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."

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