I Finally Get to Start A Thread Here!

I recently (finally) passed my CCIE R&S Lab!

First and foremost I thank my wife and immediate family for tolerating my general absence the last year+.

Second, I'd like to thank my study group for helping me with my trouble areas and expanding on my stronger ones.

Third, and not least, I'd like thank INE for loading me up above and beyond with the knowledge necessary to pass this exam as well as become a better engineer overall.  The AAP was exactly what I needed.  That and all the book and whitepaper recommendations. 

The journey was about 14 months long for the CCIE, but was about 3 years total if you count my CCNA and CCNP as well.  I read all the TCP/IP, BGP, Switching, and IGP books I could get my hands on in addition to LIVING on the Cisco Doc Pages.  It also helped when someting JoeM said stuck with me after my second attempt.  "More capable persons than us have had four attempts".  I'd have to agree.  This is about tenacity and perseverence as well.  Possibly masochism ;-)

Time for rest!  General tips below if you have the time to spare for a read.  From one Chicago fella to another, THANKS BRIAN McGAHAN!


RTP is a nice facility, no complaints.  My first attempt I was beyond nervous, but managed to calm down after I solved a few tickets early on.  That was a great confidence booster.  Diagnostics was, interesting to say the least.  A ton of info in not a lot of time.  Config is where the nerves came back with a vengeance.  Ultimately, I ran out of time before completing my core network.  Oh well.  I'll get it next time right?

Attempt #2.  Had the exact opposite problem.  Now TSHOOT killed me and I just couldn't pull it together.  Config wasn't as bad for me since I had re-visited Brian's techniques with copy/paste in notepad as well as general familiarity with Cisco Docs.  That was excellent!  But alas, another fail.

Attempt #3.  I had gotten over the soul-crushing of the last attempt and said to myself, I'm gonna approach this the way I did the first time.  As calm as possible.  Spend 10 minutes on a ticket and if you don't have it, MOVE ON.  Ego is a tricky thing!  My time ran out before I could finish verifying two tickets, so my heart sank.  I think they were working, I just couldn't dig in as deep cus of the time I spent on others.  Diag was again, a whirlwind of info.  Config I felt good about again, particularly becase the advantage of failing twice is that it forces you to start from the ground up with your weaker areas (by myself AND with a study group and this forum in my case) and you actually study 3x harder.

On the way out, I felt ok, but was still bothered by those tickets I wasn't sure about.  Like I said, they were working, but I couldn't verify them again before time ran out.  Had a drink, or two, at the airport bar and headed home.  Kept waiting for my results before jet lag kicked in and made me tired.  Woke up this morning stomach in knots terrified to even check if my score came yet.  Checked e-mail and sure enough, the report was there.  Came in literally right after I went to bed.  I opened up the e-mail (hands totally shaking) thinking I don't know what more I could have possibly done other than be faster.  Please.........BOOM!  PASS!  It felt like a weight off my shoulders.  If by weight I mean elephant and by shoulders I mean chest.

Time for rest and then I think I'll sign up for school so I can finish my degree.  So again, thanks to INE and everyone participating in these forums.  For those in the process of taking, you are NOT alone!  For those thinking about beginning the journey or just starting, there's no way around it.  You have a lot of reading and labbing to do, but just think about what it does for you and your skills in the interim!



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