Ethan Grinnell, CCIE #39723
I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to INE and ?The Brians?. Thank you! Using the top notch training material from INE, I was recently able to pass the CCIE R&S lab on my second attempt. I?ve used just about all of the video materials they have. I loved the Deep Dives, ATC 4.5, PFR vSeminar, Advanced Troubleshooting- You name it, I?ve watched it. The CCIP BGP and MPLS videos are excellent as well and covered some of the gaps that weren't required for CCIE R&S, but helped make a more rounded knowledge base. I even watched some of the CCIE SP videos. All the videos in the world don?t compare to actual IOS time though, and for this I thought their workbooks were the best out there. I've used all of the major vendors and INE?s material blew them out of the water. INE gets down to the nitty gritty and at the same time provides scenarios that are of the complexity required for the lab. When I failed my first attempt I took a moment to reflect before I went back to study. I read all the Cisco docs and watched the deep dives for any technologies that I was weak in. The feedback from Cisco helped in this regard, but I already knew what I messed up on before I left the lab that day. Multicast was apparently a weakness of mine. Of the many contributors to my initial failure two important ones were a lack of sleep, and command recall speed. I was so nervous the night before that I just couldn't sleep. I probably only got a couple hours of continuous sleep; I couldn't shut down. Also, for the past week I had been staying up later and later trying to finish my study goals before the upcoming exam. This really backfired; I?d completely blown my sleep schedule. So don?t do that, it?s bad! As far as command recall speed goes, I knew what I wanted to do, but I had to use the context sensitive help more than I should have. To combat this on my next attempt I did more labbing, of course, but also forced myself to do more and more of it in a text editor before pasting it into the CLI. Additionally, I?d type out the whole command instead of just the required key words. Another word of advice; don?t spoil yourself at home when studying. This kind of seems like silly advice, but think it?s valid. I use Linux with gnome-terminal primarily and it?s a bit of adjustment using PUTTY in Windows. I also have a nice little script that sets up my telnet windows with named tabs, sizes and positions everything, and connects to the devices. That is what I?m used to. Getting adjusted to their terminal emulator and lack of tabs honestly took me a little while. I?d get confused as to which one I was typing in, messed up copy and paste by clicking on the terminal window, pasted in passwords with trailing spaces, etc. Before I went to the lab the second time I fired up my Windows VM, installed an older version of PUTTY, and tinkered around with it so that I?d be more familiar with their interface. When I was in the lab I organized the open windows a little so that I didn't lose track of which one I was looking at. In the config section I opened a terminal for every device and turned off ?Always On Top?. As long as you don?t close the window this setting stays in effect. I found it very helpful to be able to bring the task list to the front and be able to have just the window I needed in view, but at the same time have the other ones immediately available. On exam day I got there a half hour early. I spent 10 minutes walking around and even stretched a little. I was much more relaxed when my exam actually started. I found myself making fewer mistakes. I even had time to verify things once I had completed. Good thing too because I spotted a few silly typos! When I left the building I was nervously optimistic that I?d done good. Everything seemed to have gone well though. I got my score report only an hour or so later, which initially scared me. I thought you didn't get one when you passed. I nervously went to the Cisco website and logged in all it said was ?PASS?, along with my number. Talk about an emotional roller coaster! Whew!