CCIE Lab Time Management

409 Words. Plan about 1 minute(s) to read this.

I’m having a real problem with time management. I haven’t been paying too much attention to time while I’ve been working on these first 3 scenarios. I’ve been just kind of hammering my way through configuration events, stopping to read if needed. And I still have to do the reading part of this prep work, no question about it. That’s the point of this being a practice lab, and not the actual lab. If I thought I knew everything I needed to know, I’d be attempting the actual lab, right?

So as I get ready to start with scenario 4, I wanted to try something a little different. Now, I can already tell you that there’s a number of tasks in scenario 4 that I don’t know how to do without looking up command syntax. And there’s even a couple of tasks that I don’t even have a clue what they are getting at, meaning there’s a Shiny New IOS Feature waiting for me at the end of that particular task (new to me, at least). Despite knowing those challenges are ahead, I decided I would try to assign a time budget to each section.

I gave myself a scenario budget of 6.5 hours. The idea there is that we have 8 hours to take the lab. I’d like to spend the last 1.5 hours reviewing all the routing tables for reachability, correctly chosen next-hops, etc. I need a window to double-check my work. That necessarily means that I have to peel off some time from my 8 hours. 1.5 hours sounds about right, considering the advice of some other lab strategists.

6.5 hours = 390 minutes. Now, that was an eye-opener right there. 390 minutes to build a complete IPv4, IPv6, multicast, multi-IGP, redistribution, switching, QoS, etc. lab. Trying to carve the NMC scenario 4 configuration tasks into 390 minutes just didn’t happen. I haven’t even started the scenario yet, and I’m overbudget by 20 minutes just with the times I wrote down for each section. This exercise, more than anything else I’ve heard about time pressure in the actual lab, has been a wake-up call for me. Yes, prepping for the lab is about mastery of the blueprint technologies. But lab prep is also about quickly putting together an accurate solution and implementing that solution, error-free, the first time. And doing it for every task.

Is there a CCIE lab ASIC I can get to plug into my brain stem? At the moment, I’ve got too many things getting punted to software. :)

Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
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