Cisco Certified Father

I write this to let off some steam, I write this to take a break and motivate myself.

Recently, as in 7 days ago I became a Father for the first time. It has brightened my life and my direction more than I could ever imagine. In the last 3 months of the pregnancy I have been studying to sit the CCIE Routing & Switching Written Exam. I need to re-certify my current Cisco certs and wanted to attempt this exam after failing it a few years back.

I enjoy sitting new exams so I can learn new topics and new skills. My ultimate goal is to sit the CCIE Lab to become CCIE certified. I will attempt this maybe in the next year or so I think.

I have until July to pass this exam, so I have time up my sleeve, although I am on four weeks leave and trying to study while looking after the new born. It is proving to be difficult, so I wanted to explain my past and now present study tactics I use.

During the last 3 months, I watched a CBT nuggets every morning on the train to work. On the way home I would read a CCIE Exam Cert guide. I used to watch videos for one week, books for one week and then labs for on week but this isn’t working this time.

I am pretty tired and was planning 2 hours a day during the week for study, currently I’m getting about 1 at the moment. Its not going to cut it and the exam is at the end of the month.

My new plan, I am doing the Boson Ex Sim CCIE written practice exams. These exams are really tough and I can’t seem to break through the 70% mark yet. If i do fail, Boson will pay for the resit, as they guarantee a pass. At this stage its looking likely they will fund a resit. I find myself wondering, do I know enough and these exams are too hard or I am way off?

I decided to go back to my old T-SHOOT simulator through Boson, to check my knowledge. I did the first four simulators and got them right. I have never had an issue troubleshooting complex networks.

So here I am, 3 weeks away from the exam and I am going to have to change things up.

To motivate myself, I will put my new plan and some advice I have heard once before here. It may help other people when sitting exams and also re-motivate me.

  1. Always read every possible answer before just diving into what you know is right
  2. Remove the answer you know for sure are incorrect, leaving better odds on a guess
  3. When clicking start on the computer at the exam, write down everything you can from memory. Especially subnet masks and wildcard masks. Also binary and hex tables so you don’t waste time on them.
  4. Take your time and don’t panic. Try and use real world examples when you were troubleshooting a protocol in the work place to help your logic.
  5. Never give up, learn your weaknesses and address them.

My current study plan is now –

  1. Small study till the end of this weekend (practice questions, chapters here and there)
  2. Starting Monday, One Video, One Lab and One full practice exam. After the practice exam, right down the troubling topics and use them the next day.
  3. For Monday I will be studying NBAR, IPv6 NAT and SDN.
  4. Never give up, learn your weaknesses and address them.

Hopefully Freddie (my son) can get some sleep and so can I to prepare for next weeks study. I am really one week behind and it was crazy to think I can study while looking after a newborn! But I am dedicated and I really want my CCIE. I want to really push myself to become one of the top engineers so I can one day either work for Cisco or become a Cisco teacher.