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RE: CCIE # 7617 posted 06/19/2001
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This is the first I've heard of Cisco changing the lab format.  I fear that
making it a one day exam may ultimately kill it's credibility.   Any
thoughts on that theory?

-----Original Message-----
From: Dirar Hakeem [mailto:dirarhakeem@xxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2001 1:18 PM
To: ccielab@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: CCIE # 7617

Hi everyone:

Its my time to write this.  I passed on my first
attempt in Halifax on Friday.  I stayed there for the
weekend so this is the first chance I got to use
E-mail.  I have to say first that Steve, the proctor, 
was great and a lot of help.  Four people started on
Thursday, and two people were finishing day two;
reading the message from # 7599, I know now that they
both passed, the other one, whom I talked to walking
to my hotel room that evening, was #7598.  Out of the
four who started with me I was the only who made it to
day two, and being a Friday, there was no day one
people, so I was the only one in the whole lab.

One advice I would have from my experience is to try
to get there two days ahead of time, not the day
before.  Due to whether problems in Boston that day, I
missed my connection flight, and ended up getting
there at 11 pm that night.  Spending the whole day
before the test in airports wasnt fun, not to mention
the stress I had from the possibility of not being
able to actually make it there (I made it on standby
on the last flight to Halifax.)  I didnt sleep much
that night either, and lying in bed half asleep, I was
unconsciously thinking of the different possible
reason of why I cant sleep, and some of the ones I
can still remember were that may be there was an
access list preventing sleep from coming through, or
thinking if I moved to a different area of the bed,
I might be able to sleep better.  Being so exhausted
made it harder for me to manage my time the way I
wanted to.  

When I first read the lab, I thought I should ace it,
as I knew everything.  I wanted to get done by 3 or
3:30 to give myself time to review, but luckily I
asked Steve a question about the last part I was
working on around that time, and his answer made me
realize I did something that wasnt allowed.  Fixing
it took sometime, plus when I started reviewing I
realized I missed a couple of little things.  One of
them gave me a hard time and I spent a while trying to
figure it out.  I didnt end up having enough time to
go through the whole config, and as it turned out, I
found out the next day that I did miss few things that
wouldve almost cost me going to the second day.  Part
of what helped me was that one of the other guys on
day one used my backbone connection IP address on his
backbone interface, and that made me spend extra time
trying to figure out what was happening as I couldnt
connect to the backbone.  I think Steve was a little
more lenient with some the things that were obvious
oversights, that would've been discovered by a review
of the config.  On day two, I wasnt as tired, so at
least I was able to feel nervous, and I wasnt as
confident as I was on day one; ironically I did
better, and lost probably only one or two point. 

Troubleshooting wasnt too bad; the key is to read the
symptoms they give you very carefully, and know where
to look for mistakes based on them.  BTW, Steve said
that its almost always that you will get a different
network for trouble shooting.  On somewhat related
issue, he also said that its true that Cisco IS going
to change the format to a one day lab instead of two
(not sure if the announcement has been made yet, but
its supposed to be coming out soon.)

My strategy was based greatly on the many testimonials
that were presented on this forum.  Few months ago,
somebody compiled a few of those that were very
inspirational and informative, and I think you should
be able to find it on the archive somewhere.  I
basically got everything that was mentioned on those
testimonials, from books to labs to links to CIM's to
what have you, plus attending training (my company
paid for ECP1, and I paid for BRS myself, plus I went
to the Cisco practice lab in Pittsburgh for 2 days.  I
probably went  a little overboard with all that (I
know I did that with books, as I ended up not having
time to even open a couple of the books I got,) but I
guess it paid off at the end.  And just to be
repetitive for emphasis sake, you should know
Doyle/Halabi very well, and then Caslow, will act as
test of your knowledge: if you can go through the text
and the examples in his book and FULLY understand
them, it should be an indication you know the subject

As for studying and practice, I studied solid for the
last six months, and having my CCNP/CCDP was also a
great help.  I had an eight-router rack, plus I was
fortunate enough to study with partner who had a full
rack (or two racks, I should say) of everything you
need, and then some.  Having a study partner also
helped tremendously as we discussed issues, especially
when we disagreed.  So thanks John for everything, and
good luck on July 5.

If youre reading this, you know about this list. 
Its been great help, although I was more of a passive
participant that an active one.  Thanks are due to
Paul for creating this forum.

Good luck to everybody

Dirar Hakeem

CCIE # 7617

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