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May 05, 2009

Moving Target

I woke up this morning to the wonderful news that Cisco is upgrading the R&S Lab Exam...

Oh, yeah me. That means that I'm now trying to hit a moving target. Ugh.

At least the written exam is done and over. I've been working towards this for so long that I had the original Exam Cert Guide, version 2, and version 3. At least I don't have to worry about getting version 4 for the written exam.

I took a look at the topics and subtopics on the PDF file. I really like the new format. It's a lot more clear-cut for studying purposes. The new version of the lab goes into effect on October 18, 2009. I have to be realistic. The only way I would be ready to take the lab before then would be to lock myself in a room and not come out until the exam. I'm already having a hard time getting it through anyone's head that I still need to study - yes, even after I have passed that really hard exam. Yes - there's one that's even harder and I need to take it within a limited amount of time. And no, it's not coming up soon (next week), but it takes a monumental effort to prepare. I can't wait until it's close and *then* study. They just don't get it....

So realistically speaking, I will be taking the exam after October. Which means I really should orient my studies towards the version 4 syllabus. Good thing there's a PDF with the topics and sub-topics. Because after every exam change, there's always some lag time between when the exam changes and when the study materials are updated for the new version. This also means that it's going to be a while before I can get my hands on good study materials -- ie practice labs.

Don't panic.

Frame Relay is still Frame Relay. It's on version 3 and version 4. There are also a lot of topics that remain the same - that's some comfort. I noticed that there seems to be a lot stronger emphasis on Security in version 4. Methinks the little CCNA Security detour may be more of a help than a distraction... Another interesting difference is the Troubleshooting section. From what I read, it seems that you're going to get a separate troubleshooting scenario that you have to work through. You get a few trouble tickets and you have to 'work' them.... This may make the test so very much harder for some people. But that's what I do. That's all I do is troubleshooting, troubleshooting, and more troubleshooting. Granted, I may not get the range and scope of issues that you would see at the TAC or working at a NOC, but the mindset is the same. You get informed that something is broken. You figure out what exactly is broken, how it broke, and how to fix it. You want to make sure that you fix the cause and not just eliminate the symptoms. And then you test it to make sure that it is indeed fixed. I think I'm really liking this part - it's more like what we do rather than an academic exercise.

And yeah, it's more like what you would really need to expect from an expert. Bring it on!

Posted by BlueWolf on May 5, 2009 07:01 AM