Security Lab - 'first' attempt review

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May 29th, 2008
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I took the security lab in san jose on tuesday (may27) but didn't quite pass. I did manage to score much better than i thought I would, considering it was my first lab - ever. I estimate based on my score results I came within two questions of passing.

Anyway, like I said this was my first lab attempt, ever. The first hour or two I was just getting over my own nerves and stress. and it really wasn't until after the lunch break that i got into a 'groove'.

The test was fair, there were just two topics (as far as teh blueprint goes) that I need to brush up on.

For those of you that have never attempted the lab, dress in layers, youre in the same room as the equipment, so the AC is cranked. For those of you attempting VOICE labs reading this, TURN YOUR RINGERS DOWN PLEASE :)

now for the question many of you want to know, I used Internetwork Expert as my primary resource of studying. I have both Vol1 (technology labs) and Vol2 (mocklabs). I went over Vol1 many times (home lab) but unfortunately never did any mock labs. I did ready/study 5 of the mock labs in the 4 days prior to the actual lab. I'm pretty sure this was the difference in me passing and not passing.

IE Vol1 does not do an adequate job with 'identity management', but just from reading the mock labs, those deficiencies are covered there. Overall, i'm quite happy with IE and see no reason to branch out my vendor workbooks stack. I will however be doing some mock labs between now and my next attempt (aug 25, san jose - it's so nice out there, despite the 3hr time change from where i'm at). Also, just from reading over the 5 mock labs, they appear to be harder than the actual lab (which IE states in the vol2 intro somewhere) - this is a good thing, btw.

I think that's all. If i can think of anything else that doesn't violate the nda, i'll post it. feel free to ask me anything too.

good luck to all.

Other resources:

Ciscopress -

Cisco router firewall security (MUST HAVE)

Complete VPN config guide (MUST HAVE)

ASA all in one (needs updated on some sections for lab)

Complete security troubleshooting guide (should have read this more thoroughly)

NAC V1 / V2 (great books if you have no NAC experience like me)


Of course there are numerous resources here.

I will be sure to more thoroughly read the 3550 configuration guide this time though, as well as the ASA 7.2 guide.

(i'm trying to tell myself i failed on purpose, b/c i'm trying to time it so i get number 24601).


I have studied on and off since last july or august. If you push all my study time together, i probably put in somewhere between 4-6 months of moderate to intense study.

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Overall Rating: 3 (2 ratings)
svermill Thu, 05/29/2008 - 09:22
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Hey Stephen,

Sounds like you did just fine - security is a tough one! And you came really close, so you can have confidence now and put the jitters behind you for next time.

I must say that a healthy regimen full-day practice/mock labs are an absolute must in order to pass any lab. There are so many strategy ideas out there that you need to have cycled through all of them to see what works for you personally and what doesn't. As for what does work, hammer away at it! For example, I tossed a bunch of suggestions I had read over time but I made very good use of my own L2 and L3 drawings. So I practiced creating those drawings until I was fast (enough) at it and that I was including all of the key information and none of the superflous. You can't feel your way through that on lab day; it has to be science by that point.

I'm stretching the truth here a bit, as I wouldn't exactly call my own performance in the lab "science." But the practice/mock lab thing certainly made the pass/fail difference for me.

Best wishes for August! But you'll need to fail again to get 24601...we're running about a thousand new CCIEs every three months (but that figure is climbing quickly) and we're right at 21,000 at the moment...



srue Thu, 05/29/2008 - 09:41
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yeah, i will definitely be doing mock labs this time around, all or most of them that i have. i do believe that would have made the difference this time around. the date just snuck up on me (sure, after 18months)....

thanks for the encouraging words!

(i'll just trade with whomever gets 24601 then!)


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