Success in RTP

It feels great to be posting up something on this forum.

I sat for the CCIE R&S practical exam in RTP Sunday, and happy to say I passed this time (my second attempt, both v5). CCIE # 44695! I feel I was very close on my first attempt a month ago and thrilled that I could pull it together for a passing grade this time around.

Here are some thoughts on the exam and preparation, I hope it helps someone else out.

Exam: 

I did a report a month ago on the other INE forum about exam format and what-not so I won’t be redundant. No surprises, same format as what has been advertised.

The proctor at RTP offers Sunday test dates from time to time, and it was definitely more convenient for me. It was quieter, less traffic getting to the testing facility, and the place they normally cater food it was closed - so he ordered in real food from somewhere else :)

You CAN zoom out of the diagrams if you feel they are too big. To do this you have to enable the IE status bar and in the lower right corner you can change the zoom level. 75% worked better for me and I could see more of the topologies at once. Any further out and the text was not readable though.

The following strategies worked for me this time around. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to tackle the config component and certainly not claiming my approach is all that good.

My strategy was “by the book” I supposed for the tshoot section - INE’s excellent troubleshooting videos where great preparation. 

For diagnostic section - once again it can be a lot of information to process in 30 minutes and regurgitate answers. The questions themselves aren’t too tough in and of themselves. This really seems like it has the potential to be a heck of a wild card for people, don’t take it lightly. It’s not worth a lot of points, but you MUST pass it.

Config section:

On my failed attempt previously, I focused on diagraming everything to the nth degree and working through the lab top down more or less in the order they presented it. BAD idea for me. I spent way too much time on drawing and didn’t finish the actual work. 

This time around, I just sketched down the physical connectivity diagram verbatim from the on screen picture, and used it to sort out L2 ports etc. I did not feel the need to diagram out anything else over and above the provided documentation. I did keep a log of each question, point value, general topic, and notations, which helped me.

I started out, read through the lab, and studied the overall topology diagram. I knocked out the L2 connectivity first, but after that, I did not go top down in order. I identified (1) the VPN areas, and then (2) the “centralized” portion of the network from a routing point of view, and I worked outward from those. Things came together much nicer for me, although I was hopping back and forth a lot. Keeping a log was super handy. My reasoning for hitting VPNs early was that they are sort of like L2.5 and can stitch together parts of the network that are otherwise in the same routing domain. YMMV, I believe you need to think tactically here and possibly adjust your plan based on what they throw at you.

I ended up only using 2 hours on TShoot, so I had the extra 30 on the config section. I finished most of my work with a little over an hour to spare, which allowed me to go back through and catch some errors/omissions.

One thing you must be is efficient on the config section. Notepad, IOS shortcuts, and copy/paste are your friends, particularly if you are typing skills tend towards the chaotic side like mine. My best advice is to watch the INE ATC videos and pay attention to how Brian works configuring his examples, especially when something breaks and he has to re-work configurations to fix it.

I will caution, I ran into some topics on my exam this time that I have not seen treated in any training materials (INE or otherwise), especially in the areas of how different technologies interact. See my comment below about filling in the gaps.

 

 My preparation was a very blended approach:

-  I had an absolutely kick butt study partner. This was so valuable to have someone to bounce ideas and questions off of on a regular basis, and just someone that knows exactly what you are working toward and going through. We were constantly throwing problems at each other to solve and even built a few practice labs of our own, I can’t say enough how much this helped me.

- Real experience: I took every opportunity I could at work to follow interesting issues and resolutions with our network operations team; my “day” job is a voice engineer so my normal operational view of things is different.

- INE’s R&S Bootcamp was terrific. Dave Smith was our instructor and he did an outstanding job at challenging us and getting us to think about the technology and how someone writing the exam might present problems. He has a lot of real-world experience to share, the quality of the course was top notch. I also got to meet some great engineers also working on their cert and learn from them as well!

- INE’s ATC videos and practice materials were a great resource, especially the latest v5 videos. 

- Blogs, Books, articles. You still have to fill in the gaps. My go-to sites are INE’s blog, ipspace.net , packetlife.net

 

I hope this was useful, good luck everyone!

 

 

Comments

  • Congrats!  Did you get same exam? I mean failed and passed attempt.  I believe you did second attempt after 30 days.

    On Sep 8, 2014 4:40 PM, "ealeatherman" <[email protected]> wrote:

    It feels great to be posting up something on this forum.

    I sat for the CCIE R&S practical exam in RTP Sunday, and happy to say I passed this time (my second attempt, both v5). CCIE # 44695! I feel I was very close on my first attempt a month ago and thrilled that I could pull it together for a passing grade this time around.

    Here are some thoughts on the exam and preparation, I hope it helps someone else out.

    Exam: 

    I did a report a month ago on the other INE forum about exam format and what-not so I won’t be redundant. No surprises, same format as what has been advertised.

    The proctor at RTP offers Sunday test dates from time to time, and it was definitely more convenient for me. It was quieter, less traffic getting to the testing facility, and the place they normally cater food it was closed - so he ordered in real food from somewhere else :)

    You CAN zoom out of the diagrams if you feel they are too big. To do this you have to enable the IE status bar and in the lower right corner you can change the zoom level. 75% worked better for me and I could see more of the topologies at once. Any further out and the text was not readable though.

    The following strategies worked for me this time around. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to tackle the config component and certainly not claiming my approach is all that good.

    My strategy was “by the book” I supposed for the tshoot section - INE’s excellent troubleshooting videos where great preparation. 

    For diagnostic section - once again it can be a lot of information to process in 30 minutes and regurgitate answers. The questions themselves aren’t too tough in and of themselves. This really seems like it has the potential to be a heck of a wild card for people, don’t take it lightly. It’s not worth a lot of points, but you MUST pass it.

    Config section:

    On my failed attempt previously, I focused on diagraming everything to the nth degree and working through the lab top down more or less in the order they presented it. BAD idea for me. I spent way too much time on drawing and didn’t finish the actual work. 

    This time around, I just sketched down the physical connectivity diagram verbatim from the on screen picture, and used it to sort out L2 ports etc. I did not feel the need to diagram out anything else over and above the provided documentation. I did keep a log of each question, point value, general topic, and notations, which helped me.

    I started out, read through the lab, and studied the overall topology diagram. I knocked out the L2 connectivity first, but after that, I did not go top down in order. I identified (1) the VPN areas, and then (2) the “centralized” portion of the network from a routing point of view, and I worked outward from those. Things came together much nicer for me, although I was hopping back and forth a lot. Keeping a log was super handy. My reasoning for hitting VPNs early was that they are sort of like L2.5 and can stitch together parts of the network that are otherwise in the same routing domain. YMMV, I believe you need to think tactically here and possibly adjust your plan based on what they throw at you.

    I ended up only using 2 hours on TShoot, so I had the extra 30 on the config section. I finished most of my work with a little over an hour to spare, which allowed me to go back through and catch some errors/omissions.

    One thing you must be is efficient on the config section. Notepad, IOS shortcuts, and copy/paste are your friends, particularly if you are typing skills tend towards the chaotic side like mine. My best advice is to watch the INE ATC videos and pay attention to how Brian works configuring his examples, especially when something breaks and he has to re-work configurations to fix it.

    I will caution, I ran into some topics on my exam this time that I have not seen treated in any training materials (INE or otherwise), especially in the areas of how different technologies interact. See my comment below about filling in the gaps.

     

     My preparation was a very blended approach:

    -  I had an absolutely kick butt study partner. This was so valuable to have someone to bounce ideas and questions off of on a regular basis, and just someone that knows exactly what you are working toward and going through. We were constantly throwing problems at each other to solve and even built a few practice labs of our own, I can’t say enough how much this helped me.

    - Real experience: I took every opportunity I could at work to follow interesting issues and resolutions with our network operations team; my “day” job is a voice engineer so my normal operational view of things is different.

    - INE’s R&S Bootcamp was terrific. Dave Smith was our instructor and he did an outstanding job at challenging us and getting us to think about the technology and how someone writing the exam might present problems. He has a lot of real-world experience to share, the quality of the course was top notch. I also got to meet some great engineers also working on their cert and learn from them as well!

    - INE’s ATC videos and practice materials were a great resource, especially the latest v5 videos. 

    - Blogs, Books, articles. You still have to fill in the gaps. My go-to sites are INE’s blog, ipspace.net , packetlife.net

     

    I hope this was useful, good luck everyone!

     

     




    INE - The Industry Leader in CCIE Preparation

    http://www.ine.com



    Subscription information may be found at:

    http://www.ieoc.com/forums/ForumSubscriptions.aspx
  • Congratulations, Ed! Be sure to submit your success story to INE, so we can add your name and testimonial to our Wall of Success:

    http://www.ine.com/success-story.htm

    ---

    Kristen Hansen
    Technical Marketing | INE, Inc. 

  • Congrats!.. enjoy it!... I have a question, and I hope respect the NDA.. what about multicast?

     

  • Congratulations!

    thx
    dsu

    On Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 8:41 AM, ealeatherman <[email protected]> wrote:

    It feels great to be posting up something on this forum.

    I sat for the CCIE R&S practical exam in RTP Sunday, and happy to say I passed this time (my second attempt, both v5). CCIE # 44695! I feel I was very close on my first attempt a month ago and thrilled that I could pull it together for a passing grade this time around.

    Here are some thoughts on the exam and preparation, I hope it helps someone else out.

    Exam: 

    I did a report a month ago on the other INE forum about exam format and what-not so I won’t be redundant. No surprises, same format as what has been advertised.

    The proctor at RTP offers Sunday test dates from time to time, and it was definitely more convenient for me. It was quieter, less traffic getting to the testing facility, and the place they normally cater food it was closed - so he ordered in real food from somewhere else :)

    You CAN zoom out of the diagrams if you feel they are too big. To do this you have to enable the IE status bar and in the lower right corner you can change the zoom level. 75% worked better for me and I could see more of the topologies at once. Any further out and the text was not readable though.

    The following strategies worked for me this time around. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to tackle the config component and certainly not claiming my approach is all that good.

    My strategy was “by the book” I supposed for the tshoot section - INE’s excellent troubleshooting videos where great preparation. 

    For diagnostic section - once again it can be a lot of information to process in 30 minutes and regurgitate answers. The questions themselves aren’t too tough in and of themselves. This really seems like it has the potential to be a heck of a wild card for people, don’t take it lightly. It’s not worth a lot of points, but you MUST pass it.

    Config section:

    On my failed attempt previously, I focused on diagraming everything to the nth degree and working through the lab top down more or less in the order they presented it. BAD idea for me. I spent way too much time on drawing and didn’t finish the actual work. 

    This time around, I just sketched down the physical connectivity diagram verbatim from the on screen picture, and used it to sort out L2 ports etc. I did not feel the need to diagram out anything else over and above the provided documentation. I did keep a log of each question, point value, general topic, and notations, which helped me.

    I started out, read through the lab, and studied the overall topology diagram. I knocked out the L2 connectivity first, but after that, I did not go top down in order. I identified (1) the VPN areas, and then (2) the “centralized” portion of the network from a routing point of view, and I worked outward from those. Things came together much nicer for me, although I was hopping back and forth a lot. Keeping a log was super handy. My reasoning for hitting VPNs early was that they are sort of like L2.5 and can stitch together parts of the network that are otherwise in the same routing domain. YMMV, I believe you need to think tactically here and possibly adjust your plan based on what they throw at you.

    I ended up only using 2 hours on TShoot, so I had the extra 30 on the config section. I finished most of my work with a little over an hour to spare, which allowed me to go back through and catch some errors/omissions.

    One thing you must be is efficient on the config section. Notepad, IOS shortcuts, and copy/paste are your friends, particularly if you are typing skills tend towards the chaotic side like mine. My best advice is to watch the INE ATC videos and pay attention to how Brian works configuring his examples, especially when something breaks and he has to re-work configurations to fix it.

    I will caution, I ran into some topics on my exam this time that I have not seen treated in any training materials (INE or otherwise), especially in the areas of how different technologies interact. See my comment below about filling in the gaps.

     

     My preparation was a very blended approach:

    -  I had an absolutely kick butt study partner. This was so valuable to have someone to bounce ideas and questions off of on a regular basis, and just someone that knows exactly what you are working toward and going through. We were constantly throwing problems at each other to solve and even built a few practice labs of our own, I can’t say enough how much this helped me.

    - Real experience: I took every opportunity I could at work to follow interesting issues and resolutions with our network operations team; my “day” job is a voice engineer so my normal operational view of things is different.

    - INE’s R&S Bootcamp was terrific. Dave Smith was our instructor and he did an outstanding job at challenging us and getting us to think about the technology and how someone writing the exam might present problems. He has a lot of real-world experience to share, the quality of the course was top notch. I also got to meet some great engineers also working on their cert and learn from them as well!

    - INE’s ATC videos and practice materials were a great resource, especially the latest v5 videos. 

    - Blogs, Books, articles. You still have to fill in the gaps. My go-to sites are INE’s blog, ipspace.net , packetlife.net

     

    I hope this was useful, good luck everyone!

     

     




    INE - The Industry Leader in CCIE Preparation

    http://www.ine.com



    Subscription information may be found at:

    http://www.ieoc.com/forums/ForumSubscriptions.aspx

  • Hi edmartz,

     

    I dont think I can get into any details on what topics were on my exam Sunday; that said, multicast has it's own section under Cisco's blueprint in the L3 category so you should certainly be prepared to deal with it. 

  • Congratulations, Ed.

    Thanks for posting this.

  • Congrats!!!  Super life achievement accomplished :-)

  • Congratulations ealeatherman.[:)]

  • Congratulatios!!!!

    Enjoy your number :)

  • @meerz It was different

     

    One other story I thought of to share about my experience -

    About 20 minutes until time was up, I realized I had configured a feature on about 6 routers that was, while correct and functional, did not meet the specifications on one of the questions. Fixing it would require ripping out the feature and reconfiguring it. So I had to make a decision: my network was fully functional otherwise to the best of my knowledge already, do I take the risk and start reconfiguring at this late time in the afternoon, or do I leave well enough alone and write off those points. 

    I decided to go for reconfiguring one device and assessing how much time it would take to fully correct the issue. I don't like leaving issues open or unresolved, if I know how to fix them. BAD IDEA! I broke half my rack and spent the next 5-10 minutes frantically putting it back the way I had it and reverifying as much as possible. I chuckle at myself now but I was absolutely sick with worry at the time.

    Why is this relevant? Other than that one thing, when I was wrapping up I really thought I had solved everything else and was sort of in the "if I didnt pass now I'm not sure what more I could do" frame of mind. As I sat in the car on the way back to the hotel though, my mind started working on lots of "what if you did this wrongs". Other people that I have talked to recently that passed recieved their results in about an hour; as time ticked by I had myself more and more convinced that I had somehow messed up big and broke some key functionality in trying to get those few extra points that then caused me to fail. I spent the next 8 hours being utterly miserable. I didn't get my PASS result until 12:30AM the next morning.

    Morale of the story I guess is to just be careful going for extra points, its a tactical decision and a risk if its late in the day. If you are "in the zone," taking a risk and going back for a few more points might not be worth it. Also, I guess the score report is not always super quick for a pass afterall so don't lose hope if you don't get a result right away.

    Cheers!

     

  • JoeMJoeM ✭✭✭

    Great write-up!  Thanks and Congratulations! 

  • Awesome man...congratulations!

  • Congratulations!  Thanks for the writeup, and the information on Weekend Scheduling being available at RTP.  I was planning on using this site and now am even more convinced.  Need to find me a good study partner or mentor in the Central KY area and start the long serious haul to completion.  Enjoy the number, and hopefully I don't have to remind you to celebrate the success. :)

  • Congrats! And thanks for sharing your story

  • One thing about your comments;

    On my failed attempt previously, I focused on diagraming everything to the nth degree and working through the lab top down more or less in the order they presented it. BAD idea for me. I spent way too much time on drawing and didn’t finish the actual work. 

    This time around, I just sketched down the physical connectivity diagram verbatim from the on screen picture, and used it to sort out L2 ports etc. I did not feel the need to diagram out anything else over and above the provided documentation. I did keep a log of each question, point value, general topic, and notations, which helped me.

    One would think if the bootcamp/s are just like the real deal why are you discovering bad "methods" on test day? Not knocking you, simply finding out if the bootcamps lack in this area or if you missed that opportunity during the bootcamp.

    Also you mentioned going for extra points and breaking your network. Can someone simply do a reload to a previous known good point on the config to get back to a working state? (of course provided you didn't write mem)

  • Hi Rockymtndan,

    So a couple points;

    - The boot camps are not meant to be like the real deal - in fact for our bootcamp we did not do any 8 hour mock labs at all (although there were lab exercises for homework most nights). They focused on advanced topics in all the core areas of the exam that you need to know as well as common pitfalls with the technology and test taking strategies and preparation techniques. 

    - At the point when I attended the bootcamp very few people had taken the v5 lab exam. That said, I feel like most of the strategies they presented were still valid, the onus is on the student to figure out what works for you. Being pretty frank, by the time I was going to the bootcamp I was ripping through the Cisco360 practrice labs very quickly and I think subconciously I thought I was more prepared than I really was - didn't pay as close mind to a few items from the bootcamp (luckily I took good notes). Two things particularly that they emphasized in the bootcamp which should have sunk in to me and did not:

    1) speed/efficiency - i wasn't as fast as I thought i would be in the exam environment

    2) Understanding some of the advanced topics in the VPN's section. Afraid I can't go into more detail.

    These definitely hurt me in the exam but were completely my fault, and following up on those weak points allowed me to get a passing score the second time around.

    As far as going back and reloading known good configs; With only 10 minutes or so left, reloading seemed to be just as risky to me (maybe this was just my nerves) - especially given the "new" lab environment. I didnt trust it much, but it might have been a better idea to just reload the previous config, i won't argue that point. :)

     

  • Hello Sir,

     

    Congratuations for your outstanding achievement.

    i have a question related to the preparation phase of the exam. how did you deal with the memorisation of the topics of the technology labs. I started my studdies last august 2014, and now i feel that all the stuff  i did and hard work is going away since i forget almost everything.

     

    thanks

     

     



  •  I very happy to read this informative post.Its a very useful for everyone.

     

    ccie service 

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