Juan Jose Gaytan, CCIE #28215
I started studying by myself with books and material from Cisco web page. That was enough for the written exam. Later on, I started practicing using INE's Volume I book. It was great, helped a lot to go in detail on several topics. Then I started working with Volume II and Mock Labs. I built confidence and speed. I went to San Francisco on December 2009 and failed my first attempt. I realized that some topics were not covered by INE's material, the exam version had just changed and was really really new (I even had to answer the "famous" four starting questions before the troubleshooting part). I hurried trying to fill the gap, got some material from Cisco's web page and the new releases of INE's Volume II. I felt ready and went to Mexico City on March 2010, were I found a tough second exam with very complex scenarios and got a lower score than before. In this attempt I even failed the troubleshooting section, although I was sure I did it right, What to do then? I decided to go in detail with all the documentation in Cisco's page. There were some details in several topics not covered by INE. I had a good foundation, but needed to work in specific details and scenarios. I studied and invented my labs (thanks a lot, GNS3!!!), practiced a lot, read a lot... it took a lot of time! I finally went to San Francisco on February 2011 and passed on my third attempt. This time the initial questions were gone, the troubleshooting section made me suffer (the first two tickets took me 35 minutes!) and the lab section was fairly "decent". That day, when I finished, I felt that I had a good chance that time and returned happy to the hotel. Now I recall Anthony Sequeira that told us during the bootcamp: "you will feel it! if you have made it (a passing exam), you will just feel it". Good material, those Vol I and Vol II. Very important in this achievement. Thanks INE!