feet of Cat5e cable that I’ll be putting to good use.  I think that I have enough WICs, but I can always find more of those.  Hopefully I can get everything cabled and imaged this weekend.  My friend will work on getting remote access.  I plan on burning most of Saturday on this project.

Goals for this week:  Volume I BGP labs.  Read 4 random labs from each of Volume I OSPF, EIGRP, RIP (12 total).  Do 4 random labs from each of Volume I OSPF, EIGRP, RIP (12 total).  Review route redistribution.  Do Volume III lab 3.  Build work lab.

Days Until Lab: 165
Readiness (1 to 10): 2
Lab Hours This Week 19
Study Hours This Week (estimate): 4

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