How to Prepare for CCIE Routing and Switching Lab?

Certification: Cisco CCIE Routing and Switching - Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert Routing and Switching


In order to prepare for the CCIE R & S lab, all that you have to do is acquire a lot hand-on experience. You should make yourself conversant with a wide range of technology as indicated in the CCIE blueprints, roadmaps and topics.  You need to practice with a variety of vendors to become conversant with different phrasing of questions.

Nevertheless, you need to acquire a number of skills to enable you to be confident and ready for the CCIE R & S lab. You need to acquire some soft skills. What are soft skills? These reflect attitude and approach towards the CCIE preparation as well as the lab. The following are tips that will help you prepare for your CCIE R & S lab.

Manage your points because every action in the lab earns points

In order to pass the exam, you only have to score 80 percent in configuration and 80 percent in troubleshooting within a specific time. You should therefore consider the value of each question and the time it consumes during your practice sessions and real lab sessions.

You should learn how to prioritize questions. It is not prudent to spend a lot of time solving a question that will only earn you two or three marks. If you come across a 2-mark question that would take a long time to solve, you should skip it until you complete questions that are more rewarding or just leave it unanswered. You do not have to complete all questions, therefore, concentrate on questions that earn you good points. Nonetheless, you should not ignore connectivity; you can purposefully implement a forbidden connection that the lab, earn no points, but gain access to all devices.

Immediately you enter the lab, scan the whole lab and identify what you could implement effortlessly. In an exam scenario, it is wise of you to complete the easy tasks first that earn you points to increase your chances of attaining the pass mark.

Be prepared for an Online interface, you will find an online interface in the lab

Familiarize yourself with an online interface prior to the lab session; you will have no problems in the lab if you are used to an online interface. Watch the demo video more than once. You will not be shocked to realize that the virtual topology, test questions, section guidelines, documentation, and other necessary tools will be availed online via a lab delivery system and are accessible via a centralized toolbar. For this reason, ensure that you practice lab sessions are similar to this format.  Whenever you read practice lab scenarios, make a point of viewing the diagrams electronically. Learn to read a whole lab simulation in an electronic media.  Furthermore, use the Cisco Learning Labs to gain IOU experience. Familiarize yourself with putty, tickets and use of online diagrams to find solutions.

Understand what the demo claims that the interface supports

For troubleshooting section, you will realize that whenever you click on the device showing on the topology map, you instantly connect to the device console. Every console session displays the name of the device on the left-hand corner. What is more, you can adjust the copy and paste options to a small extent. However, you do not have to open console sessions to all devices. You should focus on the group of devices affected by a specific incident and only open others when it is necessary. If you want to reload a device to the starting configuration, do so from the Manage Devices tab.

You can not only view one incident or diagram at a single moment in a distinct pop-up, but also all troubleshooting section’s devices and diagrams in a single pop-up. You should always read the whole lab at the beginning of the section.

You can reach links provided during the lab through the Help section. However, only controlled links to "lab approved" Cisco documentation are available.

Practice using Putty for console access

The online tool in the online interface in the lab is very similar to Putty. For this reason, familiarize yourself with putty as a preparation for your CCIE R & S lab. You should learn to copy and paste between putty windows as well as move between several windows.  You could practice by typing out common configuration commands on Windows Notepad and then copying and pasting into many devices. Develop a habit of copying and pasting in putty while practicing and when working.

Practice by timing yourself

You will be required to complete your lab test within a specific time. You should therefore set tough time limits when practicing in order to develop speed.  Set a timer for two hours if a troubleshooting scenario is supposed to take two hours.  You should begin the session by reading the whole scenario. Then, work on the simple tasks first. Always divide your time through the session and leave enough time for review. If you are required to complete ten tickets in two hours, spend eight minutes or less on each. Set a timer for the tickets too.  Always start with electronic diagrams. When your scenario time starts, you could make additional diagrams through sketches but never rely on printed diagrams. For following scenarios, keep reducing the time allocated to each ticket and hence entire scenario.  You should do the same for the configuration section.

Manage your time during the exam

You should always aim at getting enough marks to make you pass. Always begin with the easiest tasks and proceed to the hard tasks. You should allocate reasonable time to every question. If a question is difficult, skip it and proceed. You should keep checking your time, your marks and review your work when you have gathered enough points. Also, keep track of unanswered questions to go back to them after coming to the last question.


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