Benjamin Good, CCIE #45404
I just got home from my second trip to RTP. The first was in November 2013 - that one did not go so well. Fortunately, things were better this time around. TS was very similar to my last experience. I had 6 tickets done at the one hour mark. I got stuck on 7, and 8, and I fought the urge to keep at it and moved on. I got ticket 9 quickly, but 10 was a problem as well. I went back to 7 because I knew I was close. I got it working and had to accept that 8 and 10 were not meant to be. I figured I was close to passing on TS but I felt like I needed a higher score in config to bring things up to the overall score. Diag really surprised me. There is so much information to see and it didn't really feel very well organized. I really think this section needs some work. I know this one is sort of a wild card for everyone right now. I have a feeling it will end up going the way of the open-ended questions from v3. Config started off well but I got bogged down with the massive amount of work I had to do. Much more than v4. With about an hour to go I was sure I had failed, but I kept going at it the best I could. I knew I had some connectivity issues to work out, but I felt like I needed to go on and finish all the remaining tasks first before I went back to them. Same concept as TS, except in the config you may not be able to get task A working without first doing task B. Once I revisited things, I had that epiphany I needed and I got it all working with 25 minutes to go. I was feeling much better about things then, but I was still worried that the TS might not have been good enough. I woke up at 5 this morning and saw the email that said the score report was available. It came in 45 minutes after I gave up waiting and went to bed. I got into the portal and saw the checkmarks and my number! I was (and still am) a bit giddy. I think I spent too much time last year doing mock labs and not gaining a true understanding of all the technologies. I didn't rush into my second attempt because I realized that I didn't understand things the way I needed to. My approach this time was to start with the INE expanded blueprint and fill in notes on each section. I referred to the videos and workbooks often, but I also used the Cisco documentation heavily. I would occasionally lab things up and see how things worked. I did a lot of packet captures. When I was tired of taking notes or labbing things up, I would turn to the IEOC forum and see if I could find out anything new. I don't think I would have ever made it this far without INE's help. You still need to put in long and hard hours yourself, but there are some things you just won't know if you don't have someone who's been there before you leading the way. Thanks, INE!