Voice LAB - RTP - Environment

Took my R&S in 2008 and passed, took my service provider in 2010 and failed. Both in RTP. 

I'm planning on taking my Voice lab this year sometime. What is the RTP environment like now for the Voice lab? Is the question manual on paper still or all electronic? Dual monitors yet? Still using SecureCRT?

I tried to search these forums and only found R&S info for this.




  • I took my Voice attempt back in Feb at RTP. I had a Windows XP machine and a 19" monitor-workstation. Full size keyboard and a mouse that allows for scrolling. The test was given electronically and I found this very helpful, as you don't have to worry about typos. And yes, Secure CRT for telnet and SSH access. 


    Hope this helps



  • Great... two questions.


    1. Is it more or less in PDF format? Or do they use their own viewer? I'm curious as how easily it is to have diagrams and questions up at the same time.

    2. Did you pass your attempt?

  • I sat RTP in November. Did not pass my 1st attempt - grading / task grouping was tough, in some cases I should have been more prepared with ... 2or3 methods of accomplishing some standard stuff like capturing greetings, and I deviated from my strategy too much and lost time. I felt I had command of everything, and master of a lot, but needed 'total mastery'.

    RTP was a great location, not hard to find or access. The voice stations were as sxklauz stated.

    In November, the exam itself was still in 3-ring binders.

    I read several blogs etc refer to counting up task points... I'm ok at math but wasted some time with that... in your first read through, just pay attention and notice tasks with no other dependancies. Do them last or if you get stuck. Focus on testing every detail on a given point-group of tasks because you could be a wiz at 'most' stuff but 1 little detail could derail a TON of points with linked-interdependant tasks.

    As 'mysterious' as the lab environment is before you sit the first time, its much more important that you have pretty much everything 'down cold' - able to recognize the dial plan requirements and fluently translate into digit manipulation almost as second nature. Cisco.com voice lab page states all that is there. Think about it a bit (ontop of all the tech silos you have to master).

    Master all 3 gateway flavors and don't forget gatekeepers; along with most common issues and debugs (repetition builds speed and experience!). Have solid CUE / CME skills but know how/where to find docs rather than memorize all the URLs for CUE features and services (more power to you if you do, just saying it didn't help me much). Remember to spend time on... small critical things that can seem less important but can also take lots of time - getting phone appearance just right, modifying backgrounds (remember to restart all TFTPs!), modifying menus etc.

    Once you can do INE labs within 7 hours, purposefully ... try using a different terminal emulator, or funky mouse - get away from your favorite 'comfy' UI. Try to have 2or3 methods of working with media... you will not have time to blow trying to troubleshoot stuff like that. Even if you can write the prompt recorder script in your sleep. Practice 'clunkier' methods of achieving common tasks, like from the RDP console of your lab workstation. At first I got really comfortable using all the tools and interfaces I use daily at work, but also at work frequently have to accomplish things with lame disconnected laptops or other less-than-optimal equipment - its all about knowing what to do, the equipment or environment is not going to make or break you - your knowledge will.

    I'm on the West Coast and sitting at SanJose shortly; I'd heard at first they graded harder than RTP, but am now convinced the lab environment and location does not matter (except I heard at lunch that the mobile lab is very slow and cramped). There are no secrets, its all here on INE, and listed in the blueprint. Know all. No shortcuts or... partial credit.

    This is my 2cents and some, Best of Luck

  • Thanks for the input. I've been to RTP twice already so I'm familiar with the IE test taking and the environment. I was more curious to the voice lab itself and how "udpated" it is. 

    It was mentioned that they give the questions and diagrams as electronic now. Are they just plain PDF's? or do they have their own viewer? Is it difficult to have the diagram and questions/tasks up at the same time?

    I am working on configuration speed now in my practice labs. I want to practice in a similar fashion that the real lab is given. Currently I have the questions printed out so I have more realestate on my desktop for securecrt and browsers.

    From what I know as well, the Voice labs are all remote and they use L2 tunneling to the equipment at your location. 

  • From what I remember, it was not PDF, it was some kind of browser based document. They also provided an index that allows you to quickly jump to different sections. I was just happy that I could copy/paste from the document, because my first attempt was with the binder and it was a disaster.

  • I was just at RTP Friday the 13th for the voice lab. I blew it big time. The environment was good. Flat screen monitor with digital copy of lab no notebook.  Plenty of pens, pencils, and colored pencils. Pencil sharpener in the room.  Lunch is always seafood on Friday according to the proctor and it was not anything worth the $1500 I paid for the day. No watches allowed at all.  Hope this helps someone.  

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