Next Steps In My Lab Prep?


On Monday, I completed the last NetMasterClass.com DOiT Vol.2 practice lab.  Finally, all 25 of them are done. With a little more than 3 months left to my first lab attempt, what next in my preparation strategy?

One thought is that since I’m scheduled to go to bootcamp with Narbik Kocharians in February, I should hustle my way through as much of his Soup-to-Nuts eBook as I can before I get to bootcamp. Here’s the problem with that: I am comfortable with most if not all of the material in that book. Not off-the-top-of-my-head comfortable – I don’t mean to sound cocky (and I hope I’m not kidding myself). But I covered an awful lot of material using DOiT. I’m sure I could definitely stand to do some reading in Soup-to-Nuts, and probably crank out a few exercises. But I don’t think I want to devote my undying attention to it.

Another thought is what I’ve mentioned before: I have weak areas – missing bricks in my foundation. I know the CCIE tasks that scare me. I know the things that fill me with fear and dread as I contemplate potentially facing them on the lab. The things that scare me are all featured in the NMC DOiT scenarios. My rack is already cabled for DOiT. So, wouldn’t I be well-served by going back through those scary bits until I own them? I think I would.

Another thought is to imitate a popular strategy that I’ve heard about off and on lately. Do a small set of practice labs over and over until you know the issues, resolution, and code perfectly. That idea appeals to me a great deal. To that end, I’ve e-mailed the good folks at NMC, and asked them to recommend 5 DOiT labs that would be well-suited to this purpose. If they respond, I’ll blog their thoughts on the idea.

Another thing I’m doing is keeping up with my Doc CD reading. That’s been more profitable than I’d hoped. What I’m finding is that because I’ve gone through so much studying and so many lab exercises, the Doc CD is making better sense now than it used to. I grasp information more readily than I used to, and I am retaining the information better.

I have another IE mock lab scheduled in a few weeks that should give me another reality check, followed directly by a week with Narbik. And I may spend a second week with Narbik in March to run through the bootcamp a second time. And I should probably snap up at least one more IE mock lab while the January pricing special is still on-going.

So what do you think, those of you reading? My lab date is 4/29 in RTP. If you were me, what would you do to most effectively prepare? Your blog comments and e-mails are more than welcome.

About the author

Ethan Banks

Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.


  • I think going over 5-6 labs over again is the way to go. From what Ive read you are well on your way and have no doubt you will do well when your lab comes around.

    If you feel you know most of the soup-to-nuts material, maybe just brush up on the aspects that you dont feel so confident on (in the DocCD) before heading off to Narbik’s bootcamp where I am sure you will pick up extra knowledge. Im interested to see how his bootcamp turns out, as I am contemplating attending in future.

  • Have you given up on the InternetworkExpert material? Though I am not studying for the lab right now, my tendency would be to try their stuff, as it would give you a different view of similar lab tasks to the NMC material, and perhaps expose you to task from a different perspective. I think you had mentioned that you need some more equipment for their lab, but that shouldn’t be too had to come by.


  • No, I haven’t given up on the IE, exactly. I’m still hoping to at least read through all of the IEWB 4.1 Volume 1 material. But all of a sudden, I have a deluge of prep material. I have the NMC DOiT Volume 2 that I bought back at the beginning of my lab prep (and just finished working through). I have the entire IEWB collection now, and I’ve been working through Volume 1. I just got Narbik’s Soup-to-Nuts, and I’ll end up with his full-scale workbooks when I go to his bootcamp in a few weeks. And I just got hold of more CCIE eBooks from IPExpert.com via a survey I took on Facebook.

    So, I have far more CCIE lab prep material than I know what to do with now. I don’t have time to go through it all – it would take me 2 years or more if I did every workbook currently in my possession.


Most people know me because I write & podcast about IT on the Packet Pushers network. I also co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

Find out more on my about page.

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