So by now you know that I passed my lab in Brussels yesterday. Here is my story.

I arrived at monday in Brussels around 13.30. I took a walk in the beautiful
weather to the lab location. By now I have no problems finding it but it’s
just kind of a routine. I spent the day doing some final reviews and then
visited the gym at NH hotel. It’s good to clear your head and to get sleep
in the evening if your body is tired. I did not sleep that great however.
I woke up at around 03.30 and then I went back to sleep and woke up at 5 AM
again. I got around 7h sleep so it wasn’t too bad anyway. It’s normal if
you don’t sleep that well. Don’t make too much of a deal of it.

I arrived just before 8 AM to the Cisco building and checked in at the reception
as usual. I was waiting for the proctor to come get us. The proctor goes through
the guidelines for the exam and you get assigned a rack number. It was now time
for the TS section.

I put my earplugs in and went to work. I think it is good to use earplugs for
zoning out from the environment around you. I always start by trying to solve tickets
that look easier. These are usually the ones that contain only a few devices.
The reasoning behind this is to build your confidence and to get the feeling
that time is not running out on you. For TS especially time management is
everything. As engineers we have a narrow mindset when troubleshooting and
we want to solve something before moving on. This can be your pitfall in the
TS. You MUST move on after spending 10 minutes on a ticket. Usually if you
think about something else for a while your mind starts thinking more
creatively and you can find a solution to what seemed impossible earlier.
For the TS it is very important to have a good understanding of the protocols.
You are expected to know what show output looks like so that you can gather
information from that. You need to user proper tools and don’t go hunting
with sh run. Sh run interface and sh run | section are useful though. I solved
all the tickets with about 50 min to go and then spent 15 minutes verifying
that they were still all working. Pay close attention to the restrictions
and don’t skip reading the guidelines in the beginning to save time!

It was now time for the configuration. I ate a banana to refuel some energy.
You are allowed to bring snacks to your desk if you like. I started looking
through the entire lab for dependencies and to see if any devices would need
to be reloaded. Always do this at the beginning! I started with the L2 section
and things were moving on smoothly. I used the L3 diagram to see what VLANs
I needed to configure where. You need to be comfortable with this, don’t expect
to have anything served, it’s all up to you! I did a lot more verification as
I moved along compared to my earlier attempts, don’t blindly trust your config!
I then moved on to the L3 section and that went well. I just finished the L3
section before lunch.

Previously I had only done the L2 before lunch so I knew
I was in a much better position this time. I kept doing all of the tasks
and didn’t run into any major issues. I finished with a lot of time to spare
and now comes the most important part, verification! You need some time at
the end to do extra verification, account for this! You WILL do some mistakes
just due to stress or mistyping. I went through every task and every single
bullet point and made 100% sure that I was meeting the requirement. This took
a while but it was worth it. I still had an hour to go after this so I asked
the proctor if it was possible to start the grading early but he told me that
the grading is not done by them. I decided to stay the full time and did
an extra round of verification. I actually found a small mistake in this round
of verification so my advice is to stick around even if you finish early to
make sure you have done everything that you possibly can.

It was time to head home and I had a good feeling but I did not want to think
too much about it because if you get too high then you come crashing down hard
if you fail. After I landed in Gothenburg I checked my phone and saw that I had
received an e-mail. I rushed through the air port to check my mail on the computer
and to login to the portal. To access the CCIE portal you need your CSCO number, written
date and passing score. I did not know this for my first attempt and you don’t want
to be stranded not being able to login to check your score 🙂

I had received the e-mail around 19.30 and I had a good feeling that I got the score
fast but I have heard both good and bad examples of receiving a fast score. I logged
in and I saw PASS. At first I thought it might be the written so I didn’t want to
take anything for granted but then I clicked it and there it was! My number!

You all know I’ve worked hard for a long time for this and I am grateful to everyone
that has helped me on the way. I am not abandoning the blog but it might not only
be CCIE focused from now. If you have things you want me to write about make a suggestion
and if it is interesting to me I might write about it. As I don’t have to focus on
studies only now I can explore more interesting technologies and write about them.
Thanks for following on this great journey!

CCIE #37149 – My passing lab experience
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34 thoughts on “CCIE #37149 – My passing lab experience

  • October 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Thanks man, i feel humbled and encouraged. Congrats!!!!!!!!!!

  • October 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    been following your progress for about a year, congrats!

  • October 24, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Awesome write up and congratulations! I’m still working on my CCNP (only ROUTE left) and will revisit this site to get some pointer for studying and exam day. Thanks!

  • October 25, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Congrats!! Nice writeup of the experience.

    • October 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      Thanks! Yeah, it sure does. I will probably do some studying in the future but not at this level for a while hopefully 🙂

  • October 25, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Congratulations. Soak it up and have a brew.

  • October 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Congrats!!! Hope to join the club soon

  • October 27, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Congrats! 😀 It must be an awesome feeling now.

    • October 27, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Yeah, sure is 🙂 How are your studies coming along?

      • October 28, 2012 at 12:37 am

        Good, it’s been quiet for months but I’ve been going at it again now. I’m starting to have hope to try CCIE Written before the end of the year.

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  • October 28, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Hello mr Daniel. Congratulation that you have pass the CCIELab exam. Can you share what material that you use for passing this CCIELab ?

    Thank you

    • October 28, 2012 at 8:37 am


      I’ve used most of the INE products. All the workbooks and I also attended the 10 day RS bootcamp in London this summer. Other than that I did my own scenarios and troubleshooting scenarios.

      I think one thing is important and that is to not stop reading when you are in your labbing phase. I still read a lot when labbing, blogs, DOCCD and most importantly RFCs. It is needed to confirm what you are labbing and to find some small nuances of the protocols.

  • October 30, 2012 at 12:51 am

    Congrats! It was a long journey, and I enjoyed to follow it.
    One thing, what if not coverd by the NDA, can you write some from the lab environment? Noise, monitor size, keyboard, etc. I think it’s important because of the speed. I’m fast with my big screen and comfort keyboard but what happen if I get a small 4:3 lcd with small space for the consoles.

  • November 2, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Nice work. I’ve been following your contribution on the IEOC. I think it was quite clear you were working extremely hard at this. Well done.

  • November 2, 2012 at 1:50 am

    Hello Daniel, fantastic effort. Quick question, how many mock labs did you end up doing before the PASS?

    • November 2, 2012 at 7:14 am


      Thanks man. I only did a couple of Cisco 360 mock labs. I should have done some INE as well but never got around to it. It’s a good tool but the value of the mock should not be exaggerated. The good thing is to get used to timing yourself. You can do that for all the Vol2 labs you do. You’ll never be able to simulate the lab feeling 100% though because it’s a much more stressful situation in the real lab.

  • November 2, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    What a great news! Big big big congratulations! Well deserved finish of the journey 🙂 BTW I hope you won’t leave this blog 🙂

    • November 2, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      Thanks Grzegorz!

      I won’t abandon the blog by any means! I’m planning to take CCDP so maybe I will do some design articles in the future. I’m always interested to hear what my readers want to see as well.

  • November 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Congrats Mate, you truly deserve your number! Sorry I haven’t been around – baby keeping me busy.

    • November 8, 2012 at 12:03 am

      Glad to hear from you David 🙂

      Means a lot to hear that from you. Yeah, we are the CCIE dads now. It’s all good. We should form a club, lol =)

  • November 8, 2012 at 1:30 am

    Congratulations Man.. I agree about CCDP posting… currently i would like because I am starting to check my first pages!!

    • November 8, 2012 at 8:00 am

      Thanks 🙂

      So you are doing CCDP as well? You could add me at Gtalk if you want to discuss CCDP topics.

  • December 29, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Great job man !!!! Your words are the light at the end of the tunnel … my trip continues.
    Christian Biasibetti

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  • May 23, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Many thanks for sharing Daniel! Great!

  • June 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    This blog is the best blog for CCIE aspirants. Congratulations :


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