Equipment used -
Dynamips to emulate R1-R6 and BB1-BB3 (emulated 2691 with WIC-2T)
Material used -
INE dynamips labs
INE V4.1 workbooks 1-3
INE V5.0 wokbooks 1-2
CiscoPress quick reference guide
CiscoPress official written certification guide 3rd ed
INE Mock labs 2-7
Time involved -
Jan 20 - Jun 18 (6-14 hours per day)
I started January 20th by watch the INE COD and finished those up in about 1 week. Then I switched to watching CBT nuggets. Once I finished the CBT nuggets I did the nuggets practice lab. About the beginning of February I started the INE dynamips practice labs, and finished those in about 2 weeks.
After finishing the dynamips labs I stated INE V4.1 workbook one. I finished those in about a week.
I spent the next 3 weeks doing the INE V4.1 workbook 2 practice labs. Once I finished those I did the V5.0 workbook 1 technology labs. I spent about 4 days doing those then did all of the V5.0 workbook 2 practice labs over the next 5 days.
I then watched the IPExpert COD and went back to the INE V4.1 workbook two labs. I spent the entire time trying different methods to complete the same tasks. This really helped with finding many of the Cisco one liners and doing complex redistribution.
I then went over V5.0 workbook 1 another time.
Then I completed INE mock labs 2 and 3. The results weren't as expected but I knew exactly where my mistakes were.
After finishing workbook 1 I went back to V4.1 workbook 2 and completed labs 1-14. My goal again was to find different methods for completing the same tasks. I packed up my lab on June 18th to send home. I didn't do anymore reading. I figured that if I know it I know it. My goal during my last month of preparation was to be able to do any tasks without having to use the cisco documentation.
Between June 27-30th I completed INE mock labs 4, 5, 6, 7. I scored over the recommended 60 percent on 2 of them. Scored in the 50s on 1 and actually passed one. Again, I spent no time reading. Between July 1 and 8 absolutely no studying went on.
I woke up at 5:30 ate some breakfast. Yogurt, banana, eggs, and one sausage. Followed with some OJ and a black coffee. I took the shuttle to the Cisco building at about 6:45 and waited outside for about 15-20 minutes. The cisco building is literally 5 minutes away from the comfort suites. I also brought a box of "commits" cherry nicotine lozenges (I am a smoker). Those really helped. I guess I can finish the box and try to quit now.
I finished the OEQ in about 2-4 minutes. Those things really are CCNA level. If you read the books and practice the tech then you shouldn't have a problem with them. I was worried about one of the questions because I thought about it later and thought that I should have added a little info to help clarify.
We started the lab at 7:35. By lunch time I only had one task left. I didn't eat, I just drank some water. After lunch I verified connectivity with a TCL script and finished the last task. After that I re-did the whole lab from start to finish, with verification using the cisco documentation... I did find some mistakes and some areas where I could shorten my configurations; I also used the Doc Site to verify everything. I finished at about 2:00PM. The DocSite probably put me over the top with needed points. There was only one task that I read and felt like a moron for not knowing what to do. It was a minor task so I saved that one until after lunch.
After I finished I felt like I failed. I called my wife to come pick me up and waited by the road until she came. We took the kids to see Ice Age 3 and then went to eat at Chilis. I was worried the whole time and started planning in case I failed. I was going to do the 360 program from start to finish. At about midnight there still wasn't any word in my email. I fell asleep and woke up at 6AM. When I checked my email I saw that my report was available. After logging in I was happy to see my new number and some congradulatory info from Cisco.
Sometime during the first week of April I started studying for the written again. I spent 1 week and only used the Cisco Press official study guide and DocDVD. I scored a pretty high.
- Final thoughts
The lab is much easier than the INE practice labs with a difficulty of 7-10. This is only if you can complete the labs without having to research anything. The only caveat here is that I have been working with Cisco for the last 14 years. I have studied and passed multiple tests and have gotten certs on my way. In 2004 I started studying for the CCIE reading all of the recommended books and doing practice labs. One of my coworkers failed so I put it off. In 2006 I started studying again this time using IPexpert and NMC DoIt labs. Again a coworker failed so I put it off once again. This time I figured that I would actually start and finish in 2009.
I am well versed in Cisco tech since I have a long history of working with the equipment. I don't know if only having a couple months or even a couple years of experience and using my study plan will help anyone but me.