Xin chào các bạn,
Scott Morris là một trong số ít những người trên thế giới có 4 chứng chỉ CCIEs (R&S,Security, ISP Dial, Voice).
Scott có viết một bài viết rất đặc biệt trên tạp chí Packet số quý 1 đầu năm 2003. Tuy đã cũ nhưng những lời khuyên trong bài viết này vẫn giữ nguyên giá trị đối với những ai đang chuẩn bị cho kỳ thi CCIE lab.
Admin xin gửi kèm bài viết dạng *.pdf. Các bạn nào gặp khó khăn trong việc đọc hiểu tài liệu tiếng Anh này, đừng ngần ngại hỏi admin.
Chúc các bạn hạnh phúc và thành đạt,
Conquering the CCIE Lab
A Veteran's Advice on Preparing for the Rigors of the CCIE
By Scott Morris
The CCIE® Certification from Cisco is one of the most respected certifications in the networking industry. At the time this article was written, there were an estimated 9600 CCIEs (only about 8700 active CCIEs) from countries across the globe.
Every day many more people are working diligently to achieve this certification and take the test in some of the nine CCIE labs around the world. And everyone who works toward this goal likely asks the same question: How do I conquer the CCIE lab?
First and foremost, the answer is study, study, study. Second, nothing replaces hands-on experience with Cisco equipment. Anyone can study networking theory and recite how the Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) Protocol works, but not everyone can put the theory into practice. Worse, if something goes wrong, even fewer people can debug their way through a problem.
Currently, there are three CCIE program tracks: Routing and Switching, Communications and Services, and Security, of which the most popular and common track is Routing and Switching. The one-day, eight-hour exam tests a wide variety of topics. Take a look at those topics.
Where Do I Start?
You should start preparing for the CCIE lab well before you schedule your lab exam and continue up until you save your last-minute configurations. You do remember to save your configurations, don't you?
The CCIE lab requires mastery of the Cisco IOS® Software that comes only from extensive access to routers and switches, so owning a home lab gives you the best access. With a home lab you can maximize your study time and work at your own pace. Renting rack time, particularly for more expensive technologies such as ATM and voice, is an economical method of studying.
What Do I Study?
The short answer is everything. Good study habits are essential. Repeat procedures as often as possible, altering scenarios as you go.
When going through various books or the documentation CD, take copious notes. After completing a book or technology section, transpose your notes into a computer document. The seemingly repetitive task of editing and interpreting your handwritten notes keeps details fresh in your mind.
After you have compiled configuration guides for almost all technologies, start working on action scenarios. Whether you devise your own scenarios, mimic real-life networks, or purchase lab scenarios, you can use your study notes. When you transition from the book notes to the scenario configurations, use your notes and further edit them. Keep editing this document as you delve into new books or areas of Cisco.com.
Attend a CCIE lab prep course and purchase CCIE lab scenarios. While these cost money, they can be invaluable to introduce other perspectives on the pertinent technologies. When you attend a prep course, you typically get additional scenarios, books, and notes. Best of all, you work with your peers and have access to an instructor.
Take the lab prep course only after you are familiar with basic and advanced technologies. A lab prep gives you a chance to hone your new skills. You will get the most value out of the course if you use it to "fill in the blanks." Network Learning offers a five-day, intensive bootcamp (www.ccbootcamp.com) that covers many issues and lab scenarios that expose students to problem areas in the CCIE lab. The lab prep course is a 12+ hour-a-day experience, including a full-day lab simulation.
When choosing a prep course, there are several important considerations: the technologies available (ATM, voice, Cisco Catalyst® 3550, for example), the instructor's experience level, and equipment availability. With the CCBootCamp Lab Prep course, every student has their own pod of equipment for the week-long class, plus remote Telnet access to the equipment for nine days following the class. All pods have ATM, voice, and Cisco Catalyst 3550 switches. In the CCIE Security Lab Prep course, Cisco PIX® firewalls are available on every pod as well.
After many hours of studying, transposing, editing, and configuring various scenarios, you may be ready to attempt the CCIE lab. However, tackling the exam also requires mental preparation. Some people perform better at tests than others, and the psychological aspects of the exam are not to be taken lightly.
Tackling the Exam
The CCIE lab exam occupies a grueling eight hours, and depending on where you take the exam, you may start as early as 7:30 a.m. You come in to the exam with other candidates like yourself -- typically quiet, sullen, and trying to remember everything that was in the document that they so carefully edited and added to over the months.
To help you manage stress and use time efficiently, try keeping a running tally of how many points you should have earned at various places within the test. Then if you are running out of time, you can add up how many points you should have and determine how best to earn the remaining points you need. Use this strategy when you encounter problems on an isolated portion of the lab, such as the data-link switching (DLSw) section. If you aren't good at DLSw and you can complete other topics without difficulty, work on those topics. Determine where points are best earned.
What About the Things I Don't Know?
Issues always come up that you may not have anticipated. When I took the lab for the first time in 1999, I was convinced that I was going to pass. My study techniques were great, my own lab scenarios were thorough, and I had practiced just about everything I could imagine, so I thought I was unstoppable.
Needless to say, I ran across something I hadn't thought of. It messed up my entire exam strategy and derailed my confidence, which caused me to fail. Upon returning to work battered and irritated, one of my friends greeted me. "Welcome to the human race," he said. Nobody can know everything there is to know.
If you do not pass the test the first time, try working with just the documentation CD. Get to know the layout of the files, the structure of the technology pages, and where each topic is within the configuration guides. Learn how to navigate without using the search engine. Being a CCIE is not just about what you already know -- it's also about your ability to work through the unknown, adapt, and overcome unplanned obstacles.
A Final Word
You can conquer the CCIE lab with motivation, dedication, persistence, and focus.
With good study habits, thorough technology review, and an astute test-taking approach, you can successfully survive the CCIE lab and look forward to the e-mail that comes within a day or two and says, "Congratulations on passing the CCIE lab. Your CCIE number is: ____."
As you are recovering from taking the CCIE lab and becoming reacquainted with your family and friends, keep in mind that the learning is never over. The more you know, the more you realize you don't know.
Best of luck to everyone!
Checklist for Success
When you get your lab guide, avoid the impulse to jump in and start configuring the routers. You are not in a race with anyone but yourself. Read through the exam more than once.
Because you have been studying and diligently updating your study notes document with fresh ideas, you should be able to spot issues and potential pitfalls in the lab exam. Use colored pens to diagram the network, connections, network addresses, routing protocols, and anything else of note.
Make a checklist of the various exam sections and how many points they are worth. Check off sections as you fully (and correctly) complete them. There is no partial credit within a particular exam section, so if you miss the instruction to name your switch "Bob" instead of "Switch," you have lost points. The small things can kill you.
As you configure the lab, assume that, at some point, something won't work right, or something new will come up that you don't remember. Whatever the issue, work logically and try to "think" like a router does. Although Cisco IOS Software is very powerful, routers themselves are not very bright. Often just "putting yourself in the router's shoes" will give you the necessary perspective to fix a problem.
Do not spend unnecessary time trying to fix something. If you spend more than 20 to 30 minutes on a problem, it is time to move on. Sometimes changing focus lets you see problems in a much clearer light. Stand up and stretch or get a drink; the only prohibition is making calls to the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) from the CCIE lab.
Scott Morris, CCIE® No. 4713, Certified Cisco Systems Instructor (CCSI), has been involved in internetworking and integration for more than 15 years. He is currently a triple CCIE in Routing & Switching, ISP/Dial, and Security. As an instructor with Network Learning, Inc., Morris works with a variety of technologies including IP telephony, security, and cable modems. He also teaches the CCIE Routing & Switching Lab preparatory course for CCBootCamp and has authored labs for the course. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.