Passed my final CCNP exam on Tuesday

Passed my final CCNP exam on Tuesday (TSHOOT) with 986 out of a possible 1000 ! Wohoo !

I had heard the TSHOOT exam was difficult and I think I over-studied, spending the past 6 months procrastinating preparing for the exam. I chose to use the official CCNP TSHOOT book by Kevin Wallace as well as the official CCNP Video Mentor and Flash Cards, both from Amazon.

The book was easy reading and very relevant to the exam. By the time I went into the exam I must have read through it a hundred times. Self-test questions in the book helped me to identify areas that I needed to review before the exam.

The video mentor on the other hand gave a good overview of the areas that would be tested and troubleshooting commands, without going into the depth that the book did. I did find the videos to be a bit slow paced for my learning speed considering these topics had been covered in the ROUTE and SWITCH exams.

The exam itself was primarily troubleshooting router/switch simulations (90%) with a few multi-choice questions thrown in. Cisco have a very good TSHOOT demo which simulates the process and ticket requirements quite well, I would recommend everyone go through this demo before sitting the exam, and also check the network topology pdf from Cisco that will be used in the exam. This topology is identical for every simulation.

What worked for me was approaching a trouble ticket with the basic initial methodology of tracert and ping between devices to see where communications stopped. This gave me the first clue – which device or devices to start investigating. From then it was a matter of using mainly show commands rather than debug commands to establish what was going on.

Good luck if you’re planning on taking this exam in the future. For me I’ll be working through Fortinet, Microsoft, VMware, Citrix and probably more Cisco certifications (CCDA/CCDP) over the coming 12-24 months.

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