A Tough Week for Studying

I came down with a cold a few days ago and have had a hard time studying, mostly due to lack of energy. I’m about 3/4 through the Coursera Learning how to Learn course and am finding it very helpful. Typically I will plow through reading and video material cover-to-cover and hope to recall bits and pieces whenever I need them. This technique has served me well in the past, but I know it won’t suffice for the CCIE. Once the course is completed, I’ll post a few useful tips that will transfer over to CCIE studies.

In line with the above thoughts, I’ve been running-in-place reviewing some Anki flashcards that someone else posted online. What I’m discovering is that these cards only reinforce what I already know, along with what I know I should be studying more. But the cards in themselves are NOT helping me learn what I don’t know. For instance, Performance Routing is something that I understand at a surface level only. Rather than beating flashcards into my head, I should be going over the Cisco config guides and reviewing others blogs to learn this technology at a deeper level. At any rate, that is something learned and I will adjust my study habits accordingly. My learning will slow until I get my hands on a server for labbing, which should really help make some of these ideas more concrete in my head.

And the Journey Continues…

I mentioned earlier this Summer that I would be reviewing the CCIE Routing and Switching (RS) v5.1 OCG books, although I had no intention to follow through with the RS v5.1 path. That still holds true today. However – I am going to sit the written in a few weeks because I have a voucher for it, so why not? Having never sat it before, I am not very confident in a pass. But a pass now just earns me the right to book the lab before February 24, 2020 when the new Enterprise Infrastructure v1.0 lab will roll out. There are plenty of RS candidates who have been studying for far longer than me that are vying for a seat to earn their number before the v5.1 lab is deprecated. Even if I pass the written, if would be an immense challenge to study up for current lab and try to pass it in the next 4 months. I do still want to continue down this path though.

I’m going to try and gamify this a bit to encourage me to study more. Basically – I want to update this blog every Sunday night detailing what I studied the previous week and what I intend to review over the following week. This will help track time invested, increase my buy-in, and hopefully encourage others along their journey (CCIE or another).

So far I have reviewed the following materials (time estimates are completely fabricated, trying to be as accurate as possible):

  1. CCIE RS v5.1 OCG Volume 1 – 40 hours
  2. CCIE RS v5.1 OCG Volume 2 – 35 hours
  3. Misc blogs, etc. – 5 hours

It is Monday while I write this, and I intend to spend the next week or so completing a Coursera course called “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects”. This is a free course and was brought to my attention while reviewing Tim McConnaughy’s CCIE journey over at carpe-dmvpn.com. Tim was a great speaker at Cisco Live US 2019, presenting an introduction to IP Multicast course (BRKIPM-1261). Tim suggests that developing learning techniques helped him study immensely, and I need to develop techniques to help retain what I am reading. Up soon I will be building a lab, I’ll post more on that as it occurs.