3rd CCIE EI lab Attempt – Change is…



inevitable, like a river or -insert here some other wisdom words-. Life will change, and most of the time is a good thing.

But I was not changing my plans to pass CCIE lab, so two months after my last attempt I went right into the 3rd attempt by the end of November.

Let´s book another trip to Brussels, another hotel night and another 2000 euro sandwich lunch in the lab. That was not easy, at all.

The pressure from family and friends and the expectative of passing soon is a heavy weight. But nevertheless, here we go again.

Hello Brussels my old friend

I´m shaking. It´s 6:14 a.m and I don´t know if that´s due to the cold or because of the incoming challenge. I just deal with that with a boiling water shower.

My wife is happily sleeping, once more. That scene always cheers me up. I have to wake her up unfortunately, as we agreed to have breakfast together at the hotel.

It´s a shame, breakfast seems tasty but I always look. I don´t eat because I don´t want to take the chance to feel later uncomfortable.

I prefer empty stomach than wasting time in the bathroom during the exam. Anyway, that´s my way to deal with high stressful situations.

Tip #9: It’s okay to feel stress, find your way to deal with it and keep going.

This time I was early for the exam, much calmer than previous times. I chat briefly with another candidate; he seems nice and nervous.


Sitting in the room again

Well-known scenario: double monitors, crappy (thus extremely fast moving) mouse and cheap keyboard. These are the players for today.

This time I don’t doubt, first thing is to modify the mouse acceleration speed to a comfortable speed. I go to take water, trying to calm down.

I remembered this time to turn off all the alarms also, and we are set to go. Time to start the exam. We are about 8 people in the room. Silence for now.

I was much calmer this time, experience it helps with the challenge in the end. It took me about 2h for the design part this time, with plenty of time to bring some water to the table.

Now, for the scary part: the lab configuration. Let’s remember the previous tips to get a better chance.

Tip #10: No worries, you’ll do better each time. Trust your previous study time.


Sweet and sour hours

In the lab config things started to look good, but again that didn’t mean anything the last attempt. That’s ok, is to be expected that things works and pings go through.

Some things started not to go in my way, my old brain started to panic but I managed to get myself under control.

Check the configs. Check the configs. All seems fine, but it doesn’t work? Am I blind? What’s going on here?

Listen, paranoia is no good. There is no conspiracy against you. There is no dark hand behind the curtain. It just you and your own mistakes.

This is part of the exam, the pressure, the config not working, the ticking clock and the huge stress situation. But you know what to do.

Keep going, keep checking. Luckily for me, finally spotted what I was doing wrong and I fixed it. Now is working. Now I’m back on track.

This happened few times in this exam. Panic > Paranoia > Calm down > Find the issue > Keep going.

After 5h I was happy enough with this try, I think I managed my time and myself much better than other tries.

Tip #11: There’s no conspiracy. If it doesn’t work, check yourself and your config. It’s normal to make mistakes under pressure.

I clicked the button to end the exam, while having about 7 mins left in the counter. I already checked enough times the config and saved all the devices config. I think that’s enough.

Mistakes and learning from Attempt#2 were doing its thing to help me to keep my focus and calm.

I’m one of the last people to leave the room. Proctor asked about my feelings on the exam. I feel good and I tell him. He already saw me 3 times. Let’s hope to be the last time.

He is nice and probably understand my tiredness. I say goodbye politely and leave the Cisco building.

I called my wife and tell her that I have a good feeling. Last time I got a good feeling and I failed. So, let’s wait for the results.


The moment of truth


This time I’m much calmer, and I wait in the airport for my plane just a few hours after my exam.

I’m thinking that would be nice to be a CCIE before 35, as my birthday is just a few days away. I stop dreaming. I tried to touch the ground and wait.

I set my phone ring loud to hear any new email from Cisco, where it would ask me to check my scores. Until that email, checking the webpage is wasting time.

It’s 7 a.m again, and barely had slept last time. I can’t stop thinking as my heart is racing all the time.

I heard a phone beep and it was a Cisco email. My heart started bumping out of control. It’s time.

I logged into the Cisco webpage and put my user/password. I thought I was having a heart attack. The answer was finally there.


Do…do you like cliffhangers?

Let’s find out what happens in the next post!!

See you soon!

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