Nothing is easy when it comes to the IT world, but, this doesn’t even begin to explain it when it comes to taking a CCIE Lab Exam. If you want to take the crown of Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert you have to redefine your standards of hard, because it doesn’t get much harder than this. CCIE Exam has been considered the hardest exam in the IT world from the moment it was introduced back in 1993. On the flip side, this is also the most renowned IT certification in the world, which would make sense considering how hard it is.
The exam is made out of two parts: a written exam and a lab exam. Now, the written exam is usually not the issue. It’s hard, don’t get that twisted, but it’s first-try passable. All you have to do is sit down, grab your books and study hard for about 1000 hours or more and you’re good. Sounds rather easy, right?
However, that’s not the hard part. The hard part is the practical lab test and that’s where the most fail. Now, failing an exam isn’t something we hadn’t gotten used to during our days in school, but this certification is quite expensive, so, unless you don’t mind wasting about $20,000, you better ace this exam every way you can.
Now, you can’t prepare for a lab test just like you would for any other test. This one takes 8 hours to complete and it will test your practical, problem-solving skills and unless you’ve had some proper, hands-on practice – sorry to inform you, but there’s no way you’re passing the test. On that note, here are a few tips on how to prepare for the lab portion of the CCIE exam.
1. Learn From The Best Teachers
We cannot stress enough how important it is for you to have a ‘tutor’ that has already passed the CCIE exam. The key to passing this one, aside from the hard work, is having someone who has gone through it already and having that someone help you prepare. People who have gone through the exam have the necessary knowledge and more importantly experience to help guide you through the preparation process and help you prepare for what’s coming your way. Of course, we don’t have to mention it, but you should only take advice from Cisco-certified Trainers, otherwise, it may only bring harm.
2. Don’t Forget The Practice Tests
Even though we’ve said that the written portion of the exam is not the one you should be worried about, that doesn’t mean that you should take it lightly. After all, if you don’t pass the written exam, you don’t get to see the lab. That’s why it’s important to work equally as hard on the written portion of the examination. Aside from studying long and hard, you should incorporate practice tests into your studying routine. They will certainly help you prepare better, as you’ll get to experience what it will be like once you take the actual test.
3. Lab Training Is A Must
One thing that you absolutely must do is lab training. As we’ve said previously, books won’t help you ace the lab exam. On the other hand, lab training most certainly will. What you can expect from the lab exam is being presented with a practical networking problem you have to solve within the 8 hour period. To make sure you do that in those 8 hours, you have to put in at least 500 hours of lab training. Once again, make sure you practice within Cisco-certified Test Centres like Spoto, so you can be certain you’re getting the right training for your upcoming CCIE Exam.
Also, make sure you choose the right lab training for your certificate. Not all of them are the same, so keep that in mind.
4. Stay Up To Date With Information
Considering that the digital world is ever-changing and it is constantly evolving, you have to keep up to date when you’re preparing for the test. CCIE exam versions change over time, so you must be aware of what it is that you should be studying and what you will be preparing yourself for. On the other hand, when preparing for the lab exam, you have to make sure you’re using the proper software and equipment while you practice.
5. Never Settle On A Single Book
Once again, you have to understand that the IT world, or in this case networking, is a very vast and constantly evolving field. That means that you cannot possibly learn it all from a single book. To be fair, you can never know it all, but you get the point we’re trying to make. When preparing for CCIEs, you have to use several different books – the more the merrier. Don’t limit yourself and don’t take shortcuts – it won’t pay off.
6. Stay Calm
Now, let’s focus on the mental side of things. It goes without saying that this is a stressful experience. You’re spending a lot of money on an exam that only about a quarter of people pass. Those are not good odds. However, you can improve those odds by working and studying hard, but still making sure you take time for yourself and your mental health. We know that you’ll be busy while preparing for CCIEs, but try and add a meditation session to your schedule. It’s important that you clear your mind and keep your stress level to a minimum, so you can calmly practice and more importantly – be calm and relaxed on your examination day.
7. Watch Your Diet And Hydration
On top of mental health, you have to take care of your physical one as well. The best way to take care of your body through such a stressful time is to watch what you eat and keep hydrated. A good diet and plenty of water will not only make you healthier, but it will also make you feel better, which will ultimately make you study better and progress faster. Contrary to popular beliefs, drinking gallons of coffee won’t boost your concentration. Taking breaks, eating healthy and drinking water, however, will.
As far as tips go, we could give you 100 more, but we feel like these ones are the most important ones. As you can tell, it all boils down to staying healthy, both mentally and physically, and giving it your all. If you do that – we have no doubt that you will become one of the select few that can call themselves a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert.