It is with great pleasure, pride and excitement that I am typing this, despite the painful agony of waiting a whole weekend for the result.
(My advice, NEVER do your lab on a Friday)
On Friday the 17th April, I passed the R&S Lab Exam on my 1st attempt with the Cisco Mobile-Lab in Bryanston SA.
It was an experience unlike anything I have had before, the build-up, the exam, the agony of waiting, then the result and now the afterglow.
My biggest fear was the possibility of becoming a statistic that most candidates only pass on the 2nd /3rd attempt.
But despite the natural fear and anxiety, Friday belonged to me, it was my day to earn my number:
Now that I have taken the LAB, I can really share my comments and views regarding the structure/experience.
Firstly the open ended questions which are a big concern for many, (were for me too). It is NOT that bad, although I personally think the amount of questions should be increased to give a candidate a better, or fairer shot, at answering “the not so short” questions. The questions are nothing like the open-ended simulation questions I have seen from INE (Internetwork Expert) and IPX (IP Expert). They ask you to explain concepts, and what you understand about a certain part of a technology, NOT 1 word answers. But all and all, if you know your theory, you should find it easy.
Secondly, the actual lab was not as difficult as I expected. The one problem I did have with the exam was the cryptic questions. That is the real hard part, trying to guess or assume what they attempting to insinuate. Honestly, that is not what the lab should be about. IMHO, rather make the lab harder, but be straight up with what is required, rather than asking questions with hidden symbols in circles without actually asking anything. I am an engineer, and feel the primary aim should be to test an engineer’s technical ability at configuring any task and not the interpretation of silly questions, but hey, that just my 2 cents, used to be 5 cents, but with current economic situations, go figure. :)
Regarding the mobile-lab itself, the facilities were first-class, working on laptops with a Logitech keyboard and mouse, along with a 17″ screen. The terminal response times were really not bad at all, not enough to cause any irritation. The food, compared to what I have heard from the fixed labs, was really good, no complaints there. I never had Brian Dennis’ urge to stock up with soda drinks before leaving to get my moneys worth :) Lastly the proctor was from Bangla More, India, he was a friendly chap, and really helpful where he could be. Obviously doing the lab so close to home was a HUGE advantage.
The material I used was as follows:
– INE Class-on-Demand
– INE Vol 1 Technology Labs Workbook (v5.1 Highly recommended)
– INE Vol 2 Full Lab Workbooks
– INE Mock Labs 2,3,5
– INE Poly-Labs
– IPX Vol 2 Full-lab Workbooks
– IPX Vol 3 Mock-lab Workbooks
– IPX Audio Bootcamp from Scott Morris (Highly recommended!!!!!)
– Cisco ASET Labs 1-5
I did use, and found great value in using material from multiple vendors, to ensure I did not get accustomed to one way of thinking.
The books I used apart from those is listed above:
– Routing TCP/IP, Volume I, by Jeff Doyle
– Routing TCP/IP, Volume II, by Jeff Doyle
– CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide, by Wendel Odom
– Internet Routing Architectures, by Sam Halabi
– Cisco QOS Exam Certification Guide, by Wendell Odom, Michael Cavanaugh.
– KnowledgeNet BGP and MPLS
All in all, 7 months, 900+ hours later, a supporting wife, with a heavy theory based study approach, and then applying that knowledge through labs, were adequate enough to pass the lab successfully on the first attempt. I also relied on my the notes that became the Routing-Bits Handbook extensively for studying and review. The lab content itself is not that hard. It’s more the way and wording of the questions that creates difficulty.