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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The CCIE-lab and why you shouldn't push it forward

This time 1 year ago I had been CCIE-written for about 3 weeks. I had begun talking with Global Knowledge about arranging the Cisco 360 bootcamps in Sweden because I didn't want to go abroad. As it happened they were able to to schedule both CIERS1 and 2 in Sweden and exactly the two weeks that I asked for.

Unfortunately I had asked for CIERS1 and 2 to be scheduled close to each other because I was under the impression that you were supposed to take them both close to the exam. As it turns out CIERS1 is meant to be taken early on and CIERS2 closer to the lab. Neither I or the local GK team knew this so in retrospect I have to say that I wish that the instructor (great guy from Egypt) had talked with the local GK team and explained the best course of action. After all, he did say that he was surprised about the scheduling.

CIERS1 took place late August, 2010. It was me and 4 other guys. I was the first person to buy the 360 package in Sweden (at least according to GK) so these guys must have been #2-4 (the fifth was a german). It was fairly obvious from the beginning that only two of us were by far ready even for the first bootcamp. The week passed and we now had 3 weeks to study before CIERS2.

Thursday of the CIERS1 course my boss called me and said that he had been approached by another team within the company. Long story short, I got "upgraded" and I changed groups. It happened so fast. Those three weeks between CIERS1 and 2 just passed and I didn't have one single study day. But I was still fairly happy with the week. It took place late September and I had originally planned on sitting the lab mid-october. Since I had lost so much study time while changing jobs I had decided to bump it till mid-november and I was fine with that, it felt ok. Buuuuut. New job took all my time. I have no one to blame but myself since my new boss had given an OK for studies. I should and could have studied but I didn't.

2010 passed and in January (December?) I got the next BIG hit right in my face. That one other guy who I felt had potential to pass had gone for his first attempt. He got torn to pieces. A month or so later he went for his second. And got torn to pieces again. This absolutely wrecked my confidence. If HE didn't make it, how could I?

Then in April 2011 he finally passed and became CCIE. Since then we've been been talking. I've been fighting my way through work load and trying to find time for studies. I've had at least 3-4 dates set but I keep cancelling. I keep pushing it further and further away.

In exactly three weeks from now I'll be in my car on the way to the airport. I grabbed my confidence and forced it to schedule. I was shaking so hard when I was entering all the required data. I know that I will probably fail but that's ok. I can't keep pushing the date forward. People keep saying how hard it is but I do honestly believe that many people fail simply because they're not ready. I can't let "rumors" stop me from even going. I MUST give it a shot so that I can get a true feeling about how it is. Can't keep hiding from that FAIL e-mail.

I plan on going back in mid-october and PASS...!

...or maybe it turns out that I've been scared for all the wrong reasons? Maybe 23 days from now I'll be sitting on my porch with a glass of champagne? I'll never know if I don't try..


  1. I did my first attempt 1 month ago, didn't pass. I was very nervous and spent lot of time because of this. Haven't scheduled my second attempt yet but I think next time I'll be more prepared and since I know the exam interface I'll be more focused on the tasks, so more chances to pass!
    Best luck for your exam!

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  2. i had my first attempt last July and passed from the first time, the interesting part of my attempt that after i finished the troubleshooting part, i was sure that i would fail as i started the exam nervous, that i could barely solve one ticket out of the 10 tickets in the first 45 min , but what saved my life that i could control myself and became calm and i did not give up
    i solved another 4 tickets in the next 45 min. i skipped on of long mpls tickets and stuck with another ticket for 15 min ( the max time i planed for any ticket) then i could solve another 3 ticket in the last 15 min but without verification! , the last ticket of these ticket i solved in last 2.5 minutes in the exam, i was very happy that i could get the number as it was a big surprise ( i never met anybody that felt he did bad in the lab and passed) my advice is never give up and keep yourself calm as much as you can. and don't spend more than 15 min in a single ticket. good luck

  3. Anyone planning to attempt the CCIE lab has to date set and stick to it. It doesn't matter how you do the first time. Use that first time to get jitters out and get a feel for the actual lab. You will probably come away feeling pretty good in some sections and overall have a feeling of confidence that it is not that bad.

    My first attempt was like that. I was very encouraged by how straightforward most tasks were and how "doable" the lab was. I failed because there were several weaknesses in my knowledge at the time. The second attempt, (4 months later) I knew all my stuff but just wasn't fast enough and spent too much time analyzing or chasing down small typos. I went home and practiced speed speed speed.

    I went back the next month and passed.

    Hope this encourages someone....

    Raliegh Anthony Jones, CCIE #37264 (R&S)

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