Mikheil Kartvelishvili, CCIE #45871
My journey to CCIE started about 6 years ago. I am CCNP certified since 2002, so the next step in career certification I had to achieve obviously was a CCIE. I chose R&S track as the most generic. So I took a month to quickly prepare for a written exam and then jumped into the depths of the lab exam preparation. At that time I was not using any INE materials and just going through the official blueprint reading relevant configuration guides, examples and of course practicing alot. After 6 months of heavy study I traveled to exam location (Dubai in my case). Unfortunately the exam did not quite go well: while troubleshooting section went smoothly, but time management in configuration section was complete failure and because of a haste the final part of the exam was a complete mess. As a result I failed. 5 years had passed since the my first attempt. During this period I had changed several employers and had quite a limited time so I had no opportunity for CCIE preparation. Finally I managed to collect the courage and time resources to start CCIE lab study process from the scratch as the lab exam version had already changed since the last try from v4 to v5. This time I decided to use INE workbooks and video materials. At the moment of purchase the complete materials for v5 were not quite ready (both workbooks and videos), so I had to adapt my study schedule on the fly depending on the material availability. Viewing Brian's videos and labing workbooks was my every early morning activity (this was the most appropriate study time for me) for almost 7 months. And finally the exam date has come. I arrived to the lab location in the morning, but had to wait for long nervous 30 minutes together with other CCIE candidates until proctor has appeared and leaded us to the class. This ti me I had some trouble with troubleshooting section. At some moment I even had a thought that I may fail it, but I collected all my strength and knowledge and managed to complete it. Diagnose section was quick and it is pity the there was no way to finish it prematurely, so I had to sit back and relax until 30 minutes have finally passed. Configuration section went super-smoothly almost everything worked from the scratch and all tasks were clear. So I when I finished all the tasks and double-checked everything, I still had awesome 30 mins until the time X. So I relaxed and spent some time freely looking around. After the exam I was still nervous though I was quite confident that everything was working fine, as there still could be some misconfigs because of task wording, but fortunately the waiting time was not long - in about 2 hours (!) the report was received and HURRAY! I am CCIE! :) It was really a relief. This was very difficult journey and one of the most important factors was my family. As the preparation process required much understanding and patience from my wife and children. Without their support I definitely would not be successful. And of course I am thankful to INE and personally to Brian McGahan (who became almost a family member for almost 7 months) for such a quality training materials that were also significant component of my success.