If you haven't heard of Roman Rodichev, he's a CCIE 6x, and all of those bad boys are for current CCIE tracks. That's sick. We'll, he talks about his experiences at CCIE Study Resources, a new CCIE resource blog operated by Larry Hadrava, CCIE #12203. You can read the entire interview here.
Here are a few of Rodichev's insights (I just had to post here for my own benefit if nothing else):
Prior to the Lab:
Find time to read. Print out a 10-20 page section of a configuration guide or a tech note and read it the same day. Do this every day. There are plenty of moments in your day, wherever you are, when you are idling and could spend that time reading. Finally, again, it’s all about INTEREST and ENJOYMENT. If you are truly interested in the technology, if you are really enjoying studying, you will find time how to balance work, wife (can’t speak for kids) and studying. People who “can’t find time for studying”, don’t actually enjoy studying that technology.
If you are going to do CCIE, why waste time on CCNP? If you are ready for CCIE, you can go and take all CCNP tests in one day, and you’ll pass them. Getting CCNP might get you a $10-20K salary increase, but probably only if you switch jobs. If you think that CCIE is your ultimate goal, go for CCIE, don’t think about CCNP. These two certifications require a different approach in studying. Some people choose to study with pass4sure and pass the CCNP within a week. I would rather prepare first for a CCIE, and then take CCNP tests without preparation a week before the CCIE lab.
After the Lab:
Past experience taking these labs taught me a lesson:
1. Document the entire lab even if you think you passed it. This takes about 3 days. Don’t be lazy!!
2. Practice your lab at home and research every topic even if you believe you will get a different lab next time
3. Don’t wait after failing, schedule the lab for the soonest date possible. The most studying you will do is between the attempts.