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My first lab attempt

I failed my first lab attempt in San Jose the 19th of November. I did this attempt just after the INE R&S bootcamp. It is a hard feeling to know that you have failed but I knew that it was going to be tough. The troubleshooting section killed me. I usually enjoy the TS section when doing mock labs but in the real lab it is a ~28 routers topology instead of 6 (with INE topology). Actually I did 2 of the new TS labs from INE  and they are really well done and there are automatically graded (Presentation Video).

In the TS, I got stuck on 2 3 points tickets and I spent too much time trying to resolve them. Then, I had only 15 min left to solve 5 tickets. We were like 4 R&S candidates and 2 Voice candidates in the same room and in the really beginning one of the Voice candidate called the proctor saying that something was not working. 2 min after I suddenly realized that I couldn´t access one of  the router on the TS topology so I called the proctor and tell him the issue. After 5 min, the proctor asked everybody to leave the room as they needed to fix the issue. We had to wait in the corridor for 40 min. In this moment, I thought: “what is going on? I hope that they will not cancel the exam as I have to fly back to Europe the next day!”. Fortunately they fixed the issue and we were able to start again. We got credited the 40 min we lost. After the TS I knew that I did not do well and that I may have failed. I think that I  have solved around 7 tickets and I may have break the requirements on one of them. When I got to the configuration section I spent so much time on the first task trying to understand what they were asking for and how to solve the task to meet the requirements   The task was really basic but I think that I was a bit knocked out after the TS. So we got to lunch after 25 min and I still hadn´t started the configuration section. I spent all the lunch time trying to think how I could solve the task. When I got back I just decided to configure the task without meeting the requirements in order to move on. Once I did that everything went well but I did spent a total of 2 hours on the L2 section so I was really rushing through the tasks and I could only do basic verification which is obviously not enough. When I got to the last 5-6 tasks I got only 40 min left and that was no enough to go through all of them.

I received my score report the same day at night. Overall, I think that the exam is really well done and I enjoyed it a lot. They don´t ask you to configure or troubleshoot stupid things and I think that the exam is based on issues or configuration tasks that you can expect in real life. I will now schedule another date and get ready for my next attempt. I will try to find the best strategy in order to improve my weak areas which are speed and strategy.


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  1. francis xavier saucedo
    November 22, 2012 at 06:53

    Way to go,
    awesome attempt,
    way to follow through,
    on your prep and commitment,
    to sit the exam.

    Thanx for sharing your experience of the exam,
    without breaking the confidentiality agreement,
    and without doing a brain dump.

    There are no mistakes; only lessons and learning.

    I’m using the Lapuhkov Method,
    to prepare for my CCIE R&S.

    A lot of points you made,
    based on your real experience,
    confirm the specific strategic points,
    made by Petr,
    and serve to confirm his numbers,
    on performance measurement.

    If I’m not mistaken,
    he still holds the record,
    for the most CCIE’s exams passed,
    in the shortest time span.

    If his strategy worked for him,
    it’s good enough for me.

    Thank you.
    Francis Xavier Saucedo

    • November 22, 2012 at 13:45

      Hi Francis, Thanks. It is all about knowledge accuracy and speed 😉

  2. Nersas
    November 22, 2012 at 11:36

    Hi Laurent, I failed my first attempt just like you, but the day after you on 20th November in the same place. I wish we could make it the same day so that I could meet you.
    If I’d have to write about my failed, I would just copy & paste your story because IT IS JUST THE SAME AS ME. I was knocked out on TS with the 3 points tickets and I spent around 2 hours at the beginning of the config section…… just like you. That’s why I didn’t even have a chance to answer all the questions.
    I’ll take my time now before to decide the best way to approach to my strategy plan in order for shooting again.
    Good luck and we’ll keep in contact.

    • November 22, 2012 at 13:35

      Hi Nersas, I am sorry to hear that. Do you have google chat so we can keep in touch. Did you do some INE mock labs before your attempt?

  3. Morgan Chou
    November 29, 2012 at 00:57

    Hi Laurent,
    Thanks for sharing your CCIE lab experience with us, I will be attempting my first lab next week (knowing that I will fail). So I am preparing now more for my second attempt, I have used INE workbook for my study and using workbook Vol1 to learn all the lab topics. My question to you is; do you think I should try a different study materiasl to strengthen fundamental knowledge covered on CCIE blueprint ?


  4. November 29, 2012 at 20:13

    Hi Morgan,

    I will first say that you should try not to think that will fail. You should always think that you have a chance to pass if you are well prepared. I would recommend to use Vol1 and ATC videos to get a detailed knowledge of the blueprint topics. Then I will do Vol2 labs and go back to Vol1/ATC videos everytime you feel weak on a specific topic/area. When you feel comfortable with most topics, do some Vol3 to increase your speed and accuracy and do some Vol4 to test and improve your troubleshooting skills.

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