As you may already know, I passed the CCIE R&S lab on the 12 of March 2013. I wanted to write about my story just after I passed the exam but I really needed a break so here is the story of my third attempt; the last and the successful one.
I arrived in Brussels one day before my exam, on the 11th of Mach, it was a Monday. I needed to take 2 planes to get there, one from Denmark to Frankfurt and then one from Frankfurt to Brussels. I didn’t have any delay on the first flight but things got worse in Frankfurt because it started snowing a lot. My second flight was 2 hours late and I arrived quite late in Brussels, around 20:00. I was staying at the same Hotel (NH hotel, besides Cisco). When I got in my room, I was feeling alright until I got to bed. On my second attempt, I was really nervous during the night and I only managed to sleep around 1 hour. This time it was better but it was really hard to fall asleep; however I slept better than on my second attempt. I woke up at 07:00 and went for breakfast. I tried to eat not too much but just enough to get the sufficient energy for the exam. I was quite nervous but for sure less than on my second attempt. At 07:45, I walked to the Cisco building and there was so much snow outside. It has been snowing all the night. I heard that all flights in Frankfurt were cancelled this day so I was lucky to take the exam that day and not on Wednesday. When I arrived at the Cisco building, the proctor came to pick us up. We were less people than the last time. I asked the proctor if I could keep my watch as I like to use the Stopwatch fonction to time myself, even if the only time that does matter in the one chosen by the proctor. The proctor had a look at my watch and said that it was alright. Then the fun began with the TS section. The topology appeared on the screen and I started straight away to have a look at it, trying to understand it as quick as possible, looking at the different routing domains, IPs, etc. Then I started to read all the tickets and visualize the part of the topology related to each ticket. Then I started with the first ticket. For each ticket I asked myself what was the problem and what could be the different reasons causing this problem. This time I changed my strategy and decided not to leave all the 3 points tickets for the end but instead leaving only one 3 points ticket for the end and I think that it was the right strategy as I had sufficient time to spend troubleshooting the last 3 points ticket. When I was finished with the tickets (expect the 3 points one), I decided to verify all the tickets and ask myself on every tickets: “Did I break any rules in the TS guidelines?”, “Did I picked up the best solution to solve the issue?” Once I had verified all these tickets, I started to troubleshoot, the last one, the 3 points ticket. I couldn´t solved it 100%, I wasn´t able to get the topology stable so I thought, “ok, if I miss 3 points, then I can still pass the TS, even if I miss another 2 points ticket”. I was feeling quite confident on the TS this time but you can never be sure at 100 %. By the way, I was finished with all the tickets (expect the last 3 points) within 1 hour 15 minutes, and I would advise when training for the TS to aim finishing around this time (1 hour 10-20 minutes) so you get time to verify everything correctly and also spare time if something goes wrong. Then the countdown timer ended and the configuration section started.