Home > CCIE Lab exam > My CCIE Lab Training Strategy

My CCIE Lab Training Strategy


So time has come for me to share with you, how I did to plan my CCIE Lab training and which tools I have used for that.

 First of all, let´s look at some numbers regarding my CCIE Lab training:

  •  1509,5 hours of training (including blogging but not the 10 days bootcamp from INE)
  • 14 months training
  • 2 weeks break
  • 55 weeks of training (not including the 10 days bootcamp from INE)
  • 26 as average hours training per week
  • 49,5 as max hours training per week
  • 50 Saturdays used for training with an average hours of 5,7
  • 50 Sundays used for training with an average hours of 5,6 hours
  • 150-200 hours used for blogging
  • 3 attempts

 Before I started with my Lab training I did a 48 weeks training plan based on the one made by INE which can be found HERE.

For the 48 weeks training program, I have used MS Project to plan everything based on my start date (09/01/2012) and I have also changed a couple of things compare to the original training plan made by INE, where for example during the warm-up phase I took Multicast last instead of MPLS but it is up to you and how you feel with the different technologies. Otherwise the rest is very similar to the original INE training plan. The MS Project training plan is based on 20 hours of studying per week and has 2 weeks break. Also the CCIE INE 10 days bootcamp is included in the training plan. The training starts on Tuesday and end on Sunday. I attach the MS Project file HERE so you can use it to fit your own training plan.

Once I had everything in MS project, I did copy all in an Excel file so I could easily track my training and write what I did each day as well as how many hours I used every day. In this Excel file, I have also included ATC videos, workbooks Vol1, Vol2, Vol3, Vol4, Mock Labs, Blog topics, books and the blueprint so I could track my training all the way through. For example for ATC videos, all the ones I have seen are highlighted with blue. For the workbook Vol2 (Both TS and configuration), I have included which lab I have done and which ticket/task I have struggled with, also the total score for each lab is written as well as how much time it took me to complete each TS Vol2 labs. Regarding the blueprint, I have highlighted which topics, along my training, I was comfortable with and which ones I needed to review. Regarding the blogging section I wrote about which topics I have blogged about along my journey.

If you want, you can have a look at my final Excel training plan HERE but I will try to make it available for you guys as an empty Excel template file, so you can use it and adapt it to your training.

 You will see that originally, I had planned to study from Tuesday to Sunday but then I have also used Monday 🙂 It is a really tight and long program also because I needed three attempts to pass so I have accommodated the original training plan to fit with 3 attempts.

I think that it is really important to make a training plan as it helps you to keep the rhythm and you always know where you are and where you are going.

Thanks for reading.


CCIE R&S V4.0 INE Training Plan

CCIE R&S V4.0 MS Project Training Plan

CCIE R&S V4.0 Excel Training Plan

  1. May 30, 2013 at 15:48

    awsome post .. great job

  2. June 2, 2013 at 06:59

    Wow! First Congrats on passing the exam. Secondly, I am in awe of how you organized you studies down to the details and logging all of it on excel and msproject.

    • June 2, 2013 at 15:03

      Thanks a lot for your comment. I hope it can help others;-)

    • Maechi
      June 8, 2014 at 02:28

      I could not have said it any better than Aragoen. Laurent, thank you for sharing your experience with us and the work you have put in to help those like me who are following behind you.

  3. Any
    June 2, 2013 at 22:13

    Hello Laurent,

    Thank you for such detailed description! If it possible, could you please share your TS part approach strategy? I`m taking my 1st attempt, at 1st week of August and I`m trying to organize my minds and make summary for approach steps. Thank you so much!

  4. June 3, 2013 at 09:31

    Hello Any,

    Regarding the TS approach strategy, you should make sure that you are able to finish an INE TS lab (Vol2 TS labs) between 60-80 min so you get spare time to check everything. What helped me a lot also is to try to configure from scratch INE’s CCIE R&S Troubleshooting Topology 1 Lab in less than 4 hours. Finally I would strongly recommend that you do the TS graded labs from INE (there are 3).


  5. Any
    June 3, 2013 at 12:58

    Hello Laurent,

    Thank you so much for your answer! But for clarification, you mean to practice with WB4 TS labs? As i know, WB2 TS labs are related only to initial configuration issues. For speed typing I`m using WB3 labs, i`m able to finish them approximately in 2-2.5 hours. Now, I`m retaking WB4 labs and planning to take 3 “Big TS” as you wrote. They are already scheduled.



    • June 3, 2013 at 18:03

      WB4 TS labs are also good but WB2 has also 10 TS labs apart from the 20 configuration labs.


  6. Tommy Ming
    June 7, 2013 at 02:47

    Hi Laurent,

    What was your skill level with Cisco R&S before you started the Excel Training Plan? I am trying to gauge my skills on when to start the training plan. Were you CCNP before and for how long?

    I own all 4 WBs from INE for R&S track. Do you start the section and work all the through? I found myself jumping around to different sections and I believe my solutions suffered from not completing in order from start to finish. Any advice?

    Congrats on your CCIE! I am happy for you!

    • June 7, 2013 at 08:53

      Hi Tommy,

      I was CCNP (around 2 years) before I started with my CCIE lab training.

      As for the training strategy, the one I used is the one from INE which starts with ATC and Vol1 and then Vol2, back and forth to Vol1/ATC with Vol3/Vol4/Mock Labs in between.
      You need a solid understanding of the different technologies before to start Vol2/Vol3/Vol4 which is why I will advice to follow INE training Plan. Have a look at my MS project file/Excel file if you haven´t already done. Good luck with your training.


  7. Belal
    June 19, 2013 at 11:04

    Hi Laurent

    At first congratulation for the CCIE and I really appreciate for your blog.
    Thought ,you are the right person to get help.I am CCNP last 2 years.
    Am also planing for the CCIE LAB.

    Before your LAB practice which books you studied to make clear of every technology?
    Does this book helpful ?
    “CCIE Routing & Switching Exam Certification Guide(4th Edition)”

    What else other books/site?

    Thanks in advance


  8. Mic
    June 24, 2013 at 18:55

    Great post and congrats!

    Did you view every ATC video or did you only view ATCs on an as needed basis?

    • Mic
      June 25, 2013 at 04:57

      Disregard, I have taken a closer look at the schedule. Thanks!!

  9. Ren
    July 26, 2013 at 18:36

    Hi Laurent, I wanted to check out your excel study schedule, but it is not accessible. Just wondering, is it still available?

    • August 25, 2013 at 12:50

      Hi, it looks like that it is available. Try again, otherwise let me know:-)


      • Santhosh
        October 1, 2013 at 10:17

        unable to download MS Project and Excel Files-

        You dont have access to this file. pls fix this

      • October 7, 2013 at 15:03

        I have tested it and it is fine for me.

  10. August 27, 2013 at 05:07


    Excellent information, I began study for my CCIE but I have a big issue, is I forget stuff from the begining as I advanced, for example I’m working with EIGRP but the Ip routing labs is hard to remenber, when I have to repeat all the labs for have solid knowledge since I don’t used all the thing I learn on my dealy basics.

    Othe question, how good are the Doc CD from cisco for solid understanding of each technologie, because I have the doubt for used it or not, I have a friend he told me not to used it until I finish all the labs, but other friend, told me use it with the ATC videos, personally I found it preaty good and solid information.

    Thanks for your help.

  11. yencych
    August 27, 2013 at 15:29


    Excellent post, this information is really interesting, for all of us trying to achieve the CCIE goal. I have doubt, I working with INE Workbook 1 and watching the ATC videos, my situation is I’m loosing information for example at this moment Im working with EIGRP but I have to review all the notes I taken for Ip Routing labs, since I don’t work all the major topics on my daly basics, my question is do I need to repeat all the labs until I master on it.

    And the Other doubt is the Documentation and books, Im using Routing TCP/IP vol 1, but as you know this book is really good but at the same time hard, I wonder how good is to used the Documentation CD form Cisco for gain solid knowledge on each topics.


  12. alvin
    December 7, 2013 at 20:00

    Hi laurent,

    training strategy file is already delete can you provide other link or can send to my email

    thanks a lot


  13. zouhair souam
    December 11, 2013 at 18:22

    pleaz do you have, the plan of the last ccie rs v5.

  14. Thamiso
    November 7, 2014 at 14:17

    Thanks a lot for the training plan it is quite good, I am currently studying CCNP, and I am planning on using this as a way of preparing for my CCIE journey.

  15. Avedis
    December 17, 2015 at 22:17


    Thank you for this post it’s very detailed.

    Can you share please the files for your training please?


  16. Fred
    February 11, 2016 at 08:57

    Hello Laurent,

    I found out about this site a few days ago but links are dead when I tried to download the training plans. Would you be kind enough to send me those via email or reupload and updates the links here for the sake of new comers. Thanks!

  1. August 11, 2013 at 04:25

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