Friday, April 3, 2009

joshatterbury #23347 RandS

"This post is all about detailing the time from my first attempt up until today. Disclaimer: I have done very little editing so it is me rambling.

On 15-Dec-08 I failed my first attempt at R&S, I was devastated that night and for half of the following day, The hardest part about the entire experience for me was showing up at work the next day and answering all those questions with ” I failed”. I’m not entirely sure if I was just unlucky or lazy, But If I had to pick then laziness/arogance would have been the one.

About lunch time on the day after I had enough of sulking and feeling sorry for myself, So I decided to come up with an action plan on how I would attempt the lab next, From my previous study and failed attempt I realised the following :
- Speed was not an issue for me,
- I needed to learn the doc cd better
- In reality my only weak areas were qos ( particularly switch based ) and some of the multicast concepts.
- The rest of the content I was very comfortable with and wasn’t to concerned.

Based on this, My new study plan started on the 5th of Jan and at this stage I hadn’t booked my second lab as this time I was going to wait until I had that feeling that I was ready.

First thing I needed to do was cover qos and mcast from the ground up. I used the CiscoPress QoS guide and The TCP/IP guides ( Which ever volume has mcast in it ). First I went over the theory, This was accomplished by writing out the concepts and operations in a notebook. After that I then went through every single command available for Qos. By this I mean I verified the operation of the command, then where it’s found in the doccd and finally created simple scenario labs on the fly just for the specific command to truly understand it. Once QoS was finished I basically did the same thing for multicast but focused on igmp, pim, autorp, bsr and anycast.

After this section of my study was done, I then pulled out Narbiks Advanced tech workbooks, Now the plan was to not *do* a single lab in these books. Instead I read the labbooks cover to cover. I read the qestions, The solutions and then researched the doccd for every section covered. Anytime I ran across something I didn’t remember, It was straight back to the doccd to firstly find it and then hit the examples and configs. During this time there were definately moments when I wanted to give up as reading workbooks isn’t the most exciting thing to do, But I forced myself to as there was no way i could handle failing twice.

This study regimn took about three weeks and finished around Wednesday Jan-21, So I booked my lab for the following Wednesday Jan 28. I managed to get from the 22 till the 28th off work which was great, The following is an overview of each of those days.

Thursday the 22. I didn’t do to much study on this day as I felt I needed a break and spent time with my girl.

Friday the 23. I had 2 x 8 hour ProctorLab sessions booked back to back, As I hadn’t done alot of lab work in the last month I did two mocklabs this day for endurance purposes.

Saturday and Sunday 24/25. Relaxed again, Friday absolutely fried my brain. spent more time with my girl :)

Monday the 26. Today was a repeat of Friday, Another 2 mocklabs done back-to-back

Tuesday the 27. One day before the lab, My plane left at 5pm, So I bummed around for most of the day with my girl. Arrived at my hotel around 7pm and had an awesome dinner with a few beers at the hotel, I managed to get to sleep about 10pm.

Wednesday the 28.

So Today is Lab day, I woke up about 7am and as the Sydney Lab is a 5 minute walk I took my time getting dressed, This was mainly to slow down and focus on getting my nerves under control. After that I had breakfast at the restaurant and checked out of the hotel around 7:50.

I think the walk to the Lab center is always going to be a fairly solemn event, I Just tried to focus on what was coming. I arrived at the Lab center at 8:05 or so and waited in the foyer for the proctor ( Scott ) who came out at around 8:15. He checked our id, handed out the visitor stickers and herded us into the metting root area. In there we had the usual rundown of rules. Btw Scott’s a funny man, He tried to pretend that the new open ended questions had been moved forward and were being introduced today :). Two of the candidates got quite nervous at that stage.

And then into the lab we went, Officially we started at 08:29. I followed a similar strategy to last time, Except this time I didn’t do any large scale drawings, I used the provided diagrams for large scale reference and only drew specific components as I needed them, I think this made a slight difference. As I read the lab there were a couple of tasks that I thought would give me a headache but otherwise it looked good.

Everyone knows what comes next. I started configuring my devices, The tasks I thought might be problematic turned out to be very easy and that boosted my confidence a bit. I think out of the entire day I asked the proctor to clarify 3 points in total. Now there was one task that for some reason I just couldn’t get working properly, It wasn’t a core task so i decided to leave it till last.

I wasn’t really paying attention to the time so I was very surprised when it was lunch time and I only had 4 tasks to complete. Thats it, Only 4 including the problem task from earlier. I had already completed a very large majority of the exam.

Lunch was ok, Not worth paying 1500$ for though ;) All the guys were pretty chatty which was good for a distraction.

Then back into the lab we went, I finished 3 of the remaining tasks within 30mins, So I Now went back to that problem task from earlier, I still can’t identify why it wasn’t working for me and it had me stumped. At this stage we still had 3hours to go and it was verification time. I double checked everything and found one task where i had missed a key word, Promptly fixed that up and went back to the problem task again.

Still I couldn’t get this task to operate properly so after about 30minutes of hair pulling I decided to forgo those points. I believe that if I kept at it I would have broken something else. I decided to sacrifice those points for the good of the lab ;).

By this stage there were two hours left. I had verified all tasks multiple time except the problem task. Now I know everyone advises to never ever ever ever leave the exam early, Well I got my nerves under control and I ignored that advice. I packed my booklet up, walked out of the lab and upto the proctor and said I’m done. The Proctor was great, He asked me a million times if I was absolutely sure, and then asked another million times just to clarify. I think you all know the rest of the story from here.

Reflection Time:
I am still in shock and this hasn’t fully sunk it. Now the term “Router God” which I used in the title. This term has held a very special meaning for me for a long time, Ever since I first heard about these people called CCIE’s, very rarely did they have names in the stories and the stories were always told with awe. Router gods are those people that have been there, smashed the lab and know their stuff. I’ve made it and this feeling is awesome.

I need to thank Melissa Forro. She is my girl and has put up with all my continual study, stress and general crankiness that often results from a journey like this. My wish was to get those digits before Christmas as I planned propose to Mel on Christmas day and I wanted to be able to be there fulltime for her. Unfortunately it wasn’t so, Yet I still proposed and she said yes, So babe I’m sorry this took me away for a little longer but its over now. We made it."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


First I would like to thank everyone who responded. And this wouldn't be possible without the support if my wife and family. Plus my wife owed me since I supported her during the bar exam wink.gif I have been a "passive" member on the forum for a while now and it is exciting to see so many people accomplishing their goals. I know I will sound like a broken record so just bare with me. I started the whole journey in April of this year. I started with the recommended book list and started reading 6 hours a day. I took and passed the written in the beginning of June. Shortly after I scheduled the lab for DEC. 18th in RTP and bought practice labs from "The Brians". Now this is where the broken record part come in....

I was very fortunate that my employer had a full scale lab at my discretion. I took advantaged and labbed every moment I could, over lunch, nights and weekends were spent in the lab. Any question about a technology I had I would lab it up. But first understanding the technologies before labbing anything is a must. You will definitley learn the most by labbing but you first must understand how the protocols function and how they interact with each other. You did this by reading books and forums as well as Video on Demand, from the vendor of your choice of course. But as soon as I read the materials and had a really good base knowledge of the fundamentals it was time to lab. And oh did I lab. My rack time is estimated to be around 1600 hours over the course of 6 months. I also continued to read when I wasn't labbing. I lived, eat and breathed the CCIE. I would go to bed and think of scenarios in my head and try to solve them (my wife didn't like this very much since I would toss and turn most nights). I wanted to be prepared for anything that the lab threw at me. So having an expert level of knowledge for the core topics is a must.

When I first started labbing it would take me 12 or more hours to complete the first 6 labs. I took my time and really made sure that I understood what was asked of me and that I properly interpeted the tasks correctly. As I continued to lab I became faster and solutions would come to me a lot quicker. After completing about 50 labs I could complete a lab around 5.5 or 6 hours. And I could solve pretty much any core topic without hesitation. This came with the number of hours I spent on the rack. I also created "mini" scenarios on specific technologies like Multicast or Qos to focus on my weak areas. This was to ensure that I was at least familiar with most of the non-core topics. And believe me the DOC-cd is your friend throughout the whole journey, not just in your lab. As the time grew nearer I spent more time focusing on my weak areas such as Qos, Security and the dreadful Redistribution. Please tell me if you have ever seen a "real life" network where you have 3 routing protocols. But, the CCIE isn't real life scenarios, it is everything else. I really doubt that I run IPv6 over frame relay but if there is a chance that I do I will be ready:)

Alright so that was a little background on the preperation so lets get into the fun stuff....Lab Day

I took the the lab in RTP. There is a video I think was posted a while back from Cisco that did a walk through of the lab in RTP I believe. But everything is pretty much spot on. I showed up about 6:45 at the front door and there was 5 other candidates waiting outside to get inside the lobby of the building. One of the proctors showed up shortly after and we all sat down in the lobby to wait for everyone else. Around 7:05 the proctor came back out and gave us our badges with our rack numbers. After a briefing on the facilities and the lab environment I sat down at my cube. All cube walls are short and there isn't very much space to spread out all of the pages you need. Plus the monitor takes up quite alot of room on the desk. So after a quick read through of the exam I logged into the CRT sessions. I used the individual CRT sessions for each device, I found it to navigate alot easier. I then drew up my diagrams and my task list with points per task. And I was off....

I approached the lab like any other lab I was doing on my rack. Of course it was different than what I was used to but it didn't take me long to get settled in. My goal was to complete layer 2 and layer 3 with full reachability by lunch. I was fortunate enough to obtain that goal and I got half through the IPv6 section. So when it came for lunch time I estimated that I had around 70 points which was a HUGE relief. Knowing that I had 4 hours to get 10 points was a weight off of my shoulders. I did a quick wr mem and reloaded my rack. Lunch was actually pretty good the food wasn't bad and they had chocolate cake, but leave some for the proctors. I sat and talked with one of the proctors for a while about Cisco in general. Just so you know if you take the lab in RTP your rack will most likely be in San Jose. The environment is a little noisy with constant fan noise. I believe the storage CCIE racks and some of the security racks are in RTP. So after lunch, I sat back down and I hammered through the rest of the exam. I finished with 3 hours to spare, so I did a wr mem and reboot again. I took a coffee break, told Howard, the Packers loving proctor, that the Bears rule and I started going through the exam again. I found 3 small mistakes that could have cost be 8 points but knowing I had the time in the end to triple check everything was a huge confidence booster. I went through the entire exam 3 times and tried to solve each question everytime to make sure I came up with the same solution and that I completed the tasks correctly. I did ask the proctor some clarification on some "loose wording" and they were both helpful, even for a packers fan smile.gif So with an hour left in the day I was getting pretty antzy. I felt pretty confident that I did well but task interpetation was the only thing standing in my way. I did a final reboot and full reachability test at the end of the day.

After the exam I went back to the hotel to un-wind and ran to get some dinner. About 1.5 hours after I walked out the exam I recieved the notification in my email that my score report was available. But I was pretty confused because it was a very short time that I just got done so I figured the worst like my rack crapped out and I would have to take it over. So I logged in and that was the longest 3 minutes of my life. I scrolled down to see the PASS next to the R&S lab and I jumped for joy, for real. I jumped on the couch of my hotel room and started shouting. I then contacted my wife and family to tell them that I actually passed the lab on my first attempt. This has been a career long journey, this is something I have always wanted to accomplish and I did it. If you take the time to fully understand the technologies and you develop the speed, you can pass. This is exam not only tested my technical knowledge but my time management skills. Like everyone says "SPEED IS VITAL". If you can complete the lab and have time in the end to double check your work you will be one step closer to passing. I hope this write up provides some sort of inspiration for those who are studying. But, the exam is passible and fair. If you study your butt off and remain motivated and positive, good things will come. Good luck to all of you who are studying, I am truely grateful for going through this journey. I feel that I am a better person for it

Igor R. Manassypov, CCIE 23032

Past two weeks have been very intense for me, I put it almost 12 hours a day of straight labbing, but it eventually paid off.
I believe that I had mentioned that I failed my first attempt a month ago, which was quite a shock to my confidence. The most disappointing fact about the failure was that I had this residue the failure was not because of a lack of technical expertise, but rather inability to properly understand the very loose wording of questions. That drove me through the roof, I know that I know my stuff but yet I can not demonstrate the knowledge – that first lab was so vague that I had at least to complete sections where multiple solutions would fit.
So anyways, now about the good stuff. There is a bunch of writeups on what people 'do' to get through successfully. I personally can say about what I 'did not' do -
1.I did not buy any equipment for the purpose of studying for ccie – nada. All I was studying the labs with was my Dell 1850 dual cpu blade server with 4 gigs of memory running Gentoo Linux. Every single lab scenario was run on that box.
2.I did not pay for any Rack rentals or 'Mock Labs'. In my opinion any of those 'mock' labs are graded by 'not your proctor' and not your particular topology. So unless you cant help yourself looking at answers before completing your own lab at home, that would be money well-wasted.
3.Despite what most people whine about not having a life for a period of the study, I did not feel that way. I guess in a sense those complaints make the value of the cert appreciate so much more, but in my case I did not miss out on my normal life activities, at least not entirely.

About the course of the lab itself – I did not create any aliases, shortcuts or any of that auxiliary stuff. I did not mess with any of the default CRT settings either. Neither in the first attempt nor in the second I did not feel any shortage in time alloted for completion of all tasks, if you know what they are asking about – you got more than enough time to get in done. If you are stunned and it is something you'd never seen in your life, only then would it become a time issue. Throughout the tasks, I did not find myself consulting the reference guides. It was comforting to know that they are there, but those only came in handy during proofreading – to make sure the units are correct for example. I did not read more than three-four RFC's, and of course I did not try to memorize every crazy technology out there. Only what is required by the blueprint. As most mention it – your foundation on major topics has to be rock solid, and this is what the lab is testing you on mostly. Again, this is my sole opinion only, but for example I know there is potentially a question on mobile ip that might come up, but I strongly believe that it wont because it is not a 'core' topic. I felt that in both cases 80% of the lab are on core stuff – which is your IGP. The rest is there just to spice it up.
Timewise, the process took me about 7 months head to toe including the written. That time might not be very representative, since I had done my Masters degree in computer networks by that time and I did get a decent exposure at work. On the other hand, both of those factors are all about 'good designs', whereas ccie is totally the opposite phylosophy and I am not sure you can count real experience towards the downpayment for ccie.
There are four and a half invaluable, in my opinion, books which I used for preparation. Those are, of course, Jeff Doyle's two volumes, Cisco LAN Switching, Internet Routing Architectures, and last one is End-toend QOS Network design. The last one has only got select chapters made that book show up on my list.

If enough people voice an interest, I can put up a little tutorial on how to efficiently get going with dynamips. I am a big protagonist of linux, so whatever I explain would be related to pure linux environments. Linux by itself is not a scary thing when it comes to what you need for your CCIE work. In fact, you can get yourself up and running your labs from a blank box in about 30 minutes with linux. Steve [aka FredBloggs] can attest to that smile.gif

At the end I wanted to thank my friends on this forum for an incredible support and source of inspirations. In particular big thanks go out to Dave, aka ChancesD, Steve, aka FredBloggs.

As the footnote – this thing is very much beatable. Dont dispair if you fail. What matters is the end result and it is totally up to you to finish it where you want it.

And, by the way, stay away from the damned proctors. The Howard guy at RTP is utterly useless sonuvagun.

Cheers and happy coming holidays.

(CCIE #23032)

Igor R. Manassypov, M.Eng., P.Eng, CCIE 23032, CCVP
Network Architect
CI Investments

chances D Rs

"How I passed the CCIE Lab.

On Monday 29 September 2008 I reached the pinnacle of my Networking career thus far, accepting my CCIE (RS) digits after almost 3 years of preparation and painstaking blood, sweat and tears - literally. I would like to share those moments from start to finish with you so that any aspiring candidate can learn from my mistakes and glean anything useful from my studies.

All you need to know is I want my numbers, and I will get them that’s the background driver for this.

The biggest challenge I faced on my journey was being a father. Before my son was born last November I had time, but soon as he entered this world that time was sacrificed. I do NOT for one minute regret this, I just found it a challenge to be a Dad, work full time and find time to study. When your 10 month old wants to rip the cables out your switches, it’s hard to say no. I just was the Muppet that had to put them back in!!! No harm done.

Materials Used
I started off with the usual recommended reading, Doyle, Parkhurst, Solie, Odom etc. This I found was not for me. I just could not spend more than 15 minutes reading about a serious technical subject with nothing to tie it to. I paused on that and started to rebuild the remnants of my CCNA/P rack. Eventually I took the decision to build it around the NetmasterClass workbooks. I purchased them and before starting any of their labs, cabled it to their standard rack. You will find all vendors have a fixed physical topology.

The final rack was:-
2 x 3560 - Enterprise IOS
2 x 3550 - Enterprise IOS
4 x 3640 - 12.4 - 2xWIC-1T, 2x 1FE-TX
2 x 2621 - 12.3 - 2xWIC-1T
1 x 3620 - BB1 - 1xNM4-AS, 1x2FE-2W
1 x 2620 - BB2 - 2xWIC-1T
1 x 2611 - BB3 - 2xWIC-1T

1 x 2511 - Terminal Server
1 x 2522 - Frame Relay Switch

2 x APC9200 - Remote Power Distribution Bar
1 x 877w - Internet facing Router/Firewall for remote 24/7 SSH access

Built and cabled by me into a 19U cabinet, this rack to me was indispensable. It was relocated twice, from house to house, carried up and down stairs with great difficulty with personal injury in the process – The Blood.

The DOC_CD, need I say more? I spent 15 minutes every day learning to navigate this, finding what I needed. Not once during my attempts did I spend more than a few minutes locating the information I needed. This is the ultimate resource, it’s right up to date and free!!!

Cisco Assesor Labs – I did both of these and found them really, really good. 4 hours mini-labs from which I learnt a lot about the way the grading script works.

Audio – Scott Morris Audio boot camp. On the way to work, I put on a few of these CD’s and it stuck. I was really against this, thinking it is not possible to learn from audio – how wrong I was.

The Preparation, the relentless Labbing' and the disappointments
I then started the practice labs in the order based on their (vendor) recommendation, and initially it took me best part 14 hours spread across 1 week to complete the first lab. But this was fine, I was in the very early stages and time at this moment was not an issue. I managed to complete the first 5 labs but was not happy; they were just too dammed hard and peppered with obscure solutions that were not asked for. This was so off putting as I felt I had not learnt anything even after cross referencing it with the books mentioned earlier. So I stopped there and went through the IEATC CoD videos from InternetworkExpert to attempt to fill these gaps. I watched the videos twice and each time I practised small scenarios from it on my rack and gained then a better understanding of the technologies - and that's the key. I didn't want just to pass the CCIE, but also to be a better engineer.

Having completed them I went back to attack the practice labs. I knocked off 5 more NMC labs, with an average rating of 8 and then left the other 15 or so and moved onto InternetworkExpert. I did the first 10 whilst still reading through the books and re-watching the CoD at which point I booked the lab.
I booked it January for a June slot - 6 months to get it all together. During which point I did 5 more labs, 10 rating. 3 from NMC and 2 from InternetworkExpert. First real lab attempt, fail. This is documented on another thread. Down and demoralized, I spent 1 day away from it, back onto the Cisco site and booked second attempt.

Fail. Dammed, this one I knew I had passed, well I had not. I completed the lab in 5 hours as planned, 2 hours verification. Walked out the room to the airport drank a couple of beers feeling like this was it. I got home, showered and fired up my laptop to see those four letters burn my eyes F-A-I-L. What now? I had not made it, fact, nothing was going to change that, and a re-read is just an excuse for Cisco to pick another 300 USD from your pocket, statistically I did not stand a chance. Let it go. I just dissected in my brain why I did not pass, and after days of reciting the lab I realized I made small mistakes that cost points and collectively this put me under the 80 point bar. Petty mistakes, mistakes that you can ill afford. I needed speed from my first attempt but I also needed deadly accuracy.

I decided to go back, I will not be beaten for love nor money. I scheduled attempt 3 a little ahead and this time I changed materials to get a different perspective. I used the Narbik Workbooks to go over the mini-scenarios he presents so well. Again, on the rack practicing the little labs. But not only that, but breaking them too. If OSPF works, then break it - forcefully break it with a odd command and see what happens, debug it and see why it broke, not just how.

The Day it happened
If one was ever to get off to the worst possible start then today, 29 September 2008 was it for me. There is a saying, "the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry". After I failed my lab last time I wanted to leave nothing to chance, my preparation this time had to be military precise. I changed hotels, I arrived earlier to acclimatise etc. I decided I would travel scruffy and the day of the lab I would wake at 5:45am, have a shower and a clean shave, eat a light but filling breakfast. Clean appearance, clean mind, that was the plan.

Wrong. My alarm failed to go off, I woke at 7:20am - 25 minutes before I was meant to be in the Cisco office!!!! In fact other guys were there sitting, waiting whilst I was still dreaming of...let's not worry about what I was dreaming of, whilst stuck in a hotel in a foreign country, without my wife. wink.gif The first 4 words I spoke after I saw the clock when my head peered out of the bed sheets are simply un-repeatable and defy the laws of human nature. I jumped out of bed, threw my old clothes back on, no shower, no wash, no shave, no clean clothes, no breakfast. Nothing. Threw everything into my backpack and within 3 minutes I had left that hotel. No checkout, just ran like a mad man down the street towards the Cisco office hoping I would make it in time. I was never in danger of not making it to the centre, I just had to make it for my own mentality. I arrived sweating like a pig, flustered and just not right. I managed to swing things back into my favour and get my mind right. - The Sweat

There on in I attacked the lab.

Step 1 - Environment. Log onto Terminal server and apply my standard config. I always do this in real world and force of habit meant I did it again. Just no ip domain-lookup, alias, screen colour, re-mapping keys etc. This had to be right and it was. Wobbly fingers were still there, just not for so long. I was experienced now remember?

SecureCRT Ammendments:-

Re-map key F6 -> CTRL+SHIFT+6+x
Re-map key F5 -> CTRL+SHIFT+6+6
Re-map key F11 -> Clear Console Screeen
Re-map key SHIFT+Z ->Mapped to produce the '|' (pipe). I had problems with this first time as the keyboard is US.

Change Font to FixedSys with Yellow on black Foreground/Background.

Alias Commands/Basic Config:-

no ip domain lookup
ip cef
logging console
alias configure ro router ospf 1
alias configure re router eigrp
alias configure rb router bgp
alias exec c conf t
alias exec sibe sh ip int brief | i eri
alias exec sibn sh ip int brief | i net
alias exec sibl sh ip int brief | i oo
alias exec srr sh run | b router
alias exec sion sh ip ospf neigh
alias exec sibs sh ip bgp summ
alias exec siro sh ip route ospf
line con 0
history size 100

TCL Script:-

foreach ip {} {ping $ip}

Macro Ping for Switches:-

macro name PING
do ping
do ping
do ping
macro global apply PING

Step 2 - Read the entire lab slowly. It's very tempting to go in, and in fact I did last time. This time I sat and read the entire lab from start to finish and at the same time tied it to the topology. For (a fictitious) example, the IPv6 task wanted R1 to do this to R2, so I visualised it onto the diagram to see how that would work.

Step 3 - Diagrams. I did 1 from the start, and then 2-3 later on. The first was a re-drawing of the main diagram but I put all the IP information on, as well as a note as to which switch each port was hanging off. As I progressed through the lab I did smaller diagrams, for example, a inter-switch diagram when I got to the Switching section, an IPv6 one when I got there, and a Multicast one when I got there. Just showing the relevant devices. I got this idea from NMC, and it worked perfect for me.

Step 4 - Target and time management. I decided that by lunch, I wanted to be on this task and I worked to that by deciding on how I would answer the questions. I did not to the top-down processing approach, instead I went for my strong areas to get the points on the board first and then pick off the others. I came to 2 questions that had me puzzled, but onto the DOC_CD a bit of digging and I managed to formulate a solution. Approaching lunch I ahead of schedule. I ran a tcl and everything looked good, I had end-to-end which was huge step, I had the rack under control and I was in control of it. During lunch, I recited in my head what I had done, mentally annotating each task and ensuring I did not miss anything.

Step 5 - Post lunch. Target was to complete the whole lab, sounds odd I know, but I did not want to leave a single question unanswered. I had time on my side, and with a content stomach I was on a high. I raced through the remaining sections and completed the whole lab by 1:20pm. Run my tcl script and macros and picked out a few IP's that were not playing as a result of a later task, fixed that and I managed to get end-to-end again. That’s' start to finish in 4 hours and 40 minutes. Leaving me lots of time to check. Fantastic, I felt unhygienic on the exterior but my mind was fresh and now I was ready to test.

Step 6 - Verification. Before doing this, I went to the breakout room and grabbed some drinks and some fruit to just get away from it. It was as if I wanted to stare at my lab now from a different perspective. But first a reload, my first of the day. I was confident I had no loops as I had taken care of that but a reload but prove it. I wanted to do one before lunch, but decided not to and leave my rack as it was. A quick reload, it took seconds, they are fast devices another tcl and macro, everything looked good. I was in confident mood and was not tired, after all I had a great sleep remember?

I carefully went through every question again and verified each task against my rack and I recovered, I would say 9 points. In the grand scheme of things this could have been the difference between a pass and a fail. Wow, 9 points. Silly errors, petty errors, trivial errors - last time I missed them, this time they were there for the taking and I took them.

Step 7 - The final run. Now I’m bored, the lab is done, I had done my tests, everything pinged and I was content. What do I do? I have 1.5 hours to kill, and I did not want to kill my work, so do I walk out - no way. I am NOT coming back again for this bitch, that's what I told myself. I did another reload and another tcl and macro ping and then I had some fun with the proctor. I asked him some really random question and he looked at me and laughed and said, "go back to your rack and check everything again - with a hint of sarcasm" I did, and when time was up I walked out and thought, who knows - pass or fail - now I don't care I want some fresh air and I want a shower.

4:50pm Brussels---------->>Home 9:30pm

I walked through my front door and my wife said "you stink" I just did not have the energy to respond. I just wanted to see my son and then have a shower. Little man was asleep and I was stopped from going to his room. My wife told me to check my result, I just wanted a shower!! So I compromised, grabbed a beer, Stella ironically and I logged onto the Cisco site, my heart was pounding as if that smelly Gorilla was thumping me. As the page eventually refreshed I saw the # symbol and the words certified, I just dropped my laptop stood up and told her, I’ve got it. I really cannot describe to you the joy and emotion that I experienced the time I saw my result. My journey had come to a magical climax and I shed an emotional tear, the only time I did this before ever in my entire life was when my little boy was born. - The tears.

The aftermath - Lessons I have learnt
Shortcuts. There are not shortcuts to passing your CCIE lab, there may be for the written, but not for the lab. You need time and dedication, those that don’t have those attributes will fail, those that do will pass, maybe not at first but eventually.

Complacency. Don't become complacent and lazy, if you think it's wrong then the chances are it is. If you think it's right, chances are it's still wrong!! Check it, and check it again. And when you have finished checking the checking, verify it. smile.gif

Speed and accuracy. To pass the lab in sub 8 hours you need to be quick and accurate, in my failed attempts I was not quick and I was not accurate. On my winning lab I had the speed and I had the accuracy. I had the lab topology where I wanted it, under control from start to finish. How do you get to that state? Practice, practice and more practice. If you can write configs' in notepad without the ”?” then you are on the right track. I remember in my run up to the day, doing the IEWB labs partially, I would do up to the core as fast as I could, and then stop. I did this for labs 8-13 I think. Just to the point where I had Bridging/Switching and IGP and then stop. I managed to clock it down to an average of about 2 hours.

Vendor Diversity. One vendor workbook in my view is not enough, you need 1 and a half at least. One main one for your labs and then a second one for a different perspective. You can become far to accustomed to one authors way of writing.

Getting help. The DOC_CD is the only help you get in the lab, and the only help you need. If you can find a core topic in under 1 minute 15 your in control. a non-core obscure feature in 2 minutes. Nice

Make friends. Before, after and during the lab make friends. Flying to Brussels, or any location is not cheap, on top of that you have the cost of the lab and the hotel etc. Shop around, as others, hotels in Brussels near Diegem are expensive. The Holiday Inn Express was 65 Euros when I went last, this time they wanted 165.00 Euros, for the same little room. I stayed at Etap this time and it was cheap and clean, and walking distance.

Get some rest and watch what you eat. This is the biggest and most important thing. I hardly slept the night before my previous attempts. In fact, I slept too early. Having arrived at the hotel after my flight I had an afternoon sleep and it meant I was not able to sleep later on, big mistake. When you are tired you make mistakes, and these mistakes cost you points. After lunch you are the most vulnerable. Ever been had a meal and felt tired after you sat down? I’m sure Cisco do this on purpose, give you a free meal ticket and say have what you want. A large lunch, chips, chicken and a nice sweet dish after is a cocktail to make you tired. And when you are tired you make mistakes!! Eat light and keep your body hydrated. You are not there to sample the cuisine, you are there do an expert level job, right?

It's good to talk to save money. After each lab attempt I had a chat with the other candidates, not violating the NDA but general chat, and as a result I managed to get a free taxi ride to the airport saving me 20 euros each time. See, most people there are going home right? Most people head to the airport right? So, I just shouted out "who’s heading to the airport" I get a response, offer to help with the taxi fare and they turn round and "say no problem, my company is picking up the tab, you can share with me". Nice. Same goes for the shuttle to the hotel, if your hotel does not have this service, or you missed the bus, then jump on some other hotel's bus. Most hotels in that area are near each other, maybe 5 minutes walk, so just jump onto another hotel's bus as no one checks.

Don’t give up. If at first you don’t make it go back, no need for me to explain this. I have failed and passed the lab, and as a result I am a better and more knowledgeable as a result of failing it. I think there is more shame in not going back than there is to not passing.

The thanks
This forum has given me so much and it’s difficult for me to give praise to individuals, I don’t like to do this, but it’s fitting that several people here made it possible. So – thanks to, MarkinManchester, DarkFiber, ZGX, Igor_M, Darby Weaver, a61971, Hotdogs, N00b13, georgevzz, FredBloggs, toofast, Lord Flasheart, Route-Reflector, richerich, sabbione, Ciscocool, Lethe, Cisco_Master, Ford_Mustang, Big_Evil, -.-, airflow, Russian macho et al.

And Finally FS for reinstating me!!! Cheers mate.

What Next
Another CCIE? You bet!! Security.........

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I had preparing it, please feel free to ask as many question within the confines of the NDA as possible. I have sacrificed a lot to get my numbers, and I am not going to lose it so you can get yours!!"


Hi there,

this week I had my first attempt for the security ccie, and I'm glad to tell you that I passed on the first attempt! smile.gif

My preparation was
* 4 years experience in the area at work
* two month of very intense preparation (got "free" from work from my employer and could basically learn from the morning to late at night)
* creation of a "knowledgebase", where a added every bit of information I didn't knew before, or was hard to "get" and understand, and was worth noting. I think this is a must for two reasons: first you memorize things better and easier when repeating them and putting them into your own words and writing them down, secondly it's good stuff to go through all this again shortly before the lab to see again all "pain-points" you had and their solution
* the 10 mock-labs from internetwork-expert (very valuable!), which are harder than the real one to my mind - together with a real lab where you can train of course
* a great day on the day of your exam, where you are relaxed, not too nervous, confident and having the support of your friends and family in your background.

This is what I had, and what obviously made me pass it. Good luck to all the others!

Before I forget: my number is 21049, and if you really feed the need to verify it (what for?), you can get my full-name on my website (I don't want to post my full name here).


Gobind Singh Gill CCIE # 19910

Here is the story which I posted in GS...because of delay,Hope Paul(moderator of GS) fix the problem soon smile.gif


Hey Guys!

At last with the blessing of GOD, I manged to pass CCIE exam at brussels.This was my third attempt.Yea,I am 20 but I am not boasting but rather feeling proud for this accomplishment in the conditions I been through while preparing.Its been a long journey.I want to say Thanks to Brians,Darby for this tips and Scott,Narbik for their endless help rather it be direct or indirect as most of the help and information I got to my problems was by searching the old archives and most of the archives were from Scott and Narbik smile.gif.Also want to say thanks to Alexie for his posts in Netmasclass,the thing in which I was getting which was redistribution,he pulled out a topic from Group Study posted by Bruce from Netmasterclass way back,it was huge post on Redistribution which really opened my mind in that particular area.I can post that link later if someone is interested.Also want to say thanks to Eric and Bruno,the proctors of Brussels which really helped me(Cheers! if you are reading this post smile.gif and to Manoj for talking with me on phone for helping me out in my problems and giving me tips for the Lab.

This is a Huge post.I just want to tell everyone that never ever give up!!.Always remember:-

"Winners never Quit & Quitters never win!!"

I struggled a lot during my journey to CCIE.It took me 3 years! I started studying for CCIE back in 2004 after passing my CCNP when I was just 17.My career started when I was studying in 9th grade and was working as part time in my areas's local ISP company.I use to do installations of Modems,cables for New customers.My interest started to grow after I saw Network Engineer f our company configuring RIP on Router.My ambition started to grow,I wanted to be like him,sitting on chair and configuring Network Equiptments remotely.Then I asked him how to learn those kind of things and then he recommended me Wendel Odom's CCNA book,that's when my career in Cisco started.I managed to pass CCNA and started helping that same Engineer in his work of configuring routeres and learn new things from him.Later on I managed to pass CCNP.

My hunger for Networking started to grow,that's when I joined a big company out of the state where I was living,which really helped me in studying.I worked there and meanwhile started studying for CCIE in 2004.But at that time was also most worst part because when people use to lookup at me in India(thats where I worked and grew up) they use to mock me "17 year old kid doing CCIE?!!! HAHAHA",They use to mock me on my back which also worked as spilling petrol in fire for me in my studies due to which my determination grew and I wanted to show them that I can do it.But at that time I was not upto the mark for CCIE.I took traning in Bangalore,it was 2005 mid by then.Then I got know about IE's Brian and I saw their sample labs and then I realized that there was so much out there to learn.But I didnt had that much finance to pay Brian or for my training.So I made up my mind to work hard and collect money.After doing 9 to 5 job,I use to Design Websites and do Web hosting for many customers.

That business really boosted my income and till the ended of 2005 and with some financial help from my parents I planned to buy my rack and then I posted at GS in Dec 2005 I believe for getting help for setting up Rack,Then brian McGahan came forward to help me and I bought full Rack of routers and CCIE End to End from Brians on which they gave me discount after due to my financial condition.I am really grateful for them.I started learn technologies more deeply by studying Brian's COD and their workbook and meanwhile studying CCIE Practical studies Vol 1 & 2(I already completed TCP/IP Vol I & II by this time).

But finance was always problem for me,so I had to work meanwhile for collecting money for CCIE Lab exam.But 2006 wasnt really good year for me.Due to some personal problems at home I had to sell my rack.My CCIE written exam was going to be expired.So I gave my written exam again and then I needed to practise on Rack.But the Rack rentals price for 20-30 days and training of Bangalore for CCIE turned out to be same,HAHA,So I thought I should rather go to banglore,this way I got rack access for 1 month physical access (My employer really helped me and gave me leave).

But then after reading that how people fails in GS,I was really shocked and I made up my mind to take Bootcamp.My friend Manoj whom I met in GS recommended me to go Cyscoexpert where Naren Mehta who is Co-Author of Book "CCIE Routing and Switching Official Exam Certification Guide" and bahram were giving one to one training in US.So I decided to go there,so I started collecting money and did various projects meanwhile and did programming/designing for website,also hosted Live broadcsting events.At last I was ready to go.

But before going I did Rack rentals from Chris from CiscoLabs,he gave me Rack in damn cheap price.I am thankful to him.I took my training in US from CyscoExpert.That training was just awesome! It really helped me and I thought I was ready for exam and I would pass it.I appeared for my lab on 15th may 2007 at RTP,This was my first attempt and I failed.I was really shocked that what happened as when i came out of the lab I thought Iwas passed.It really shook me.I did't knew what to do.I posted my experience in Lab during then.When i returned back to India,I met those guys again mocking at me even 2 years after saying that I cant pass the labs.So I felt so guilty and thought I couldnt pass it and they were right.But my parents supported and girl friend supported me and told me to give it another try.After 1 week time my I decided that I wont give up and booked my lab date on 5th July,2007 in Dubai and guess what I failed again which almost made me thing that CCIE is not meant for me and I dint even had the courage to post in GS or appear in GS again.I was really broken in pieces and started to think that those guys were 100% right that CCIE is unattainable for Kid/Teenager like me and I dont deserve that.

But after 2 months I really thought that what am I doing?! Even after doing so much I am quiting?! So finally I decided to give one more attempt again and see my luck.I decided to take Narbik's bootcamp under his special offer but due to some personal problems I was not able to attend it.I decided to do Netmasterclass,Also Chris from CiscoLabs and my old friend Manoj gave me advise to do it.So I bought Netmaster DoIT and rented Rack from Chirs and started practicing and whole December I practised DoIT,especially on Weekends and during Christmas/New Year Holidays.

By this time my lab was booked on January 29th at Brussels.I went to IE's COD again.Read the redistribution part which really sometimes put me in trouble from Forum's of DiscussIT of Netmasterclass by Bruce posted by Alexie,Thanks again for that!! And not to forget my favorite post from Darby in GS with Subject "Lab Approach - Getting Ready for the 3rd Shot at the Title" which really helped me in my 3rd shot wink.gif.Thanks Darby for that.I got problem in many things but it was mostly previously discussed in GS before and was mostly answered by Scott and Narbik,Thanks Narbik and Scott!!!

I also remember the topic "Attack by proctor" from GS which said the Proctors esp. in Brussels do attack in rack,many CCIE candidates came forward and said it.I was also prepared for that even i thought it was stupid thing,thinking that maybe sometime in middle of m lab I would get problem,hehe

So the Final day,when i entered the lab I was totally freeked out.I calmed myself and started my lab and I finished my lab in 5.5 hours which was really good sign for me,then i verified the solutions from first question from Question one to last and then came out of the Lab.I left for the airport from hotel at 5pm.

Now the **Golden Moment**.My Girl Friend called me just after 1 hr 45 mins,after my lab,exactly at 6:15 pm(as she was checking my result) and here what she said "Sweetheart, 19910.." and she stopped.I understood that were my digits and I was like NO WAY!,Tears came into my eyes with happiness.I couldnt believe I passed!! Then i called my parents and gave them the news.That was the most preciuos moment of my life.I thanked GOD which blessed me.

As per my expeience in Lab there is nothing known as attack by proctor in MIDDLE of LAB.And yea Bruno & Eric(Proctors of CCIE Lab,Brussels) are not my friends and they neither gave me Belgian Beer to say this,hehe.

The people which really helped me from Day 1 when I started preparing for CCIE are Brians which helped me technically and also financially when I needed help by giving me huge discounts in my bad times. GOD Bless you. guys!

Maybe I bored you guys with my story.But I just want to tell you that no matter how hard the time can be if you want to attain something then go for it,no matter "Whatever it takes".Even in my case I was being mocked due to my age or even I failed 3 attempts even my financial condition was not good as I was not earning in $ but in India Ruppee which really makes difference,believe me.My pay from past 3 years and money which came from my business of Web Designing/Programming and Broadcasting over IP,all went into this studies.Yea I was stupid enough for this because I just had this one aim in front of me.I took two tranings in bangalore,Rented more than 600 hours of Racktime from different vendors,mainly from Chris,Bootcamp in US,three attempts,End to End from Brians's CCIE and DoIT from Netmasterclass.I know it looks insane but I was crazy enough to put my 100% efforts as well as finance in this exam as it was my goal and also shut the f**k up of those guys who mocked at me due to my age.They use to say that that they had 12 years of experience(they were CCIE themself) which was nearly equivant ot my age(I was 17 at that time).I respect that they had so much experience and had CCIE but they did not had any right to mock at me.

But I have attained what I dreamt for even it took longer than I expected but I attained it.

My Next Dream .... "CCIE Service Provider"..hehe.. Now I have to dig the way of studiying for this cerfication.I am going to start studying for it in few days time.Any advice or guidance would be helpful smile.gif.

Thanks again to Alexie,Bahram,Brians,Bruce,Chris,Manoj(Thanks for taking out time for solving my problems),Naren,Narbik & Scott for their help and support in whichever way I got from them smile.gif

--Gobind Singh Gill
CCIE # 19910
(Proudly Writing smile.gif )

Cisco4lyf3 Rs

"What did I do to pass?

I am not going to talk about books or lab workbooks too much, because the vendors don't really matter that much. I have used Internetworkexpert (my preferred), NMC and Ip-Expert. I could have passed with any one of these had i known then what I know now.

I put in crap loads of hours. I had no job, so that helped. I put in approximately 300 hours a month for the last couple months. I probably invested about 2000 hours over the last couple years. The last few months of preparation, I really learned to study. Its not about quantity, but its about quality and keeping a routine. In hindsight, I could have passed this exam much faster had I managed my time more appropriately, and not slacked off the routine.

Learn the technologies.

I don't know how many times I had heard and ignored this. I started this journey with the attitude that just doing the practice labs were key to learning. It is so far from the truth. I kept getting hung up on the same topics in the workbooks. I finally stepped back and regressed to the Internetwork Expert technology labs. My final month of preparation, I did not do any full labs (I failed the lab on my first attempt the month earlier). I spent lots of time working through the technology labs over and over, and using the Doc CD. By far learning to use the Doc CD is what really pushed me over the top on my 2nd attempt. The answer to almost any question is right there for the taking. On top of that, I constantly built new dynamips labs and did concept testing on everything I had trouble with. Debug everything so you can see how it really works, and don't take anyones word for it. Go see for yourself!

I have read a lot of books over the years, but honestly, the only topics I went outside of internetworkexpert (WBs and CODs) and the doc cd were QOS and multicast, just because I needed a better understanding. If you do the tech labs, and the WB labs, topics like OSPF, BGP, EGIRP, etc... will be pretty easy to you, if you are studying well. BGP is a monster of a topic, but trust your IE workbook. They test you on what you need to pass the exam.

For QOS I read a few books and watched the Knowledgenet vids.
For multicast, I watched the knowledgenet vids as well. Their multicast vid is actually quite good and in depth. It gave me a different perspective and filled in a lot of the gaps from the IE COD.

Ultimately, focused study was the key to me passing. Rather than wasting 4 hours going through a lab and building core, just so you can study the topics you suck most, don't do it. Do the tech labs or build your own topic by topic, until you feel you have a really good understanding of each topic, then do full labs. Even after that, i would go through the IEWB vol 2 workbook and read over only the stuff from the topic I was working on that week, and solve them in my head.


Don't fall off the wagon. I studied in 4 hour blocks, with almost no exceptions. Your dog needs a walking? Too bad. He has to wait. Baby drop a bomb in the diaper? Your gonna have to smell that shit until your study block is up smile.gif Having at least an average intelligence and good old fashioned routine are what you need for the knowledge to sink in. Also, no matter how smart you are, you might not pass on your first run. Shit happens. You make a typo and configure Lacp instead of pagp, you just lost 3 points. Those things happen to the best of us, this is where the routine helps. Practice at your best, do not slack in any one thing. Test as you go. Go back and retest in the end. I found a crap load of errors after I completed everything and went back through it. Just stupid stuff, where I might have changed a parameter to test a feature, and forgot to change it back to what the lab asked for. Practice at home and simulate your lab day. Certainly putting in 8 hours a day might be impossible for most people, but 4 hour slots are not that bad. Sticking to the schedule is key.

I did not use a bootcamp, and did not have any funded training. I would have loved to go to a bootcamp, but just did not have the money or support through work when I was working.

Besides the message boards, CCIE study is a lonely endeavor. Unlike going to college, where you have structure forced upon you, CCIE lab study is all on you, and your ability to force the routine. I know I sound like a broken record, but this is just a test and you have a good study routine to pass it. You don't only have to want it bad, you have to make rules for yourself and stick to them.

Cisco4lyf3 "