Well last week I went over to Brussels to take my first lab attempt.
As most of you already unfortunately know I was unsuccessful and I failed the lab.
For my first attempt I decided that I was going to take my time and extend the stay past the usual ‘splash and dash’ stay.
I flew out on Tuesday evening and then checked in at the NH Hotel, I spent Wednesday mainly in my room going over a few RFC’s, checking some things on the DocCD and relaxing watching some TV/Movies.
For anyone looking for a hotel to stay at whilst taking the lab I would highly recommend the NH Hotel, whilst it may not be the cheapest hotel is is most definitely the closest of the hotels to the Cisco offices. For anyone that is looking at booking then try the code ‘WEEKEND’ and you will get a discount (if you are staying over the weekend).
On the Wednesday I checked to see how easy it really was to get over to the Cisco offices and where I needed to go, I checked with the receptionist that I was indeed in the right place and then I went on my way.
I arrived nice and early (around 7:45) and the janitor let me in as it was pretty cold outside, guess I had the look of a scared candidate and deserved a comfy sofa and a warm drink 😛
At just after 8am our proctor Istvan greeted us and took us up to the fourth floor and took us up to our lab.
I have to say that a lot of my nerves before heading into the lab were regarding the complete unknowing regarding what I was going to see in the lab, without breaking NDA I would say that the lab isn’t as scary as I thought and it will definitely make it easier and less stressful the next time.
I stuck to a plan that was put forward on the INE bootcamp by Brian Dennis to not spend more than 10 minutes on a particular ticket before moving on and coming back if possible at the end, this strategy played out very well and I only had to come back to one ticket, leaving me with enough time to check over all tickets and giving me an extra 20 minutes to spend in the configuration section.
I was aiming to stick to a similar type of strategy in the config section however this didn’t really play out, I got stuck on something and spent more than I should have trying to get something to work when what I should have done is skipped over it and come back to it only once everything else was working 100% according to the specifications.
In the end I would say that both my strategy and the fact that I ran out of time was the contributing factors to my failure however I would also say that the first time nerves had something to do with it all and probably slowed me down at first.
I wanted to ‘get back on the horse’ as soon as possible so to speak and go for my second attempt as soon as possible but unfortunately it looks like there are no seats left for the whole of December and so it looks like the first week in January I will be visiting again and hopefully this time I will come home with my digits.
In the meantime I am going to concentrate my studies on more of the periphery subjects to try and make these a little more polished, this along with more INE TS Graded labs (awesome product by the way guys) and possibly some of the graded mock labs from them as well.
Hopefully the above will help someone else that is looking to take the lab soon, if not then oh well 🙂