I found a link to an interesting video with Kevin Wallace 2x CCIE. He did an interview with a CCIE proctor anonymously and some of the answers really surprised me.
- The proctor chooses the lab you get
- 80% of all candidates fail on any given day on average
- Sometimes the proctors “grow a heart” and relax on the grading
So what surprised me the most is that the proctor chooses the lab, I thought this was a randomized process. Generally you should get a different lab than your previous attempt but there are no guarantees. So if you go back several times you should get a new lab every time until you exhaust the pool of labs.
It was also a bit surprising that some of the proctors could relax a bit on grading if you have been there multiple times (hoping for that ;)). They will definately don’t help you pass if you don’t deserve it but if you were very close on something you might get credit for it which you wouldn’t on your first attempt.
So I’m hoping for some proctor love the next time What is good to know is that a script does most of the grading and it is results based. So when doing configuration in the lab think how could a script verify this. This could actually help in choosing the most appropiate solution for a task.
So by now I have been to the lab twice and I have a lot of experience. Unfortunately I didn’t pass yet even though I felt I had enough technology to be able to pass. This will learn you some things.
- CCIE is not only about technology. It is also about strategy and even a bit of luck.
- You have to master the TS. Without it the config means nothing.
- Try using the proctor but don’t count on him knowing anything or giving you any information.
- Verification is everything!
So I haven’t studied very much since I got back home but I’m going to resume soon. For the next time I’m going to try to live a more normal life and I have resumed training at the gym something I could not find time for before. I am going to do a few sessions per week which will be high quality studying and I will be mostly focusing on Vol3 labs and TS.
I feel I have a good grasp of the TS but you can never take anything for granted. From my last attempt I felt I knew pretty much all topics but I still couldn’t pass and that is partly due to speed. Blasting away at Vol3 should take care of that. The second thing I need to to work at is verification. I know how to configure most features and I know how it should be configured so lets say I put in all the right commands, everything is fine? Wrong, unless you verify it you are not sure it is behaving as expected. I could have gained a lot of more points if I verified more, this will be crucial for my next attempt.
So for now I’m going to take care of the family as we are expecting another family member soon. After that I’m going to start studying again and if everything goes well I’ll do another attempt in the fall or winter. There is no need to rush anything now.
I know I have a good base to stand on so now I only need to improve in some areas and I should be able to give this thing a match.
I’m back for Brussels but unfortunately I didn’t pass this time either. I got a little bit closer as I passed the TS section this time. I was able to breeze through that.
I can’t seem to catch a break with the config section. I had an advanced lab but I knew most of the topics. Unfortunately I spent much time on the L2 section which was very advanced. When I had done all tasks I only had 1h left for verification and that was not enough.
Even though I answered almost every task it was not enough. My pitfall was lack of time and that I did not verify enough. I have accounted for 9p afterwards were I had everything correct except for some tiny detail, guess what, that means 0p in the CCIE lab. Even mistyping one single character can mean the grading script will fail. You have to have 100% attention for all the details in the lab.
Unfortunately I did not have a good proctor either. I felt he didn’t know the content of the exam well enough and was unable to answer my queries even when I showed the technical knowledge that I was not fishing for answers.
I have a lot going on right now as we are expecting a baby within weeks. I will try to go back in the fall if I find the time for studying.