CCIE Pursuit Blog

May 28, 2008

Internetwork Expert Graded Mock Lab 5: First Impressions

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification,Mock Labs,Status Updates — cciepursuit @ 10:22 pm

Wow.  I feel completely dead.  I finished Mock Lab 5 and felt like I had just gone 15 rounds with Mike Tyson (circa 1988).  I knew that I did not get 80 points, but I was feeling pretty good about breaking 60.  I just went through the solution guide, and I will be lucky to break 40 points.  Between points left on the board and simple mistakes, I probably lost 40 points.  There were a lot of tasks that I had the right idea, but missed a single line of configuration. 

For the second mock lab in a row, I fucked myself over by spending way too much time on some optional (non core) tasks.  Right out of the gate I tripped all over myself on this one.  I WAY over-thought (and under-thought?) a dot1q tunneling task.  I lost about 40 minutes and had to rip out all of my configuration and reload the switches.  I eventually caught back up on time.  I completed IGP redistribution with 3.5 hours left.   Since BGP was already built, I should have been able to finish the lab with some time to spare.  It was not to be.  I spent another 30 minutes trying to match a BGP debug output.  I should have just moved on, but I kept thinking “Oh, this HAS to be it”.  I CANNOT allow myself to do crap like that.  I have this stupid personality trait where I’ll spend time on something if I think that “I’m just about to get it”.  In real life that type of persistence may pay off, in the lab it’s just a long, dark rabbit hole to failure.  Needless to say, I missed out on the points anyways.  I could have used that time researching ‘service nagle’.  🙂

I always seem to lose it around the 6 hour mark.  I have no idea why that is.  I start getting punch drunk and making stupid mistakes.  I lost points on a QoS task because I configured Bc using AR instead of CIR.  ARRGH!!!!! 

I’m pretty sure that I nailed IGP redistribution and I spent less time on it than normal (still too much time).  I missed some easy BGP points because I forgot to add a “permit the rest” type of statement at the end of my route-map.  I left another easy BGP task on the board because I didn’t have time to come back to it (yet I found 30 minutes to dick around with debug output).  I need to commit to memory who authenticates whom in PAP and CHAP. 

I’m not ready for the lab, that’s for sure.  I’m thinking that I will keep my October date.  I have really had a shitty time over the last 1.5 months.  Family and work are gnawing into my already limited study time.  I feel like I’ve plateaued in my progress.  My first mock lab score was an 89.  The next two were in the mid-fifties.  This one may well fall into the forties.  Granted, the tests are progressively more difficult, but I’m still flailing.

IE opened up beta testing on version 5 of their Volume I lab book (just the Bridging and Switching section so far).  I’m going to run through that this weekend and then start repeating some of the Volume III and II labs before heading out to Reno for the Mock Lab Workshop.  I can’t believe that it’s nearly June already.

I need to really spend some time on my weaknesses: BGP (I’m slowly getting better), Multicast, Security (I am miserable at this section – at least with Multicast I can fake the funk).  There are still some minor technologies that I’m not “aces” at: dot1q tunneling, PPP authentication, OSPF route filtering, and private VLANs.  Maybe one more pass through the Volume I labs will sort some of this out.

Oh well….off to bed.  Tomorrow I get to go back to work to try to catch up on 5 days of backlog (counting the holiday and the weekend).  I can’t believe that I’m taking vacation days just to get my teeth kicked in on these mock labs. 


  1. You have this stuff down let it go :P!!!!!!

    The mock labs as you say get very difficult. Why not try to squeeze in a Cisco accessor lab ?

    Atleast there is one area I will excel at in the lab and that is not overthinking lol ;).

    Comment by Carl Yost Jr — May 29, 2008 @ 5:45 am | Reply

  2. After reading this, I think I need to schedule mine out further too! I don’t even know what AIR stands for (vs. CIR)! Does anyone know?

    Comment by Marko — May 29, 2008 @ 7:03 am | Reply

  3. @ Carl – I will definitely be scheduling the assessor labs.

    @ Marko – AIR is a typo. I meant AR (Access Rate). AR is the interface rate. In the question the AR was 768K and the CIR was 384 with a Tc of 10ms. I boned up the Bc calculation by using the 768K value instead of the 384K value.

    Comment by cciepursuit — May 29, 2008 @ 7:20 am | Reply

  4. The good news is that although I got my butt handed to me on the 3 IE mock labs I did, I still passed the lab exam first round. (I did IE mocks 2, 5, and 6.) So take heart – yeah, the IE mocks are brutal. But if you at least understand what you did wrong and learn from your mistakes, it’ll genuinely help in passing the real thing. You don’t have to nail the mocks to be able to pass the actual lab.

    Comment by Ethan Banks — May 29, 2008 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  5. Don’t let these tough Mock labs scare you. Reading through your blog I can see how you have great understanding of the core technologies. I would keep your Oct lab date and be done with it 🙂

    Comment by — May 29, 2008 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

  6. I wouldnt read to much into mock lab5. I personally think this particular mock lab is great to humble any ccie candidate before the real lab, but does not tell you accurately how prepared you are for the real thing. Good luck for the next few. Mock lab6 is a good well thought through lab.

    Comment by ahenning — May 30, 2008 @ 7:47 am | Reply

  7. Don’t push your lab date back any further. You’re getting close and the IE mock labs really are TOUGH! I repeated graded mock lab 2 and it made me feel a LOT better. As for why you shouldn’t push it back, read the following:

    I find having the lab date a month out does wonders for motivation :).

    Comment by Ed — May 30, 2008 @ 8:24 am | Reply

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