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CCIE SP #24803考试战报

2009-10-22 09:46 佚名 56cto 字号:T | T
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Well now things have settled down at home and in business I thought I would just take the time to detail my story for the CCIE SP. Sorry it's a bit late (only 2 months haha, been busy).

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Hi All,

Well now things have settled down at home and in business I thought I would just take the time to detail my story for the CCIE SP.  Sorry it's a bit late (only 2 months haha, been busy).

So, where did I start....

Well it began on March 1st when I decided to go for the CCIE SP rather than the R&S track.  I am from an R&S background and wanted to do something a little different to my background so I thought why not go for SP.  I started studyling like mad for the written exam which I had scheduled for the 24th March, I am fortunate to own my own business and work from home so I just shifted things around and delegated more work so I could focus on the studies.  24th March came and I took and passed the written, now the real work begins!!

I had already read (partially) the recommended SP books and now needed some more focus so I ordered the INE SP bundle.  I first started going through the COD with Brian McGahan and this took me 3 solid weeks.  I labbed up everything during the class the same as Brian was doing, if my output was different I paused the video and tried to understand why, this was very important.  After completing the COD I then went through the Volume I workbook cover to cover, I ended up doing a lot of it twice just to make sure it made sense as some of it was quite new to me.  This took me well over a month, 8-10 hours a day, every day!

After completing Volume I it was time to relax for a couple of days so I took a weekend off and then cracked on straight away with Vol II labs.  There are only 10 labs in Volume II so again I went through most of them more than once, if I didn't understand why a certain solution had been used I would either go back to the COD or review the books again, another crucial part of the process.  To complete all of the Vol II labs took me 6 weeks, again 8+ hours every day including weekends.  I was treating the CCIE study as a job, 8-6/7 every day with an hour for lunch.  Mixed in with the excellent material from INE I also reviewed some IPExperts labs, forum discussions, Dynamips mini scenarios of Antonio Soares (thanks a lot, they're great) and other bits and pieces.  I used dynamips exclusively for my prep as I didn't want to fork out money for kit.

Originally I had my lab booked for August 12th but my wife was due to give birth to our daughter on 6th July so I had to get it finished before then.  I was lucky to find a spot on 12th June in RTP, so that was the goal date.

I continued with labbing, reading and reviewing until I ws to fly out to RTP on 10th June.  The flight was boring (mega-expensive as well) thanks American Airlines!  I can't remember the hotel I stopped at but it was great, good food, quiet and a nice room.  I spent the 2 days before the lab relaxing!!  VERY IMPORTANT, there's no point cramming last minute you'll just confuse things.  The day before the exam I went to the local cinema and watched 3 movies back-to-back, had some nice food and went back to the hotel and slept until the morning of the exam.

I left the hotel at 6:30am as I didn't want to be late and didn't get any breakfast, I was too nervous anyway.  I got to the RTP lab building in plenty of time, I was actually the first to arrive.  Howard let us in to the reception, cracked a few jokes (really nice guy, helped put me at ease) and then led us in to the lab and did the usual talk about do's and dont's time etc.  We started the lab at about 7:20am I think?

I read through the lab book cover to cover, twice! I then reveiwed the diagrams and they were adequate but decided to draw my own single diagram with everything on it, L2, L3, MPLS TE, VPN/VRF details etc, all on one page as this is the way I like to see things.  I then started with the exam and by lunch time (4 hours later) I only had 3 sections left to complete (QoS, Security and Management).  Lunch was OK, the Carrott cake was very sweet and just what I needed to give me a wake up, and so we carried on at about 12:20pm.  Within an hour I had finished all sections and started checking, good job I found a stupid mistake in my MP-BGP config, boy did I kick myself, hard!!  I left the exam at 3:30pm to go straight to the airport to fly home back to UK as my flight was at 7pm.

My initial thoughts of the exam was yes, I've passed.  Nothing was too difficult and few small issues here and there and some bugs with IGP and SNMP but overall very passable.

I had to wait all weekend until Monday morning for the results, the worst wait of my life, 3 days not knowing!!  Bit of advice, never do the CCIE lab exam on a Friday in the US, there is no timezone online until Monday to mark the results.

Right, the results came in on the Monday at 5:32am (I still remember the time) and it was....... FAIL!!!  What, how could I have failed, I was sure I had nailed the exam??  I went through the score report and immediately thought they had given me somebody elses scores, I got 33% in QoS, Security and Management??  All of those sections were working perfectly?  So I did what any sane person would do, I submitted for a re-read without any hesitation.

I posted on the INE website about my shock results and Troutman gave me some superb advice, document everything that appears out of the norm or why the scores are low and how I tackled those selections.  So I spent the next day compiling a 5 page document detailing every low scoring section, the requirements I could remember, the solution I used, why I used it and how I tested it.  I also documented the bugs I hit in the lab and any problems I raised with Howard.  Now I just had to wait for the re-read results.

This was the longest 3 weeks of my life.  Every day I would check my email and nothing, it was agony not knowing until the time was up, 3 weeks had passed and nothing??  I decided to wait another day and then opened a cisco support case politely asking if there was any update as the 3 weeks time limit was up and I hadn't heard anything.  Within 2 hours of opening the case my Cisco score report was gone, the re-read status empty just as if I hadn't taken the exam, weird??

The following morning (Wednesday 8th July) I was just sitting at my PC, 8:00am in the morning when out of the blue I get an email from Cisco saying that my score report was available.  Damn I thought, I've failed again!! I thought when you pass, the email actually says "congratulations" so I thought what the hell I'll just login and take a look.  After what seemed like an eternity of waiting the score report page finally came up and those 4 little letters were there in all their glory "P A S S".  I couldn't believe it, I actually refreshed the page to make sure they weren't pulling my leg, when I couldn't see any number I thought it's got to be a mistake, I haven't passed if I don't have a number??  Turns out it takes a couple of hours to assign the number, DOH!

So there I was, CCIE #24803, having passed on my first attempt with 3.5 months of very hard preparation. What a weight of my mind, especially as my wife was several days overdue with our daughter, 2 days later on the 10th July, Abbie Rose was born. A perfect week!!

My original goal was to prove that I could pass the CCIE, I don't need it for my work or business (doesn't hurt though) but that was my primary reason, I wanted to prove I could do it, and I did.  This is crucial, if you don't have a goal or reason why you are doing it, you will just fall by the wayside, trust me, I've prepared and booked the R&S exam 3 times previously only to end up cancelling as I couldn't be bothered.

Well that's it from me, sorry for the really long post, culmination of 3 months waiting to write this I suppose.

Thanks to the team at INE (excellent material and support), thanks to Antonio for his mini-labs and finally thanks to Troutman for his words of advice regarding the re-read.  All the best to anyone going for their IE, it is passable, just focus and go for it!!

Thanks,

Stuart - CCIE SP #24803

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