the home stretch (5/1 – 5/2, combined updates)

It’s day three just before 9 a.m., and muhamed ali is back! He left before noon yesterday to hit up the doctor’s… he was feeling ill and such. They didn’t have a replacement trainer for us, so we ended up getting a field engineer who, while quite knowledgeable, is not an instructor at all. Consequently, we didn’t cover nearly as much material as we would have otherwise, and the stuff we did cover wasn’t done in any sort of logical / progressive fashion. We spent most of the day with the sub going over switching… some of the other students are complaining that they didn’t get anything out of it. I don’t think it was a complete waste of a day… I did learn some stuff yesterday, but the material wasn’t in the format the other students were expecting so they probably didn’t retain it so well. Anyway, Ali says he’ll take us through switching again today to make sure we get the important bits. Being a trainer, he knows exactly the stuff we need to pass the exam, where as the field engineer knows a lot of stuff, but doesn’t know the exams very well.

Got tons of sleep last night, so I’m full of energy and ready to kick ass.

Back at the hotel… another long day. We went until 7 today; previously we usually knocked off around 6 or so…

End of day 4 now. Good lordy. I like networking and all, but this is pushing even my limits. Seriously. It’s a whole lot of information to try to juggle / sort out. Fortunately, the stuff I really care about is the conceptual stuff, and I’ve got all that solid, as is usually the case whenever I learn anything. When I screw up it’s either cause of details or math. Certainly, both are important… tho not as important to me as theory / concepts. The point is, if I understand the concepts behind a problem, it’s always easy to work out the details with the use of modern conveniences such as calculators or subnet calculators or the intarnets. All the math in the world won’t mean crap if one doesn’t know how or where to apply it.

Tomorrow is the exam. Since Ali was out for almost an entire day on Tuesday, they’ve given us the option of taking the exam on saturday or even next week… but since my flight leaves tomorrow night, I’ve decided to go ahead and give it my best shot tomorrow afternoon. I’m not actually sure I’ll pass; I think it’s gonna be really really close. Passing percentage is now 85%, which means I can miss 7 questions at most out of 50. It’ll be close. The problem with having this much material is that it’s not possible to study it all from every angle; exams are notorious for turning problems inside out to trick the poor student…. however, I shall do my best :) I’m not trying to pre-rationalize failure, but I’ve already got what I came out here for… the certification would be a nice bonus, though :) If I really cared that much about pieces of paper, I’d probably still be slaving away in college somewhere (not to poop on college or anything).

Went over my entire legal pad of notes tonight, and also reviewed the ‘brain dump’ that ali provided us from the ccna exam he took just before the start of our session (he took it for the sake of knowing what’s on it). We almost finished the ccna material today… we just have a bit more frame relay stuff to go over tomorrow, then I’ll have several hours to cram before I take the test. There’s a few things I know I need to bone up on, and I think I’ll also rebuilt my router about 5 times and do a bunch of vlan stuff on a switch, just to try to memorize all those various commands.

Gotta check out of my room tomorrow morning before I leave for class… I’ll get a ride back here after the exam; then the hotel will provide me with “shuttle service” to the san jose airport… then back to seattle, and MY COMPUTERS! (woo :)

Think I’ll watch a program on the television set and then call it a night. Wish me luck on the exam!

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