I have got to the Donnie Darko stage

Depending on how you look at it, this time next month I will have sat the CCIE lab exam. I say depending on how you look at, because today is the 11th and its a thursday, but the exam is on Friday the tenth – but its also 28 days away, which is four weeks, which is a month.

So, now I am at the Donnie Darko stage, 28 days, 6 hours and the clock is ticking…

It’s getting easier, things are definitely falling into place. Still trying to find the time to lab as much as possible, not doing too much reading, apart from where I get stuck on things, but definitely labbing as much as possible.

Speed wise I am getting much better, the brain is getting up to the required speed quicker, and I am figuring out how to make the most of notepad – this is a pretty essential part. Cutting, editing, pasting from router to router is definitely much quicker than doing it all by hand – this is a simple concept, and I am sure you don’t need reminding – however – and this is where the whole “refer back to the topology” mantra comes in handy – it’s pretty annoying when you balls it up and BGP starts screaming that the 8 or so neighbor statements you have just pasted in are all for the wrong AS.

So will the world end for me if I fail? No, not really. I’ll be a bit miffed, but I can re-sit it. If I pass, then great! It’ll be beers all round at the weekend.

So which way do I think it’ll go? Not sure really. I still have 27 days to get the process honed, and it is getting revised with everything that I do, adding to the speed and accuracy of how I tackle a TS or config. It is also aiding on the time management side of things.

I think the time management aspect will be the hardest part, I am trying to keep to 2 hours for a TS, 5 hours for a config when practicing, how this will turn out in the exam is anyone’s guess. It is so easy to get stuck into a problem that all time just goes out of the window, and before you know it 40 minutes have passed and you have still got 9 questions to do (which would equate to about just under 9 minutes for each of the remaining questions).

I have the four days before the exam booked off, so it will be (relatively) interruption free, allowing for some good practice time before I sit the lab. Before that I have three weeks to do what I can, and this is still whilst working and being a parent and a father also take priority.

Regardless of the pass-or-fail aspect of the lab this is actually beneficial, and its really made me learn the technologies. It’s already (I think) made me a better engineer, and getting the numberswill be a nice bonus.

To end on a Donnie Darko note, as Frank the bunny rabbit says “I can do anything I want. And so can you”.