CCIE Pursuit Blog

November 27, 2007

Practice Lab Strategy

I’ve come up with a rudimentary practice lab strategy. The Internetwork Expert Volume II workbook contains 20 practice labs each labeled with a difficulty label with a maximum value of 10. The lab with the lowest rated difficulty level has a rating of 5 (it is the only lab with a 5 rating). IE has stated that the actual CCIE lab has a average difficulty level of 7 (it could be as low as a 6 or as high as an 8).

The table below shows the difficulty level for each lab:

Lab Difficulty
01

5

02

6

03

6

04

6

05

6

06

7

07

9

08

8

09

8

10

8

11

9

12

7

13

9

14

10

15

9

16

8

17

8

18

7

19

10

20

8

The breakdown by difficultly level is as follows:

05 – Lab 01
06 – Labs 02, 03, 04, 05
07 – Labs 06, 12, 18
08 – Labs 08, 09, 10, 16, 17, 20
09 – Labs 07, 11, 13, 15
10 – Labs 14, 19

My plan (subject to revision) is to work through all but two of the labs at each level (except level 5 of course) at my own pace. That is, I will do the lab but will not attempt to time myself or grade the lab. I will also allow myself to use the solution guide should I get stuck (I will try to minimize this by using the DOC). I will also do each of these labs at least twice and assign myself study items by recognizing the technologies that I totally stink at. Let’s call these “learning labs.”

The remaining two labs (per difficulty level) will be treated as mock labs. I will do each of these labs in a simulated lab environment. That means sitting the allowing myself 8 hours with a 30 minute break to complete the lab. That also means that I will only allow myself to access the DOC – no looking at the answer key if I get stuck. I will also grade these labs afterwards to try to get an idea of what score I would get had this been the actual lab. Let’s call these “simulated labs.”

I’ll do one simulated exam once I complete all of the learning labs at the next level. For instance, once I complete all but two labs at level 7, then I will do one of the simulated labs at level 6. I will save the remaining simulated lab (at each difficulty level) until the end of my studies and do them in a short period of time.

For instance, I will do labs 1, 2, 3, and 6 as learning labs. Then I will do lab 4 as a simulated lab. After that I’ll do labs 8, 9, 10, and 16. Then I’ll do lab 12 as a simulated lab. And so on…

I’m hoping to tackle one learning lab per weekend going forward. I’ll spend the rest of the week working on my week areas. I’ll also be mixing in some of the Volume III labs to work on speed and accuracy on the core tasks.

This plan seems workable and will give me some goals and direction.

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