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BlueWolf's Howl

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August 22, 2008

Still Reading

Just since I haven't updated in a while...

I'm still trying to plow through the 2 1/2 ft of textbooks for the CCIE written exam. It's slow going, but I know I have to start to step it up a notch. I only have until October to take the exam. Not really - this is an artificially created deadline I have set. I have to take it by October in order to be eligible for the free second chance exam. There's some program where if you take any Cisco exam from April to October, you get to retake the exam for free if you don't pass the first time. Since the exam itself is $315, this would be a good idea...

I went back and re-read the "Inside Cisco IOS Software Architecture" book. Since it's already been counted in my stats, I didn't re-enter the numbers. But, I was glad I read the book again. Some of the things I've seen and experienced are now making more sense. Perhaps the material had a while to gel in my brain. All I know is that it seemed to be better the second time around. I felt like I understood more this time. The information stuck in my head much better. So I'm glad I went back to it rather than crossing it off as 'read' and moving on.

Very interesting, but the same thing is happening with the IPv6 material too. I had started reading the book a while ago and never finished. So I started from the beginning again. And the material is now making sense. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you're studying and having a hard time remembering or digesting the information, take some time for yourself. Put it down and immerse yourself in whatever experiences crop up. Then go back to it. When you're reading and 'not getting' the information, you're not ready for it yet. When you're ready, the material will flow into you. Now that doesn't mean I'm going to guarantee that I'll be passing on the first shot, but I feel much more ready and comfortable for this phase of studying.

I still need to work on keeping my nerves in check and not working myself up about the exam. Yes, it's stressful to take an expensive exam. But if you let the stress get to you, it will lessen your chances of success. I've sat for some tests where the screen started to blur in front of me. I've also had others where I ran out of time and couldn't even click to see the questions at the end of the exam. So as I'm getting the material under my belt, I also have to keep an eye out for ways to work on controlled speed. I can't rush through it, but I can't walk -- I have to sort of jog through the questions.

I'm looking at the shelf of books that need to be read in 2 months time. I'm moving the books as they're read from the top shelf to the second shelf so I can visibly keep track of my progress. And I'm keeping a notebook for my notes as I'm reading. I'm trying not to use it to reinforce the reading - but to pull out any charts or special points that may help me remember the bulk of the material. When I make notes to reinforce the reading, I write every pertinent point. That would slow me down too much and I'd never get through the material. So I'm just putting down the stuff I don't already know or have under my lid.

Only time will tell. We'll see if those reading stats jump by the end of September. I have a feeling it's going to be a looooong month.

Posted by BlueWolf on August 22, 2008 06:49 AM