CCNP Journey -- Complete! (long post)

msnelgrovemsnelgrove Posts: 167Member
Hi everyone,

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to finish off TSHOOT to complete my CCNP. I thought I would make a post about my CCNP journey.

I passed my CCNA back in 2013 and had been eyeing the CCNP ever since. I gathered my resources a couple months later but I was never able to get back into study mode. I would review some of the material here and there but didn't really have a study plan. Back in August of this year I found out that the CCNP was being updated and rather than have to gather new resources, I decided to use this as my motivation for studying.

Originally, I had given myself 1 month for each test, and set my course for SWITCH->ROUTE->TSHOOT.

I started studying for SWITCH and found the material to be fun, I liked it, it was easy to understand -- everything was clicking away. I used the INE videos as well as the Keith Barker CBT nuggets for one of the CCNP:S tests. I found that the CBT nuggets series was a great compliment to SWITCH for the gaps that the INE videos left. This was also my first experience with Keith Barker and I was very pleased that the videos weren't dry and boring like some of the Microsoft ones I have watched in the past. I labbed using the switches I have at home as well as the switches available at Free Cisco Catalyst Switch Lab. I studied probably 3-4 hours weekdays and 8 or so hours Saturday and Sunday. By the middle of August I was able to knock out SWITCH and move on to ROUTE.

Keeping with my 1 month per test plan I immediately dived into ROUTE. I found the ROUTE material to be very dry and slipped into a study coma for the next 2-3 months. At the beginning of November I had decided to pickup ROUTE again as I was behind schedule. Something was different this time, the material didn't put me to sleep anymore and everything was clicking again. On my first run through I had difficulties with the more advanced OSPF material and BGP, but this time I had no problems. Once I understood the rules for BGP I quite enjoyed it. Study time was a bit longer than SWITCH, and I spent more time labbing ROUTE; again 3-4 hours workdays 8 or so hours weekends. When I sat ROUTE at the end of November, I felt really good while taking the test. I passed, but didn't do as good as I thought I would as my score was only 8 points higher than the minimum passing amount.

Right after ROUTE I jumped over to TSHOOT. I downloaded the topology maps from Cisco and created a lab in both packet tracer and GNS3. After watching Kevin Wallace's TSHOOT videos on Youtube and reading a bunch of other blog posts describing TSHOOT as a fun and somewhat easier exam I booked my seat for TSHOOT three weeks later. Yesterday I wrote TSHOOT and immediately felt like I was punched in the gut. I went through the first three trouble tickets nervously and blanked out; I couldn't find what the issue was to fix. I had a horrible feeling of impending failure jumping into the 4th ticket. However, I was able to knock this one out right away; and I must say that it was a confidence booster to go through the questions and see my fix listed for selection on the last page. I aborted all the tickets until I was sure I had the correct answer, I also used my exam sheet to record info about each ticket so I could go back and close them all afterwards. I finished TSHOOT with 3 minutes to spare and my strategy had paid off as I landed my best score on an exam ever, a perfect 1000/1000!!

I must say that TSHOOT was a rather humbling experience, I did achieve a perfect score, but I don't feel that it was a cake walk exam, you need to know what you are doing to pass.

So, my CCNP journey is complete. I am going to keep studying and labbing for a while as I want to improve on a couple areas so I can be confident with my abilities and be able to back up my claim of being a CCNP :)

Thanks for letting me share my experience, I hope you don't slip into a post coma from reading this.

Comments

  • HondabuffHondabuff Posts: 667Member
    Congrats on the Pass! I will be sitting here reading the posts of everyone passing until I sit my T-Shoot on the 8th. I have been reading in other forums about the bug in the exam and a few other misdirection's that the T-shoot exam has in it. Seems like its a test of knowing what to look for. Ipconfig/Ping/Show Run seems to be all the commands you need. I know the feeling when it comes to the NP exams. I put more study time into Route compared to any other of my certs but just got by with a pass. Any thoughts on what cert to do next? I have signed up for a CCNA Security boot camp in May to collect some of the low hanging fruit.
    “The problem with quotes on the Internet is that you can’t always be sure of their authenticity.” ~Abraham Lincoln
  • msnelgrovemsnelgrove Posts: 167Member
    Thanks! I've heard that others had issues with TSHOOT being buggy, but mine seemed to be OK with 1 exception. Pinging from the client pcs on a couple tickets was buggy as I could ping the furthest router, and not the ones in between. But, if i went to the next hop device I could ping properly. I started using ping and traceroute from DSW1. I had a sim breaking (crash) bug in SWITCH, ROUTE for me was pretty bug free. CCIE is far out on the Horizon for me, I think I might loop back and do some of the design and security exams though.
  • bharvey92bharvey92 Posts: 419Member
    Hondabuff wrote: »
    Congrats on the Pass! I will be sitting here reading the posts of everyone passing until I sit my T-Shoot on the 8th. I have been reading in other forums about the bug in the exam and a few other misdirection's that the T-shoot exam has in it. Seems like its a test of knowing what to look for. Ipconfig/Ping/Show Run seems to be all the commands you need. I know the feeling when it comes to the NP exams. I put more study time into Route compared to any other of my certs but just got by with a pass. Any thoughts on what cert to do next? I have signed up for a CCNA Security boot camp in May to collect some of the low hanging fruit.

    Good luck mate, I've got mine booked in for the 3rd of January. Hopefully we'll pass around the same time :)
    2018 Goal: CCIE Written [ ]
  • RouteMyPacketRouteMyPacket Posts: 1,104Member
    Congrats, I found TSHOOT to be quite pathetic. It's a shame they don't let you configure anything, it should require you to find the fault and fix it IMO.

    It was a fun exam but incredibly simple.
    Modularity and Design Simplicity:

    Think of the 2:00 a.m. test—if you were awakened in the
    middle of the night because of a network problem and had to figure out the
    traffic flows in your network while you were half asleep, could you do it?
  • msnelgrovemsnelgrove Posts: 167Member
    I was happy to see that more show commands were implemented than SWITCH and ROUTE, but there were still a couple that I tried to use that they hadn't simulated.
  • MrBrianMrBrian Posts: 520Member
    Congrats on your CCNP! One heckuva journey for anyone that's gone through it, that's for sure. Well done and good luck on future endeavors!
    Currently reading: Internet Routing Architectures by Halabi
  • JeanMJeanM Posts: 1,117Member
    Congrats and great job!!!
    2015 goals - ccna voice / vmware vcp.
  • Alex90Alex90 Posts: 289Member
    Congrats icon_thumright.gif
  • jones551jones551 Posts: 154Member
    Well Done!great inspiration...
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