2nd CCIE EI lab Attempt – The price of pride


Here we go again

After all the excitement of the first attempt, my only idea was to try again. Pretty fast I scheduled another attempt just a short month after the first. 30 days and nights.

Maybe it was not enough, but now I got a broader perspective of the exam and how it works. Chances were going up with experience.

Tip #4: Don’t wait too long to try again. Don’t allow yourself to fall behind. Don’t let the previous effort to become worthless.

These exams were depleting both my money and my holidays days, every time would need at least a day off or two. It would depend if I could find a flight that would leave Spain in the afternoon.

How much this is going to cost me? The average is 3 tries, let’s hope that I’m special and I would need just two…

Brussels once again we meet

I really don’t like you Brussels, I find your city center uninspired and not especially beautiful if we compare it with the South of Spain or with such a beautiful city as Prague.

But here we are again at 6 a.m in the morning in the hotel next to the Cisco building. Waking up next to my fiancée where she happily sleeps while I try to keep ahold of me.

I cannot avoid smiling at her while the other half of my brain is doing DHCP configs in my head. My brain can’t stop doing maths for the incoming exam, and I don’t blame it.

I studied since the first attempt many hours, day and night and this was another try to get closer to the end.

Suddenly I have the same fear as before, what if I forget everything I know in the exam? What if my brain breaks and I can’t remember? You know what, that’s not a real thing.

Tip #5: Whatever you know you know, not going to disappear before the exam. Calm down.


Wake up, if you must

I am once again sitting in the Cisco reception but this time alone. Alone? – I think – Where’s everybody?

They were up already in the exam room, it seems I was late to the exam even I was there at 7:55.

I came into the room to find 4 o 5 people already sit and ready to start their own exams, so I sit in my place.

I put my stuff in a locker at the rear of the room, my phone, my wallet and my small coat.

Now, if you are like me, sometimes you don’t trust your will force to help you wake up so what do you do? You set alarms.

In plural, alarms. Many. Many, I said. I don’t want to take the chance of falling sleep and missing a study session or maybe the exam.

So let’s do chemistry and mix an stressfull exam at 8 a.m with many alarms on the phone. The result? Loud wake up alarms going off in the other side of the room.

People tell me that I’m easy to blushing, so I cannot imagine how red was my face when I recognized the sound of my very own alarm getting increasingly louder.

I apologized to the proctor and everybody while I was running to stop the alarm. And I turned off my phone. Really, I did, I saw the goodbye message of my phone. IT WAS TURNED OFF.

Tip # 6: Stop your phone alarms if you want to have a good time in the exam.

– I’m sorry, I just turned off the phone – I said timidly to the proctor. He nodded in understanding. Really cool guy.

But dear reader, sometimes technology works in mysterious ways. And a good 30 min later into the exam, I hear the trumpets again.

The apocalypse trumpets.

That sounded like my alarm…Oh my good, I had to run again and turn if off. Read again tip number 6.


Pride can be expensive

Now for the exam part, the config lab part started better that last time. Few devices stuck, no problem. Reviewed some config, seems to work now. All good.

Too good, everything starts to fit in place and pings start to flow correctly. Seems the connectivity is up for most of the exam, most of it is on green status.

I start to believe that “that was it, I made it”. I really made it. Last time many devices were on red, some pings were not working. But not today, today most of things are working.

I smiled, as I think “that was it”. Started to imagine everything that would happen, get my number and happy faces. Time was ticking instead.

Last device was misconfigured by my own hand, so it was not behaving as it should to be correct.

Now here it comes the most stupid thought of my life>>> “Well everything is pinging, all is green; let’s focus on fixing this very last device and that would be it”

What could go wrong if we don’t spend 10 min to check the config of all exercises? Exactly! I was too proud, too happy, too blind.

Tip #7: Review and review again your configs, pinging devices don’t mean it complies with what you are being asked to do.


Results coming

I was so happy when I finished the exam, even though I could not fix the last device not pinging in the end. But most of the stuff was working.

I couldn’t wait to see the results, so I went into the webpage to check the scores. Once and again, refresh, refresh. Even it would need a few hours to get the results.

I was sure I passed, because you know most of the devices were pinging. But that’s not enough sometimes.

I suddenly got a red message in the Cisco webpage, something similar as “You tried too many times to refresh the webpage, we are going to block you for 24h”

My face was white, now I had to wait 24h to know the results!! And I waited, and waited and waited.

Tip 8#: Careful with refreshing the webpage too often, you will have to wait 24h more. And that’s a painful wait.


Let’s do this again

Failed. Second fail in a row. What happened?

I was too proud to pass, that’s what happened. I didn’t verify configs properly. So stupid.

Well if I can learn a little humility for a 2000 euro exam, thanks for the lesson.

I talked with other people about their attempts, and it seems the second try accompanied with pride it is not weird. All this sudden rush feeling that you already passed, makes you blind.

Don’t fall in that trap, you only passed when you get the exam results and your CCIE number.

See you soon in my third attempt post!!

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