One thing I picked up as I got back into the swing of everything was IPexpert’s Vol 1 workbook. I have gone through Internetwork Expert’s workbook I vol 5 and just didn’t want to go through it again. I was afraid that I would configure more out of memory than anything. For IPexpert’s, I didn’t have the hardware topology setup for it. I tried getting the full lab running on dynamips on two different machines to no avail. So I picked up some Proctor Lab sessions from IPexpert. I figure I can get through the workbook with the rack rentals. I did my first session Friday and have to say I love the setup they have. I was able to load the initial configs up which was excellent. One thing that always seems to slow me down is editing configurations to match either dynamips or my hardware rack. Editing configs for full labs isn’t that big of deal since the lab is going to take a while. When you work with the technology focused workbooks you tend to move through them quicker and have to reload more. Hopefully I can move through these with a good pace.

I took my Polmorphic Assessment lab this morning, and it felt good to be doing a full lab even if it was small. I was very rusty, forgetting to draw out my layer 2 topology, and missing the little things as I went through the lab that I should have caught right away. I even forgot to print out the lab diagram. Overall though I thought the lab was excellent for what it is meant to do. The time allocated was around 4.5 hours. I had a few comments before that it really shouldn’t take me that long, but I knew better πŸ˜‰ I ended up skipping the last section just because I was so fried just trying to recall everything for the core section. I should of had points almost everywhere, but just like the real lab I didn’t have everything correct for each section. My score was dismal. Which I honestly expected since it has been almost eight months since I have done anything other than a technology focused lab.

The score report was nice at the end, breaking down each section and showing me what I should of have configured. They also break down each section to list which product you might want to consider to help sure up that area. I fought with the wording on some of the questions. I thought they could of been a little bit more precise as to what they wanted you to do. Overall, I think it is an excellent tool to assess your current skill set and maybe just to humble some of us on how far we need to go. Maybe the rust just needs a few more labs to completely fall off.

Just got approval to head over to Cisco Live this year. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet some great people and sit down for some good training. I signed up for the eight hour CCIE R&S lecture on Sunday, and the eight hour practice lab session on Monday. Rest of the week I am sure there will be more than enough to get involved in!

On a side note I also just added Mike Down’s site to the blog roll. He is a training advisor for IP Expert that runs some good deals from his site. So if you use them already or just looking around check out his site.

I got a chance to try out a Poly-lab over at Graded Labs this weekend. So if you curious about the labs themselves I will be posting up a review on that. I booked back to back sessions so I didn’t have to be up at 6:00am on a Saturday. Estimated time to finish was listed as four hours, but this is me we are talking about. So I am thinking maybe six ;). Either way it will feel good to be labbing for four to six straight hours again this weekend.

Not sure what I was thinking, but I scheduled and passed my CCIE written again this morning. Why I didn’t realize I was scheduling this exam for the morning after St. Patrick’s Day is beyond comprehension.

I actually had an easier time around with the exam this time. There is no doubt that doing lab after lab helped a ton for the theory. Viewing the COD twice from Internetwork Expert and IPExpert over the last 9 months only helped as well. I used the latest exam guide from Wendell Odom and Netmaster’s written prep again too. Hopefully now I can get the lab in before my time runs out again πŸ˜‰

Hello everybody!

So glancing at my watch this morning, I realized that I officially have exactly 8 weeks left before my lab exam at RTP.Γ‚ After I went on the cruise vacation with my family, I came back guns blazing.Γ‚ I had already finished all the IPexpert volume 1,2, and 3 labs before the cruise.Γ‚ After returning, I busted through nearly all of the V2 labs at some points knocking out 2 a day.Γ‚ I felt a lot more confident this time around.

Right now I am in a state where I’ve been hung up for about a week.Γ‚ I ran into v2 lab 13 again , and boy is it a nightmare!Γ‚ It’s like doing 2 labs in one.Γ‚ So, I’ve been putting it off, putting it off.Γ‚ Finally last night I grudgingly made it through the IGP section.Γ‚ I plan on just finishing the damn thing today so I can move on. I’ve already repeated v2 lab 15, so after I finish this monster, I will just have lab 14 to go.

What to do next?Γ‚ I was thinking of trying to accomplish the following things before my lab date:

1) Re-do all the volume 3 labs

2) Cisco ASET labs — I have these through work

3) IE Mock lab?

4) Read more documentation

5) 5-Day IPexpert bootcamp :)Γ‚ Γ‚ Yes, it’s true I have booked a bootcamp!!!!!!Γ‚ I’m so excited about this.Γ‚ I actually convinced the wife to use tax refund money to cover it.Γ‚ It is in San Jose 2 weeks prior to my lab exam.Γ‚ I hope it will both tie up loose ends/questions, and be a confidence builder for me.

For those out there that have faced the exam, pass or fail what would YOU do with 8 weeks of time left?

Congratulations must go out to Brandon Carroll over at Brandon’s Blog Excellent job! Even though he is a Steelers fan…

If you are a CCIE candidate, and you have a blog, you probably know the name Mike Down. Mike did a lot of good work with IPexpert to help make all of us in the CCIE online community happy. I was saddened to see that he had left the company about 6 months ago, but alas Mike has returned to IPexpert and will be continuing where he left off. If you are a CCIE blogger, and an IPexpert supporter, this can only mean good things to come!

Welcome back Mike!!!

It is 5:19 AM. I booked the midnight to 8:00 AM session to attempt Volume 3 mock lab 1 for the 2nd try. The first time I tried this (another all nighter) the grading script took a dump. I was given vouchers and told my configs would be saved and sent to the developers. The next day I got an email that my configs were ready…to my shock my score was probably about half of what I computed and looking at the score report I could see why…half my configurations were just plain gone. UGH.

Tonight I tried again, confident that everything would be cool. I whipped through the lab and finished in about 4 hours feeling very confident….since I sacrificed sleeping for the night ( I need to be at work in 3 hours) I was quite excited to see my results…yet again “oops” followed by some error message. You have got to be fucking kidding me….

Well, at least I got 2 more vouchers out of it, and this time I made certain my configs were saved. 3 times.

At this rate, I am never going to pay Proctor Labs any money before my lab exam! πŸ™‚

If you have some time head over to and leave some love for our friend Hobbs, who passed his R/S in San Jose yesterday on his first attempt no less!!! This is especially encouraging and wonderful for me to hear, as Hobbs and I have become pretty good friends and study buddies over the last few months, and we both utilize IPexpert as a primary vendor.

Congratulations buddy, you deserve it, and you are an inspiration to many!!!

– Joe