Using the content blueprint, determine your experience and knowledge in the major topic areas. For areas of strength, practicing for speed should be your focus. For weak areas, you may need training or book study in addition to practice.
Choose lab materials that provide configuration examples and take a hands-on approach. Look for materials that are approved or provided by Cisco and its Learning Partners.
Build and practice lab scenarios on a per topic basis. Go beyond the basics and practice additional features. Learn the show and debug commands along with each topic. If a protocol has multiple ways of configuring a feature, practice all of them.
Cisco Documentation CD
Make sure you can navigate the Cisco documentation CD with confidence because this is the only resource you will be allowed during the lab. Make the CD part of your regular study; if you are familiar with it, you can save time during the exam. As of March 2006, the documentation can only be navigated using the index; the search function has been disabled.
Although acquiring a personal home lab is ideal, it can be costly to gather all the equipment you will need. For the hardware devices that are costly to obtain, you may be able to rent the equipment online at a more reasonable cost.
TEN TIPS FOR TAKING THE LAB EXAM
1. Read the entire exam first and check for addressing issues. Do not skip any details or sections.
2. Manage your time. Make a plan to cover all the sections in the time provided. Work out how much time you will spend on each section, keeping in mind the point value of the questions. Don’t forget to allow time at the end to verify your solutions.
3. Clarify the requirements of each question. Don’t assume requirements that aren’t mentioned in the question. During the lab, if you are in any doubt, verify your understanding of the question with the proctor.
4. Do each question as a unit. Configure and verify before moving to the next question. You may want to redraw the topology with all the details available. This will help you visualize and map the network.
5. Troubleshoot. You must know how to troubleshoot using the tools available. Although troubleshooting is important, don’t lose too much time working on a 2- or 3-point question. If you’re caught off-guard by an unfamiliar topic, don’t let it absorb too much time. Work on the things you are more comfortable with and go back to difficult items later.
6. Keep a list. During the exam, make notes on configurations and settings as you move through the exam. Make a separate list for items you have not been able to address or where you have not achieved the desired result which you’ll need to revisit.
7. Test your work. Never rely on a configuration done in the early hours of the exam. There is a possibility that an item you configured a few sections earlier can become broken and non-functional. Keep in mind that points are awarded for working configuration only.
8. Save your configurations often.
9. Don’t make any drastic changes in the last half hour of the exam.
10. Speed is vital on the exam. Review and practice core material the week before the exam to ensure you can move quickly through the less challenging questions.