TSHOOT Tickets

I took and did not pass my TSHOOT exam last week. Bummer. I had not studied specifically for the test very hard. In my mind I had already started thinking about the CCIE written and even started doing the “easy” CCIE labs. I have a long way to go as the best I could do was a 2 hour CCIE lab in 5 hours. That was the best. There were a few that took a couple of days to complete. So when I went to take my test I felt I had a good chance at passing but was by no means assured of a passing grade.

Without breaking the NDA here are some of my thoughts.

  • I was not prepared mentally.
  • I did not have a game plan for troubleshooting the lab.
  • I did not go over the basic troubleshooting commands before I took the test.
  • I was more prepared for this specific test in May than I was last week.
  • How I prepared for the last test:
    I went and reviewed this blog. Reading my own writing and doing the commands on the lab routers refreshed some of the old memories.

    I configured the TSHOOT topology from scratch again. Then I had my coworker go through and randomly break things. He would log in and break it, give me a hint and then I would go in and fix the configuration. This was easy, possibly too easy, and it was slow. We would only do this once a day and I wouldn’t worry if it took 15 or 20 minutes, I was just playing around in the lab before I went home. That all changed during the test. Because I had configured my lab I knew the configs cold, I had configured it all and I could spot typos or simple errors quickly by just viewing the running configuration. That is not the case during the lab.

    How I am preparing now:
    I am not concerned about theory. I have been studying TCP/IP Volume I with the CCIE written in mind and am on the last chapter.

    Over the weekend I made 15 different configurations with errors. I don’t even remember what each ticket does, just that it creates an error somewhere in the lab. I saved them to the flash of each switch or router and wrote the following script. It randomly selects a trouble ticket to load, then calls the testlab update expect script, tlue, and loads the bad configuration on the device.

    At this point I am not concerned with the actual error. I did not have a process to follow last week during the test and was not consistent in my troubleshooting process. By being able to load a number of errors in quick succession I will be able to troubleshoot a number of errors using a consistent process. My goal is to bombard myself with random errors like I saw in the test and get my troubleshooting process down pat.

    The other key here is to rely on mastering a few commands that tell me the most about the situation on a router or switch and not on reading router configurations to troubleshoot. I feel that was my weakness in my previous studies and became my weakness during the lab.

    Below is the script that loads random configurations with errors in the lab.

    #!/bin/bash
    # 2010-11-15 Jud Bishop
    # tl-ticket
    # This script randomly picks a ticket and loads the configuration from flash.
    
    I=$((RANDOM%15+1))
    
    #1: DSW1 
    #2: ASW1
    #3: ASW1
    #4: ASW1
    #5: R4
    #6: R4
    #7: R2
    #8: R1
    #9: R1
    #10: R1
    #11: R2 -- IPv6
    #12: DSW1
    #13: R4
    #14: R4 -- IPv6
    #15: R4
    
    case $I in
    	1 )
    		tlue DSW1 replace ticket1.cfg
    	;;
    	2 )
    		tlue ASW1 replace ticket2.cfg
    	;;
    	3 )
    		tlue ASW1 replace ticket3.cfg
    	;;
    	4 )
    		tlue DSW2 replace ticket4.cfg
    	;;
    	5 )
    		tlue R3 replace ticket5.cfg
    	;;
    	6 )
    		tlue R4 replace ticket6.cfg
    	;;
    	7 )
    		tlue R2 replace ticket7.cfg
    	;;
    	8 )
    		tlue R1 replace ticket8.cfg
    	;;
    	9 )
    		tlue R1 replace ticket9.cfg
    	;;
    	10 )
    		tlue R2 replace ticket10.cfg
    	;;
    	11 )
    		tlue R2 replace ticket11.cfg
    	;;
    	12 )
    		tlue DSW1 replace ticket12.cfg
    	;;
    	13 )
    		tlue R4 replace ticket13.cfg
    	;;
    	14 )
    		tlue R4 replace ticket14.cfg
    	;;
    	15 )
    		tlue R4 replace ticket15.cfg
    	;;
    esac
    
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